Evil is profound immorality, especially when regarded as a supernatural force, for example in religious belief. Evil is usually perceived as the dualistic opposite of good. Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes; however, evil is commonly associated with conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, discrimination designed to harm others, humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological well-being and dignity, destructiveness, motives of causing pain or suffering for selfish or malicious intentions, and acts of unnecessary or indiscriminate violence. The philosophical question of whether morality is absolute or relative leads to questions about the nature of evil, with views falling into one of four opposed camps: moral absolutism, amoralism, moral relativism, and moral universalism.
While the term is applied to events and conditions without agency, the forms of evil addressed in this article presume an evildoer or doers.
Famous quotes containing the word evil:
“The longest day must have its closethe gloomiest night will wear on to a morning. An eternal, inexorable lapse of moments is ever hurrying the day of the evil to an eternal night, and the night of the just to an eternal day.”
—Harriet Beecher Stowe (18111896)
“After so many historical illustrations of the evil effects of abandoning the policy of protection for that of a revenue tariff, we are again confronted by the suggestion that the principle of protection shall be eliminated from our tariff legislation. Have we not had enough of such experiments?”
—Benjamin Harrison (18331901)
“A lifetime of doing good is not enough; one day of doing evil is too much.”