Do Not Resist An Evil Person

Jesus asks for a slap on the other cheek

Jesus was just so fucking smart.

I like thinking about his teachings in unconventional ways — because conventional ones (like the one spoofed in the meme above) were concocted by religious authoritarians who didn’t (and still don’t) give two hoots about our welfare as long as they have secure access to flocks of sheeple and all the goodies they afford.

Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person” — but not because he wanted to let them freely do evil. He wanted them to stop. “Do not resist” is not “do nothing”. There are lots of ways to overcome evil. Resistance is just a terribly and deceptively ineffective one.

Resistance is wastage. Opposing forces cancel each other out. Not only does resistance frustrate progress in either direction, it creates pressure, friction and heat which, past a certain point, ignite explosions. Pressure hardens *dead* things. Heat combusts. Life refuses to be contained and incinerated; and if it fails to break out, it dies.

So resistance is a way of death. If life is our goal, then we need to operate by its methods: love, creativity, fluidity, and single-minded confidence. In the old days, sages called this “faith”. But faith isn’t enough.

Without understanding what makes evil people tick, faith stays blind. By smothering evil people with cozy marshmallow love, we just amuse them and make fools of ourselves.

The key to understanding evil people is both the reason it’s easy to do and the reason we avoid it like plague: We are like them. We share far more with them than we want to admit, and we have the same potential. We share the same basic physiology and the same basic psychology.

The reasons people do horrific things would be our reasons for doing the same if we’d experienced what they did. Our certainty that we’re different and would never become like them isn’t just blind faith, bereft of evidence or fact, it’s actually denial, not faith.

You’ll see this when, instead of avoiding them, you get familiar with evil people and get comfortable with your similarities to them. That is, when you start seeing them as human instead of something inhuman. Both deifying authorities and demonizing criminals are flip sides of the very same coin of dehumanization. God-likeness and devilishness are both chips off the same block of inexplicable peerlessness.

We’ve gotta quit that shit.

When you see so-called evil people as people instead of inhumans — as peers — you’ll see oodles of ways to handle them, because you’ll “get” them. They are not much different than you. Then you’ll see it’s easy, because you know how the dang things work. Understanding them makes it hard to label them “evil”, too, because alienating and dehumanizing them, setting them up psychologically and socially to justify doing violence to them, is the whole point of the label. It’s why they think in terms of good and evil, too — except they probably think evil is the reality and goodness is the fantasy, much like cynics do.

Labeling them makes you one of them.

Violence is the goal of vilification. Resistance is its method. To overcome evil people — those our damaged psyches want to believe are evil, that is — we need genuine love, not a general attitude of love, which means intimate, specific, charitable familiarity that yields real understanding of people we want to help, not destroy.

You will not overcome an evil person any other way.

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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, Life & Death, Nonviolence, Reversal, Spirituality, Violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Do Not Resist An Evil Person

  1. David says:

    Interesting Millard…however…I suspect that Ephesians 6:12 changes your premise in that ALL humans are victims…evil ones and good ones.

    • Changes it how?

      “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world…”

      Paul isn’t talking about evil people there, i.e., *not* flesh and blood. The powers we struggle with and the rulers and authorities are resident in our own minds. A king has not power over us apart from our submission to him. Submission is a wholly internal matter. We don’t submit to the person who claims to be king, we submit to the ruler, authority, and power that *we imagine him to hold*.

      • david says:

        Millard..I agree with you IF the evil entities revealed in Ephesians 6:12 are imaginary in our minds. I suspect they are very real, however. If I’m correct…the old adage’ “the devil made me do it” has some truth to it. Free will allows us to be victims.

        • No doubt they are real. Paul wasn’t writing about fictions. That they are entities is an assumption. Using assumptions as if they were conclusions is fallacious and actually not very honest, because to move from assume to conclude takes work to show that the assumption in fact jives with what’s really going on. No one even knows how to show that with “spiritual entities”. You can’t demonstrate a difference between an undetectable entity and an imaginary one. All you can do is assert there is one. And that just validates the counter assertion that there are none and that “entities” are just metaphors for cognitive experiences.

