Evil and Theodicy in Hinduism

By Sunder Willett, ’15


The concept of evil  colors much of today’s understanding of the world. In “The Abuse of Evil,” Richard Bernstein writes that evil is often used to obscure, to demonize and to stifle intelligent dialogue about serious issues. By calling something evil one can avoid having to understand and analyze the conditions which allowed such events to occur. And yet what exactly is meant by the term evil? Due to the moral connotations of evil, there tends to be a generalization of evil as an absolute term. However, even in the supposedly secular United States of America, there is a distinctively Christian bias to the popular understanding of evil: that it is unnatural, wrong and in need of subjugation. But is this understanding true outside of a Christian frame of reference?

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