Friday, February 27, 2015

Evil & World Events

The media and people in general seem confused by the brutality of some groups. And so they engage endlessly on conjecture regarding why people would destroy ancient antiquities in Iraq, or why this everyday young man ends up as a beheading suspect in Syria. The public puts this face of confusion on in the face of great evil. But the truth is that we know from years of research that there is no great mystery here. There are many experiments that show that people, once given great power over another human being, will almost naturally tend towards brutality and domination.

G K Chesterton once said that sin nature was the only empirically provable Christian doctrine. I think there is something to that. Sin is intractable. There is a thrill and a joy in hurting others that everyone on some level knows about, but seeks to deny as a part of the effort to fight against it. They must put on a face of shock and confusion, because they cannot face the presence of such evil in their own hearts. But the evil is there, either way. Sin lies in wait for justification and opportunity. It wants an excuse or an allowance that gives it permission to come in full blown.

That is why morality is at its lowest among the very rich and very poor. The very rich have the ability to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions. The poor have less to lose by those consquences. And religious justification for violence, that is the ultimate opportunity for sin. It set itself up as god and the whole time convince the person that they are worshipping the true God. The truth is that evil is no mystery. But we have to pretend it is, lest we face its presence in our own hearts. But perhaps that is what gives sin its power when opportunity arises.

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