          There’s no question that the cognitive experiences are real. Whether they involve independent entities that interact with us or are just ways we choose to interpret our interactions with what’s otherwise really there, the experience of it is the same either way, and we really have no way to know which is which. And knowing which is which doesn’t help anyway, because whether it’s an entity or an impression in our heads, the answer to what we need to do is the same, because either way the most important thing that needs to change is us, not them.

  2. david says:

    I like you explanation…..however….the assumption is that Scripture is truth.

    • You’re welcome to assume anything you like. Any statement, saying, essay, book, etc., can be assumed to be truth, even before you’ve read it — which, quantitatively speaking, is more than 90% of the Bible, for most people. Even before they’ve laid eyes on most of it, they’ll swear up and down that “it’s truth”. It makes me wonder what “it’s truth” even means, when not only have they done nothing to verify its truth, they don’t even intend on verifying it. In fact, their intention in saying, “It’s truth,” is exactly and none other than to let them avoid doing anything to verify it. All the benefit with none of the work? It’s a game.

      And it’s really not very honest, because like I said, they don’t mean “It’s truth” is an assumption. They mean it’s a fact. They have no business saying that. Like I said, pretending assumptions are conclusions is deceptive.

      • david says:

        The reason I say the Bible is TRUTH is because the Bible itself reveals it was inspired by God. If there is no God…your right…it is assumption. For those who believe that the “source” of what is written in Scripture is God…..we believe it is true and is factual.

        • If the people who wrote the Bible were lying, it can claim it’s the truth all it wants. The circularity of claiming that a writing is true because the writing claims to be true can’t be missed. And in fact, nowhere does the Bible claim that it’s truth. People do that.

          //For those who believe that the “source” of what is written in Scripture is God…..we believe it is true and is factual.//

          I agree, for them. Which just begs the question whether they are right or wrong about that, the very question they avoid by naked assertion, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Well, a lot of people treated Hitler’s word as gospel, too. Didn’t make them right.

          And it avoids the salient point: HOW did they conclude that God is the sources of what is written in Scripture? Just because they say so? We can make naked claims without verifiable support of any kind for any crazy idea we feel like. The truth is that most believers did nothing to verify their beliefs.

          • david says:

            There is no question that Hitler thought himself god…George Soros does the same. BOTH have NOTHING in common with the wisdom of God.
            You say that Scripture does not verify it is inspired by God…..read 2 Timothy 3:16-17…read all of 2 Timothy Chapter 3 while your at it. Eyeopener.

            Millard…..the secret to believing is NOT evidence…it is FAITH. Frankly…if there were concrete evidence many would still not believe it anyway and for me…..living without faith is meaningless.
            I know this will sound very weird for you…but I believe the Bible is the absolute inerrant Word of God BECAUSE it was written by men a very long time ago who had no clue they were writing the Bible. If it were written today I would reject it just like I reject most Christian Theologians today because I believe the “Spirit” that inspired the ancient writers is NOT the same “spirit” at work in the world today. The evidence is simple….religion has oppressed and divided people more than any other human activity and more people have been murdered in the “name of god” than any other force. Obviously. The God of the Bible is not the cause of this..it is the free will of men to be evil for their own selfish benefit or good for the benefit of all.

            The one TRUTH that helped me accept faith in God was to understand that Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus of Nazareth) revealed to mankind 2000 years ago that God is NOT an anthropomorphic “super being” that “governs” existence but is instead a “spirit” of love, compassion, forgiveness etc that dwells within Creation and works through Creation and the PERFECT Laws of Creation. It is very sad that man made “another” religion out of His revelation of who God really is.

