Lecture #1: Understanding Evil

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 #1: Understanding Evil 
Lecture #1 PowerPoint Presentation 

Modern society has brought us many benefits; however, it has also unleashed new death-dealing forces on a previously unimaginable scale. Dr. Seljak asks why is it that frequently the greatest evil emerges from our dreams of building a good society? Like democracy and material prosperity, total war, genocide, ecological destruction, manufactured famines, and global imperialism are all products of modernity. Using the work of Holocaust philosopher Stephen T. Katz as well as sociological studies of ideology, we will discuss the role of ideology and the unique features of modern society - including bureaucracy, technology and scientific reason - in these new forms of evil.


David Seljak

Friday, January 16, 2009 - 7:30pm
Siegfried Hall(1036)