When the average person thinks "evil," he thinks of a cruelly-featured, sneering, bestial man wickedly twirling his mustache as he draws perverse delight from inflicting misery on his fellow human beings.
People who fit the almost cartoonish definition we've grown accustomed to viewing as evil, certainly do exist -- and we hear about those dictators, serial killers, hit men, & psychopaths on the nightly news.
But, it's a mistake to believe that those are the only people who do evil or that only activities that rise to the level of murder, rape, or armed robbery are sins. The worst of the worst may deserve especially strong condemnation, but small cruelties committed by unthinking people -- who view themselves as good and just, despite their sometimes malicious actions -- have done more than most people realize to spread evil, degrade civilization, and drag our culture into the sewers.
That's the everyday reality we live with, especially in prosperous, civilized nations like America. For the average person, on a typical day, the evil that comes into his life isn't from some modern day Snidely Whiplash; it's from other ordinary people: his co-workers and random folks he passes on the street during his everyday life.
Yes, "good people" can and often do perform evil acts that should be incompatible with their view of themselves as decent human beings. Unfortunately, it's our nature to lapse into malevolent behavior sometimes and if we're not paying attention, we can sometimes engage in it for quite a while without even truly realizing how far we've drifted from our values.
1) Anonymously emailing death threats.
2) Suing someone who did nothing wrong in order to try to collect a big payday.
3) Passing on information that you know is a lie about a political opponent.
4) Posting someone's phone number or address online in an effort to intimidate him or worse yet, in hopes that someone will try to hurt him.
5) Putting an earmark in a bill in order to enrich your friends, family, or yourself.
6) A witty comedian telling a brilliant joke about how dumb people are to do the right thing.
7) Breaking into a house and encouraging people to engage in squatting.
8) Lying to a woman to get her to sleep with you.
9) Being an online troll.
10) Trying to convince people to do something that's immoral, unethical, or just plain old wrong so that you'll feel better about doing it yourself.
11) Spreading a conspiracy theory you don't believe in to draw in traffic for your website.
13) Watching someone drop money on the ground and keeping it instead of giving it back to him.
14) A pastor who waters down his Christian beliefs because they conflict with political correctness.
15) Hacking into someone else's computer.
16) Choosing not to help pay for your own children's livelihood.
17) Spreading malicious rumors about friends and co-workers.
18) Aborting your child because it's inconvenient.
19) Deliberately undermining someone else's marriage.
20) Trying to rig an election, win a seat in the courts that you lost at the ballot box, or trying to insure phony votes are counted.
21) An atheist trying to ruin other people's faith in God to make himself feel better about his own unbelief.
22) Writing a virus that infects someone's computer.
23) Living off the charity of others or the government dole AND feeling no shame over it.
24) Mocking someone whose politics you disagree with right after he dies.
25) Knowingly accusing an innocent person of racism.