Evil and reality

I have always felt that the understanding of the nature of evil is important, if we are to properly understand the true nature of our reality. What is it? Where does it come from? Is it just inside our heads, an accident of evolution? Or is it a force coming from outside and interacting with us?

 

Evil and man

When looking at the possible genetic component of evil, (see previous post, genes and evil) it can be seen that certain types of body/brain set ups can pre dispose some people to commit so called evil acts. Not everyone with those parameters does commit acts which we consider evil though. Indeed observations have been made that the skill set to be a master criminal are similar to those required to be a ruthless business man!!! Nurture or upbringing has been shown to have a mitigating effect on the triggering of the so called warrior gene. Even so, can this be the whole story?

 

How do you define evil?

Evil has been defined by those looking at any genetic or brain structure component to evil, in terms of evil acts, i.e. murder. The characteristics that allow people to commit dreadful crimes seem to include, lack of empathy for others, lack of control and really extreme selfcenteredness. Really evil people may think that their needs are paramount and would do anything to anyone who stood in their way. I was brought up to think evil was more than that though. There are several interesting questions triggered here.

 

The difficult questions

Firstly, can you separate extreme selfishness from malicious wrong doing? Acts can be wrong, or thoughtless, but does this count as actually evil? Does true evil have to have a malicious content?

Secondly, what about sins of omission? Sometimes wrong doing can be as much as what you do not do as what you do do. Is it evil to spend money on designer clothes whilst ignoring starving children?

Thirdly, Is evil just a bi product of being human, or is there an bigger picture, a bigger aspect of reality here? Could there actually be another outside force generating evil amongst humanity for its own purpose?

 

Outside agency

Brought up in a Christian culture we were taught at school that God made us. We were also taught that the devil and fallen angels were responsible for the evil in the world. Their job was to continually tempt mankind on to the dark path. The battle of life is a fight between good and evil.

Some people are said to use the forces of evil for their own ends. This is more than a selfish set of genes!!!!

 

Why evil?

If we are creatures created by an omnipotent God, then why does he allow such evil in his creation?
I have been given two answers to that question.

Firstly, we cannot know the mind of God. There may be a reason for him allowing all the misery and evil in the world, but we cannot know or understand it.

Secondly, if our souls are to be tested, then we need the dark as well as the light to test ourselves by.
We have been given free will to enable us to overcome any genetic determinism if we choose.

 

Aspects of reality

If evil is not just bad genes, but is also a force generated by an outside agency, then it throws up interesting possibilities for reality. It’s very existence may illustrate that there are powers outside physical earth, in dimensions unseen, that interact with us, for their own purposes. If evil exists, then it paradoxically strengthens the case for God. If evil is not a creation of our God to test us, but is a force separate from him that also has an interest in the souls of humanity, that is even more interesting. What big picture of the universe could that possibility suggest?

Marian

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