What Is Evil?

I was in a Sunday morning adult education class about the book of Revelation (I call it the book of Revolting) when someone suggested that this book was a study of good versus evil. I asked the class who gets to decide who or what is good or evil.

Dictionary.com defines evil as “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked.”

Most of the world says that Hitler and the Nazis were evil. But I suspect Hitler, his close friends, the Nazi Party, many Germans, and the French and Polish people who cooperated with him didn’t see him as evil. They were probably happy that Hitler was exterminating all the Jewish people because they also hated the Jews.

Some people still buy into Nazi ideology and want everyone who isn’t Aryan eliminated.

My theology, based on agape, happens to view the current US administration as evil. What it does to immigrants is criminal, unjust, immoral, and reprehensible in my books. That is not how Jesus said we should treat destitute people. Jesus said, “Welcome the stranger.” Good people do not separate children from their parents and then blame those seeking amnesty for wanting not to be murdered, starved to death, forced into gang warfare, or tortured. Trump and his supporters, mainly white fundamentalist Christians, are evil.

What is the difference between good and evil? My faith as a Follower of Jesus, my Christ, is based on agape, or unconditional love. This means that no matter where people are on their life’s journey, they should all be accepted and loved.

I find another element of evil to be very disturbing. People try to personify evil as the devil and then blame him for all their misdeeds. So-called religious people especially like to call this personification Satan. He (I have never seen Satan depicted as female) has horns, a tail, and a pitchfork; likes black; and looks meaner than a junkyard dog. I used to wonder why people do this. Then I realized that saying “Satan made me do it” is a way of letting oneself off the hook. We do the same with God when we say “He has a divine plan for us.”

Both personifications excuse people from taking responsibility for their actions. Freud stated very clearly that religion is designed to keep us in a childlike state and prevent us from growing up and becoming responsible.

One thing I like about evil is that it proves that we humans have free choice. If some imaginary god ran the universe, she would certainly never allow evil to exist.

Look at the present administration, our Gestapo-like border patrol, and the way we treat desperate people (we’re supposed to be a democracy) and tell me that we don’t have free choice and evil doesn’t prevail. If you still don’t get it, I have a bridge to sell you.

I constantly pray that agape will win! How about you?

Image is in the public domain courtesy of Segunda Guerra Mundial

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