Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evil in a Cage

During the past couple of weeks the former leader of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has been on trial for crimes against his own people. Mubarak is a frail, sick man but he has been present in what amounts to a cage, as though he is a dangerous animal. The cage seems more theatre than actual security, a statement about his cruelty through the years.

Is Mubarak evil? The challenge of evil, which is certainly a biblical concept, is that it is hard to define. When we pray "deliver us from evil" each week there is no footnote directing us to a thorough explanation.

So who or what is evil and what causes it? Are the Mubaraks and Ghaddafi's of this world evil? Yes to the holocaust and Rwanda. I would describe child molesters as evil. The man who systematically shot defenseless young people in Norway a few weeks ago.

I notice that there is a growing interest in defining evil from a scientific perspective. Scales of evil are being developed and there is a new book called The Anatomy of Evil by Dr. Michael Stone. Yet the root cause of evil, both individually and collectively continues to be a mystery. Why do some persons and groups choose destructive acts?

Our New Creed invites us to "seek justice and resist evil." If we acknowledge the reality of evil then we can work to address it wherever we see it in our lives and in our world.

What is your perspective?


johnny said...

I think many of us can pick out people we think of as evil, such as child molesters and serial killers, but it can still be a difficult thing to define.

You mentioned during one of your sermons a while ago a book about evil that I am currently reading. It is called "People of the Evil" by Dr. M. Scott Peck. I was intrigued by the first line of the introduction: "This book is dangerous."

Maybe I'll have a clearer idea of evil when I finish the book.

sjd said...

To "resist evil" isn't it saying that we should resist doing evil ourselves?
Aren't lying, cheating, and steeling all evil too?
Many things are evil in varing degrees.

johnny said...

Sorry, the title of the book is "People of the Lie", not "Evil".

lionlamb said...

Thanks guys. Peck's book caused a stir because he was a psychiatrist writing about evil. I'm glad you're reading it.

I had never thought about resisting evil in ourselves, but if we don't, how can we address evil in the world.