Saturday, April 14, 2012

Understanding Evil

 Anders Behring Breivik is mad or bad raises another question, why do we feel the need to understand the mind of a killer? Does it matter if he's really mad or not? Would we feel better knowing that?
In Australia we have two examples of such mass murderers, Julian Knight and Martin Bryant. They're locked away for life and we don't spend time wondering whether they are mad or bad.
They are evil and that's it.

It seems that we don't want to accept the existence of evil and would rather search for a reason for acts of mass murder no matter how unhinged the thinking of the perpetrator might be. The problem in the latest case is that Breivik doesn't appear to be mad. The initial diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia seems to be off the mark. Maybe he'll be diagnosed as being a psychopath or maybe not.

Christianity tells us that evil is the work of the devil. That's a convenient explanation which absolves us of free will. Humanity has been grappling with the notion of evil from the beginning of time. The greatest philosophers have had a go at explaining it.

It's easy and convenient to label an individual as paranoid schizophrenic or psychopathic or sociopathic rather than accept the existence of evil. That notion that evil exists is just too much to stomach.

And what about evil on a mass scale? The world is still coming to terms with the holocaust of the last century. How does an entire nation turn into psychopaths or paranoid schizophrenics? 

Explain that if you can. 

1 comment:

Lexcen said...

here is a podcast on this subject