Religion talks about evil but does not really explain what it is supposed to mean.  You hear that it is unfair, stupid, prideful, depressing, shocking, but these describe what an evil results in.  What about the evil that gives rise to these things in the first place?  Anything that cannot tell you properly what the enemy is, is not equipping you to deal with it.

To argue about evil being a force or just a corruption of good in the way that careless English is a lack of English and not really a thing is a diversion. The main characteristic of evil is that it is unexplainable. It has no explanatory power. As an evil has several sides and its complexities, it is a collection of things that defy explaining. This sounds like the supernatural, the mysterious, the magical. It is going to appeal to mystical types.  And those few mystics who want to paradoxically find meaning in the absurd will be drawn ineluctably to it. If it is not supernatural it is very like it.

Why is belief in evil so enticing? Why is strong belief in it even more enticing? Everybody finds life humdrum and uninspiring at times.  It is then they start doing harm for they see some magical excitement.  The religious condemnation of evil is in fact making it magnetic. A religion should never seek to be called good for battling evil.

The argument that evil cannot make or create but has to get at good and subvert it is saying that we don’t really know what good is. If there is no clear evil and if evil hides in the wings of good then what seems good might not be.  Now not only does one seek meaning and transcendence and bliss and magic through evil, one feels clever and thinks nobody sees the monster hiding in the soft downy feathers.  Evil likes to be seen for it thinks it is attractive.  As it is horrible it cannot let anybody see too much.  They just need to see enough to be tainted.

Peck seems to think that seeing evil always darkens your heart.  Interesting idea.  The seed is planted.

Religion has no answer for the polarity doctrine as taught by some philosophies and religions. It is like a metaphysical double-entry bookkeeping system where for every debit there must be a corresponding credit.  The teaching is that good is always balanced by evil and vice versa. You cannot have one without the other. To help one is to harm another. To hurt one is benefit another. Perhaps while you save the life of the dangerous person you cause the death of your own beloved mother. And if you don’t cause her death your intention is, “If it happens then it happens.” So you are still bad. To save a life is to kill and to kill is to save a life. 

The reason examples and warnings about how the evil person is playing with something that will destroy them fall on deaf ears is that people think they cannot win.  Human nature has absorbed this polarity doctrine.  The more the Church says Good is the real power and will overcome the less convinced human nature is.

Should we talk about evil as being down to normal people who think they mean well and who are doing harmful terrible things because they are in the grip of crazy and untrue notions and beliefs?  This does not admit how evil is seen as something more horrible and more mysterious than mere harmful errors.  You see it as people.

I would insist that evil too easily, even when people deny it, comes across as some great power that you cannot mess with and which will be bigger than any individual, does not need much help to happen.  Or grow.  This perception that you will have will arise quicker and be harder to eject if you already have mystical magical beliefs such as God.  Other beliefs could be witchcraft, miracles, apparitions of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus and so on.


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