Why Does Evil Exist?

God allows evil to occur, because love is bigger than it.

I’m not sure evil actually exists though. Suffering does.

If you crossed paths with a coyote and it showed you its teeth, it would be frightening (photo of it here). It would seem “evil”. And if it attacked you, or you saw it attack another animal, that act would seem evil. But you would know that the coyote isn’t actually “evil”. You would conclude that the coyote is merely in survival mode. That it’s doing the only thing it knows how to do to survive. It would merely seem evil.

If you saw a human being do such things, you would instantly conclude that you were witnessing an act of evil. It wouldn’t matter how hungry the person was, you would consider the act of killing and eating another person to be evil.

When an animal acts in a savage way, it seems evil to us. Then we remind ourselves that it’s “just an animal” trying to survive. But when a human being acts that way, we think the person is evil.

Complicating the issue even more is the fact that humans are capable of killing for pleasure. Sometimes we conclude that the person has a mental illness, so it’s not their fault. But the act still caused the same results. The act itself still seems evil.

So in all this complication, how do we know if evil objectively exists. And how do we identify it? Under what circumstances is savagery objectively evil? Does it only apply to humans? Are animals excluded? They seem to not have a conscience, but we do.

Maybe evil isn’t the point. Maybe evil is just a word. A label. Maybe suffering is the point. Maybe the bigger question is not,”why does God allow evil to exist?”, but “why does God allow suffering to exist?”

Instead of trying to identify evil and fight against it, maybe we should try to identify suffering and try to minimize it. It’s easier to identify, and it’s less likely to lead to retribution or scapegoating. We would be less likely to think of others we don’t like as enemies.

We don’t think of animals that way, even though we know some of them would rip us apart in the most savage way possible. Instead, we empathize with their suffering. Maybe we should empathize with people when they do horrible things, rather than thinking of them as evil people?

That doesn’t mean we should let such acts continue. It just means not thinking of each other as evil. We can recognize an action as a destructive idea without demonizing the person doing it. We should still stop them from doing it, but we can also choose to see them as ourselves. We all do destructive things. Things that hurt others. Some people do so more often or to a higher degree, but this doesn’t excuse our own actions.