Archive for evil

Evil That Men Do

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, nature, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by chouck017894

In all the scriptural texts of the western world, a devout seeker will find no judgment that directly addresses, clarifies or answers the problem of what really constitutes evil. Perhaps that should not be so surprising since genuine history has shown that religionists of every variety have very often made use of evil methods to foster their particular faith system. Today, for example, we see reprehensible behavior being put into practice in the U.S. where religious extremists labor fanatically to undermine all the long-standing noble principles of democracy and seek to tear down the firewall of church-state separation.

Those who hold the Bible aloft as their standard for “values” while attempting to tear down those principles of democracy are especially fond of the bloody tales of the Old Testament. God allegedly did a lot of verbalizing according to the early part of the Old Testament, and his active participation is implied in the accounts of land wars. But how often is it ever claimed that God proclaimed himself to be just? The nearest thing that a seeker may find in either the Old or New Testaments on the question of what supposedly constitutes evil is in the book of Job. And that holy tale happens to be a plagiarized version lifted from Babylonian literature, which the Yahweh priest copiers doctored with the assertion that Yahweh/God is always benevolent and always makes things right.

There is subtle juggling in the scriptural evaluation of what constitutes evil, such as is presented in Job–a blurred distinction of what constitutes evil and what happens to be simply an encounter with misfortune. Properly, evil should be understood as a purposeful and/or intentional impairment imposed by a person or group of persons upon other persons, or upon other living creatures. Evil is a malevolent action that is deliberately taken against others. Unfortunately, this is the “value” that fundamentalists choose to interpret as being advocated in the “good book” stories.

For an answer to the problem of evil, the common clerical explanation as inspired by scriptural tales is that evil arises from man having been given free will choice. This is more hollow than holy, for such an explanation conveniently allows a faith system the promotional scheme to sell their anti-sin safeguards. This is possible simply because the free will excuse allows the blame for any negative experience to be placed solidly on the victim by judging the victim as having done something wrong “in God’s eyes” to deserve it! That is the premise that is attempted in the biblical version of Job.

Elsewhere in holy scripture, in 1 Samuel 18:10 it states, “…and an evil spirit from God came upon Saul…” This blunt admission in”holy word” of God’s negative aspect has bewildered countless biblical scholars and clergy. They mistakenly proclaim that their personification of creative energies as God is good only. But the negative principles which are an intricate part of creative energy cannot be denied: positive/negative interactions of energy are necessary for anything to be created. That recognition of positive/negative energy interaction is also referred to in Isaiah 45:7 where God (the personification of creative energy) is quoted as saying, “I form the light, and create darkness: I am the Lord of all these things.” In the much older pre-history lessons upon which such biblical tales as these were structured it was explained that a blend of polar energies (positive/negative) are responsible for any definable manifestation. That ancient (and advanced) knowledge pops up in only in these two scriptural tales.

So the encounters with terrible misfortune that people experience, such a debilitating diseases or natural disasters are not the result of the victim’s having done something deliberately evil in the sight of a discriminatory god. Those tribulations are traceable to biological malfunction or to the exchanges of creative energies known as Nature. Electrical storms, for example, vary in intensity from gentle rains to roaring hurricanes; they are natural energy interactions, not direct acts of a disapproving God. Ditto for other natural energy exchanges such as generated earthquakes, etc.

Out of the crafted holy interpretation a double standard is utilized in the self-serving assessment of evil, for nowhere else in the animal kingdom has any creature of nature been branded as acting with plotted evil intent. Not even the carnivores. In scriptural narrative it is only man who is branded as capable of perpetuating evil, which is interesting since man is claimed to be made in the image of God. But this is then excused by claiming that man’s acts of evil are influenced by some opponent of God’s goodness i.e. Devil, Satan, etc. But giving God credit only for all that is good and pretending that this personification of creative energy has no part in the negative aspects that accompanies life is nothing more than selective blindness.

