But Deliver Us

In his feature story this month, “Defacing the Devil,” Ralph Wood writes, “In Eastern and Western traditions alike, evil has been understood to have no proper existence of its own. It is privatio boni, the absence, the twisting, the perversion of the Good. Yet precisely because it is Nothing—i.e., a no-thing—it can assume innumerable forms.”

Attentive readers may recall the opening paragraphs of Adam Mac-Leod’s “The Unreal Vortex”(Touchstone, March/April 2023), where Mr. MacLeod analogizes the non-negotiable destructiveness of Critical Race Theory with a tornado, which “at its center—at the core of what it is  . . . is the absence of being.” The roaring black funnel and the destruction in its path are not the tornado, but only the effects of such voids.

I have never seen a tornado, but as a kid, nothing struck more fear in my heart than a tornado warning, which I thought meant certain death (if not a wicked witch). My childhood horror soon dissipated, though, and by my twenties I couldn’t imagine anything cooler than to see one of those black twisting funnels live and up close. In my paralytic twenties I had grown used to a lot of things that should have scared the hell out of me.

J. Douglas Johnson is Executive Editor of Touchstone.

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more on Philosophy from the online archives

21.6—July/August 2008

The European Disunion

Benedict XVI on the Crisis of Faith & Reason by Samuel Gregg

29.5—Sept/Oct 2016

The True Atheist Myth

on Past & Present Atheism & the Invention of Happiness by Jordan Bissell

32.3—May/June 2019

Theodicies & Messy Desks

on the Infinite Problem of Goods & Evil by Hugh Hunter

more from the online archives

19.6—July/August 2006

Our Faith Observed

The Three-Fold Cord of Imagination, Reason & Will in C. S. Lewis by Michael Ward

14.2—March 2001

The God of Princes

on the Political Use of Religion by Wilfred M. McClay

31.4—July/August 2018

The Names of the Christian

Labels & the Ecumenism of Discipleship by James M. Kushiner

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