Overcoming Evil With Good

I think a lot about what it means to “overcome evil with good”. There’s a lot of crap going on that qualifies for extremely undesirable and detrimental (my working definition of “evil”) and we seem to know squat about how to handle it, let alone how to eliminate and prevent it.

So how do we overcome evil with good?

Unfortunately, information seems scarce. Certain kinds of information seem overly abundant, but it’s all pretty theoretical and abstract. Most of it takes this form: Do A, B, and C and I/we/the gods promise that Z will happen. Promises, promises. You know it’s bullshit when they want to charge up front for the “secrets” that you need just to try the experiment. Why not give you a free trial so that you can see if it works as advertised, just like an app — unless they already know that it’s bullshit? Or even more to the point, if goodness and love and faith are supposedly the foundations for their wisdom, why not show some goodness, love, and faith in us? If I made you happy for life, are you telling me that you wouldn’t want to do something good for me in return? We’re supposed to take their word and trust them when they don’t trust us? And we’re not talking about scarce commodities here, mysteries so rare that it takes precautions to ensure that we properly compensate them — especially not if they keep blathering about abundance, LMAO! If there’s oodles, what’s to be stingy about? And if there isn’t oodles, what are they on about?

I’ve decided that “spiritual” teachers who do not follow a gift economy model — where the teacher gifts his wisdom, and students gift their gratitude in return — don’t know shit about spirituality. They are liars. That applies to the likes of Tolle, Chopra, Dyer, Hay, Braden, and pretty much every New Age or traditionally religious mega-master and guru that ever walked the face of the earth. Why don’t they do it like Jesus and Buddha did? Sure, they have helped thousands, maybe even millions, or so they and their adherents say — but so did I when I was a member of a Bible cult. Sure they offer amazing insights and truths. Who would pay attention to them if they didn’t?

But notice something: they don’t give straightforward, no-nonsense, practical how-to information about dealing with extremely undesirable and detrimental people and behaviors. If they even broach the subject of actual, real-life evil, they talk in riddles and circles and arcane methods that seem more like a sorcerer’s esoteric hocus-pocus than knowledge gained from actual experience. It’s got no grit, no sweat, no meat or bones, unbearably light. Telling you how it’s going to happen is not the same as telling you how it felt to do it. If you’re interested in fantastic theories, there are plenty out there, for sure. If you’re interested in actually overcoming evil with good in practice, on the ground in embodied life with real people, you want to listen to people who did it and hear how it turned out and what it was like to do it. Let’s not waste our time on posers.

I’m firmly convinced that we can develop real, practical how-to information about overcoming evil with good. But we can’t do it by avoiding evil. I think that plenty of such how-to information was developed over the centuries, but most of it got suppressed as it was discovered and created by, of course, people whose style would have been crimped by letting it get around. We’re supposed to believe that a writing fool like Paul the apostle only wrote 13 letters throughout his life as a follower of Jesus, and that the other apostles only wrote a few each and maybe a gospel? Bullshit.

Two things accompany tyrants, bullies, and other kinds of psychopath in every age: bloodletting and destruction of information. Whether bodies or books, the vehicles of truth that threaten the agendas of the vile are by them vilified, demonized, and burned or otherwise obliterated. Of course, for thousands of years most information was disseminated verbally, until the advent of the printing press and later technologies made dissemination of written information easier. The bizarre practice of killing people because of their beliefs or their alleged immorality was precisely in order to suppress their knowledge and prevent its spread. You don’t kill people just because they have wrong ideas — especially not when their only real crimes were changing others’ minds or some mumbo-jumbo about spiritual wickedness. But you do kill people when they know something that you don’t want other people to hear. Censorship of any sort has nothing to do with safeguarding truth, but always intends to suppress truth — the sole exception being trusted guardians protecting immature psyches from the trauma of confronting information they aren’t yet competent to process. Past a certain age and coming from strangers, though, it’s not an exceptional case but rather an excuse to subjugate.

Suppressing information used to be much easier to do before the advent of electronic storage and transmission. Now we have two things going for us. Information is now like a hydra — you can’t delete it fast enough to prevent new copies from popping up elsewhere. And the “going viral” phenomenon compresses the window of opportunity for suppressing information that’s passed a popularity tipping point to virtually no time at all. It’s complicated by the fact that you don’t know which information will go viral until after it does. You usually don’t even know that it’s out there until after it explodes, which is why ways to detect “trending” became so important. Bottom line, the force of suppression-resistance is with us, so we need to ride it: experiment and share and compare notes and promote what we learn!

There are a lot of facets to this. Some methods of overcoming evil with good are pretty familiar and accepted, such as love-bombing, killin em with kindness, or mirroring/pacing/modeling that leverages our instinctive, sympathetic, limbic responses to input. Inducing guilt is another — people prone to misbehave are people who feel badly about themselves, so if exploiting that self-hatred helps curb their bad behavior, that’s a greater good than letting them torment others guilt-free, at least in the short term. An old proverb goes, “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Those approaches work with people whose psyches are still characterized by significant levels of humanity. They still have consciences; their hearts can still be appealed to; they are still capable of the awareness of others that enable empathy and compassion; they can still feel remorse and regret. What about sociopaths and psychopaths and garden-variety bullies?

