â€œGoodâ€ and â€œEvilâ€ are not some mysterious forces â€œout thereâ€ that come and afflict us. God and the devil are not in some big battle for our souls or the universe. We haveÂ free will, and with free will comes the possibility that people will act in egregious ways.
James Luther Adams wrote â€œwe deny the immaculate conception of virtue and affirm the necessity of social incarnation.â€*
As individuals and as society, we manifest the virtues of good and the evil in the world.
This is why a tornado or tsunami is not considered evil, whereas a suicide bomber or flying planes into a building is labeled as evil. When a fundamentalist Christian evangelist claims a hurricane was some form of Godâ€™s retribution, people rightfully scoff.
We must see that often what we call â€œevilâ€ is instead a cry for help, a reaction to fear, a person in pain. That does not excuse the behavior, and we must stand up to harmful behavior, but we must find a way to Love the person who enacts â€œevil.â€ If we act to stop them without Love, the result might be retribution or retaliation. If we act to stop evildoers with Love, our actions might be restorative.
We must be the Good in the worldâ€¦.
* James Luther Adams, On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society, ed. Max L. Stackhouse (Boston: Beacon Press, 1976), 18.