Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Existence of Evil

The Existence of Evil


Amitakh Stanford

(republished from the Nara site)

15th May 2005

From the earliest days in this body I was aware of the immense burden of Evil. While children of my age were usually carefree, I was often saddened by the amount of evil I perceived.

Many people do not believe in the existence of absolute evil, even though all at some time in their lives have experienced evil and the influence of evil.

However, unacceptable expressions of belief in evil forces seem to be increasing. For example, not only is devil worship on the rise in the United States of America and elsewhere, it now frequently appears in some of its extreme forms, as in human sacrifice.

For the person with a rationalistic, empirical perspective, all talk about demonic power and evil is nonsense to them. They see it as a reversion to primitive superstition. So, from that perspective, whatever we call evil in human experience is regarded as only the regrettable consequence of faulty breeding, adverse environment, childhood trauma, or poor judgement. According to this view, a demonic force is no more needed to explain evil than is a transcendent, benign deity to provide justification for good.

If we were to assume that human beings have freewill, the problem of evil could become a problem of choice, if one were to know all the consequences of one's choice. But one does not always know the consequences. The saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions has a lot of truth in this sense. If humans lack freewill, there can be no moral evil but a more perplexing problem of physical evil.

One could argue that evil stemming from freewill is incomprehensible since the movement of freewill cannot be analysed causally. If "sin" arises from a prior deficiency in the intellect, then God would be responsible for that deficiency and consequently be the ultimate cause of "sin".

It can be argued that if "sin" is the result of a prior fault, such as greed, then either the greed is God's work and responsibility, or it is itself the "sin", and the whole argument goes in endless circles.

The affirmation that evil exists, yet, it is not absolute, only seems to triumph over the dilemma of either denying the reality of evil because of God's goodness and intrinsic power, or denying God's goodness and infinite power because of the reality of evil.

The existence of evil is not illogically inconsistent with God's existence, if that God is both good and evil or purely evil. If we were to resolve the theistic problem of evil by explaining that the evil around us is due to human merit and demerit accumulated from prior karmic actions, then God is not morally responsible for the evil in the world because He merely administers the consequences of our karmic acts. Hence, the individual agents are morally accountable. If this is so, then, all evil is moral evil and human beings are held morally accountable. This also implies that there is no natural evil per se. Such an argument invariably leads to other arguments which are never satisfactory.

Many have been puzzled with the problem of evil and cannot comprehend why evil exists when the creator of all things is supposed to be infinitely good. Since one cannot dismiss the unlimited goodness of God, one cannot accept that God could be responsible for the evil we perceive in this world. One then wonders how a perfect and benevolent God who created the world could permit so much misery, suffering, pain, and injustice. Hence, the problem is that a solution had to be found for the dilemma of the simultaneous presence of good and evil which would accommodate all disputations. In the end, one seeks the ethical solution to the problem of the origin of evil or theodicy in the Christian view of human volition and freewill.

If we were to accept Leibniz's explanation that because God is limited to what is logically possible, the existence of evil is necessary in this "best of all possible worlds". This would lend support to the argument that evil is in some respect a necessary good. But how can we place confines on supramental logic as some claim? Some would accept the argument that if God is characterised by the traditional but conceptually restrictive omni-predicates, evil should never be allowed to exist unless we are prepared to accept that a good God could allow the existence of both good and evil.

However, if one considers that an evil entity is in control of this world of Virtual Reality, and that a good God exists outside of this evil, super-imposed Virtual Reality, then the existence of absolute evil makes sense. That is, the God of this world is not the True Creator, but is an evil impostor who imposes external evil upon us.

Therefore, the belief that all evil results from a human's free act is simply not true. The mixture of good and evil in humans is due to the entrapment of Divine energy in an evil environment. On this plane, good and evil are so intertwined, that even a seemingly good act is tainted with some degree of evil. The powers of evil, which do exist and do threaten us, do not exist out of necessity. Good can, and should, exist without evil.

When one feels the impact of brutal destruction, or experiences an overwhelming sense of meaninglessness and futility, the mind is often compelled to attack those who support the evil system. It is too disturbing emotionally to feel the reality of evil and, at the same time, believe in a good God of love, wisdom and compassion. If evil, brutal destruction, and selfish, cruel exploitation are allowed to exist, there cannot be a God of goodness who is in control of this world.

Humans have experienced utter despair and emptiness and been struck by the force of negativity. Granted that the God in control of this world has the power to exclude all evil but does not, he must be a god of evil in a world where evil is so real and powerful.

Evil cannot be forced out simply by denying its existence. It cannot disappear simply by an argument; its existence or non-existence is independent of any such consideration. Violence and sex in alarmingly increasing amounts, as shown on television, movies, magazines and sensational fiction, are now constantly promoted all over the world. Modern slavery of all types is on the increase in the technologically advanced world. Many men, women, children and animals are being exploited, tortured and unjustly treated throughout the world. Yet, such movements do not seem to heighten people's concern for truly malevolent and destructive evil. Quite the contrary, these activities have led to frivolous preoccupation with evil.

Evil is not just wanton killing. Evil consists of the nexus of suffering and the conscious intent to cause suffering. Anything that deliberately causes suffering is evil, whether it is moral evil or natural evil. But the heart of evil goes beyond violence and suffering.

To say that evil is only apparent suggests that evil is only an illusion. Even if some evils are illusory then the fact that the illusion exists and makes us suffer and often blocks our path to the True-Light God is itself an evil. The mere fact that humans and animals are subjected to evil, and all its horrendous consequences, which invariably include pain and suffering, is evil.

Evil is real and immediate. Therefore, we should on no account trivialize it. Any entity perverse enough to create this material world with its grossness, misery, pain and suffering, must indeed be evil. It is simultaneously sad and annoying to listen to those ignorant people repeating in parrot fashion what they have been erroneously taught - that "you must have evil to balance the good" or that "you create your own negativity; you attract negativity to yourself, otherwise you can be happy".

This is as nauseating, arrogant and as fraudulent as saying "the Bible is the word of God; therefore, it is true and valid". That the Bible is the word of God is not a statement of fact. It is a statement made by man to deceive, control and manipulate people. If only negativity were due to just thinking negatively! Let us not forget that babies have unpleasantries and illnesses that are beyond their control. Have they purposely attracted the negativity to themselves?

The usual excuse amongst some people is that "it is their karma". Where does one draw a line? If good and evil truly do not exist, then everything in this world need not be taken seriously at all by anyone. It does appear that when one is in a negative mood, one seems to attract all sorts of negativities. Contrary to common belief, karma is an evil imposition by Darkness. It has never been justly meted out.

When one experiences a negative reaction or some negative experience, one is already swamped by negativity which then prompts one to act and think negatively. We are constantly bombarded by all types of negativity floating around our environment. When one's energy field is wide and strong, one can bounce off the negativity quicker and easier.

Unfortunately, when one is swamped by the negative energy, one is swept under by it. Hence, one is adversely affected by it. When two opposite energies meet, often there is an outward display of negative reaction and response.

Thus, there can be many reasons why one is negative. What is important is that we must make a conscious effort to eliminate the negativity.

We have reached a point in this century that evil is so rampant that many things that would not have been tolerated in the past are considered acceptable. Torture and massacres of civilians are becoming commonplace, not only in war-torn countries, but also in nations at peace.

In the wake of all the stark evil in the world around us, any thinking, moral person would have to conclude that there is absolute, external evil; that there is an evil Force that engulfs the world.

The denial of the existence of absolute evil is indeed a self denial!

© 2005 Dr. Amitakh Stanford & AHSAF

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