Understanding Evil

May 2007

For as long as man has walked the Earth so has evil. In every religion, spanning the seven continents, they preach to us that the honorable good and the cowardly evil are eternally in a fight for human souls, here I am left to ponder the very battle itself, the animosity of the two forces and the point at which their identities are lost and they become two parts of the same whole.

Perhaps to understand these things one should look closer at the participants in this celestial war. On one side we have the forces of good. Here we can find the saints, the gods of creation, angels, the humble servants of rightouesness, the givers of justice, and the bearers of the burden of humanity’s sin, along with the innocent and don’t forget the good-looking.

Amongst this mass of good are the morals of integrity, kindness, love, peace, beauty, forgiveness, sacrafice, commitment, justice, and all the things associated with the path of the good-hearted.

On the other side we see the not so good-looking, those who murder, rape, steal, scam, molest, kidnap, lie, curse, plagarize, hate, and who in general enjoy the destruction of civilized society.

In this group exist the servants of evil, the demons, the criminals, the satan worshipers, satan itself, the gods of destruction, the tyrannical maniacs, the dictators of a lost people, the realm of endless suffering with its plagues, diseases, deformities, and death. Here lives the things that haunt you in your darkest nightmares.

The partakers of this battle are recognized, now we must understand the battle itself. Of course we know the bigger picture; we know that each wants to rule the world, to spread their ways across the vastness of mankind. But what we don’t see so clearly is that this battle is over us. It is about who will have rule over us, who will control us, who will summon us in death to their homeland. What will we become?

The rules of this battle are only existant on one side because only one side follows rules. The other does as it pleases. The greater good knows that it’s immoral to subject evil to unlawfulness. This path is difficult, but that’s why it is good. Evil on the other hand knows no bounds. If they catch you they will either kill you, corupt you, or hold you in the terror of darkness. The only way to keep score, to know which side is winning and which is losing, is by how many humans are on which side.

In reality it would be very nice to see the world in such a black and white image. But that’s just not how the world is. Formerly being a conservative-fundamentalist Catholic, I saw the world in that way, though there was a lot of grey that I couldn’t understand or explain. Seeing the world in living color can be, for some people, very terrifying. No longer can you tell who is on which side. Suddenly everything is much more blended, the kind man next door is secretly a gang ringleader, the generous woman down the street who runs the youth club literally has “skeletons” in her closet. The face of evil does not exist in this world, nor does the face of good; appearances mean nothing.

Here in the real world, we have veterans turned homeless who must steal to survive, priests who indulge in young followers, business men who swindel millions, lawmen who kill to keep the peace, special interest groups that care about one small factor of human existance and not about the bigger picture. In this world the human condition is on many levels, in many colors, and bears many flags. Some values may be the same, some morals, some words, but in the end the only thing we have in common is that we are human, and that we are still victims of a war; who’s in that war and how it started is a little more difficult to explain.

In reality, the war of Good and Evil does not exist. Not in those terms anyway. Here, good people do bad things sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not; bad people do good things sometimes for bad reasons and sometimes not. Everything you thought you knew isn’t true and everything you don’t know that you didn’t think of, probably is. That’s the world we live in.

The true battle of morality is not fought by gods or demons, but by humans themselves. Here exists a great truth, Evil as you understand it does not exist (satan does not exist), the only evil in this world lives in the human will, in the human mind. By our decisions, by our actions, desires and wishes we create evil. It is not cast upon us by witches, it does not posses us in the form of demons, nor are we tricked into it by the devil. These long living superstitions have passed the test of time only because we were foolish and ignorant enough to believe them. But never more, we must see the light, embrace the truth, face the facts, own up to the reponsibility to create good in this world. Stop blaming things on other forces, stop neglecting your bretheren because you believe satan leads his faith.

There is no celestial battle going on between good and evil. Perhaps there is a battle in people’s minds, where they are trying to overcome their negative thoughts, but that’s it. I desire to see the end of the subreality created by old-world superstition because in them I see a great loss of moral possibility. I believe that the these old teachings from world religions, neglects the truth of human responsibility. When a man can plead that the devil made him kill a child and then get a lesser sentence due to mental dysfuntion, then I think the world has been down the wrong road and now is the time to wake up and rise above such ignorance. Now is the time to take responsibility of your mind and for your actions.

I realize my words may fall painfully on some peoples’ ears. In fact I know they will, I came from a conservative-fundamentalist Catholic background that once tought me that tattoos were evil, that other religions were ruled by the devil, that the only way to enter heaven and be forgiven for my sins, not to mention my original sin (invoked upon me at birth), was to attend mass at Church and listen to a priest ask for money for an already rich organization. I suggest that we not sin to begin with, then we won’t have to ask for forgiveness. And no one is born already a sinner, that’s a terrible thing to tell a child.

Having faith and believing in rediculous suggestions are two very different things. Learning from the mistakes of the past is one of the greatest opportunities we have as human beings. By learning about other faiths with a truely open mind, a human can come to realize that perhaps what they once thought is not true. Seeking out truth can be painful at times and you begin to feel that you’re loosing who you were, but when abandoning a state of such anamosity towards followers of other faiths, the lack of responsibility of your own actions and the words of a corrupt organization (which is much like a cult) can be the best painful experience of your life.

Eastern religion has been for me a wake up call. It has opened my eyes to the real world. It has taught me to take responsibility for my actions and especially my thoughts. And I don’t have to fear the wrath of a god or the lies of satan. No longer do I listen to sermons that begin and end with words that in affect come to mean “we need your money”. I’m not willing to pay someone who says that they can take my sins away, I will suffer from the mistakes I have made and learn from them so that next time I won’t make them. I will take responsibility for my actions, “I” will admit when “I” have made a wrong decision.

I believe in the unity of mankind, I believe in the brotherhood of the human race, I believe in the tolerance of the world’s religions (just because I have chosen to leave Catholicism behind does not mean that those who follow it deserve intolerance; I still believe in the teachings of Christ through “His” actions, not the words of any self-professed “true” church) and will be humbled into silence the day that an Islamic leader shakes the hand of a Catholic bishop, when they work together for the greater good of all humankind; If I were to die that day I would die with a smile upon my face.

Catholicism is not a bad religion, though some of the people who make up that institution make bad decisions and create negative notions. I do disagree with some of its teachings and I do think that it needs a major reformation and reorganization. But those are just my opinions, they can only become truth if others see them as so. People should believe what they want as long as what they believe does not cause harm to others. Tolerance is peace among world religions, it’s accepting the fact that not everyone believes the same things and that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s kindness among many followers of many faiths, it’s the opposition to the opression of the diversity of faith. Tolerance on all sides is ultimately the key to unlock the door to a greater human condition.

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About Kephen

I am a writer who happens to be a pantheist living in the heartland of America. I write about everything that interests me, from Zen Buddhism to depression and mental illness, society and civil rights to the LGBT community and the personal meanderings of my life. To learn more about me just check out my blog.
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