Yes, this is a rereading of a book for school, but like most books, I got more out of it on a second reading. I love this short novel of a young man’s journey through the world of sin, evil, and darkness to test preconceived theological and philosophical notions that this world is the “best of all possible worlds.”
Candide is Voltaire’s indictment on an active, benevolent God, but he ignores the important fact that without an absolute standard of what is good, how can we call anything evil? Why are all the wars, rapes, thieving, murder, and vengeance Candide experiences considered evil if there is no measuring stick to define it against an absolute good? In the words of C. S. Lewis, how can we call a line crooked without any notion of a straight line? Contrary to Voltaire’s findings, the evil and wickedness in Candide’s world point to absolutes of goodness, fairness, and honesty. If there is no God in this world, how does the atheist explain the evil? To what standard can he call rape and murder wrong if there is no ultimate goodness?