Is it ok to call people evil?

So I taught my children to say of people like Hitler that they did bad things. I wanted to keep clear in their minds to judge the sin and not the sinner.

OTOH, I missed a chance to explain the results of sin within the sinner himself, so now I am wondering if it’s ok to call people bad or evil, not that I would toss the term around lightly, but among adults?


The bible refers to some people as wicked. I have called people evil. Well some people honestly are.

I don’t think so. We can say that what they do is evil.
We should leave such judging to God.

Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3, NAB)

I used a Holy See-approved Bible for this quotation.

I don’t think that we should call them evil per se, but what they did was sinful or evil. Stalin did evil things and sinned, but I shouldn’t really say that “Stalin was evil.” Only God can judge, “Stalin was evil,” or, “Stalin was good.” We should not judge, lest we be judged (Matthew 7:1-5).

So only God can make judgment as in “this one is in Hell”:

Clearly, in this context, Jesus was speaking of judgment as condemnation or eternal damnation. Such judgment is reserved to Him alone.

This is a great Catholic Answers resource on judging, and it certainly does deal with this (that is where I got the last quote from):

I cannot and would not judge a person to be evil. Their actions, however, can and should be called evil if necessary.
Using the Hitler example, was he evil? Maybe, that is for God to judge.
Did he commit evil acts? Absolutely!

Thanks everyone! I feel happier about that decision now and will not change my ways, even among adults :wink:

I agree. I know that there are evil people but I am glad I don’t have to make that decision. God knows so much more than I do. I will let Him handle that.

If someone rapes, murders, tortures, and does all of this without ever feeling remorse then it’s safe to call him evil.

Only God knows who is saved and who is dammed, but is if a convicted murderer’s last words are “Hail Satan!” before the electric chair is activated then it’s a safe bet that he isn’t among the former.

I have been known to say to someone THAT IS EVIL… rarely but it has a huge effect here. very rarely thankfully…

Be careful about making sweeping statements. If that person is mentally incapable of knowing right from wrong or is being coerced how could they be called evil, even doing the things you mentioned?

Our actions help define who we are as individuals.

If one feeds the poor, takes cares of strangers, and refrains from mockery and detraction, then he is a good person, as good people perform good actions.


By the same note, ladies and gentleman… if one harasses the poor, turns away strangers, and persists in mockery and detraction, he is an evil person as evil people perform evil actions.

I rest my case.

If Satan can be just plain evil, so can a man. It is one thing to not be a judgy judge…it is another to say Hitler was a nice guy who made a few mistakes…:shrug:

A person can do good deeds and not be a “good person” in God’s eyes; they may have very selfish, prideful motivations.

Likewise, a person can do bad deeds and not be held to full account in God’s eyes - they could be emotionally more damaged than anyone could ever imagine, they could be mentally ill, etc.

Like saying someone is “pretty”, saying a person is a “good person” is a complement. Just like calling someone evil, we can’t really make that judgement because we don’t know their hearts, but there is no harm done if we turn out to be wrong.

But calling someone evil is different; it implies that they don’t belong in Heaven in their current state. That may be true, but we can never be the judge of that. It’s a loaded accusation and in my opinion should be avoided.

No one is saying that about Hitler (barring some Neo Nazis somewhere no doubt) - by the same token you don’t know what motivated him and you don’t know that he didn’t have perfect contrition at the moment of his death.

It’s far safer to just abhor the actions and leave the judging of the person to God.

I also wont say that beyond our comprehension some demon all the way to Satan could find forgiveness. But I also am fine with calling them evil :shrug:

I think the truth is that the over the top push to have no one be “evil” is in some cases a reflection of people’s own guilt :confused:

From what I understand if a person is mentally ill, or “sick” he is not responsible for his actions. By that reasoning, many people could believe that Hitler was mentally ill and therefore most likely in heaven because he was not responsible for his actions.

I don’t personally agree and I am very careful not to say someone was mentally ill. The person who comes to mind for me is Adam Lanza, the man who shot all the kids at Sandy Hook. The feeling among my friends is that he was ill and not evil. Me, I think he was evil and not sick.

food for thought.

We are imprecise in our common talk because precision takes a lot of words and time. I try not to call people evil but refer to their acts as evil. But I don’t always succeed and sometimes do call people evil.

Satan is a spiritual being. Based on what I think is a common understanding spiritual beings work differently from man. They make decisions in a way that is more permanent. Satan’s decision to be against God is eternal whereas man can always repent even in the last moments of life. So I don’t think that because we could say of Satan that he is evil that this offers justification to say the same of some men.

Exactly. We are called to discern good vs evil. To survive in this world we must judge good vs evil. What mother would leave an innocent child in the hands of just anyone? We HAVE to judge. We are called to righteously judge.

Revelation 2:2
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them that are evil, and thou hast tried them, who say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars

Romans 16:17-20
17 Now I beseech you, brethren,** to mark them who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.**
18 For they that are such, serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent.
19 For your obedience is published in every place. I rejoice therefore in you. But I would have you to be wise in good, and simple in evil.
20 And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

2 Timothy 2:2-5
2 Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
3 Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
4 Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God:
5 Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

While I hokd the general belief that Satan will probably stay as is…

I never limit God :confused:

And as some ask why let satan be… if God loves His creations He loves Satan as He loves Hitler.

The fact that Satan is allowed does lend to the small teeny tiny chance that God may have soemthing we know not.

If I were God I might not care to give such an impression though… as if there is even a smallest chance for Satan… then could you imagine the abuse of the theory of grace that humans would apply that too? Look at it as is :shrug: many think Jesus is a magic word allowing murder to be preforgiven and such… imagine if they thought even Satan had a chance… heck not only abortion, but straight up killing your 10 yr old for getting a bad grade would be legal :frowning:

Angels / Demons are spiritual beings. We know angels cannot sin and demons cannot do good. Humans are different. No-one is all-good or all-bad; no living human is beyond redemption. I personally prefer to accept that I don’t know what is going on in a person’s head when they DO something evil.

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