We are still surprised by evil. From Auschwitz to the events of September 11, we have been shocked into recognizing the startling capacity for evil within the human heart. We now know 9/11 revealed that our country was unprepared in terms of national security, but it also showed we were intellectually and morally unprepared to deal with such a barbaric act. Our language to describe evil and our ethical will to resist it have grown uncertain and confused. Many who speak unabashedly of evil are dismissed as simplistic, old-fashioned, and out of tune with the realities of modern life. Yet we must have some kind of language to help us understand the pain and suffering at the heart of human experience.
Author and speaker Os Guinness confronts our inability to understand evil -- let alone respond to it effectively -- by providing both a lexicon and a strategy for finding a way forward. Since 9/11, much public discussion has centered on the destructiveness of extrem-ist religion. Guinness provocatively argues that this is far from an accurate picture and too easy an explanation. In this expansive exploration of both the causes of modern evil and solutions for the future, he faces our tragic recent past and our disturbing present with courageous honesty. In order to live an examined life, Guinness writes, we must come to terms with our beliefs regarding evil and ultimately join the fight against it.
Guinness frames his study by exploring several questions:
Where does evil come from? What are the questions raised by evil that we cannot ignore? Has the modern world made evil worse? How do the different ways of explaining evil affect how we respond to it? What must wedo to fight evil effectively? What does the existence of evil tell us about our ultimate beliefs?
Addressing individuals as well as a traumatized culture, Unspeakable is an invitation to explore the challenge of contemporary evil, a call to confront our culture of fear, and a journey to find words to come to terms with the unspeakable so that it will no longer leave us mute.