That convenient premise of God-is-good-only certainly does not provide a satisfactory explanation of what actually characterizes evil. The predator/victim relationship which exists throughout all the rest of nature makes the hypothesis of a benevolent God questionable. If that God-permissible predatory activity is representative of what some call intelligent design it means that man’s concept of evil exists only in how man chooses to perceive negative experiences; it does not define what the creative force (personified as God) would regard as evil. This conveniently leaves the field wide open for evil actions to be used in the marketing of religion and politics. We can see the result of that prominently displayed in theocratic governments.

And in choosing to hypothesize a benevolent-only God, we have been tricked into meeting our fears of victimization by labeling nearly any negative experience as evil. Around this fear of victimization the established organized faith systems have constructed an elaborate scaffolding of self-serving “values”, which are painted as different shades of morality. Then, as these faith systems point to their man-erected scaffolding, the claim is made by them that their patched together supporting mechanism proves the existence of a moral God (who favors them, of course).

Unfortunately for man, these self-serving faith systems have not guided mankind into enlightenment or toward our higher potential. All that they have blessed mankind with has been centuries of senseless conflicts over which faith practice is spiritually superior. Thus in purposefully ignoring the “evil spirit from God”, or the all-inclusiveness which is briefly alluded to in 1 Samuel and Isaiah, these faith system fanatics continuously skate alarmingly close to being evil practitioners themselves. As Shakespeare noted, “The evil that men do lives after them.”

The Concept of Evil

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, life, nature, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by chouck017894

In all the scriptural texts of the western world, a devout seeker will find no judgment that directly addresses, clarifies or answers the problem of what really constitutes evil.  Perhaps that should not be so surprising since genuine history has shown that religionists of every variety often tend to make use of evil methods to foster their particular faith system.  Today, for example, we see reprehensible behavior being put into practice in the United States where religious extremists labor fanatically to undermine all the long-standing noble principles of democracy. 

Those who hold the Bible aloft as their standard for “values” while attempting to tear down those principles of democracy seem especially fond of the bloody tales of the Old Testament.  God did a lot of verbalizing in the early part of the Old Testament, and his fatherly participation is implied throughout the New Testament, but how often is it ever claimed that God proclaimed himself to be just?  The nearest thing that a seeker may find in either the Old or New Testament on the question of what supposedly constitutes evil is in the Book or Job.  And that “holy” tale happens to be a  plagiarized version lifted from Babylonian literature, which the Yahweh priest copiers doctored with the assertion that God, being benevolent, always makes things right.

There is subtle juggling in the scriptural evaluation of what constitutes evil, such as is presented in Job—a blurred distinction of what is evil and what happens to be an encounter with misfortune.  Properly, evil must be defined as a purposeful and/or intentional impairment imposed by a person or group of persons upon other persons, or upon other living creatures.  Evil is malevolent action that is deliberately taken against others.  Unfortunately, “good book” stories don’t make this clear, and the fundamentalists love to use these examples as their “values.”

For an answer to the problem of evil, the common clerical explanation inspired by scriptural tales is that evil arises from man having been given free will choice.  This is more hollow than holy, for such an explanation conveniently allows a faith system a lucrative market in the selling of anti-“sin” safeguards.  This is possible simply because the free will excuse allows the blame for any negative experience to be placed solidly on the victim by judging the victim as having done something wrong to deserve it!  That is the premise that hovers over the biblical version of Job.

Elsewhere, though, in 1 Samuel 18:10 it states “…and an evil spirit from god came upon Saul…”  This blunt admission in “holy word” of god’s negative aspects has bewildered countless biblical scholars and clergy.  They mistakenly proclaim that their personification of creative energies, which they call God, is good only.  But the negative principles that are part of creative energies cannot be denied; positive/negative polar interaction is also referred to in Isaiah 45:7 where god is quoted as saying, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil.  I am the Lord (law) of all these things.” 

The much older material upon which such biblical tales were structured explained that a blend of polar energies are responsible for any definable manifestation.  That more ancient knowledge pops up in only a couple of OT books, however: in Samuel and in Isaiah.

