What is evil? August 8, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
For today’s blogs I’d like to comment on a few comments by Novato.
Why do you ignore the fact that Jesus himself and his message were divisive? You write as though this eternal struggle between good and evil; right and wrong is something new. Come on, get a grip.
I disagree that Jesus was divisive. This is a great inconsistency of the gospels and I choose to put my faith in the belief that he was not. If you read the teachings of Jesus you would get the idea that he came to bring peace not to divide. In fact, if he did come to be divisive, he would be a hypocrite and our beliefs would be a disappointing inconsistency. The question one has to ask themselves is whether this is reality or if the gospel authors bias reporting of the facts? I choose to believe that Jesus was consistent in his teachings vs. putting my faith in the 100% accuracy of the gospels.
Also, the “struggle between good and evil” is at the core of the point I’m trying to make. However, what is evil? I define evil as acts against humanity NOT as the inability to follow religious laws and traditions. Jesus defied religious laws and traditions but he did stand against evil and stood for living a life of compassion and mercy.
Intolerance of evil is a virtue, not a vice.
I 100% agree. We should all be intolerant of evil (and, yes, NAMBLA should be considered an evil act since it’s not about religious traditions or laws but an act against children). This evil is also universally defined by most major religions.
Why are you worried about appearing to be intolerant or divisive? I am glad that Christians preached to me in a clear and direct way that Jesus could set me free from drug / alcohol addiction, fornication, perversion, and a life style that was leading me toward death. I was blind to much of it, but their “intolerance” saved my life. Sure, many Christian make blunders in their presentation of the gospel and may even be intolerant or judgmental. But, I think it would be a greater wrong to keep our mouths shut while we wait until we’re perfect.
The reality is, your encounter with Jesus is no different that an encounter that a hardened criminal in the inner city has with Islam. They both radically change your lives instantaneously. What brings about change is an internal radical decision to leave one way of life and embrace another.
From my perspective, it’s the teachings of Christ that are important. Choosing to live a life defined by his core teachings brings about great internal peace. At the core of his teachings is love, mercy, compassion, peace, kindness, forgiveness, and tolerance. He could have condemned the woman caught in the act of adultery, as the law of Moses defined, but he did not. He was compassionate towards her and I’m sure her life was radically changed. This is the message of grace and peace that we should preach.
So, please don’t misunderstand me, there is evil in this world and we should be very intolerant of that evil. However, let’s get to the point that we truly define what evil is. For example, a relationship between two consenting adults of the same sex is not evil. It is different. Some may see it as ‘gross’ or strange, but evil, it is not.
In response to Are we inherently evil? , Novato said
I see your point but disagree. Man and the world, apart from God’s influence would slip into depravity. Look at our own society. We experience a momentary surge of goodness reflected in spiritual revival, but at the same time our cultural is steadily, and more decisively, being dragged toward a moral sewer. As we give God a lesser place in our lives / culture, the more evil we become. Take God, and his influence on our lives, completely out of the picture and we would slip into complete and total decadence. I would say that the goodness in our lives comes from without; the evil from within. Of course, our ability to respond to and embrace goodness (God) is built into us, and so seems to come from within, but even that is from Him.
I continue to contend that man is basically good. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve met so many non-Christians that are really good people. In fact, in the church ,I had encountered many individuals who were abusive, manipulative, controlling, and downright mean. I began to question my fundamental Christian belief which states that only through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ we can be good. I came to the conclusion that our creator placed that goodness in us. Religion brings the condemnation on us and convinces us that we are evil in order to create demand for what they are supplying. Religion also expands the definition of evil to go beyond acts against humanity to simple things like, in the case of my upbringing, dancing, smoking a cigarette or having a glass of wine. It even gets more ridiculous than that in some circles where a woman cutting their hair or wearing makeup is considered evil.
Yes, there are some who act against their conscience and over time will become truly evil but there are also many who do not.