Good News, Everyone! Evil No Longer Exists!

… At least according to a small group of neurologists looking at malformations of the brain.

Yesterday Tony Jones posted an article that was written by Ron Rosenbaum for Slate magazine on just this topic. I’m not going to summarize the full article, but you can find here. And is certainly worth the read.

Here is a quote really stuck out to me as I was reading.

Of course, people still commit innumerable bad actions, but the idea that people make conscious decisions to hurt or harm is no longer sustainable, say the new brain scientists. For one thing, there is no such thing as “free will” with which to decide to commit evil. (Like evil, free will is an antiquated concept for most.) Autonomous, conscious decision-making itself may well be an illusion. And thus intentional evil is impossible.

If the information in this article becomes widely accepted, it would be really interesting to see how people in the church would react. If eliminating evil is some sort of goal of the eschaton, does a change in semantics do anything to aid in that goal?

What do you think? Can evil be explained away through brain science? What does this do to the cosmic battle that so many preachers bring up time and time again? I’m excited to see how this furthers our understanding and conversation.



  1. Good article, thank you for bringing it up.

    I think that the article started to get the right idea near the end when talking about evil existing not only in the brain but also in bad ideas. This raises the question for me as to what the loci of evil are and not hyper focusing on the individual as being that place. Maybe ideas and concepts have the capacity for evil. Maybe human being as a collective can do evil. In fact, I would say that the Bible has more a communal focus on evil, not individual. I think that neurology focusing on the individual could be a problem and lead to exaggerated claims, just like its 19th century parent phrenology.

Please keep your comments positive. I reserve the right to delete rude or insulting comments. If your comment is critical, please make sure it is also constructive. Thank you.

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