Do you hate evil?
Much of humanity doesn't. But if you embrace Judeo-Christian values, you must.
A core value of the Bible is hatred of evil. Indeed, it is the only thing the Bible instructs its followers to hate -- so much so that love of God is equated with hatred of evil. "Those who love God -- you must hate evil," the Psalms tell us.
The notion of hating evil was and remains revolutionary.
The vast majority of ancients didn't give thought to evil. Societies were cruel, and their gods were cruel.
Nor did higher religions place hating evil at the center of their worldviews. In Eastern philosophy and religion, the highest goal was the attainment of enlightenment (Nirvana) through effacing the ego, not through combating or hating evil. Evil and unjust suffering were regarded as part of life, and it was best to escape life, not morally transform it.
In much of the Arab and Muslim world, "face," "shame" and "honor" define moral norms, not standards of good and evil. That is the reason for "honor killings" -- the murder of a daughter or sister who has brought "shame" to the family (through alleged sexual sin) -- and the widespread view of these murders as heroic, not evil. That is why Saddam Hussein, no matter how many innocent people he had murdered, tortured and raped, was a hero to much of the Arab world. As much evil as he committed, what most mattered was his strength, and therefore his honor.
As for the West, with notable exceptions, Christians did not tend to regard evil as the greatest sin. Unbelief and sexual sin were greater objects of most Christians' animosity. Over time, however, many Christians came to lead the battle against evil -- from slavery to communism. And today, it is not coincidental that America, the country that most thinks in terms of good and evil, is the country that most affirms Judeo-Christian values.
In the contemporary Western world, most people who identify with the Left -- meaning the majority of people -- hate war, corporations, pollution, Christian fundamentalists, economic inequality, tobacco and conservatives. But they rarely hate the greatest evils of their day, if by evil we are talking about the deliberate infliction of cruelty -- mass murder, rape, torture, genocide and totalitarianism.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”