Last month I wrote an article “Does evil exist?” It turned into one of the most-read and most-commented articles on this blog. Today I received a comment from “Jeff” that said:
You are an idiot…evil exists. killing is evil, murder is evil… you are evil for your lying tongue.
Actually that’s the edited version, I removed the F-bombs. You can read his unedited comments and my replies at the bottom of that “Does evil exist?” page. In case you are wondering, no I do not allow abusive comments on this blog, but Jeff’s had that perfect combination of (a) raising a valid question and (b) being funny rather than insulting.
Is murder evil?
I’ve already said that I don’t believe that evil exists. It’s just a lazy label that people use when they can’t define why they disagree with something. If you read my “Does evil exist” article you already know my answer to this question is going to be “no.” I’m hoping you still read today’s article though to see:
- how we explain “why murder is not evil” to an angry teenager;
- why people who think evil exists are themselves the source of “evil” actions; and
- what I think our responsibility is to educate the community, and why this can really change consciousness of humanity.
Murder is not evil. Murder is murder, it’s a crime and in almost all cases it causes terrible pain and suffering.
Not all murder is evil. Sometimes good people go to jail for murder (I’m thinking of a rape victim who kills in self-defence, or people who assist a cancer victim to die without pain). There are lots of good people with big hearts that are charged with murder even though they are not “evil.”
Is murder ever evil? What about psychopaths? Are they evil?
It is tempting to call a person who kills innocent people “evil.” The fact is – now scientifically demonstrated – that brain damage causes people to be psychopaths. There are types of trauma that block people’s empathy, enabling them to harm others without remorse. Saying a murderer is evil is like saying witches should be burned. It is Middle Ages thinking.
Psychopaths are not evil people. They are damaged people. They are victims who need help. Demonizing them as “monsters” does not help them, the victims, or society. Yes they should be locked up, but not because they are “evil.” They should be locked up to protect innocent people. Evil has nothing to do with it, science does.
Calling a murder “evil” helps no one. It is just sloppy thinking using empty words. But saying that a murderer has brain damage to the part of the brain that causes empathy is meaningful. It begs the question “can we cure this person?”
Here’s a really interesting question. If a murder is caused by some brain damage to the empathy section, “Is there a test for this brain damage so that we can predict who else might commit murder in the future and help them now?” (I know, it’s a bit Minority Report, but you have to admit it’s a really exciting question.)
These are real scientific questions that will benefit humanity. You can only ask those questions if you have a scientific mindset and stop using empty words like “evil.”
Imagine if, in the future, there was a simple test for who was most likely to kill or rape others. What if you could find them as children and help them? You might reduce violent crime by 90%. But – this is the critical bit – you can only do that if you think of murder as a symptom, the effect rather than the cause.
Our entire medical and legal systems are stuck on symptoms, probably because of our history of believing in good and evil. That’s why we lock people up in jails instead of trying to fix the root cause of their behavior and prevent future crimes.
In other words – people who believe in “evil” use the word to avoid taking responsibility. It’s a way to dismiss something or someone you don’t agree with. It’s only when we delete the word “evil” from our vocabulary that we can start to make huge changes in the world, to solve the world’s problems instead of creating them.
Yes, I am saying that saving humanity means growing up and letting go of duality like “good and evil.” We (RPT practitioners and people on this wavelength) have a responsibility to educate our community. We need to help people to grow up and stop whitewashing the world with “good and evil.”
If you understand this article, if you “get” what I write on this blog, then please help. Chances are you know at least one person like “Jeff” who wants to lash out and attack people who say things he doesn’t understand. Try to help. Try to talk his language (minus the F-bombs). Help people to understand that believing in “right” and “wrong” or “good” and “evil” is what justified the 9/11 attacks (“for Allah”) or George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq (“I checked with God”).
In other words, the people who believe in “evil” also believe in it’s opposite, call it “righteousness.” They believe that they are righteous and everyone who disagrees with them is evil. It is these people I am most afraid of. The 9/11 bombers were brought up to believe in a world in which good and evil exist. A world in which America was evil and dying for Allah is good.
People who believe in evil scare me. And they should scare you. They are the people who burned witches in the middle ages, or communists in the 1950s. They are the people who are trying to criminalise spiritual healing techniques today.
This is no longer about “does evil exist?” That debate is about is as archaic as “is the world flat?” We have grown up. The new conversation is about how can we educate the public, to help people to understand all the shades of gray which you can appreciate when you stop painting in black and white.
We have a duty to educate the public about cause and effect. To train people to ask questions like “why did they do this?” Or “what happened to that person to cause them to act this way?” These are the sort of real questions that give real answers that help us to understand human behaviour.
Your comments and questions
OK I’ve finished my little rant! What do you think? I invite all our readers to comment on these issues such as:
- is murder evil? Do you agree with my conclusions?
- was I fair in my reply to Jeff?
- do we have a duty to educate the public?
- do you agree with me that people who believe in good and evil are potentially dangerous?
- what conversations can you have today to help people to release dangerous thinking?
I look forward to hearing from you.