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?
Interpreting Sati: The Complex Relationship Between Gender and Power In India
By Cheyenne Cierpial, ’16
A recurring theme encountered in Hinduism is the significance of context sensitivity. In order to understand the religion, one must thoroughly examine and interpret the context surrounding a topic in Hinduism. Context sensitivity is necessary in understanding the role of gender and power in Indian society, as an exploration of patriarchal values, religious freedoms, and the daily ideologies associated with both intertwine to create a complicated and elaborate relationship. The act of sati, or widow burning, is a place of intersection between these values and therefore requires in-depth scholarly consideration to come to a more fully adequate understanding. The controversy surrounding sati among religion scholars and feminist theorists reflects the difficulties in understanding the elaborate relationship between power and gender as well as the importance of context sensitivity in the study of women and gender in Hinduism.