What Would Make a Good Person Do Evil Things?

Laura Mohsene
4 min readJul 28, 2019

Understanding the origins of evil

Evil by EvilxElf at Deviant Art

I posed this question on Quora and received a variety of answers.

The answers fell into two camps.

We all contain both good and evil. One respondent answered:

“The most kind man/woman can be driven to do evil things. The evilness is, in its pure origin, a human character deficiency.”

The people in this camp explain that there are times when even a good person may do something evil. They believe that we all have the capacity for both good and evil and I agree with this.

The other camp argues “Only evil people do evil things.”

They believe that anyone who commits an evil act is evil. They would divide humans into good and evil. From their viewpoint, a good person would never do anything evil.

This begs the question: What is evil?

In an article titled “What Do We Mean By ‘Evil’?” Rollo Romig argues for two kinds of evil: the evil acts of humans and “collective evil” such as the Holocaust which cannot be blamed on a single person because so many were involved.

Some see evil as a force in the universe which makes people do vile things. They would argue that there are people who are morally bankrupt and that they have turned themselves over to the forces of evil.

Others may attribute the evil in this world to Satan and his minions; still others may claim that evil exists in the hearts of the unredeemed.

The Problem of Evil

Both homegrown and foreign terrorism in the United States presents the problem of evil in the modern world. Some see natural disasters as a result of the forces of evil.

We assign the label of evil to those we oppose and to those whose depraved actions we cannot understand and which we condemn.

The high rate of murder and other evil crimes in the US also confuses the question of evil. So often we have heard the family and neighbors who knew the perpetrator of some horrific crime say: