What is Evil Anyway?

What is evil? Can good exist without it?

As Satan said in his song “Up There” in the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut,” “Without evil there can be no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes!” But what does this mean, and just what is evil?

Some theorists characterize “evil” as an absence of good. But this kind of black and white thinking doesn’t translate well to the real world. Some actions might not be good, but they might not necessarily be evil either, such as with the case of victimless crimes.

But what about Christian ideas of good and evil? Most Christians believe that things such as premarital sex (even within the context of commit relationships), homosexuality, and the practice of any religion other than Christianity are evil. But how can this be, as these things don’t actually harm anyone.

Almost every major religion also justifies war as a “necessary evil,” which will eventually bring about good. But isn’t the senseless killing of innocent people “evil” no matter what context it is in?

The concept of evil is a very subjective idea. It is open to interpretation, and can be changed to fit the needs of whoever is defining it. This concept is necessary, however, as without evil, there would be nothing to judge good by. If there was no death, despair, hate, and suffering, we would not appreciate things like life, happiness, love, and joy. Evil creates balance within the universe.

Without evil, there really could be no good, so perhaps evil is necessary. A world in which there is no evil probably could not exist. A universe devoid of evil would become unbalanced, and would eventually succumb to evil in the end anyway.