Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Political Post....


I just spent a few hours watching the Rick Warren special at Saddleback Church during which he asked questions of both presidential candidates. Some of the questions were very good and I picked the most revealing one (in my opinion) to ask everyone at the end of this post.

It's probably no surprise that my thinking is more in alignment with Senator Obama than Senator McCain - although I agreed and disagreed with some of the answers from both of them.

I agree with Senator McCain on pro-life issues but felt only one aspect of the pro-life debate was addressed. Pro-life isn't just about abortion. It is about the death penalty, war and a whole host of issues that involve respect for life. I can't agree with him that sending troops to foreign lands to die for US business interests is in any way "pro-life". I also do not believe that the death penalty in any society that has institutional racism and classism can ever be "pro-life".

I disagreed with Senator Obama about Clinton's "workfare" program. I believe it is little more than indentured servitude.

I disagreed with both of them on the definition of marriage. I support same sex marriage.

Of course, those are just a few things. There's much more but I won't bore everyone with my personal political views. :)

The question I thought was best - and most revealing of worldview and mindset was the following - which I also ask all of you:

Does evil exist? If so, should it be ignored, negotiated with, confronted or eliminated?

~*

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Evil cannot be eliminated. It can be overcome with good. We all have to choose. Laura

womaninawindow said...

I might have to come back. I'm not even sure how to answer the first question. I don't know if I spend time thinking about it if I can answer that. My urge is to say that evil doesn't exist as such, but rather it is a product of an environment. It would stand to reason then that if we work to improve the environments of all, the odds of evil will diminish. That's all I've got for now. I'm wondering how they answered.

flutter said...

I have seen evil. I have been forever changed by evil. So yes, it exists.

JBelle said...

Evil is very real and lurks in each of our lives. We turn away from the dark and walk to the light.

And absolutely, a pro life is not just about abortion! How can it be?!

SavannahFaith said...

Having been touched by evil very early in my life, I KNOW without question that it exists. Yet, I maintain a different view of it from most others. I believe good and evil are the same thing. Creation and destruction are the same event -- you cannot create something without destroying something. The moment of greatest evil is also the moment of greatest potential for good.

Evil cannot be ignored, negotiated with, confronted or eliminated. We cannot make it go away through any means known to this earth.

Evil will happen. Is happening. Period.

Evil exists because good exists and neither can occur without the other.

mamaneeds2rant said...

Evil is as tangible as the earth we stand on. That is why I think that we all must bring as much goodness into the world as we can offer, to counteract the evil. That being said, sometimes you must confront evil acts to protect the innocent.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I was going to say that evil exists and that I have to think about my feelings on the second part of the question.

Then Mamaneeds2rant put it perfectly, IMHO.

Amy Y said...

I don't think "evil" is a noun. I think it's a adverb (adjective?). I think people do very evil things. But I don't believe that there are evil forces out in the world forcing people to do hurtful things.

ThomasLB said...

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but the Hindus look at it not as "good" and "evil," but as "near God" and "away from God."

That's how I see the world.

painted maypole said...

the comments are fascinating... which happens, of course, when you ask such a great question.

Hmmm.... I think that most things that are labeled as evil are people behaving really badly... and that we can work to lessen that greatly by creating a culture of love. That being said, I have heard things from people I love and trust (and fortunately have not had to encounter myself) that seem to have no explanation other than pure evil forces (i.e. a friend of mine has encountered Charles Manson several times, and the stories will send chills up your spine...)

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Yes, evil exists, as long as mankind has existed, so has evil. I don't think there is any getting rid of it either, it's part of being human. I suppose the best you can do is to be a good person, avoid the darker aspects of humanity when you can, and help others who fall victim to those who have embraced the agressive "evil" side of being human.

Suki said...

First things first, "evil" needs to be understood. After that, I feel it can be overcome.
The sad part? There are limits to human strength and perseverance.

Lex said...

I believe evil exists as part of the collective consciousness -- and only because it is part of that consciousness. Therefore, I believe it can just as easily cease to exist.

When the collective consciousness is dominated by thoughts of separation -- that I am separate from you and from the collective whole -- it breeds competition, domination, greed, aggression and all other forms of "evil".

Everyone's motivations are "right" in his own eyes. So, what one person may perceive as another man's evil, is perfectly normal and acceptable to the one -- if it serves him. This kind of madness persists as long we fail to see our connection to all others.

