I have been contemplating evil. I think that anyone remembering the Holocaust, and watching the news about the Virginia Tech shootings will be contemplating such things.
We have a lot of descriptions of Evil, and every person has their own private definition. But, none of those descriptions really reach the heart of what Evil is – where it comes from. Our definitions merely point to signs and symptoms – the doing of Evil.
When asked where Evil comes from, most of us will say the obvious: hatred, anger – and variations on those two feelings. But, where do those feelings come from?
Where did Hitler’s hatred of the Jews come from? And, the Virginia Tech murderer? Where did HIS hatred come from?
I have a couple of relatives who are some of the most hateful people that I know. Their anger and hatred is truly awesome to behold. Where does that come from?
I’d tell you now, but I think that I need to lead you up to it. You’ve heard of the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome?
When we are threatened, our endocrine systems dump chemicals into our bodies that push us into one of two directions. One direction is to fight – we rise up and attack the thing or person that threatens us. The other direction is flight – we run away from the threat.
Have you seen someone react in anger at a threatening situation?
And, running away from a threat… well, that’s fear.
And, I can tell you that we hate those that we fear. And too much anger… same thing.
So, when there is a threat, hatred is often a result of a threat.
Unfortunately, that is only half the picture. The other half is Greed.
Notice that the great genocides were started by individuals. They set a target. They worked subtly. They took advantage of opportunities. They spoke of people being a threat to their audience. They created anger and fear, and then hatred.
And then, they gave direction.
Because of Greed.
Hitler, the President of Rwanda, Husseini, the Arab League in 1948. They all knew that the quickest way to power was having someone to hate. People will support you when you can convince them that they are threatened by someone – and that you have the answer.
Those who are greedy for power willÂ use fear and angerÂ to rise to power.
Has there ever been a conflict in which Greed and Hatred have NOT been the cause? Greedy men usingÂ hatred to gain power.
So, when we want to talk about the heart of Evil…
It starts with Greed.Â