So the encounters with misfortune that people experience, such as debilitating diseases or natural disasters, are not the result of the victim’s having done something wrong in the sight of a wily god.  Those tribulations are traceable to biological malfunctions or to the exchanges of creative energies known as Nature.  Electrical storms, for example, can vary in intensity from gentle rains to raging hurricanes; they are natural energy interactions, not direct acts of God.  Ditto for other natural energy exchanges such as trigger earthquakes, and which are too often palmed off as being the “wrath of god.”

Out of this confusion a double standard is utilized in the biblical assessment of evil, for nowhere else in the animal kingdom has any creature of nature been branded as acting with evil intent.  Not even the carnivores.  In scriptural narrative it is only man that is branded as capable of  perpetuating evil, and this is attributed to man being influenced by some opponent (Devil, Satan, etc.) of god’s goodness.  But giving god credit only for all that is good but pretending that this personification of creative energy has no part in the negative aspects that accompanies life is nothing more than selective blindness.

That convenient premise certainly does not explain evil.  The predator/victim relationship that exists throughout all the rest of Nature makes the hypothesis of a benevolent god questionable.  If that god-permissable predatory activity is representative of intelligent design, it means that man’s concept of evil exists only in how man is taught to assess his encounter with negative experiences: it does not define how or why evil exists.  This conveniently leaves the field open for evil actions to be used in the selling of a faith system (or political scam).

And in choosing to hypothesize a benevolent God, we have been tricked into meeting our fears of victimization by labeling any negative experience as evil.  Around this fear of victimization organized faith systems have constructed the elaborate scaffolding of self-serving “values,” which are painted as different shades of morality.  Then, pointing to this man-erected scaffolding, the claim is made that it proves the existence of a moral God.

Unfortunately for man, these self-serving faith systems have slyly avoided any real guidance of man toward his higher potential.  And in ignoring the nature of what constitutes the “evil spirit from god” spoken of in 1 Samuel, these faith systems skate alarmingly close to being evil.

Gnostic Wisdom in New Testament

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, ecology, faith, freethought, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Over two thousand years ago the symbolism and mythology of several Pagan mystery sects were beginning to fragment while a multifaceted group was developing diverse interpretations which became lumped under the identity as “Gnostic”—from Greek gnostikos, “man of knowledge.”  The movement spread largely through men of culture who sought the secret of higher life.  Unfortunately, lofty thought became entangled with crude mythology and then floundered in mysticism.

Gnosticism was, for the most part, centered on the highest ethics.  To understand Gnostic thought, their concept of ethics was perceived from an amoral perspective.  Remember, amoral does not mean immoral: it is non-judgmental acceptance.  This is difficult for modern religionists to comprehend since standard religious instruction is to uncompromisingly classify things as good/sinful and black/white—with no shades of gray being allowed for consideration.  Unlike rigid religionism, Gnostics recognized that diverse energies found throughout the universe serve as the generative action responsible for all things in Creation.  For this reason the Gnostics regarded what we know as the Old Testament to be the shameful account of Jehovah’s crimes against humanity.  Yahweh/Jehovah was not accepted by them as the true God or the active Source, but as the identity of a demiurge—an energy involvement that fashioned the material world.  Such Pentateuch/Old Testament characters as Abraham, Moses and the like were consequently regarded as the henchmen of Jehovah who had been dedicated to misdirecting the souls of humans into matter and ignorance.

Since the original purpose of the early Christian literature was composed in Rome in the attempt to soften Jewish spiritual arrogance, the new cultists played down the Gnostic attitude to prevent a too strong direct offence to Jews.  Nonetheless, Gnostic influence was cautiously scattered throughout the New Testament.  Although Christianity owes  many planks of its formation and doctrines to Gnosticism, pure Gnosticism itself also represented one of the most challenging threats to the new Christian movement.  Specifically, it denied the keystone upon which the aspiring priestly hierarchy sought to establish itself.  If, as the Gnostics claimed, evil had existed in Creation from the beginning then Adam, meaning mankind, could not possibly have fallen and neither he nor Eve had chosen to disobey God in Eden.  It then followed that Jesus could not possibly be presented by the priesthood as God’s token of forgiveness for humankind’s entanglement with that inescapable condition.