Literature on bullies seems to be booming, but otherwise that front is like a black hole of ignorance. Take the question of how to handle narcissists, for example. Pretty much everyone — professional psychologists and therapists included — advise escape and little else. That’s not overcoming — it’s insulating ourselves and letting wrongdoers go off and torment someone else, maybe someone we care about. That might be good enough for the small-minded and weak-hearted, but not if we care about more than just ourselves.

My aim for overcoming is to find ways that motivate wrongdoers to cease and desist on their own accord. Put them in positions where they need to choose the lesser of undesirables, forcing them to take the option that just happens to be what they’d do if they weren’t bent and twisted. They are masters at putting us into Catch-22s so that either way they get something they want. And we think we can’t learn their own game better than they did? Pshaw. Or incentivize them so that wrongdoing doesn’t pay as well as rightdoing does. Most ambitiously, (although not for the weak-hearted or impatient,) find ways to befriend them so that we can make contact with the scared shitless, puny, frail humans buried in hiding beneath tons of the bullshit of passive or overt aggression and peremptory defensiveness. Every bad person is an existentially threatened survivalist. If we can help them realize that they actually aren’t under cosmic, karmic, divinely omnipotent, universal attack, maybe we can get them to lay off their violence a tad. Maybe we can even help them out of their tortuous inner hells into a bit of light and acceptance.

This isn’t rocket science, but it is strategic psychology. I don’t buy the “but you can’t help them unless they want help” argument. Of course they want help — they’ve just got colossally warped ideas about what constitutes “help”, like every addict in the throes of craving and denial does. But it could very well be that we aren’t willing to do what’s necessary to help them unless they already want help. That seems quite obvious, actually.

We know that intelligent, caring people can be motivated to believe idiotic things and behave in profoundly idiotic ways, and the methods to do it are well-known — consumerism, for example. Owning stuff reflects on our personal worth and fosters better quality of life? Please. Hoarding stuff indicates our competence and warrants higher social status? OMG. How stupid do they think we are? Well, if they were so wrong and it were so difficult to get into our heads, we’d probably be facing other challenges instead of climate change and islands of trash, some the size of Texas, floating around in every major ocean. And what about the twin farces of patriotism and national security? How’d they manage to sellthat bridge to us? We’re spending so much on anti-terrorism that experts estimate there would need to be four terrorist attacks foiled every single day in order to cost-justify our measures. The argument, “But it’s all about saving lives” is patent hogwash. No, it’s not about saving lives — it’s about feeling safer, and the feeling is delusional. Besides, governments don’t make a single move towards saving lives unless there’s money in it for them. Lives are saved because the cost of saving them is less than the cost of letting them die. On the flip side, the powerful gladly throw lives away by the thousands and millions when it means making them and their cronies a profit.

Debilitated, wrong-headed people with damaged psyches figured out how to manipulate even relatively smart, competent people into living in crazy stupid ways and doing crazy stupid things. The idea that we as smart, competent people can’t figure out how to motivate debilitated, wrong-headed people with damaged psyches — which necessarily means simplistic, juvenile, even infantile psyches — is just silly. Of course we can.

I think that the real rub is this: in order to understand the psyches of people we tend to think of as “evil” — or sociopathic or psychopathic or criminal or otherwise — we would need to get familiar with them. That’s the opposite of distancing ourselves, marginalizing and alienating them. That’s scary shit for most of us. And as I’m finding out, it’s scary for a lot of bogus reasons. We actually can do this. We are smart enough and well-intended enough, and the awful things that we’re afraid will happen if we try it do not in fact occur.

A lot of our unfounded fears and aversion boils down to egoistic concern for the hits our reputations might take from guilt by association. In her TED Talk Fighting with non-violence, Scilla Elworthy’s central question, “How do we deal with a bully without becoming a thug in return?” was a bit misleading. What she and the rest of us actually want to know is: How do we deal with a bully without looking like a thug? I discuss this inNonviolence Isn’t Necessarily the Answer. You just can’t clean things up if you’re afraid to get a little dirt on you. And some of our reluctance stems from superstitious foreboding that just by being with monsters we might end up becoming like them. But even deeper and more subtly, we’re afraid to face how much we are already just like them, but for the grace of God, and can’t bear the prospect that we are capable of monstrosity just like they are, or further, that we have been and are monstrous in secret ways that we might not admit even to ourselves, aka denial.

In other words, we fear exposure, even to ourselves, and we’re afraid that we wouldn’t stand up to either the judgment of others or our own if the truth were made known. But as long as we run, run, run away from evil and evildoers, we’ll continue getting slammed and banged and violated by it and them, running blind and ignorant and hoping to stumble onto some place of refuge, preferably under the care of a guru who holds magic secrets. Until we face up and stand up to evil, its agents, and the truth we’ll discover about ourselves, we’ll keep living in fear of all that and hoping for magical rescue by heroes from somewhere over the rainbow — and that’s a tragic, hypocritical crock if we are the only real heroes there are.

We don’t know how the dang things work or else we’d know how to work them. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn how, and we’d better learn soon. Not only we but our families and friends and especially our children remain vulnerable until we do. The world has become too small to run away and hide from evil anymore. We’ll find practitioners everywhere we go. And the worst of them, the ones who are using their power to do great, extinction-threatening evil, are spreading global nets that eventually will ensnare and imprison all of us. Time to get cracking.

