One Sunday morning 70 years ago I started to recite the Apostles’ Creed with everyone else In church, but was suddenly unable to say “I believe.” I didn’t believe. There was no point lying to God — if He existed. Thus began my dozen years of agnosticism. I didn’t believe, but neither did I deny God’s existence.
In his book “Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes,” process theologian Charles Hartshorne argues that the doctrine that God causes all things and events is a projection of the worship of all-powerful rulers. Alfred North Whitehead, the other great process philosopher agrees: “The deeper idolatry, of fashioning God in the image of the Egyptian, Persian, and Roman imperial rulers, was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar.”
The origin of evil as described in Islam goes back to the early times when Allah, SWT (God), created Adam from clay. He then asked his other creations, Angels and Jinn to prostrate to Adam. All did except “Iblis,” Iblis was a Jinn and believed that hence he was created from fire, an element superior to clay, so then, why shall he prostrate to someone who is created from mere clay.
“Satan” in the Baha’i writings symbolizes our inclination to turn from God. Satan’s persona is “a product of human minds and of instinctive human tendencies toward error,” according to ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Pride, ego, the “insistent self,” symbolized by Satan, represent baser human instincts.
The fact that God is the God of Love doesn’t mean He’s not also the God of Hate. The opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. Your Bible doesn’t teach a Zoroastrian-style dualism. Satan is a fallen angel, and we don’t need to make him a god. Don’t you see? None of us understands how to love properly, and we always hate far worse.
I believe I’m seeing far more evil in the world than ever before in my lifetime. There’s a constant barrage of antisemitism, gun violence, racism and homophobia. And not only is there a lack of empathy, but there’s a gleeful viciousness about it from perpetrators. However, for this piece, I’m going to focus specifically on the evil I’m seeing in response to COVID.
The recent SpokaneFāVS series on “The Evil in this World” may have missed something. Evil is certainly abundant; multiple examples are provided. But how much is focused on what may be the most common evil of all — lying? This simple act ranges from the deliberate whopper to nuanced shading of truth, from military propaganda to religious leaders denying child molestation to rationalization.