A religious conception of evil

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The term ‘evil’ was viewed with suspicion in philosophy and generally avoided for most of the twentieth century. In the early twenty-first century, it has been undergoing something of a revival. The philosophers who have contributed to this revival tend to downplay or ignore the religious connotations of the term ‘evil’. Here I argue for the importance of identifying a religious conception of evil and for the importance of distinguishing this from the secular conception of evil. I also provide a definition of religious evil action. In providing a definition of religious evil action, I draw on recent work in the cognitive science of religion which identifies key aspects of natural human religion that are universal. I also consider the relationship between the universal religious conception of evil I seek to locate and particular theological accounts of evil.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoral evil in practical ethics
EditorsShlomit Harrosh, Roger Crisp
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780429455926
ISBN (Print)9781138316041
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory


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