(Reprinted from my general-purpose “Millard’s Blog“)

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About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
This entry was posted in Bible, Bullying, Freedom, Life & Death, Nonviolence, Psychology, Revolution, Spirituality, Violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Overcoming Evil With Good

  1. David Brown says:

    Millard….interesting commentary on evil. Some claim evil is the “eye of the beholder”…..if your beliefs are contrary and harmful to others but secures your survival, it sure isn’t evil behavior for you! ISIS sure believes this. Some may call this social Darwinism but I consider that and insult to Darwin and God! Natural Selection is NEVER evil…it’s the un-natural selection by men that is evil because it opposes the “Finger of God”…..”Natural Selection” based on NATURAL environmental
    forces that “select” those genetic traits that allow a population to survive. God knows what He’s doing…we don’t.

    My take is that the source of evil is the result of the Law of Free Will. Even the beings that existed before Adam and Eve were created (by rDNA I might add) had a choice to remain within the “collective” God or rebel and become their own “gods” as Lucifer chose and the 1/3rd beings that followed him in the “fall.”

    Why did Adam and Eve “fall for this same illusion?” Law of Free Will AGAIN. (Thank God He provided an escape clause for “our” bad Free Will choice.inherited from Adam…John 14:6…”I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”)

    The problem we have with evil on this planet is not attempting to reduce or alter it as you suggest but to understand its’ source…”free will” COMPOUNDED by the forces revealed in Ephesians 6:12. …………….“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The old expression…”the devil made me do it”… has some truth to it! Free Will with external evil forces is a sure recipe for spreading evil.

    If I am correct….. and I must be because nothing else tried has ever worked throughout human history……evil MUST be dealt with spiritually…..”spiritual warfare” and I don’t mean praying about it….I’m talking EXORCISM. Nothing else has worked and as you say….time is critical…SO MAYBE WE NEED AN ARMY OF EXORCISTS TO FIGHT THIS WAR IF WE EXPECT TO WIN…..or we can sit idly by and wait for the return of the King …..Jesus Christ…. to restore the planet to the Kingdom of God. I suspect He would not be too happy if we sit idly by and just “pray” about it.

    ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS! Our battle is NOT against men!

    God Bless….David Brown, Oswego,NY

  2. Thanks for your comments! 🙂

    One of the first mistakes people make on this subject is to presume to take a disembodied point of view, which necessarily means a *superior* point of view. More humility is required. If an ISIS member kidnapped you, I guarantee that you’d consider it extremely undesirable and detrimental — my clearly stated working definition for “evil” — and wouldn’t give two hoots about his warped opinion on the morality of what he did.

    Discussions about free will and the origins of evil are academic, not actionable. Even if it were genuine, neither is exorcism actionable, unless you are one of the few who claim competence in it. So we end up with a situation where either nothing changes or we must resort to extremes and esoterica, but nothing in between. That kind of false dichotomy is typical of bullshit Christianity, and I reject it. I’m looking for and finding ways to deal with these things that *anyone* can relate to and use — not just those who submit to a predetermined set of religious beliefs and master arcane exotica.

    One of the big problems that religious people have with “spirit” and “spiritual” is that they still think in the same superstitious terms that were in vogue thousands of years ago, which by the way were perverted by power-hungry ecclesiasts in creating the bureaucratic monstrosity that became known as “the church”. Spirits and spiritual warfare have nothing to do with little demonic beings wafting around, infecting and inducing people to do bad things. Theories about exorcising phantasmic beings from hell make for great Hollywood thrillers and dramatic charades for the gullible, but are just play-acting.

    The difference between sorcery on one hand and miracle and science on the other is that the practitioners of the latter understand what they are doing and learn how it works. Sorcery involves authority, submission, mindless recantation, (precisely what Jesus forbade,) and PRESTO! something changes — and no one is the wiser, their understanding stalled exactly where it was before the magic happened. That’s a very effective way for self-aggrandizing profiteers. It has nothing to do with humility, love, and the ways of God — unless “God” happens to be something indistinguishable from the devil.

    I can go for exorcism if what we mean by it is getting INTO and FAMILIAR with the goings-on in an “evil” person’s psyche and liberating them from the pscyhic/spiritual/psychological traps and chains and vicious circles that keep them locked into destructive thinking and behavior. That’s exactly the kind of exorcism I’m learning about. Notice that the “evil spirits” KNEW who Jesus was. They recognized him. They’d encountered him before. He had their number, not a book of rituals and spells he got from someone claiming to be a master of the art.

    • David Brown says:

      Millard…I understand exactly what your point is and in some ways I agree. Our different points depends on our perception of Scripture…I suspect you look a Scripture more symbolically than I, have come to the belief that the true message revealed in Scripture cannot be understood unless it is interpreted SCIENTIFICALLY. This is why I believe the Ephesians 6:12 is more significant than even Theologians imagine…they look at this as most do as “supernatural” superstition. I agree with the Amazing Kreskin when he said “the supernatural is the undiscovered natural.” Call me crazy..but the entities revealed in Ephesian 6:12 are BAD ET’s PERIOD and they have powers of illusion even greater than the ones portrayed by the Telosians of Telos IV ala’ Star Trek! Exorcism from your point of view is much more reasonable than most people think of it. My point of view is that exorcism is equivalent to physically fighting the evil entities of Ephesians 6:12 just as Jesus did and vanquishing them. “KICK ‘EM OUT! As I said..the supernatural is undiscovered natural……I think the discovery and technical utilization of “Quantum Entanglement” sure seems to verify this….as Einstein called it…”an all to spooky phenomena.” Heck…when I did the double slit experiment with my physics students in the first year I taught science …the wave/particle nature of matter sure was “spooky” enough for me!

