Evil Thoughts and Awesome People
There are certain words I try not to use. Here are a few:
Language helps us define who we are. It gives us a frame for seeing and interpreting the world. Using these words gets confusing because, for me, they all mean making a judgement call. At this point in life, I don’t feel capable to judge.
Another word I try not to use is “evil.” Newscasters, bloggers and people in general conversation have used the word “evil” to describe the shooter in Connecticut. Do you consider this person evil? I don’t. From everything I’ve read, the shooter had some severe mental health issues. He obviously didn’t have the “empathy chip” that keeps human beings from doing horrible things to one another. To me, that spells mental illness more than the idea of evil, of Satan being this puppet master pulling the strings to make we mortal beings do bad things. If you’d like to discuss this further, by all means, I’m open to other ideas and viewpoints. However, that’s not really the point of this post.
See, the idea of “evil” is such a tenuous and complex notion that I don’t truly feel well versed enough to talk about what evil even is. Luckily, I have friends who are a lot more educated in theology than I.
The first person I turned to was a high school buddy. He has a M.A. in theology from a conservative Christian university. Second person I asked was an old camp friend who has a Ph.D. in theology and a Master’s in Divinity. Surely, between these two individuals, I could get a clearer idea of how “evil” is defined, right? Well, sorta.
One said the concept of evil is the hardest thing to wrap one’s mind around in theology. Both theologians cited St. Augustine’s definition of evil. These conversations are on going and I’m learning a lot.
But, even THAT is not the point of this post. The point, you ask? The whole point is how lucky I feel.
See, if I need to know theological thoughts around evil, I have theologians I can turn to. If I need to know how to field dress a deer, I have people I can turn to. If I need stats for an upcoming speech I’m giving, I have experts who can give these to me off the top of their heads. If I need financial advice, I’ve got people who have that expertise. Legal advice? Same thing. If I need a kick in the butt to do what I know I should do, there are people there to do that for me.
I just feel very, very fortunate to have relationships which cross all socio-economic boundaries to help me have a well rounded viewpoint on the world. Just the fact you are reading this means you’re one of those people. Thank you for being you.