Main content | Sidebar | Links

Monday, November 26, 2007

This week at What is evil?

Patrick O'Neill offers a Unitarian Universalist view of evil that emphasizes human possibility even in the face of grievous abuses. From the archives: William F. Schulz, at the time executive director of Amnesty International USA, looks at the evil of terrorism. "Terrorists commit vicious human rights crimes," he wrote in 2004. "But they also thrive on the crimes of others."

In the news, Don Skinner reports on Unitarian Universalist congregations that have welcomed transgender people.

Technical difficulties interfered with the publication of last week's edition of Unitarian Universalists in the media. Now that the holiday weekend is over, I hope we'll be able to get the news blog fixed soon. Update! The news blog is back!

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 26 November 2007 at 8:45 AM

Previous: 'American Transcendentalism' watch: Globe review.
Next: This week at Psalm for exiles.





November 29, 2007 08:20 PM | Permalink for this comment

I think it's overstating it to call this a view of evil. It doesn't "emphasize human possibility even in the face of grievous abuses" so much as it posits it in the form of a speculative poem about humans having worth even though sometimes they do evil things, but if offers no account of how, why, or even that this is so. (I'm not sure it is, but if this is the best our UU theology can do, we're in trouble.)

Something else that I find problematic (and not uncommon among UUs) is the juxtaposition that O'Neill offers between a fundamentalist view of evil and a UU one. The choice is not between a UU view of evil (whatever that may be) and a Manichean one. The interesting question, to my mind, is what UU theodicy can offer that is not offered by liberal Christian theology.

What can we offer that is not offered by a Walter Wink, for example? Why is a doctrine of fallenness an inadequate way to account both for evil and for goodness? That's a dialogue I'd like to see. Any takers?

Comments for this entry are currently closed.