      Let me give you one classic Scientific explanation of Scripture………….. The creation of Eve……Adam was very bored with the indigenous females (too hairy and they smelled) God saw He needed a more suitable “helpmate” so He out Adam into a deep, long “sleep” and took a “rib” from and covered it with flesh, bone and blood…..woke Adam up and presented her to Adam…..Adam exclaims…”At LAST..this is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone..I will call her ‘women’ because “she comes from man.'” Here’s how “Elohim” accomplished this “miracle.”……The “rib” is a rich source of adult stem cells and resetting them to the initial state similar to a zygote has been achieved and a :”piece o’ cake” .for “Elohim.” (Induced pluripotency)
      A “Y” chromosome is removed from an IP stem cell and is discarded. A “X” chromosome is removed from a second IP stem cell and is inserted into the first cell. The second cell is discarded. The first “modified” IP cell is induced to start cleavage and is placed into a surrogate uterus. (I suspect in vitro) to go through morphogenesis and 9 months later…. baby Eve was born! I suspect the “deep” sleep was not general anesthesia but was probably more like suspended animation because Eve was “grown up” when she was presented to Adam. “At last flesh of my flesh”…women because she “comes from man”……sure sounds like a modified “clone” of Adam! Hmmm….good thing the “Y” chromosome was replaced by an “X” or it would have been “Adam and Steve!”

      • You have some really interesting ideas, David. Thanks for sharing them. Our differences don’t have to do with our views on Scripture, though, but our views on how knowledge is established. I tend to agree with the Kreskin quote that “supernatural” is undiscovered natural. And until we discover evidence that informs us how something happens, we make up all kinds of speculative theories about it. That’s not a problem, and I enjoy theories, like yours about ET and Adam and Eve. I don’t take issue with claims that such things might have happened. I only take issue when people make more out of their theories than the evidence warrants — that is if there’s any evidence at all — or even worse, when they pretend there is evidence when there isn’t, even going so far to fabricate “evidence”. It’s just not honest.

        Merely thinking up an explanation isn’t good enough grounds to claim that it actually explains what happened. It’s a trick of the mind that makes us prone to believe explanations that have no more evidence than we have for faeries just because they make sense to us or because we like them. It’s a weakness of spirit that induces us to pretend more certainty than is actually warranted. It’s not necessary and it just causes problems. But religious and pseudo-spiritual peddlers — con men every one — continue to get a lot of mileage and profit from exploiting our certainty addiction.

        I discount explanations regarding spiritual things when they externalize core issues. Externalizing and projecting and avoidance of our inner issues are standard symptoms of traumatic abuse. If Jesus taught anything, he taught that spiritual matters are inward matters — not functions of external entities. Maybe there are all kinds of spiritual and magical and extraterrestrial beings out there, but understanding them does not necessarily help us to understand ourselves. And pretending that they are responsible for our problems is just scapegoating. I don’t take theories too seriously that ignore inner issues and put the priority on solving external problems. Before we can become competent to handle others’ problems, we need to learn how to solve our own. Theories that don’t even mention that we have logs in our eyes — which is far short of explaining how to remove them — and focus on the specks in others’ eyes, whether other people or other kinds of beings, at best don’t have much to offer, and at worst are bullshit intended to deceive.

    • David Brown says:

      Millard..I completely understand where you are coming from….I can even agree with you totally if I too was coming from the “same” place…HOWEVER..I am not in “that same place” as you. My position is based on the following points….. I believe the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of God and FINAL authority. I believe that the true meaning of the Scriptures in the Bible WERE NOT for the writers or the people of that time or, for that matter, most of history and that the Bible ultimately has its’ real meaning for today. (ie;The Book of Daniel declares that its’ meaning is “hidden” until the time of “restoration.”) The “message” of the Bible for humanity up until today has been pretty much about preparation for the future but had little t do with reality.

      The difference between today and the time when the Bible was written is today we have the knowledge of reality revealed by Science. I believe the ONLY source of understanding the TRUE nature of reality IS the Scientific Method. I pretty much reject most Philosophy and Theology.because they are based on the very issues you point out…human thought and ideas.. and I agree with you that this has lead to much human misery.. (creation of God in man’s image instead of the other way around and the resulting religions that have suppressed Truth for centuries) I am CONVINCED that Science reveals the true message of the Bible otherwise the reality of the literal interpretation forces the illusion of the “supernatural.” ALL Scripture has a Scientific interpretation that reveals the Truth within the Scripture. (ie, Jewish dietary Laws saved Jewish lives…they didn’t know why then but we sure know a lot about Trichenella and Salmonella today!)
      Yes…Jesus sure explained that the source of evil is within the “heart” and the REAL EVIL beings revealed in Ephesians 6:12 use this human weakness (sin) to manipulate and control life on this planet. Jesus even revealed that God is NOT external to Creation but dwells within and works through it and His perfect laws. Christians all say and agree we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit of God but I suspect most have no clue what that means. I have thought a lot about this “God within” and I have concluded that “Spirit” is the manifestation of LOVE, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS, CARING, BEAUTY and HOLINESS. That’s REALITY..not “supernatural!”

