Saturday, June 27, 2015

And Deliver Us From Evil

Evil is a hard concept for us post-moderns. Like all moral judgments in today’s western world, evil is continually being redefined. The new moral definitions all seem to center around how an action makes individuals feel.   In addition to the redefinition of morality there is also a new methodology for the social conquest of these values. In order for a new moral to take hold it must win the hearts and minds of the masses. This transformational process is marketed and promoted by all forms of media until the feelings of a few become the feelings of the majority. In short, in our post modern world, the source of morality comes from the feelings of a few who have the resources to market their desires until the majority are brainwashed into accepting them as good. With feelings guiding the masses, and large financial treasuries steering our feelings, the capacity to change the view of a thing from evil to good is within reach for those who have the resources. 

There is however another powerful mover behind the new morality, and that is a common human dysfunction. I am referring to the pervasive human sexual dysfunction that tugs at everyone’s feelings.  If we note the major changes in moral values for the last fifty years, we will find that many of them are sexual in origin. More specifically, these changes display a move from sexual conservatism and asceticism to sexual liberalism and excess. Consider the movement that began with decriminalizing free sex, which lead to the legalization of abortion, the easing divorce laws, and now the legitimizing same sex marriage, the connection and the trajectory of the refining of morality is clear. Humans are sexually dysfunctional, and there is a string desire to make that dysfunction the norm, an dot stop calling it evil, but instead call it good.

This massive moral change could not have occurred in a spiritually and philosophically developed society.  I say this because even the slightest grasp of sound metaphysics eliminates the possibility that individual feelings are the ultimate source for good or evil. I am specifically referring to the branches of philosophical metaphysics called ontology and epistemology. Ontology is the study of being, namely independent and dependent being, and epistemologies the study of knowledge, namely the mind and consciousness.

To put it in the simplest of terms, human beings are not self-propagating or self-sustaining beings, rather they are dependent beings. Humans have their being in one non-dependent being that all the classical religions of the world call God with a big “G”.  Humans are what we are, and know what we know by participating in ultimate being, and not by our own individual power or feelings. In other words, goodness is God and evil is the absence of God. It is in God that we divide good from evil, not in our individualistic feelings. This study requires a great deal of humility and democracy, our voices are not the only voices. There does exist a history of the human race, and in that history there both good and evil. There is a history in philosophical and religious understanding, and acting apart from that history is neither safe or wise, in fact, it is capricious and childish.

Without a doubt, the most influential religion in our western world has been Christianity. Unfortunately, since 1054 AD, the west’s brand of Christianity has suffered from all kinds of problems. Of most importance for this topic is the western problem of legal satisfaction. In western Christianity the main point of man’s relationship to god is to attain a legal satisfaction for man regarding his offense towards God. This has painted God as an angry Judge who has been scorned and wants retribution. The ultimate consequence of this has been for the masses to say, “I want no such God”. This means I want no non-dependent being, being is a mystery, I am the only being that counts.  The angry God needing satisfaction, creates a desire for there to be no God! 

The original Christianity of the east, which was held in common for nearly 1000 years, does not suffer from this problem of legal satisfaction. Mainly because they knew no such angry God. The God of original Christians is a loving God, and our relationship to him is guided by a statement from saint Athanasius: “God became man the mankind might become like God.” The pre-supposition of this ancient Christianity is twofold. First that man is dysfunctional and has drifted from Godlikeness, and two, because Christ who is God, became man, mankind can now be healed from their dysfunction.  In summary, acknowledging that our spiritual illness affects our minds and desires allows the ancient Christian to turn to Christ for transformation and not to the imaginations of dysfunctional emotions.

Evil in every shape, is the absence of God and therefore the absence of Godlikeness. There is no evil that can ever make the human experience good, no matter how many people tell each other that the evil is okay.  There is no evil that does not hurt us. Free sex is by far the most damaging of all of these evils, and it is the evil that paved the way for the revolution that followed. The reason Christians in the west were silenced is not only the rejection of their angry God, but also the rejection of their hypocrisy. Specifically, because they were totally silent and the free sex in our society, but beside themselves with indignation towards homosexuality. That relative silence towards the rampant free sexuality of our culture, and extreme boisterousness against homosexuality excluded them from the conversation at large.

The way forward is to rediscover the loving God of the eastern Christians, and to love everyone as God loves them. This means that really love those held captive by the dysfunctionally of free sex, divorce, abortion, and homosexuality equally. Christians in the west must relearn to consider all sexual dysfunctions as a spiritual disease in need of healing, and seek to be a help and guide in the healing of the soul. As for my family and friends that suffer under these dysfunctions, they are easy to love and respect. Nevertheless, I pray for them just as I pray for my own healing from all of the evil that dwells in me.  Friends, we are all sick, may the Lord deliver us from evil.

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