Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are we Evil? Part 3: The Devil and Jared Loughner

At some point, Jared Loughner made a value judgment. He was fed up, unable any longer to silence the piercing conviction that kept rolling around in his disorganized mind. Before he did anything, the course of events was set in motion when he decided that his need to act out his conviction was more valuable than the life of at least one other human being. I believe this sinister decision was not made by him alone, it was the result of his finally surrender to the torture of evil.
In Mark 14 and 15, The members of the religious ruling body did not take too kindly of Jesus‘ criticizing their lavish position and lifestyle. It seems that they had to demonize Jesus, because taking him seriously would have required them to humble themselves and change. They chose to elevate their position of power above the life of Jesus. Although the Roman governor Pilate was highly conflicted about his role in Jesus’ execution, in the end he also chose not to pursue upsetting the status quo and saving the life of Jesus. 
Another fundamental element of evil that M. Scott Peck discusses in his book “People of the Lie” is the combination of narcissism and laziness. Narcissism involves an overly grandiose optimistic view of the self. Laziness in this context involves the inability to consider the possibility of being wrong or taking a different path. C.S. Lewis called this pride the “complete anti-God state of mind.”
To me, this is another frightening view of evil. I have personally seen and researched how every single person (especially me) is in some way capable of narcissism, laziness, and pride. It is like a cancer cell that seems to exist within all of us, with the danger of excessive replication always lurking close by.  
Thankfully, there is also an opposing force which also exists in the world. The grace of God has given us compassion, forgiveness, and humility wrapped up in the person of Jesus. It was this spirit that manifested itself on that day in Tucson, through the selflessness of George Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, and Patricia Maisch. The story of Jesus also testifies that love overcomes the power of evil. With his help, we are exceedingly capable of humbling ourselves and putting forth the effort to do good in our lives.

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