      (see also John 14:8-23)

      Psalm 82:3-6
      3 ”Defend the weak and the fatherless;
          uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
      4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
          deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
      5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
          They walk about in darkness;
          all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
      6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
          you are all Children of the Most High”

      HOWEVER…..not all sources of evil is internal…we know certain chemicals can alter a person’s judgement that can result in negative behavior that may harm others as well as ourselves. What most humans do not know is that influence of the evil in Ephesians 6:12 compound the problem of sin. Yes…sometimes the “Twinkie” made me do it and sometimes it’s the “devil.”

      I think of myself as a realist looking for EVIDENCE of reality…I’m sure you feel the same way!

      Some more Science for you……………
      ….it is Scientifically obvious that Adam was created by the *Elohim by recombinant DNA of Simian stock which explains the better than 95% common genome of apes and human. (Intelligent Design) Science tries to explain it as Darwinian Natural Selection and even claims all kinds of evidence to prove it. The problem is that the ONLY source of new “natural” genetic information is DNA mutation and 99% of them are lethal and produce defective protein instead of a new favorable selective trait and the mutation rates are relatively constant ….so simply stated…THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH TIME for God to use Natural Selection to create Adam. (BTW..He could if He wanted too!) Add in the fact that less than 1% of of non-lethal mutations occur in germ tissue..(egg and sperm) ..the ONLY ones passed on for Natural Selection to act on….it becomes ludicrous to say we “evolved from apes”….Yes we come from ape stock but NOT by evolution…INTELLIGENT DESIGN by rDNA by God in His image from the “dust” of the Earth. (DUST= ..carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur, iron, iodine, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and a bunch of others in small amounts sure seems “dust” to me!)
      It is ironic that Fundamental Christianity has it right for the wrong reasons and Science has it wrong for the right reasons if they understood who God is!

      (*Elohim…”Let US Create man in OUR Image” this Scripture cannot be understood until one understands the True God revealed in the “flesh” by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ben Joseph…..the feeble attempt to satisfy the plural by invoking the Holy Trinity is and insult to our God and our own language….The Holy Spirit IS God..God the Father IS God and Jesus Christ IS God. AMEN!!!)

      If ya think about it…George Lucas is closer to portraying the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in his Star Wars saga than Judaism and Christianity combined!

      May the Force be with you , Millard!….david b

  3. David, I think it’s cool that we start from such different premises and yet see so many of the important things the same way and come to many of the same conclusions. Beneath all the I-believe-thats I think where we connect is our priority on the sanctity of life and living beings (not just humans) and their dignity and beauty when not otherwise oppressed and damaged.

    I used to be in exactly the same place as you with regard to the Bible and science. However, choosing to believe is not the same as warrant to believe. After more than 40 years of examining the reasons why people believe that the Bible (which is the work product of a bunch of power-hungry bureaucrats decided in committee at the order of an imperialistic asshole) is inerrant and authoritative, I find no more justification for those claims than I do for any other set of Holy Scriptures or texts of wisdom, and in many regards I find much less. Science is nothing more than an exercise in human thoughts and ideas. It isn’t privileged. Scientific method governs just a small fraction of the overall process, which is rife with politics and the corrupting influences of money, power, and sex, just like every other institution. Not different than so much as less manipulable than, but just a cursory read through the history of science shows that it’s not that much less manipulable.

    //HOWEVER…..not all sources of evil is internal…we know certain chemicals can alter a person’s judgement that can result in negative behavior that may harm others as well as ourselves.//

    Well, neurochemistry is nothing if not internal. I haven’t found any scientifically demonstrable evidence for externally originating evil. It all originates from WITHIN SOMEONE. Even if there were demons, they would have psychologies, thinking/intending/desiring (inward) before behaving/expressing (outward). As long as we come at the problem of evil as an externalized matter, we’ll get no further than archeologists would if they tried to influence the people who made the artifacts they dig up. Doing that requires interaction of one spirit/psyche/mind with another, and in that exchange control over one’s OWN spirit is the primary concern.

    Proverbs 16:32
    He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

    I don’t think epigenetics evidence supports your statement that “the ONLY source of new “natural” genetic information is DNA mutation.” But then again, I’m not an expert on evolutionary processes. I just know the thinking is changing from what it was 20-30 years ago.

    Thanks for this discussion man! I might not seem like it, but I learn a lot from you. I’ve only got so much time, so I’ve gotta focus on differences. If I don’t bring something up, it’s probably because we see eye-to-eye on it. 🙂

    • David Brown says:

      Millard…excellent! I too learn so much from you! THANKS! your statement…..”Well, neurochemistry is nothing if not internal”….is so true BUT I need to clarify what I meant…..the internal biochemistry of the living cell and neuro-chemistry of the neuron operates in a balanced state called “homeostasis.” When this balance is skewed away from this balance it is called disease….Infectious diseases are those caused by external pathogens that enter the cell whose metabolic wastes are toxic and cause homeostatic imbalance or foreign non-living bodies (ie, chemicals that are not part of the homeostatic process) that cause imbalance. The living cell has mechanisms that attempts to neutralize these effects hopefully restoring “homeostasis.” If the cell fails to do this it dies.

