“Evil is unintelligible. It is just a thing in itself, like boarding a crowded commuter train wearing only a giant boa constrictor. There is no context which would make it explicable.
“Evil is often supposed to be without rhyme or reason. An English Evangelical bishop wrote in 1991 that clear signs of Satanic possession included inappropriate laughter, inexplicable knowledge, a false smile, Scottish ancestry, relatives who have been coal miners, and the habitual choice of black for dress or car colour. None of this makes sense, but then that is how it is with evil. The less sense it makes, the more evil it is.
“It might … be taken to suggest that, if our actions are rationally explicable, we are not responsible for them. … But to explain why I spend my weekends cheerfully boiling badgers alive is not necessarily to condone what I do.”
Terry Eagleton, Of Men and Monsters, in New Statesman – an interesting article in the whole as well