Religion talks about good and evil and God in a sneaky way.  We only need to look and we only see grey in different shades.  There is no clear way to be good or evil.  The way religion treats this subject suggests we are dealing with an ideology.  If you accept the letter of James which says real religion is about doing good works then Christianity is not truly a religion.

Most people will say when you ask them why they believe in God that it is so that they might get help

1 - to do good - positive

2 - and fight evil - negative.

Both sides go together they say.  "To love good is to not love evil or be indifferent but to oppose and hate it."  The doctrine asks you to bind yourself to God's friends and keep his non-friends away as long as they don't turn to him.  Both of these play on the human instinct to bond and to reject.  God is put into an inclusive welcoming framework but that is just superficial.

For religion we hate, as in fight and bear righteous anger against, evil.

Evil should not exist 100%. 

Feelings are a lot beyond our control.  We always underestimate how much.   People help us to underestimate for it causes them to feel better about their own.  Now we see evil.  What should we do?  If we could manage total disgust we should stir it up.  It means in practical terms that action must be taken to stop the evil as far as possible without creating another evil in the process.  So the idea is that two evils don't make a good.  They only make evil.  Evil in some way always demands a violent response.  Low level violence is still violence.

All of us agree with this, "Evil is that which tells me not to do it even as it invites me".  The other side of that is, "Good is that which tells me to do it."  So what do we need a God for?  If God belief is attached on where it does not belong that is evil itself.  Evil and good are too vital, too significant and too relevant for that kind of treatment.

God belief looks at the suffering of the innocent and just guesses that they are being looked after by God no matter how much it looks like there is no God even thinking about them at all.  It worries more about moral evil.  Few would see real goodness in a faith system that cares more about you robbing a bank than you suffering because your legs and arms fell off.

Anyway, the religious often discuss and suggest the existence of intrinsic evil.  In other words, they are talking about sin and immorality.  Anything that does not give God his central place is seen as evil in that way as God gives rise to all love, all compassion and all justice and so on.  That means there is a lot of it about!  We are swamped with it though we feel far from swamped.

Saying something is intrinsically evil is saying it is unlawful no matter what. Intrinsic means it is always wrong.  St Paul ordered the Church to stand for the view that we must never do evil even if hypothetically a greater good could be extracted from it.  Same idea in different words.

Believers with their faith and prayers and religions claim to offer help to overcome intrinsic moral evil and to get it forgiven by God.  The goal is healing.

The same people who tell you they cannot see exactly how you are evil or how it is effecting you for only God sees the soul need to make their minds up.  To heal evil in me involves first of all judging me accurately and carefully.  That may take time, maybe years.  Nothing is said about that for religion is deceiving us.  The arrogance of people who know they cannot diagnose mental illness claiming to have expertise with the most fundamental disease in humanity!

Interesting problems arise when the faithful try to tell you how they identify evil.  They boast that they are in a position to diagnose.  Without a diagnosis there is no proper treatment.

They are careful to get you to look at the "wrong" evil.

So what do they attack?

They may say it is the action.

They may worry about the scandal, the exposure.

They may centre on the bad example.

They may dwell on the cover-up for evil needs some level of secrecy.

They may say evil is something only God sees which raises the question of why they bother worrying about it.

They may say evil brings destruction to the evildoer. That is one of the best ways to identify evil we are told.

They may say that evil has an uncanny power to attract those who see or detect it.  Evil spreads.  No wonder it is treated like some kind of curse or spell.  M Scott Peck identified in his book, the People of the Lie, how evil seems to get its seeds into passer-bys.  I would add that for something that is supposed to be nothing in the face of God's love, evil sure knows how to act like it is a god itself.  Is God really that innocent of it after all?

They may say that evil is by definition to be destroyed.  But that is circular.  "Evil should be destroyed so that is why evil is that which needs destroying."  That is like, "Cake should be eaten for a cake by definition is that which we have to eat."  It is a lie and a circle.  So now we need a lie!  We thought morality and good were about truth and evil was the lying opponent!

So where is the real evil then?

Nobody tells you.  Religion does not give you workshops to help you learn from your life experience so it can teach you instead of needing to be told.

The problem with evil is what it is, not what it does. It is violence and destruction. From this it follows that evil should be hated regardless of how unsuccessful it is. It should be hated the same whether it manages to have light or terrible symptoms and consequences. Evil is chaos but contained chaos. It is wanton devastation but no matter how big the harm done it is still contained. So while we will be told that evil is violence and destruction, we should be told that it is contained violence and contained destruction. Why is that overlooked? Why is it deliberately passed over?  Why the conscious inaccuracy?  The answer is that all who condemn evil have nothing against evil but just the forms of evil they dislike.

And we are not told why if evil pollutes, God should be immune to it.  If seeing it manages to harm you, he should be in the mire of growing moral depravity.  Or Jesus should, assuming he was God became man.

If God cannot be polluted then evil is not really evil.  It is just horrible like cough mixture but not bad.

The chief and most common argument against dismissing anybody as evil or what they do as evil is that it is halo-shining. By saying somebody is other, as in evil, is saying you are not like them. If you see somebody as doing wrong and you leave notions of evil out of it you are othering and saying they are not like you. But to talk of evil does that in a deeper and stronger and more toxic way.

To that religion will say there is indeed othering but if the person is really doing evil there is nothing necessarily conceited in anybody pointing it out.

But the problem is how do we know a person has evil in them?

So we need to be sure.

But as we have seen the appearance of evil spreads evil so it does not matter.  In other words, if it looks like John steals, then damage will be done to those who observe whether he really steals or not.  We have identified how belief in evil threatens truth and justice.  It causes fear and that causes bias and hate.

Others say the problem is the supernatural trappings of evil not evil as such.  They point out that if x is evil then having the supernatural brought in to add to the problem is itself evil.  If evil is evil it abhorrent it is more than just always wrong.  It must be like some kind of creature or spirit.  If it is or as good as, then it can be compared to a poison, something that is made just to harm.  It is a death-ray if you like.

Others say that evil may not have a supernatural element but acts like it.  So supernatural or not it does not matter.

These teachings as good as say that real evil is some kind of magical occult force.  Religion denies that but the point is how much it is like one.  Religion may argue that evil is just a gap where good should be but is not.  It says God does not create evil for there is nothing as such to make.  But that only strengthens our argument.  Now we have a nothing that is able to behave like a malign intelligence and do things that border on supernatural or magical.

Evil wants to be seen as we learned earlier.  Battling it and pointing to it in fact helps it along in that sense.  It is making it seen.

When people crusade against evil they actually are not targeting evil.  They are changing it into something they are more comfortable with.

Evil for an atheist may mean something that harms creatures.  Evil for a God follower is something like a dark intelligence that infects things, situations and people.  The latter goes too far.  There is no need and it causes harm.  Evil and God are not enemies then.  Faith in God leads to an understanding of evil that should itself be called intrinsic evil.


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