Fandango gives us a difficult one today, but I try not to group people into categories. Religion remains important in the lives of many people, although in recent years there seems to be less commitment than in the past and that is because the church is not as powerful as it once was. I don’t think that more evil is being done by those who are absolutely sure of the rightness of their faith and their beliefs, than it is being done by any other group. We have a tendency to hold religious people up to a certain set of values, which is higher than we expect from the ordinary people, but they are only people that were given a free will to be righteous, or to become sinners. John Dillinger said that he robbed banks, because that was where the money was and since money makes the world go around, it is a great temptation for everyone. This world is not an easy place to survive in and even some angels fell from heaven.
Without evil, would we have good? Evil is an extremely broad concept, but I see it as being a profound wickedness. Killing anything without a good reason is evil, lying can be evil, hatred, envy and gossip can all be evil, committing atrocities such as rape, genocide and torture are certainly evil and even something as simple as eating the forbidden fruit is also seen as being evil, because it went against God’s wishes. All people do not share the same moral compass, so labels like “good” and “evil” are just basically words. People can use the word evil to describe anything that they don’t like.
Fewer people today say that they believe in God or in heaven or hell, so they are not worried about doing something that might be considered as being evil, as there is no place that they will be damned to. All people have the potential to commit crimes and temptation can stare any person in the face, no one can guarantee what they will do, so you should on no account rush to condemn anyone, as you yourself can never be sure what you would do unless you are walking around in their shoes. Many men and women who engage in a lifetime of criminal behavior profess to be devout adherents to a religion. They may attend a church, mosque, or synagogue, read religious writings, quote the Scripture, take classes, light candles and say the rosary devoutly everyday and observe all of the holidays. Some will send their children to schools that are religiously affiliated and adorn their bodies with religious jewelry and erect elaborate religious shrines in their homes. Having an association with religious practices does not make a person good.
Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #32 which asks if you agree that more evil has been done in this world by those absolutely sure of the rightness of their faith and their beliefs.