Evil as fact, not superstition, in Politics, Society and the World --An Essay

In my devotional reading this morning, I had an excerpt from Philip Yancey’s book “Rumors of Another World”, in which he told of listening to Bob Seiple, then president of the relief agency World Vision, after he returned from Rwanda at the time of the massacres there in 1994.  

Seiple said he’d stood on a bridge and watched thousands of bodies float beneath him on a river running red with their blood. They were the bodies of people of the Tutsi tribe, including women and children, hacked to death with machetes by Hutu tribesmen, some of the almost million victims — not just Tutsis, but also Twa and peaceful Hutu neighbors, fellow parishioners, school classmates— all murdered by otherwise ordinary Rwandan people for reasons no one could begin to explain.

Yancy went on to discuss the apparent presence of dark spiritual forces in the world, such as those manifested in the irrational depredations of the National Socialists (Nazis), who coopted ordinary Germans into the bureaucracy and logistics of genocide and even diverted critically-needed war resources into death-camp operations while depriving themselves of slave-labor, preferring to starve and murder “undesirables” (humans labeled ideologically different or otherwise “inferior”) rather than to maintain them as a war-supporting, albeit involuntary, labor force.  The devotional excerpt concluded with Yancey’s observation: “Much more is happening on this planet than is visible to the human eye.”

The Marxist/Maoist’s, National and Soviet Socialist’s, and other totalitarian regimes’ murders and starvation of millions upon millions of Chinese, Uighurs, Ukrainians, Russian, Venezuelans,  dissidents, and others deemed “different” or “unenlightened” (not "woke"), or one kind or another of infidel, in the supposed building of “people’s paradises”,  or “Great” or “Godly” societies, during the ages past, the 20th century and into the current one also witness an irrational and murderous hostility toward ordinary and diverse people that goes far beyond any rational requirement for “ideological purity” and solidarity in support of a religious or political vision for the betterment of ordinary and diverse people.  

In fact, this irrational hatred and dehumanizing of people -- this, and let’s just call it what it is – this EVIL - that was perpetrated and advocated by otherwise “ordinary” people at the behest of their ideological leaders in the circumstances and situations mentioned above is manifesting itself today, on the streets of some of our cities and in the some of the Universities and Colleges of our formerly libertarian Republic, and in some of the nations of Europe as well. 

This is a different evil than that being perpetrated in the totalitarian suppression of dissent or difference of belief and of freedom advocacy in Hong Kong, many Muslim countries, and in other places, but it is, ultimately EVIL, and it's evil flowing from the same source as that which is plaguing the U.S.A. at this time.  

Antifa, BLM, NFAC, the KKK, White Nationalist “boogaloo-ers” and others, attack, insult, destroy and riot in ways that advance no cause except that of some evil force and improve no situations for themselves or for any sane persons or any people of generally good will.  Their actions and propaganda simply degrade and preempt any attempts to rationally discuss, resolve, or at least humanely address differences and problems.

In example, beating elderly people or others for “walking around white” or disagreeing with “protestors”, beating journalists attempting to report on what are supposed to be legitimate protest activities (right?), stoning or brandishing firearms at truck drivers and commuters who ar simply trying to peaceably go about their lawful and legitimate businesses (or blocking or preventing their movement – which constitutes “kidnapping”, in most jurisdictions), assaulting Law Enforcement with rocks, bottles, fireworks, Molotov cocktails, and potentially blinding lasers, etc... these activities cannot possibly result in a decrease in “profiling” or mistreatment of innocent people of color or a more free and just society for anyone. 

In fact, such things are more likely to prompt increased and harsh authoritarian responses and more loss of civil liberties for all people and much more misplaced hostility towards people of color.  This is especially ironic and evil, considering that many if not most of the people perpetuating these anti-social and despicable actions aren’t even “people of color”, nor do those who are represent the majority of others who share a similar genetic heritage.

What can be at the root of this irrationality?  What can be done to stop it, short of violent extinguishment and suppression?

Is it, as most secular progressives continue to advocate and believe, simply a matter of properly educating, “re-educating”, indoctrinating, and “enlightening” humans to higher notions of progressive collectivism and pro-social behaviors in support of the greater good, so that such violent protests against "unwoke" ignorance and it's resulting systematic wrong-doing may become unnecessary? 

Is it the elimination of a purportedly “bad” economic system (free-market capitalism) that supposedly promotes selfish behaviors in favor of a “better” socialist system that forces people to share what they have and produce by their labor until they begin to (mystically, I guess) actually want to give it away?