      The external sources I was referring to are these entities that enter the cell and cause a loss of homeostasis……possibly negative “evil” behavior. Sometimes this can happen without the affect of these external entities, ether way..it is still the same effect…LOSS OF HOMEOSTASIS. It is NOT normal. If one considers evil to be entirely internal (not sure..I think this is your position?) it would mean that “free will” is an illusion and does not exist. There have been a lot of modern thinkers who actually say this is the case…if they are correct…..the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Roman Cross that restores our “Spirit” with the collective God is nullified. I am unable to identify or ever vagree with this illusion.

      As far as “demons” are concerned..I believe they are beings that chose to be their “own gods” instead of accept the collective God revealed by Christ. I am convinced they do influence human behavior. (I have no choice because I believe Ephesians 6:12 is Truth.) Scripture even quantifies these “rebels./demons” as being one third of creation. (I classify creation as a process..not a one time event and the creation referenced here most likely is limited to our Galaxy…although it could include all 11 dimensions of our Cosmos and maybe even alternate Cosmos …Multiverse Bubble Theory.)

      On my statement….”the ONLY source of new “natural” genetic information is DNA mutation.” …the “key” word here is ‘natural’.

      The biochemistry of a living cell is controlled by biological catalysts called “enzymes” that lower activation energy so the products of chemistry remain stable. (without them denaturization occurs) These enzymes are made of polypeptide polymers called “protein.” The are very specific and the many biochemical pathways are catalyzed by very specific enzymes. It is the enzymes that determines what a cell is and what kind organism it is. You are human because we have human enzymes…..pine trees are “pine trees” because they have “pine tree enzymes.” Nucleic acids..DNA and RNA ….contain the “genetic codes” that contain the instructions for the synthesis of these specific enzymes. RNA itself can even catalyze certain reactions but it is the genetic codes determined by the nucleotide sequences in the molecule that determines the “shape” of the molecule that determines its’ catalytic properties. The ONLY way to determine the amino acid sequences in a specific protein enzyme is by the genetic code in the DNA/RNA. THEREFORE the ONLY source of new NATURAL codes is MUTATION of the nucleotide sequence that would encode for a different amino acid in the protein enzyme chain which would change the properties and shape of the enzyme that wuld result in a possible new TRAIT for the organism that might give the organism an advantage to survive in a changing environement that act as “selective agents.” (this results in speciation) ANY new stuff that suggests a different paradigm in protein sysnthesis is an illusion like the science of manmade global warming! THERE IS ANOTHER SOURCE of new genetic information……INTELLIGENT DESIGN by Recombinant DNA……. (God is involved in BOTH methods BTW because God determines the “selective agents” by environmental change and God works within and through His Creation and His PERFECT Laws in utilizing rDNA .)

      (BTW…I have taught Biology for 35 years and I have kept up with breakthroughs in biochemistry and rDNA and I know enough to detect illusion and FOLLY! I don’t trust these new thinkers as far as I can throw them! AND by the way……most of the true knowledge of reality revealed by Science WAS revealed by the Scientific Method…….experiment MUST be repeatable by other people…if it cannot be replicated is isnlt Science!)

      AND lastly…….the Old Testament of the Bible wasn’t put together by a bunch of assholes, (I assume you mean Emperor Constantine and the Holy Roman Empire) Many people claim this and said the Prophet Isaiah’s writings were mdified to “fit” their agenda. This worked pretty well UNTIL the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1937 that placed Isaiah 5000 years before Rome existed! Consider this Millard……the Old Testament of the Bible was written by men who had no clue they were writing the Word of God and in fact they had no idea that there were :”others” writing this stuff as well and a LOT of this stuff came way before the Book of Genesis was written by Moses. Have you ever wondered where Moses got the idea of the dietary laws? No Biology in those days! How about the agricultural laws? Biological control of pests was a mystery back then. As I said before,,the Bible is for TODAY. Your disagreement and anger is not with the Bible it is about the assholes who use it to oppress and control people! Funny how people think we are not sinners!

      I’ll tell you why I believe the Bible is TRUTH…it was written so long ago no one can change it…if it were written today I would call it fantasy…in fact if it coudn’t be interpreted Scientifically it WOULD BE FANTASY! So far I have not been unable to do this in writing my book..”The Finger of God.”

      BTW..I have added a 5th Gospel to the New Testament….”The Gospel according to George Lucas.” May the Force be with you! david b

      • It’s late, so this will be a bit terse. I’m not cranky or anything, just so you know. 😉

        //If one considers evil to be entirely internal (not sure..I think this is your position?) it would mean that “free will” is an illusion and does not exist. //

        I don’t think that follows.

        Eph. 6:12 does not state that principalities and powers are beings of some sort. That’s one interpretation. It’s not the only plausible one, and there is nothing in the text to necessitate that reading. The only verifiable phenomenon involved in whatever “world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” means is at the point of contact — WITHIN the psyches/spirits/minds/hearts of individual people. These phenomena are indistinguishable from other kinds of psychological phenomena, so I avoid the interminable speculation (which is all it is — we have no experiential evidence one way or the other) about the origins and nature of what’s “behind” it. We don’t need answers to those questions in order to deal with the phenomena, and pretending we have answers moves the whole issue into what I call a bullshit space, which is what the church and other con artists do in order to have a secret area in which to conjure up their “truths” and keep us dependent on them.

