I find it a little surreal talking about evil with any real clarity because it is so weighted in stories of fantasy, monsters, fallen angels, hell and brimstone, red demons etc. So, let me start with this: Christian Scripture is heavy on the notion that all things work out for those who love. Then where does the big “E” come in to play? I’ve never met the prince of darkness personally, but my first hand experiences of evil through perhaps his minions were good enough to convince me of its existence. In addition to be donned, the Father of Lies, I think another good moniker for Satan is the consummate actor and tailor: one who tempts us to layer ourselves in costumes and convinces us to portray ourselves as anything but what we truly are. We then, are confused so deeply that we lose the ability to ask for the right kind of spiritual help.
For example, look at the chaos that gun violence has brought to this country. There are those who think the government is evil because they believe their second amendment rights are threatened. There are those who think the guns themselves are evil and that they should be eradicated. I’m sure God has entertained prayers to abolish both. Where then, does the true root of evil lie? I would say the true root lies in the most fantastic misdirection of all. First that God has not conquered Satan yet (in classic terms) and we think we know exactly what evil looks like and what fuels it. When Jesus died, and before he rose, we are told of a short trip he made to hell where he basically opened a big ol’ can of whoop ass. What does this mean? I think that the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice, essentially is that for those who choose Him, evil cannot infect them…they have a spiritual vaccination, of sorts. Evil is like an opportunistic virus; it can not survive on its own. Without the human spirit to infect, it can never thrive. Think for a moment, what better way to create a foothold in human lives than for evil to skulk around shrouded in disguise in order to infect our perception and cloud our vision. Evil, then, like a plague that spreads like wildfire, we are paralyzed by fear and become obsessed with how to combat it, even though we’ve had the cure all along. And we fight it, most often in the name of God and religion. Aldous Huxley, in The Devils of Loudoun (regarding the crusades) explains it like this:
“Those who crusade not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptively worse than it was before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil, we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself…To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous.”
So I say, the best way to combat evil in our lives is first and foremost to practice love, and never let fear take hold of how we live our lives. Then, and only then, will we develop the acumen to recognize, free from disguise the face of evil…I will save that for another post.