No, it is not; those ideas, in and of themselves, seem to be founded in a terrible and deliberately imposed (by minions of an evil force) ignorance of the horrible inhumanity of the socialist/collectivist/Marxist “re-education” efforts and “cultural revolutions” of one sort or another which killed millions and destroyed much fine art and historical artifacts, attempted to destroy "unapproved" or anti-collectivist literature and history, and resulted in the cultural genocide of whole nations and peoples. 

Time and again, collectivist, socialist, or “progressive” efforts at forcing their ideas of “pro-social” behaviors on people under their control have only resulted in increased ignorance, more anti-social corruption, and bad and selfish behaviors in those attempting to impose such ideas and in the population as a whole.

Truly enlightened and liberal societies don’t need to tear down statues, ban or burn books, redefine and censor words and language to eliminate “offensiveness”, or attempt other kinds of involuntary mind and thought control thru indoctrination or “reeducation”.  In fact, those societies that do attempt such things inevitably manifest cultural depravity, darkness, and evil mistreatment of their own citizens.

That’s because these problems, discords, and downright evils are not simply the results of people being ignorant of or mislead about what works to the betterment of themselves and others, they are the result of dark and evil forces deliberately “infecting”, and sometimes even “possessing” the hearts, minds and souls of people.

Secular society often speaks of belief in personified or individualized dark forces, such as “demons and devils” or of forces of “light” such as “angels” and “holy spirits” as antiquated superstitions.  

Most political and social secularists are OK with the general idea of “good” vs. “bad”, kind of like the “Star Wars” “Force” that can “be with you” in a manifestation of its light or dark side.

But belief in a supernatural personality or personalities that can interact and be in an influential or even controlling relationship with us?  That’s a trigger for “commitment issues” for sure, perhaps even grounds for “commitment” of the institutional sort!  But, let’s get real… all of us “hear voices” from unseen sources, dear reader. 

I, and you, hear the voices, advice, and instructions of our parents, friends, mentors, teachers, and some of people who’re not any of those, many long gone from this world, and many that we’ve never personally seen or individually encountered.  Still, their words are echoing in the chambers of our memories and the corridors of our thoughts. 

And, yes, I’ve heard the voice of my God, and I’m pretty sure some of the things I’ve had whispering in my worst thoughts and nightmarish moments are not from benign spirits or human people I’ve known and heard or heard of.

It’s not the voices that we hear in our heads that determine whether we should be “locked up” in the  “committed” or “criminally convicted” senses of the words, nor is it the voices that seek to influence our character, and the actions that reveal it, that are the critical factors, it is simply the voices that we listen to and “follow”.

Some claim that there are no gods or God, and therefore (presumably) no devils, either. 

Some say that all that we know as good and evil are simply the subjective opinions of ourselves or others imposed on our consciousness by chance or circumstance.  However, such a faith in human consciousness and rationality alone as a supreme arbitrator of what is good or not good fails to account for either the aforementioned human depravities or the majority’s revulsion at such things and the sometimes extraordinary cost, in terms of blood and treasure, self-discipline and self-sacrifice, of some individual and collective human efforts to stop at least some of it.  

Atheism cannot account for what even atheists call “good” or “bad” by the promptings of evolutionary forces alone, while rejecting the existence of gods or a benign God, malevolent demons and devils or the Devil, because of the existence of “badness” or evil in the world, and remain in the sphere of rational argument.  That contention is as irrational as arguing that heat and light do not exist because cold and darkness can be experienced.

What is this thing we call “evil”, then? 

Is it a mere superstitious term for “the dark side…” of some impersonal force that may also be used for good according to the will, whims, or wishes of an individual who has the training and special abilities to do so? 

If my reasoning and the allegations in the preceding paragraphs are correct, it is not that. 

I believe that all of us are congenitally infected with a disease called "sin", and that there are an evil force and forces seeking to make that disease terminal, and that the malice in that desire for our individual and collective destruction is personal. 

Superstitious people used to believe that the infection of ordinary and seemingly minor wounds in some people, leading to loss of life or limb, or the spread of communicable fatal diseases among parts of a population while other parts seemed “skipped”, was the result of mysterious and malevolent forces or “karma”.   People that got sick and died or got well after wounds or exposure to other sick people were blessed or cursed according to something both mystical and mostly indiscernible.  

Later, scientific inquiries and experimentation lead to the discovery of bacteria and viruses, then to better hygiene, wound treatment, antibiotics, and vaccination techniques. 