        Epigenetics is every bit as natural as gene mutation. The thinking isn’t recent — it dates back to Lamarck, who is experiencing some vindication recently — and the evidence isn’t a matter of “new thinking.”

        The Old Testament of the Bible was put together by a culture that was about as brutal, bloody, and death-obsessed as a culture could be. An act of infanticide was thought to be the pinnacle act of faith and devotion to God — sheer insanity compounded by the credence of people smart enough to know better who somehow think that infanticide in this case was an act of love, not the delusional brutality of a deranged monster such as Abraham. Constantine’s assholes (have you actually read the letters of the early “Church Fathers”? OMG) decided to RETAIN the O.T. as part of the Bible despite the fact that Jesus made clear (with Paul and the writer of Hebrews emphasizing it over and over) that his teaching of a loving heavenly father was a REPLACEMENT (“something greater than the temple/Solomon/Abraham is here”) for the vile misrepresentations of God as a genocidal, psychopathic narcissist. How did they honor and obey Jesus’ message by contradicting and ignoring it? Constantine’s henchmen did that because without the O.T., they could not propagate the authoritarian lies to counteract Jesus’ teachings — which were the antitheses and antidotes to O.T. authoritarian madness — so that they could build their incestuous antiChrist empire with worldly valuables and property and precious materials “and slaves and human lives”. See Rev. 18. The O.T. was the best effort of a deplorable culture and a God trying to redeem some of the worst people on the face of the earth. Far from a stellar model.

        My disagreement is with people who misuse and misrepresent the Bible to enslave, exploit, and control people using authoritarian claims about its inerrancy and authority to warrant the crap ideas they peddle. (I’m not implying you in that — you aren’t after that at all as far as I can see.) The belief in its “inerrancy” and “authority” comes directly from those same people who would LOVE us to believe that their authority is likewise infallible. Bullshit.

        • haha, that was supposed to be terse. You should see me when I get going! 😉

          • David Brown says:

            Millard…I don’t think you were “terse” at all…quite the opposite…you were VERY specific in your analysis and I appreciate it very much. I think , however, that today’s humanity is actually worse than the old days because we are SUPPOSE to be civilized…who are we kidding…human nature is weak, arrogant, narcissistic, sinful etc etc etc …..Christ frees us from that nature…it does not oppress us…..it’s the selfish arrogant jerks that made a religion out of Him that created the mess! When Jesus said “give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s” He wasn’t just talking MONEY. and taxes!

            The first reply I will have to digest…..pretty heavy stuff! Take care…..the REAL God bless you!
            David B

        • David Brown says:

          Millard..I’ll stick to the Biology and Science…that’s what I am most competent in because Biblical questions of authenticity and authority I defer to “Faith” so there is no point in continuing that “thread.” except to say this ONE last point………..(well…maybe more than just ONE!)

          I believe the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ben Joseph) revealed that God is NOT external to Creation.and that..He dwells within,it and works through it using His PERFECT Laws, many of which have yet to be discovered. The confusion associated with Creation is caused by different definitions of “Creation, Spirit and God.” . “Spirit” is one word that is really misunderstood. Most equate it with the “supernatural” which is ILLUSION because the “supernatural is the undiscovered natural.” (thanks Kreskin) God revealed to the Jews He was “Spirit” and as far as I know no other culture understood God as Spirit. (correct me if I’m wrong) Question is WHAT IS SPIRIT? Just as Jesus revealed that God dwells within us (John 14:8-23, Colossians 1:27, Galatians 3:26-28. Psalm 82:3-6, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17,1 Corinthians 6:19-20) He also revealed that Spirit is NOT a “ghost” but is a Spirit of Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Purity, Holiness, Beauty anf Glory. Spirit is action of the heart just as evil is! (ut oh..I’m beginning to prove you right! hee hee hee…altough I will stick to my guns on Ephesians 6:12!)

          Is Creation the “beginning” of reality…..does it ever “END” or is it a “process?” I believe it is an “eternal process” with no beginning and no end because God is eternal.and the ONLY real CONSTANT is “CYCLIC CHANGE”……INFINITE numbers of “Singularities” inflate into space-time, matter and energy (Bubble Theory) …… atomic matter (hydrogen) coalesces into Stars and Star Systems (Galaxies) by gravitational pressure that raises temperatures in these Stars to millions of degrees that ignite into fusion that synthesis all,the remaining heavier elements WHICH are blown out into space by “super nova explosive” force that coalesces the “matter” ( and all the natural elements and inorganic and organic chemical compounds) by gravitational force into planets etc etc. Key word..”INFINITE”
          ………AND what about life?? Hmmmm…………

