THE PROPHETS knew how many ways human life can go wrong because they knew how many ways human life can go right.

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It's Supposed to Be

GOODNESS IS, so to speak, itself; badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

HYPOCRISY is an homage that vice pays to virtue.

Francois La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

GUILT MATTERS. Guilt must always matter. Unless guilt matters the whole world is meaningless.

Archibald MacLeish, J.B.

EVIL is one of the ways we learn that we ourselves are a mystery; for we are not in full control of ourselves and cannot find any method of gaining control.

Diogenes Allen, Temptation

SIN IS … the unwillingness of man to acknowledge his creatureliness and dependence upon God and his effort to make his own life independent and secure.

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man

THE DEVIL requires from his followers neither fear nor love. Loyalty is all he demands.

Ruth Nanda Anshen, Anatomy of Evil

THE TOTALITY of our depravity consists in the blindness: We do not even see that our virtues are as sinful as our vices.

Gerhard Forde, "Christian Life," in Christian Dogmatics, edited by Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson

EVIL PEOPLE are those who attack others for their own failings.

Scott Peck, People of the Lie

WE DO EVIL in the name of some overriding good—usually, paradoxically, the conquest of evil.

Nel Noddings, Women and Evil

THE BEGINNING of a cure must be the recognition of the real disease.

Halford E. Luccock, Communicating the Gospel

EVIL IS NOT effectively resisted with hatred and with guns. The only response to evil that has ever worked is the response of Jesus … and that is to lead a life of love. That means what it has always meant: visiting the sick, giving to the poor, helping those who need help.

Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History

WHEN HE JUSTIFIES us, God does not interpret evil as good… . Nor does he call evil good when he forgives us; for he cannot lie. But in virtue of his omnipotent compassion … he makes that which is intrinsically evil good, that which is sick whole, that which is feeble glorious, that which is dead alive.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Vol. II/2

Related Elsewhere:

Past Reflections columns include:

Teaching and Learning (Sept. 15, 2004)
Wisdom for the Road (Aug. 02, 2004)
Discipleship (July 13, 2004
Article continues below
Conversion (June 09, 2004)
The Outpoured Spirit (May 03, 2004)
He Is Risen (April 08, 2004)
Jesus' Cross (March 15, 2004)
Lenten Inventory (Feb. 25, 2004)
Following the Star (Dec. 23, 2003)
Advent (Dec. 10, 2003)
Wisdom for Ministry (Nov. 10, 2003)
Discerning God's Will (Oct. 6, 2003)
Work and Vocation (Sept. 17, 2003)
Bumper Sticker Theology (July 30, 2003)
Songs from the Soul (July 8, 2003)
Walk Humbly (May 28, 2003)
Mercy (May 8, 2004)
Cross and Resurrection (April 16, 2003)
Justice (March 18, 2003)
Sex, Love, and Marriage (Feb. 14, 2003)
Mountaintop Spirituality (January 23, 2003)
Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)

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