Cursed, Possessed, or Haunted: Can Inanimate Objects Be Evil?

Forest night dark

Can an inanimate object be evil? A person can be evil. They can behave in ways most of us would label as evil. But what about an inanimate object that has never and will never live? Can that be evil too?

When I was a believing Christian, I would have said "yes." I don't remember anybody telling me that some inanimate objects were evil. I do recall plenty of people acting as if some were. Heavy metal records and Ouija boards were two popular examples. Many Christians seemed to fear these and other objects. Messing with them could lead to demonic possession or worse.

Suppose there was a large rock in the woods. What if we learned that this was the site of a horrific murder? Could the rock have absorbed some evil? What if we had reason to believe that an evil person had cursed the rock? Might it make sense to fear the rock and want to keep our distance from it?

I remember standing in a record store with an album in my hands having doubts about whether I should buy it. Was it Satanic like they said? What if it was and I listened to it anyway? What would happen to me?

Looking back on it, the difference seems to be whether one thinks of evil as a noun or an adjective. I knew Christians who viewed it as a noun, as something that existed. They spoke in whispers of Satan as if it was a literal presence that might hear them. This affected me too. I figured they must know more about it than I did. I feared things that couldn't hurt me.

Believing in a literal evil seemed to open the door to the possibility of that evil getting into things. An item that belonged to a notorious serial killer could be evil. It was almost as if some of the killer's essence could have rubbed off on it. Lots of horror movies have had fun with this, but it seems strange to me today that anyone would believe it. It seems even stranger to think that I once believed it.

Today, I view evil as an adjective and not some sort of mystical force that can inhabit things. Evil describes a characteristic of human behavior. It is something people do. When they do it enough, we abbreviate by describing them as evil people. I don't see evil as a thing that can attach to inanimate objects.

Image by Miki from Pixabay