Father Patrick Woods, St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, Bethpage:. I wouldn't say that evil is a purpose as much as a consequence of God giving us free will. He never wills evil, but he loves us and trusts us enough to make a decision about evil. Sometimes, we bring evil into the world by our actions.. The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting in Connecticut was evil. The shooter brought evil into the world by his acts. God didn't choose to kill 26 people. What God allowed is the free will. Rarely does he intervene in someone's free will.. Look at it from the standpoint of a parent and a child. You love your children and want them to love you. But you want them to do it of their own free will. If you demand love, that is force and fear. It is a philosophical concept that human beings can make choices, and those can be for good or evil. The freedom to choose is a great respect that God shows.. A good choice is a loving choice. We're inclined to do that. We're also inclined to be selfish and take care of ourselves. A bigger problem for me is why there is suffering in the world. I make a distinction in my own thinking between evil and suffering. Some of the terrible things in the world are beyond understanding; no one is responsible.. "Why did God let that man shoot my children?" is the question a parent might ask. Because God allowed him free will, and he chose evil.. "Why is my baby born with a heart defect?" That is a more difficult question to answer. It is not anybody's fault. No one has a great answer to that question. As a believer in Jesus, I'd say that Jesus himself entered into suffering. He let people crucify him.. Laura Tria, New Light Sanctuary, an interfaith organization, Sayville:. The world requires balance. God, the universe, created contrast. You cannot see one without the other. You cannot be on a constant high, without the low. If you picture a heart monitor, it has ups and downs. If it were a flat-line, it would mean death. To be alive, there has to be contrast in life.. Of course, when we think of evil, it isn't just the down side of life. We think of the bad things that people choose to do. But, we have free will and don't have to choose evil. We don't have to take it to the dark side. For us to be able to make choices to do good, we have to be able to see the contrast, the bad, the evil. So, the evil is in us, and we have the option of making a choice not to listen to it. How you deal with and give in to evil can be a snapshot of how you're doing as you travel along your spiritual path" />
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Asking the Clergy: What is evil's purpose?

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