          Well……have “I painted myself into a corner?” Simply stated..God is EXISTENCE….He always was and always will be BECAUSE “Existence” always was and always will be. There’s the “key” to “get me out of the corner.”…… frankly, I believe Louis Pasteur did a lot more than disprove “spontaneous generation” back in the 1860’s….I believe he proved “beyond a shadow of doubt” the existence of the Eternal God.because “All life MUST come from preexisting Life.” (Law of Biogenesis) So..where did life come from? Since life always existed……it is obvious it is “seeded” through out “our particular Cosmos” where Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Recombinant DNA (Finger of God) creates the wonderful abundant diversity of living things and being a Biologist who accepts Universal Laws , I suspect this process is repeated throughout an Infinite Multiverse. The biochemicals of life DO NOT CREATE life…..LIFE uses the Biochemicals to manifest the living process. If I am wrong…..man would be able to “create a living cell from scratch.” The “hoopla” over the recent claims they have done just that is “spin” ala’ “man made global warming.” What they have really done is “program” DNA with man-made traits and succeeded in ALTERING cells that PREEXISTED! All they did is unknowingly prove Intelligent Design! (The problem is I believe man does not have the wisdom to know what he is doing like God does with Darwinism and rDNA via the “Elohim.”)

          I believe the “Creation” revealed in Genesis is simply the creation description of “OUR” particular Cosmos which was limited by what was “seen” by the people at the time the Book of Genesis was written. Modern Cosmology has revealed that “realty” is much more than the religious concept. As I said before…..I believe the message of the Bible is for TODAY…..,not when it was written. Faith is belief in that which is not “seen”. but I am convinced that we are now living in a time of “restoration and transition” that will move Faith to the level of a “Doubting Thomas.” (John 20:24-29)

          The concept of God “created” by man in most religions is “anthropomorphic”…an “omnipotent,,, omniscient, omnipresent, SUPER being.” I don’t blame atheists for rejecting this idea because that makes God in “our” image instead of God making us in His image. (YES..there is a BIG difference!) I’ll be frank…if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, I’d be an atheist myself! BTW…I have a major block against the Eastern ideas of “re-incarnation” an not just because of the Scripture says “we are born once and then the judgement.”.(Hebrews 9:27)….I am suspect of re-incarnation because there is just TOO MUCH EVIDENCE of it that I suspect something intentionally “sinister” and it stems from the evil revealed in Ephesians 6:12. (being a Trekki…..I think of the powerful illusions of the Telosians of Teolos IV in Star Trek’s “The Menangerie.)

          Wow……I sure get carried away myself……you defintely challenge me!

          Now about EPIGENETICS. I’m sure there are many out there that claim Lamarckian evolution can occur. Frankly..I reject it as the same kind of pseudoscence as man made global warming because traits are passed on to offspring through germ tissue so any alteration MUST occur at that level. Many have attempted to prove use and disuse and acquired traits of an individual beng passed on to offspring but none have been Scientifically acceptable for one simple reason….IT IS PSEUDOSCIENCE. The methylation of DNA can alter the call up of amino acids in a polypeptide chain but AGAIN…it MUST occur in the germ tissue ..same as any DNA mutation. The “turning on and turning off” of genes by environmental factors is basic “Genetic Law” along with Mendel’s Laws taught in freshman biology..AND again…ANY change MUST occur in the germ cells. People a lot smarter than me have spent millions on trying to disprove Darwinism , especially those who claim to be servants of Christ……They should have spent the millions on the Gospel…NOT pseudoscience in an attempt to prove their literal , fundamental and preconceived interpretation of the Bible ….that is what brings people to Jesus! They make this terrible error because they DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOD REVEALED IN JESUS CHRIST! (It ironic that Science accepts Darwin but rejects “Intelligent Design” inspite of the fact we do it every day! I even did it with my SU Project Advance (Syracuse University students at Mexico High School where I taught Biology!

          BTW…I call myself a “Doubting Thomas”…although I have not put my fingers into the nail wounds of the Resurrected Christ. (but I bet I will some day because I am one of thise freaks that actually believe He will return as King to restore the planet to the Cosmic Kingdom and He will return EXACTLY the SAME way He left 2000 years ago…..Acts 1:8-11…….NOTE: .”clouds” are water vapor condensation caused by low pressure or strong energy fields.)

          I THINK I AM OFFICIALLY WIPED OUT…GOOD GRIEF! (all’s not wasted…..watched the NFL playoffs yesterday and today….go New England!)

          Yes..God Bless us all….David Brown..Oswego,NY (sure not hard for Him to do it…He’s right there in our hearts!)

          • Haha, there was a lot in that one David. Thanks. I read with interest. So, getting back to the main topic, OVERCOMING evil with good, how does what you wrote
            apply?

            • David Brown says:

              Well……I suspect overcoming evil with good is the way Jesus prefers His followers use BUT “some times ya just gotta tip over the money changer’s tables!” Realistically speaking…I don’t think this will work with islamic terrorists…..bullets seem to work a lot better! OH..maybe you could win one or two over BUT …..if ya blow one or two away they sure won’t be spreading their evil anymore! Maybe the most reasonable approach would be to use non-lethal tactics..ie; intentional wounding to put them out of commission. This would be better for obtaining intelligence as well…..obama’s drone killing approach may stop some evil but is silences valuable intelligence that could be vital in saving lives on both sides!

              There is no question that Jesus’ approach to dealing with evil is the higher moral ground than ANY other approach…”Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The dilemma with overcoming evil with good is …..”if evil kills the good, the good won’t be around to to overcome evil with good!”

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