Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.

- Rabindranath Tagore

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good vs. Evil

I am in the middle of a chapter (whose reading is long overdue, ah, the life of a college student) of my sociology book about politics. There is a section on War and Dehumanization. It has discussed how a man can torture another and has brought it down to a level of good vs. evil.

"As sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani (1970) stressed, dehumanization is aided by the tendency for prolonged conflicts to be transformed into a struggle between good and evil. The enemy, of course, represents evil in the equation. [. . .] The thinking goes like this: To defeat absolute evil requires the suspension of moral standards--for we are fighting for the precarious survival of good."

I was struck by the idea of the "survival of good" as if it could be destroyed. Of course, I, without realizing, equate good with the ultimate good that is God. I think our thinking has been tainted by this in some way. It's weird to think about this idea because it has such implications. Is good a position or is it state of being or is it a being? What is good? Evil has been purported to be easily defined as the absence of good. I think until an adequate understanding of good is established we cannot define evil. This is where I have run out of smart words and am simply questioning...thinking...pursuing the truth that I know with all of my being has its source in my God. Perhaps in the months or years to come I'll have a few more words on this rather important question...

1 comment:

[hannah]* said...

hey Caleb, I came to this from your Facebook.....you have some really good thoughts....i enjoy reading what you have to say. --hannah--