Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Devil made me do it . . . NOT!

Lakeside Property

It will come when it will come!
In a Facebook exchange about (I think it was) whether or not Satan knew that he would be defeated by Jesus when he tempted him in the wilderness, I suggested that the “Satan” is far better understood as the impulse to bad behaviour innately possible in the human psyche than as an evil, lesser God that floats about somewhere above us and tries to undo Goodness in the world.
    Sometimes, however, the temptation to describe behaviour as Satanically-driven is strong: criminally harassing kids until their lives are not worth living, taking advantage of tragedy to scam people by preying on their sympathies, taking revenge on perceived injustice by exploding bombs in crowds of the innocent.
    The only time my car was vandalized was in the school parking lot a few days after my daughter’s funeral.
    It may be nice to blame an external force for our darkest behaviours, but that’s not likely to be constructive.  When Stephen Harper takes a jab at Justin Trudeau for suggesting that terrorism has social precursors, I wonder if our government too is acceding to the expediency of blaming it on demon-possession. Looking for a reason for behaviour that implicates ourselves is not on; it’s like negotiating with the devil.
    What’s the difference between the kids who grow into deviancy and those who don’t? We know at least part of the answer to this question intuitively: strong families, good schools with empathetic teachers, functional communities and creative opportunities greatly improve the chances that kids will grow up to live constructively.  Jails are full of adults who lacked these basics.
    I’m not sure what Harper, Trudeau, Mulcaire or May believe about this, but I am sure that some of them are influenced by a Christian background, and that that background might well include a tenet that sees evil as a project of a lesser god called Satan. When it comes to the task of making the world a more just, more peaceful, more prosperous place for all, I suspect they’d be better off without it.
    Not to mention us citizens.

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