            Another thing that helped me in believing was when I came to conclusion that “Creation” was NOT a “single event” but is an “eternal process” that never had a beginning and will never have an end….a concept that is rapidly gaining acceptance by today’s astrophysicists. ie; the “Big Bang” inflation of “space time” is just ONE inflation in an infinite number of inflations…”Bubble Theory.” Ironically…in the original Hebrew…there is a “gap” between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Genesis that implies an “eternal nature” to existence. Frankly…I believe this is the only way to resolve the grammatical contradiction in the Torah in the original Hebrew language where future events are written in the past tense and past events written in the future tense. I guess Einstein’s comment that “time is an illusion not matter how persistent” has some truth to it!

            Peace…David

            • David, I spent over two decades in Evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity believing EXACTLY the same things you wrote, and I’m far more studied than most Christians. I know this because that’s what Christians have told me repeatedly. I’m well familiar with the beliefs and the thinking. I could get into the verses in 2 Tim. with you (the Greek is ambiguous — does it mean holy scripture or just any scriptures/writings, the word used simply means “writings” — and much of the New Testament hadn’t been written at that point, so Paul couldn’t have been referring to *those* writings, and nowhere did he or anyone else identify Scriptures = Bible) but I really have no interest in doing that. It’s an old, worn, and uninteresting subject at this point. Biblical inerrancy is not only not factual, it’s illogical. If your faith is unconnected to both facts and logic then, be my guest, you’re welcome to it. That’s not what faith means to me, and you’re making a mistake to assume (and it would wholly be an assumption on your part) that I therefore do not have faith. Mine is very much connected to facts and logic, not divorced from them. But none of that is relevant to this post, so I’ll just leave all that as it is.

              • david says:

                Millard…understood…thanks…I really do appreciate your perspective. Helps me on my journey. One more Scripture…Jude 3

                The ancient writers of Scripture had no clue they were writing the Word of Wisdom (God) and I believe this to be true for the New Testament writers as well. The Old Testament was put together AFTER the writers were all dead. Same with New Testament. There was no agenda which to me is evidence of truth.

                Enjoyed the debate…thanks. ..I have always enjoyed your writings…good stuff….peace…david

  3. Thanks man. I understand your position. Thanks for listening to mine and for taking the time to comment on the article. Regardless of the question of inerrancy, I think the wisdom resident in much of the New Testament and some of the Old is very valuable.

    • david says:

      Millard…you already know I’m a weird guy who is a “realist” searching for explanations of reality that are logical and plausible that are compatible with Creation’s PERFECT Laws. I became a realist when I finally REALLY understood the significance of Louis Pasteur’s experiment after 35 years teaching Biology. Pasteur’s experiment revealed that “ALL life MUST come from pre-existing life.”…the Law of Biogenesis. This Law reveals that “existence always existed and always will….no beginning no end.” As I said in a previous comment…..today’s astrophysicists are coming to the SAME conclusion….”Bubble Theory.” “Our Big Bang” inflation of space/time is just ONE of an infinite number. (NOTE: The “gap” between Chapter 1 and 2 of Genesis in the Torah in the original Hebrew supports this concept)

      Since I do search for logical and plausible explanations…I am now convinced that Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus of Nazareth) was a “Hybrid Starman” ….23 chromosomes from the Jewish Virgin Merriam (Mary) and 23 “Divine” chromosomes “not of this planet.” I believe He revealed that ALL religions are illusion that enslaves mankind in ignorance and oppression. Man has always tried to control other men and just as any religion was a means to do this……”they” made a religion out of the FREEDOM taught by Jesus. It is ironic that He taught that we all should be ONE yet man has succeeded in dividing “:His Body” into hundreds of opposing groups with often sad results.
      Do I have “evidence” that Jesus is a hybrid? No……but it sure makes more sense to me than religion!

      Yes…I am CONVINCED that we are NOT alone in the Cosmos…….the “:evidence” that we are is DISINFORMATION by the same kind of people that oppress us through religion!

      Waiting for “our” next topic to discuss! Peace..david

  4. Naeem Murtaza says:

    A thoughtful and inspirational read. (Y)

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