Louis Pasteur and others proved the presence of microscopic infectious agents; that there was “Much more is happening…” to people “…on this planet than is visible to the…” unaided “…human eye,” and then, they and other doctors and scientists developed other microscopic agents, and techniques, procedures, and devices to mitigate against them, and treat and cure many serious and life-threatening conditions.  Disease causes, treatments, and mitigations are unknown to many and misunderstood by others, but that doesn't change the reality of the "invisible" or "unknown' disease agents or their vectors.    

Just as things invisible to the unaided human perception can infect our flesh and blood thru wounds or even the natural processes of life, such as ingestion and respiration, and then injure or kill people, ”the authorities… the powers of this dark world and … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12), invisible to or ignored by the secular “eye”, can infect our minds and spirits thru our psycho-spiritual wounds or our naturally occurring emotions and desires, our ignorance or our poor intellectual hygiene; this is not superstition, this is a rationally defensible and discernible truth.

That’s why “hurt people hurt people”; people suffering post-traumatic stresses (psycho-spiritually wounded) can become aggressively and violently reactive or inappropriately and manipulatively controlling towards others, in violation of those other’s basic human rights and prerogatives.  Their “wounds” have become infected by the dark forces of irrational fear and insecurity, spread by evil forces, just as physical wounds can be by bacteria, and just as people with weakened or damaged immune systems are more susceptible to bacterial or viral infections. 

Then, like the infections and “poisoning” that are spread through the normal physiological processes of ingestion, respiration, or sexual contact (“food poisoning”, URI, pneumonia, STDs, etc), evil forces can also infect us and cause psycho-spiritual disease and consequent evil actions, insanity and extreme anti-social actions.

These evil agents and forces that can be acquired and spread through the “normal” aspects of our humanity, such as our emotions and psycho-spiritual wants and needs, are, effectually, both homicidal and suicidal, since we are unable to be spiritually healthy except in positive and pro-social relationships.

If there were only immutable and impersonal laws of “physics” actively guiding the development of the universe – a supposition which disregards the ultimate question of the origin of those laws – then “evolution” should have eliminated the possibility of an organism so frequently given to disrupting and destroying the psycho-spiritual conditions essential to its own health and survival, long before it could be overcome by resource limitations.  Evolutionary forces would seem likely to make sanity cease to be optional, and we would all become perfectly socially pro-active service “drones”, promoting the collective advancement of the species through selfless giving of all that we have and the production of like-minded progeny for "the greater good".  Engels and Marx predicted and advocated that socialists could force and reeducate the human species into that enlightened condition of perfect and harmonious communism since the godless universe had somehow failed to do so.

Of course, their nonsensical theories and fundamentally wrong beliefs about human nature and motivations have been invalidated in history’s laboratories, by modern psychological and sociological studies, and have never even withstood refutation by logical analysis, so how do we account for their continued presence amongst some sectors of our societies?

By “Occam’s razor”, the presence of an active and malevolent evil force and it’s infectious entities in our world can account for the prevalence of such collectivist evil.

Our ignorance, our pride, our need for security, love and affection and companionship of kith (people who know and are known by us) and kin (people “like us”) all can become vectors for psycho-spiritual “disease” and produce “symptoms” that include a range of “badnesses” from simple disregard for others to disrespect of them, to xenophobia, to persecution, to murder, to genocide.

Since the original sin-infection of our literal or figurative first parents, Adam and Eve, thru the vectors of ignorance and insecurity (coveting more knowledge and associated power), we all now have our psycho-spiritual DNA damaged and are subsequentially susceptible to inflammation of our pride.

Such swelling blocks the healthily humble ingestion and digestion of good and proper psycho-spiritual nutrition and leads to aggressively arrogant psycho-spiritual ignorance, selfish and self-centered acquisitiveness of comforting falsehoods and knowledge, and dangerously inadequate mental hygiene. This, in turn, leads to great susceptibility to the other infections and disease damage foisted upon us by those dark and evil agents and forces, to the determent of our fellows, our society, and our world.

These infections or evil manifest all around us, from controlling and gossiping busy-bodies and agitators to people flying into dangerous rages or deadly depressions (emotional “seizures”) leading to self-harm or attacks and other actions that harm others, sometimes blindly and sometimes, in the worst infections, deliberately and with “malice and aforethought”. 

The Word of God and belief in His death and resurrection as a cure for our sin-infections and a treatment of their effects on our minds and souls is the answer to the truth of evil and dark forces in our lives and in our world.

Just as the evil one and his minions seek to personally interact with individuals, so that they may lead to individual and collective wrongs and destruction of perpetrators and victims alike, Our Good and Gracious God seeks an individual and intimate healing relationship with us to create a people to live in right and healthy community with Him and one another.

May you find Him now.