When it comes to the so called War on Terror, the evil America perceives is righteousness to the perpetrators. This doesn't make one "truth" superior to the other -- it just makes all involved deluded. America is deluded to think that dropping bombs on another nation doesn't directly hurt her, as much as the other nation is deluded to think that their attacks don't hurt them. We aren't separated from the rest of humankind. There is no us and them. The whole suffers when one suffers.

So, I don't think evil is to be ignored. I think that it has to be addressed where it exists -- in the collective consciousness. My effort is to attempt to elevate my level of consciousness in order to contribute in my own small way to an elevation of the whole.

jen said...

i have to admit i began watching with a bias towards not appreciating the faith angle but was happily surprised by the content of the questions - I appreciated the point Obama made on our role in regards to poverty and agree, the evil discussion was interesting.

citizen of the world said...

I find "evil" to be a troubling word. I believe people commit acts that would reasonably be considered "evil" for their viciousness. I believe that there are people who are lacking in a conscience (sociopaths) and do not hesitate to do truly horrific things. But I think that is unrelated to any concept of the divine. And I think when you start putting the concept of evil into it, you tread dangerously close to the justification of violence in return for evil.

RKK said...

Lex's comments really resonated with me...and they were put much better than I could.

I currently believe that the root of evil is in the perversion of our (or any being's) urge to survive.

wheelsonthebus said...

Of course evil exists. You let me know if you figure out how to eliminate it.

Catherine said...

Ooooh! I got butterflies of excitement in my stomach when I read that question. Since I seem to be unable to type deep thoughts while pregnant (I still have them and I SO miss discussing them with you and others on my blog) I'm going to not answer it.

But I will say two things: I missed that interview and I wish I'd seen it. And, what I did instead was finish the book "Wicked" - which entirely asks that same question...

slouching mom said...

Evil certainly exists. We ought to confront it, even though I feel pretty sure that we cannot eliminate it.

velvet said...

I think that evil exists as a comparison of behavior to acceptable societal norms, but differences from one society to another cloud the definition somewhat.

That being said, I think that there realy are people who are so morality-free as to fit a universal definition of evil (there are plenty of real life villians to choose from... pick your favorite). It's a typical bell curve with a few horrifically bad people at one end and a few exceptionally good people at the other, with all the rest of us in various places in between, so I doubt that it would be possible to eliminate it. All we can do is try to manage it, I suppose. How to successfully do that? Beats me.

Great question, though!

Stacia said...

As a historian, I know evil exists, but I don't know the best way to deal with it. I don't think it will ever go away. I don't think evil has anything to do with the environment and I know that many people who do evil things do them in the name of good.

hele said...

I've never been sure of this one. I like to believe that evil is a side effect of fear and the pain that comes from self-hatred. But sometimes I wonder if that just what I want to believe.

Defiantmuse said...

I'm not exactly sure what "evil" means other than being used in contrast to "good". So in that case evil surely exists. And it must in order for good to be present as well. Unfortunately that's sort of the balance of the universe. And more importantly, it's just an innate part of human nature. It's the choices we make as to how that's played out. But I think it exists within each of us...though on what level it depends on the inidivdual.

Cardozo said...

The question is, why do we need the word evil? What purpose is it serving, and is it serving that purpose well?

I do not see a reason for the word, since there is always a better word to describe what's going on. (e.g. defensiveness, insanity, anger, disillusionment, despair). The word "evil" leads straight-away to judgment rather than compassion.

Los Angelista said...

Great question, Chani. I don't believe in the devil/satan but I do believe that our egos can develop into a dark, selfish and brutal being. Evil is the absence of good, similar to how light is the absence of darkness. But we'd be idiots to think that darkness isn't a fact. It exists even though it is really just the absence of something else. So evil exists, too, and we cannot close our eyes to it. We have to work to eradicate it from our own hearts!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I believe, reluctantly, that evil exists but not that it afflicts only the people of a particular cultural bias. Everything in nature has an equal opposite, and without evil, we would be unable to recognize good.

It most definitely should NOT be ignored and it cannot be negotiated with because that requires the kind of trustworthiness which evil does not possess. So it must be confronted wherever it threatens to hurt good people.

As Edmund Burke said,"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."