Stealing. Rape. Murder. All of these are acts of evil that can be executed at any given point all over the world. However, none of these examples really help with understanding what evil actually is, which is why evil is perceived and defined differently by each person. Evil can be defined in many different ways. For example, one person might describe it as an immoral act, while someone else might say that it is a feeling of misfortune or unsatisfaction. Nonetheless, as Saint Augustine states in his text, evil is just a mere concept that was developed as a way to describe everything that lacks good. Evil is not a physical object that can be seen or touched, but instead it is a gesture with the absence of good.
Because evil is immoral and looked down upon, it serves as an example of what not to do, and it allows for the compensation of those who act with good behavior (Augustine 253).Like its definition, there are also several diverse perceptions of evil. Mankind’s perception of evil can be influenced by many different factors, such as tv shows and movies, but the greatest influence has to be religion. There are many different religions in the world, like Christianity and Paganism, and each religion teaches their followers different lessons. As a result of this, each person gains their own beliefs, and they act accordingly to those beliefs. In 2001, Nicholas Burns and Levi Grooms performed a study in which they investigated the influence of religion on people’s perception and assessment of evil.
They researched both Christians and people who were affiliated with no religion and their assessments of certain acts of evil. After their research, they concluded that “evil is largely influenced by the religious influences in their personal environment” and that “personal attitudes are largely affected by the perceptions we form of the world around us” (Burns and Grooms). This shows that what is taught within religions has an effect on the way people act and perceive evil.Throughout the years, mankind has attempted to personify evil. It all started when the first act of evil was performed, which was the death of Abel, the son of Adam and Eve. In the Bible, it talks about how Cain murdered his brother, Abel, and this is where evil is first personified almost like a dangerous being (Videos Documentary). This personification serves as a way to understand the dangers that lie within evil. It shows how evil exists similar to a predator who is constantly searching for its prey. Evil is ready to attack at any given moment, and will take over the mind of its victim.Evil can be found anywhere if one only pays close attention to their surroundings. There are many ways to define evil, to personify evil, and there are also many ways to perceive evil. Because of these variations in definitions, personifications, and perceptions, mankind not only learns differently, but it acts distinctly from one another, creating the world that is alive today.
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