Comments: Noteworthy

I can't help but notice a parallel between communism and Islam in that both start with very appealing ideals that historically haven't translated well into practice. And I am not sure myself that were the multiple universe theory true that there isn't a world somewhere where either a good Islamic or good communist country exists.

I know this is slightly off-topic, but having read "People of the Lie", I was wondering what your thoughts are on the nature of evil?

Posted by Mahsheed at January 14, 2004 11:54 AM

Yikes -- that's quite an off-topic question, probably one that can't be answered in a blog comment. I think I'm somewhat Augustinian when it comes to evil -- but more because I think the fall works metaphorically than out of any theological conviction. I remember reading -- or perhaps seeing in a three-hour movie of conversations with him -- Jean Paul Sartre telling of an encounter he had with an American in the 1950s. The American said something along the lines of, "If only all governments were led by reasonable men, there would be no evil in the world." Sartre was horrified, and said that this American couldn't understand that evil was a force in the world.

I don't think I agree with Sartre -- evil, I think, is a particularly human category; it's very difficult for me to conceive of it as an abstract force like gravity. Some of Shakespeare's plays come much closer, for me, to defining or isolating it than the works of philosophers.

Posted by Bill at January 14, 2004 11:33 PM

Ah, I'd suspected that you would think that way about it (but I didn't know how to say that without sounding presumptuous), as from your writings which don't seem to come from a religous person's perspective. Even if you don't think it's a separate force, do you think it's something recognizable? Can you look at something no matter how insignificant and recognize that it's evil, even if you are not religious? Please write at least one post on this, I'll guarantee you at least one attentive reader.

Best,
Mahsheed

Posted by Mahsheed at January 15, 2004 12:06 AM