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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evil Is As Evil Does

Let me give you fair warning now:  Some of what you're about to read will probably upset your conventional wisdom apple cart.  The discussion of evil and its impact on humanity is a serious subject - but not as serious as we often take ourselves.  This is not for the wimps among you, but rather, I implore you to put on your proverbial "big girl panties," grab a chair and join me around the dinner table of unfettered dialog.

Humanity, when left to its own devices, is incapable of anything but darkness and evil.  For my Christian brethren, read Romans 3 and you will see my premise underscored, highlighted and bolded for your protection.  For my humanist, secularist friends, one need only look at the empirical evidence provided every night on the evening news.   Story after story of one human being harming another, ripping off another, using the judicial system to screw over another human - if that's not enough evidence, consider the following:

  • Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in this country.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have experienced stalking in their lifetime.
In a previous blog entry, I covered some pretty scary statistics about domestic violence and how there is a massive under-reporting problem with violence against men in intimate relationships.  That being said, it's simply more evidence that humanity, when left to do what it will naturally do, will never choose to do "the right thing," but rather will embrace the darkness on one level or another.

Darkness doesn't just inhabit the innards of men.  Women are prone to evil just as much as men, but society tends to overlook the reprehensible behavior and attitudes of women because, I guess, the myth that they are the "weaker sex" is still prevalent in our culture.  It's easier and more acceptable on an emotional level to consider women "victims" than it is a man.  But even within those judgments themselves, there lies an evil desire to create imbalance.

Romans, Chapter 3 tells us quite loudly that "there is no one righteous, no not one," and that we have "altogether become useless."  Now, I know that comment goes directly against the doctrine of human potential, but I've already given you just a few examples of humanities inability to make the author of Romans a liar.  Then, in Romans 7, Paul gives is this incredible look at the dichotomous nature of the human existence - "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing."  According to Paul, we are incapable of keeping at bay the dogs of war that exist within us, but admittedly at varied levels.  For example, how many of us have been on a diet and knowing that our efforts will be wasted by sucking down that fast food, but we do it anyway?  We know our "temple" will be jacked up, but we cannot completely abstain from that dark side of our humanity.

So, Paul asks the question in chapter 7, "Who will save me from this body of sin and death?"  The answer is obvious, and it's evident he's talking of the Christ.  And for me, I believe that.  I don't think that we can have true peace until we make it right with the Creator through the sacrifice that took place a couple thousand years ago, about a 20 minute walk outside of downtown Jerusalem.  And I will take it one step further:

While the act of salvation, the forensic declaration of righteousness is all about the individual, there is a social, a community aspect to it as well.

In other words, we're not intended to be alone and we sure as hell can't survive alone.

The darkness that overtakes us becomes less controlling when we're not alone.  When we have someone with whom we can bare our souls, with a friend who can embrace us regardless of what dirt we have under our fingernails, the evil in our hearts calms, becomes more quiet.  There is a part of all of us that exists through divine intervention that by the nature of its very existence, connects with the light that is in others.  When the puzzle pieces of our hearts don't fit, however, the evil is exacerbated and becomes more intense.  But when the light within us connects with the light of another who truly understands and accepts us as we are, we begin to see a glimpse of who we were designed and created to be.  It doesn't have to be a romantic interest either - it could be a best friend, a family member, someone who just "gets you."

I've seen the evil that men do and continue to do, and it's not pretty.  Hell, I'm honest with myself and I've seen my very own evil manifest itself and I've seen the fallout.  I own it.  It's mine and mine alone.  There's no one who can or will ever take this burden and remove the scars, but you know, I'm honest about it.  But I've also seen moments when I've been able to somehow, miraculously tap into the river of positive consciousness and do good.  Sure, it's rare, but it happens.

Life is more than politics.  Life is more than liberal vs conservative.  Life is more than a damned bumper sticker.  Life is not your denomination or lack thereof.  Life begins with the death of our expectations and dependence upon human potential.  It begins and flourishes when we realize our weakened and evil state doesn't have to own us.  We know that we're not perfect and it is in that real acceptance of who we are that we begin to experience freedom.  There's liberty in knowing the depths of our depravity when we know it doesn't always have to be that way.  And it's a beautiful thing we don't do it alone.

It's just my opinion and I could be wrong - but I seriously doubt it.