good and evil

If there is a loving God, why does evil exist? This is a question that troubles everyone with faith. Quakers believe that there is potential for good and for evil within each of us. There exists no Devil to tempt us or attack us, no Hell to punish us.

We Quakers are often accused of a rosy view of the world and of people that denies the existence of evil. That is entirely to misunderstand what we mean when we speak of ‘that of God in every person’. it does not mean that every person is good, that no person is capable of evil, but rather that every person has the seeds of goodness, and of God, within her or him. It means that every person has within the potential to reach some perception of God. …. To put it in conventional religious language, even the most sinful person is capable of redemption.

Likewise, we all have within us the potential for wrongdoing. …. The absolute ethic that my religious perception leads me to is simple: loving my fellow beings is right; hurting them is wrong. Any action hurting or diminishing another is an evil one, bearing within it the seeds of greater evils. Thus can contempt of one’s neighbour escalate and accumulate force until it results in war.

Quaker Quest, “Twelve Quakers and Evil”, Quaker Quest Pamphlet 4 (London, UK, 2006), pp. 16-17.

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.

Psalms 23:4

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