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Evil in the Classroom: Deception and Desire

It was my first year as a college professor, and I (Kent) was halfway through a large stack of essays when I thought, “This one doesn’t sound quite right.” It was not that the essay was terrible but that it was way too good, and inconsistently so—I noted that the quality of the prose subtly shifted between the introduction and the middle part of the essay. My idealistic vision of my students was keeping it at bay, but a thought was nagging at me, “Could this paper be... Read More

Evil, the New Atheism, and the God of the Trinity

Recently the so-called Four Horsemen of the New Atheism lost one of their members, as Christopher Hitchens succumbed to esophageal cancer in December of 2011. Although the remaining horsemen—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris—often irritate more than intrigue, with their crass materialism and strident rejection of all things religious, I always found Hitchens too fascinating to ignore. His spirited challenges to Christian theism, both in his book god is Not Great1... Read More

By Name

Paul Hobbs, By Name, 1995, woven cloth and discs, 106 x 98 cm, artist’s collection. Courtesy of the artist. On the left I have placed a gray board covered with black plastic discs, each engraved with a sequential number. They remind me of cloakroom discs, soldiers’ dog tags, perhaps prison numbers. The discs are identical except for a change of digit. The first is 7,039, the last 7,118, to suggest we are some way into a sequence. The numbers do not start at a round figure,... Read More

Evil, Justice, and the God that Failed: The Pathos and Pathology of Metallica

One of the classic yet banal arguments that inevitably arises between bored record store clerks is the question of who is the greatest rock band ever. One clerk will of course say the Beatles. The clerk who says this has passed through her rebellious phase, has integrated herself into a vast realm of authority that includes consumers and critics, and has made an informed decision. The record store clerk who is still angry with his parents will counter that the Rolling Stones are,... Read More

To Be or Not To Be: An Interview with Paul Griffiths

The prominent theologian Paul J. Griffiths is known for his philosophical study of Catholicism and Buddhism, as well as his intimate knowledge of the Augustinian tradition. Two of his recent books, Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity and Intellectual Appetite: A Theological Grammar, traverse the territory of The Other Journal’s twentieth issue by making a nuanced study of the sin of lying and the vice of curiositas. In this interview, Griffiths discusses ways that Christians... Read More

Overcoming Lamech: Lament as Antidote to Violence

“I wanted then, as I do now, revenge for what happened. Bring me the head of Osama bin Laden” wrote Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen two years ago. Cohen was in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and isn’t shy about acknowledging his desire for revenge. At the root of his foreign policy, he declares (with complete seriousness), is his desire to grab bin Laden “by the throat and tear out his Adam’s apple.”1 Cohen’s sentiment finds a counterpart in the early pages... Read More

Not For Sale: An Interview with Kevin Austin

Kevin Austin is an important voice in the international effort to end modern-day slavery. As director of the abolitionist faith community within Not For Sale and an ordained missionary with the Free Methodist Church, Austin travels the world to create tools that engage business, government, and grassroots organizations in the service of enslaved and vulnerable communities. In this interview, Austin discusses the increasing prevalence of slavery around the world and in our local... Read More

Dis-Integration as a Model for Identifying Systemic Evil

While most people idly converse about evil in the broad terms required for superheroes and populist understandings of international relations, terms that envision evil as locked in a battle against good, few attend to the implications of viewing good and evil in Manichaean terms. Beyond assuming that the good is so simple as to have one static definition, such talk also requires that evil have an intentionality and essence that ultimately would require that it negate even the... Read More

Evil Is What Humans Do: An Interview with Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman is one of America’s most important poets. He is the editor of Poetry magazine, the author of several poetry and essay collections, and a revered contributor to such prestigious publications as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin and the New Yorker. His forthcoming book, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer, explores the central themes of his work, including frailty, illness, and the love of God. In this interview, Wiman discusses his work, his attention... Read More

Evil, Ethics, and the Imagination: An Interview with Richard Kearney, Part I

In this three-part interview, the illustrious Irish philosopher Richard Kearney explores the human experiences of evil. Part I of the interview considers theodicy and human responsibility for evil by contrasting Gnostic understandings of cosmological evil to St. Augustine’s understanding of evil as the privation of the good. During the course of this conversation, Kearney characterizes the human imagination as a creative capacity that can be turned to both good and evil purposes,... Read More