Confronting Evil Today Mini-Course
The 2008-2009 SJU Mini-Course
In Partnership with KAIROS - Grand River
Mainstream culture still thinks of evil in fairly traditional terms, that is, the actions of individuals who cannot resist the temptation of the rewards of their evil acts. In this series of lectures, we examine religious thinkers - including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gustavo Gutierrez - who look at evil in its social context. These thinkers from the world's religions go back to the roots of their traditions to find wisdom, values, practices and forms of community to fight evil in the modern world. The objective of this mini-course is to inspire a discussion of what evil means in a world that both benefits and suffers from dramatic changes brought about by modern society, technology, and ideology.
Lecture #2: Studies in Evil
Mohandas Gandhi understood imperialism as an evil rooted in ignorance and grounded in ideology. In his Satyagraha campaign he fashioned a uniquely modern response to evil by appealing to India's rich religious heritage. His disciples Martin Luther King Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh adopted his vision and elements of his strategies in their campaigns for peace and justice. From these "case studies" in confronting evil, we will examine themes that can help us to understand and oppose evil in the twenty-first century. One of the most important lessons, Dr. Seljak argues, is that when we confront the evil "out there" (the evil done by one's enemies) without confronting the evil "in here" (the evil done by one's own community), we risk doing terrible evil ourselves.