Every villain believes they are the hero in their own mind. From fiction characters, such as Maleficent from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, who thought putting a curse on an innocent baby because she was not invited to the party was reasonable, to real life murderers, such as the gunman from the El Paso shooting who took 22 lives. All because, in his mind, he was doing the right thing in eliminating the “threat.” Does that make them evil? On a moral compass, yes. Who attacks a baby? Who murders people because one influential guy said some hateful words about that race? To them, however, it does not seem too evil. That is the problem with evil: people will believe they are doing the right thing and the blame will always be shifted back and forth instead of to the person responsible with no one ever knows if there is a bigger picture.
In the article from The New York Times, the author, Nicholas Konrad, continuously questions God. Why would They let the evils of the world continue to happen? Why would They let innocents be killed because of one hateful person? Despite how many names God goes by, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Shiva, ect, why do They answer to none of these calls? The author wonders if the letter they are writing to God is even worth it. What is the point in writing to someone who will never answer? They ponder this with various people who would ask the same question. Karl Marx claiming the author has been “seduced by religion,” or Bertrand Russell who argues with the author that “many arguments of [God’s] existence [is] simply false and that science… eclipses religion.” Or even the atheists he lists, Richard Dawkind, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, would not be bothered writing the letter in the first place unless “it is to show that [God has been] created by human religious superstition.” Despite all these examples of people who would argue with their reasoning for writing a letter to god, which the author states is a “lamentation,” that “speaks to human pain and suffering.” All the author wants God to know is that they are afraid. The letter “speaks to [the author’s] dread in the face of apparent silence.” They are also tired. They want human suffering to stop, want to know why this all mighty Being who is supposed to be powerful and an overall good Being, lets such horrors of the world happen. Lets evil happen. Which ties into the next section. What makes it evil?
As I stated before, villains will always think they are the hero in their story. They may realize what they’re doing is “evil” when comparing it to how a “normal” being would react, but does that make it truly evil? Is evil merely based upon a person’s perspective? In 2015, a 21 year old white supremacist male by the name of Dylann Roof entered a black church in Charleston and began a mass shooting. It was a direct hate crime, he wanted to start a race war. The perpetrator went as far to state, “I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did.” Isn’t that true evil? Disgusting, vile evil? That this man holds no regrets about killing nine innocent lives? Yes, to many, but to him, he believes it was necessary. He believes it wasn’t an “evil” act, it was a necessary wrong. He believes that those people deserved it because they were black. These people were representations of the wrongs the black community has placed on the world, so they had to go. Isn’t it ironic as well, that the shooting was in a church?
In a safe haven, where God was supposed to protect them? It helps tie into the “God and Evil” thing, which is stated in the book, where “evil is necessary so that we may better appreciate the good,” despite the fact the crime happened in a holy place. Back to the topic at hand, Dylann Roof didn’t think what he did was evil, despite committing a complete atrocious, despicable act in the eyes of many. He is the reason why people won’t see their mother, grandmother, son, daughter, wife, brother, sister, etc, anymore. Yet, he has little to no remorse. All because, in his perspective, what he did was not evil. He had free will, one could say, to do this act, which the text states that “evil is the result of human free will.” If God had not let those thoughts fester into the white supermacist’s head, would those people still be here? This connects to another thing. Who is to blame?
Blame is always shifted around. No one ever wants to be the person at fault. That means you will have to suffer the consequences, whether it is a fee, a punishment, severe or minor, or even death. Is that why people like to blame God? If God is so powerful, why do They let this happen? As the text states for one of its bullet points, “why do good people suffer?” Is it to teach a lesson to mankind? Is it to blame for what happened all the back when Man first started, with Adam and Eve? Where neither one was supposed to eat the apple? Or is this just a mere distraction to the train of blame people like to ride. Bringing Dylann Roof back into this, and I do remember this happening, writers of articles about him would always try to shift the blame and appeal to the “sympathetic” crowd. ‘He was bullied! He was miseducated! He did not truly want to hurt anyone!’ Despite the fact that he admitted, he truly, in fact, wanted to murder those people because of the color of their skin. ‘The internet is to blame!’ As an article states, “the initial step that led Roof to murder nine people was not extreme: He took his curiosity and turned it into a Google Search.” The article then starts to pick apart blame, that “Google’s search algorithm, which fails to find the middle ground between protecting free speech and protecting its users from misinformation” is to blame for the “wormhole” Roof found himself in that made him a white supremacist. So what? Is it really Google’s fault that this man got curious? Or is it the people who fed the thoughts to him? What about the fact that those people fed him evil thoughts? Were they truly evil? They were just facts that Roof happened to find, thus making him make the decision to murder people. Is Google evil because they “helped” plant the seed of murdering innocent black people in Roof’s head? Who’s fault is it? Maybe it is no one’s but Dylann Roof’s fault. He chose to do the crime. He did the Evil deed. Not Google, not the white supremacists that fed him, he did. But, then again, Roof didn’t think it was evil, it cannot be just his fault. So, is there really anyone to blame if it was a true “evil” in the eye of the beholder?
In conclusion, there is no measurement of evil. No matter how many letters you send to God, wondering if They will ever answer or if it is all meaningless. No matter what the perspective of a person who commits an “evil” crime. No matter if there is shifted blame here and there for evil, whether it is for God or Google. We can only judge and wonder what makes something evil or how to truly measure it, whether it is God’s will, the morality of the person, or a universal or human blame.