There is a remarkable verse in the New Testament (Matthew 16:23, revised c. 75 CE) that pretty much states what is wrong with all hard-line and fundamentalist organized religions.  Jesus is portrayed as speaking to Simon Peter, saying, “…thou art an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of  God, but those that be  of men.”  The real kicker in this scene is that this reproach of Peter comes after verse 19, or immediately after Peter had been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!  The implication is that the church that he is to establish is intended to be the challenger of the infinite creative powers that are personified as “God.”  There is profound Gnostic wisdom hidden here.

The reason for this rebuke of Peter by Jesus is that Peter stands as the representative of the continuity in matter-existence that resists the necessity of its own transformation.  Thus Jesus utters the accusation that Peter savours those thing that be of men.  What is illustrated with this peculiar scene is that the confinement of consciousness in our physical-matter forms is what traumatizes the human ego, for it is ego that is obsessed with material identity and wishes to dam the natural flow that we interpret as life/death.

Mankind has lost sight of the soul-saving truth that religion is made for man: man is not made for any particular religion.

Knowing this, we are justified in saying to hard-line and hierarchical style religions, just as Jesus is alleged to have said to Peter, “Get the behind me Satan: you are an offence to me.”

Neo-Cons’ Concept of Evil

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by chouck017894

Neo-conservatism has burrowed into the American psyche and guts through the last few decades and has flourished due primarily to the juvenile Christian perception of evil.  As a result, the nature of American politics evolved increasingly into a radical and warmongering style that in turn infected and attacked the very roots of our democracy.

The neo-conservative attitude seems to consistently struggle upon the quicksand-assessment that human beings are innately wicked, and the heart that pumps this attitude rests in the ribs of biblical myth that presents the idea of original sin.  That fairy tale approach to what is the natural interfacing and resultant friction met in everyday life permits them only the premise that humans do “evil” for the perverse gratification of it!  Consequently they themselves have come to embody and exemplify that virulent interpretation that they so vehemently denounce.

Of course the neo-cons insist that they alone faithfully embody only the good and wholesome attributes favored by god, and all others are aligned with Lucifer and are irrational villains.  From this sand fortress they then feel secure enough in god’s graciousness to hurl grenades of slander and libel against any life expressions that do not match up with their narrow understanding of Creation’s diversity.  Thus self-blinded it became only a skip and a jump to selling weapons of mass destruction to other authoritarians, making deals with brutal dictators, counting corporate profits from invasions of foreign countries, and shrugging off the innocent civilian lives lost from indulging in bombing “infidels.”

Through the decades as radical religionism contaminated American government there has grown, for the neo-cons, an awkward bewilderment expressed in their plaintive question, “Why have they (the foreign nations) come to despise us so?”  Self righteousness is a peculiar form of blindness.  Compromise through negotiations with the “enemy” is held by the neocons to be unacceptable, for it allows respectful coexistence of diverse elements.  They refuse to recognize or accept that the activation of countless diverse forces served as the foundation of Creation and is what continues to sustain it—a truth lightly alluded to in the book of Genesis and confirmed by science.  Nonetheless, the neo-cons and the Christian radical right formed an adulterous relationship under which diplomacy and negotiation was rejected for apocalyptic-style military solutions.

By biblical standards this is judged to be fully acceptable.  After all, in biblical tales god repeatedly erupted in wrath and punished all of Israel for the transgressions of a few, as elaborated in Joshua 7:1-12, and 2 Samuel 21:2.  Under such Bible guidance it is deemed okay to strike at anyone who oppose neo-cons’ plans, even the patently unjust ones, under the self-delusion that they are “doing god’s work.”  In that stance, however, all they are declaring is their impatience with god, for he, god, is in the habit of taking intolerable amounts of time to express his will.