Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Critique of "Evil" in a Sermon

It is Easter. Many find this the time to celebrate "hope", but the pastor's sermon was on "the cross", dying, and fruitfulness. Several times he referred to "except a grain of wheat fall in the ground and die, it remains alone"....I imagine his intent was to encourage those who face "evil" that this was a way to produce fruti in one's life.

A grain falling in the ground to die is an agricultrual way to say that our lives are meant to be "given away", which is a fact of anyone's life. It is just "what is the "end" to be for one's life. That is a personal choice. But, he had ominous tones of life being taken, as Jesus' life was. Remember last Sunday's sermon was on "Stolen Identity". He encouraged us to see evil in 'spiritualized terms" of "satan" or the "devil", while suggesting that we were responsible for our sin and must not define it any other way. Nor should we rationalize what we do wrong. This was confusing to me.

I sat there thinking to myself that blaming "satan" was not "taking responsibility(as if any rational person really believes in a "real" person named Satan. I thought the Church had criticized the view of holding two equal powers as heresy, anyway.) I thought that possibly this was a way to dispel responsibility for actions that are no more than horrendously offensive. He attempted to describe war escalation. "Satan" was the way of "scape-goating" evil, and producing "solidarity" with one's "enemy, the one responsible for the "sin". It was a confusing message to me. And it sounded as if he was trying to convince himself that this all was true.

I find that whenever we set out to pre-determine another's action, response, or choice, then we are headed for disaster. And pre-determination is highly problematic morally. I was just reading "A Theory of Justice" by John Rawls today. He argues that there must be a equal liberty for justice to prevail. This is what our Constitution is based upon. We value the individual's right of self-determination. "We hold these truths, to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights...." Justice and fairness is ruling by "consent of the governed". I guess these rules don't apply when it comes to 'religion"....

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