As I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, I’ve spent a significant portion of my professional career — and in recent months, my personal life — wrestling with the effort to understand evil. As I’ve told some of my friends, there’s always a difference between theory and practice, and as Dr. Johnson noted in Rasselas, teachers may “discourse like angels, but they live like men.”
As I noted the other day, there’s a numinous aspect to some of the ghastly things that happen, and we can’t confront that aspect directly. What we do instead is substitute things we can talk about, and that gives us the illusion that evil is something we can manage, by eliminating a root cause, by isolating some vector of spiritual disease.
Margaret Cabaniss understands this as well, and in a post at insidecatholic.com, she has some interesting things to say on the topic. It’s worth a read, I think.
(H/T: The Anchoress, at her snazzy new digs.)