The theology of Manicheanism first appeared around the third century. The basis of the religious teachings revolves around two eternal principles, good and evil. On one side is a good, powerful but not necessarily omnipotent God, an equally situated Devil. In addition to each faction’s two well-known headliners, other figures play supporting roles for their designated cause. There are good and evil gods of varying degrees in Greek mythology. Literary works such as Milton’s Paradise Lost also kept a scorecard of each side’s respective players.
Christianity was among the first religions to recognize the limitations of this binary approach. Very few people can live a life of complete righteousness. And when you exclude mental illness, even fewer poor souls consciously dedicate their existence to malevolence. Human nature is most often a complexity of altruistic motives and demonic behavior.
Notwithstanding, the Old Testament refers to the triumph of good over evil. “I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.” However, modern interpretations of the Bible and other religious manuscripts lean towards promoting an all-loving, all-powerful, and all-inclusive version of God. The majority view is humanity is varying degrees of good without evil. No question from a marketing standpoint, positivity promotes attraction, but this position defies all logic. There is no good in this world without evil.
This illogical stance has allowed evil to co-opt and corrupt the so-called virtues promoted to advance this mistaken philosophy. Take forgiveness, for example. Forgiving someone who made a mistake and has since amended that behavior is truly divine. Similarly, showing mercy for the apprehended doer of evil deeds is genuinely noble. But praying for clemency for the evil who continue to walk among us has only served to lay virtually all of our honorable institutions low. The laity to the Pope prayed for pedophiliac Catholic priests to be forgiven. These perpetrators of perhaps the ultimate evil used this forgiveness as an opportunity to continue unabated for decades.
Similarly, the Blue Wall and the prosecutors to whom police are accountable have systematically failed to prosecute illegal and immoral behavior, thereby constructively forgiving abhorrent conduct. Whether motivated by self-preservation or genuine compassion, this stance has only allowed the evil within law enforcement to proliferate. The result is actions thought to be merciful only make those who act so complicit in the ongoing evil. The resulting plague is now so pervasive that it threatens our institutions to their very core – including the foundation of our modern society democracy.
The majority of the 70 million people who voted for Donald Trump are probably hard-working, decent, honest people trying to do what is right for them and others. President Trump has always stiffed workers and suckered business partners. He’s repeatedly cheated on his wife with prostitutes (whether you pay women before or after sex, by cash, or through a legal settlement, it’s still prostitution). He’s employed questionable accounting on his taxes and used public office to enrich his family. By all accounts, President Trump, by any definition, is a horrible human being.
How is it that these good people who refuse to associate with the likes of Donald Trump vote for him to take the highest office in the country? President Trump will somehow protect what they have and prevent what they fear. Just as evil exploits the faith that all people are inherently good, it also manipulates the opposite belief, fear. Fear is a necessary part of human nature. Trepidation protects us physically and mentally. But fear of perception is an illusion. If you believe a man like President Trump, a person who cannot even protect his interest, is the only one who can protect you. You are delusional. This break with reality is the result of an unreal fear evil has instilled.
So if evil is so smart to have hijacked our virtuous beliefs and manipulated our base DNA, has it won? A pandemic that went wholly unchecked is now unsurprisingly raging unabated. The disclosure of legal injustices occurs daily. Social and racial disparities widen hourly. As the greatest civilization in the world’s history cracks and crumbles, it may not be dark, but it’s getting there.
If you see a wrong, don’t implicitly or expressly condone the misdeed contribute to making it right. Stop living in fear of your insecurities. Doing so is not just irrational but also selfish. “They say things happen for a reason, you don’t do them, they won’t.” Imagine the progress we could make for the collective good if everyone just did what they know to be right. There is no need for forgiveness when there is nothing to forgive. We would recognize whatever we fear losing is mostly inconsequential. We would finally face up to evil.
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