Evil is real, we cannot ignore its malevolent presence. The everyday news is full of accounts of murders and gruesome killings. Our general understanding of evil is that it is something done by criminals and murderers or sociopaths. But that is just not true.
More often than not, evil is committed by the people who should be shielding us from it. Our family and those close to us. Due to this, we find it very difficult to comprehend and protect ourselves from being overpowered by its soul-destroying effects.
Scot Peck in his book the People of the Lie has this to say about evil, “Evil appears to be most ordinary. They live down the street..on any street. They may be rich or poor, educated or uneducated. There is little that is dramatic about them. They are not designated, criminals. More often than not they will be “solid citizens”-Sunday school teachers, policemen, or bankers, and active in the PTA.”
Oh, how I wish I had known this? As a kid I remember, reading Biblical stories about God. And there was the devil always trying to sway helpless and innocent human beings to sin. This erroneous childhood indoctrination that evil is some extra-terrestrial being that may take the form of a serpent prevented me from fighting back earlier.
That evil has a human face and it can be someone who is family or friend took me years to grasp. The people who are supposed to care and protect you will destroy you by their hate, rage, rejection, deceit is hard to process. Scot Peck calls them criminals because they commit “crimes” against life and liveliness.
Forgiveness Is Wrong
Struggling through the pain of childhood abuse, I wish I had known how to protect myself again wickedness and meanness. The worst part of growing up Christian is the exhortation to forgive those who hurt you. What horrible advice. Moreover, being a martyr where evil people are concerned is not the answer, the abuse will continue. Dr. Helen clearly explains the erroneous premise about forgiveness “If I forgive you, I’ve given you no reason to stop that.” The wicked have no reason to reform. And you the victim end up suppressing your feelings and the truth accommodating their distorted viewpoints in the mistaken view that it is the Christian thing to do. This is so wrong. Downplaying evil and condoning it emboldens the perpetrator with a false sense of their own superiority.
Origins Of Evil
According to Alice Miller, evil exists. But it is not something that some people are born with. It is produced by society, every day, every hour, unceasingly, all over the world. It starts with the treatment meted out to newborn babies and carries on in the parenting methods practiced on small children.
The brainwashing we receive as kids is that we have to be the ‘good child’ no matter what. That suppressing our needs and emotions is the way to become saints. We all know the suffering unleashed by the sexual abuse of pedophile priests on innocent lives. They are the classic example of how suppression of one’s desire and their deceit to portray a false image produce such monsters.
All in the name of God. The reason why evil has increased is this forced outward sense of piety and goodness, covering up dark desires that are unleashed on hapless victims who cannot fight back.
The recent Oxfam scandal reveals the dark side of do-gooders. The so-called known philanthropists always want something in return for their charitable acts, you have to be their grateful and obedient slave.
It is my experience that most evil is so subtle and covert you are simply gaslighted into thinking that you are the evil one. For years my father found ways to humiliate me. He would forever tell us what sacrifices he had made. That he could have just thrown us out of the home. He was the good man, he always had to highlight some fault of mine. I was wicked and evil.
Getting over this kind of soul-killing is tougher than getting over an actual murder. You don’t know you have been violated. I spent years trying to make sense of his meanness and rage. Without a doubt, that he was the evil one. The people who abuse, neglect and use a child are the evil ones. Not the child who protests for being scapegoated and maltreated.
Silence And Pretense
No amount of religious teachings or messiahs can destroy evil. It goes on spreading is because no one wants to stand up against it. Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal states that “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing”.
Silence and pretense are the two helping hands of evil. Without those two it cannot thrive. Instead of denouncing my father, my relatives would keep silent and act like it was just normal. Never did anyone bother to discuss the matter with him or get involved. Further, I was told that I must behave and listen to my father since he was doing so much. The only thing to do was suppress and repress my real self, which caused me to develop scoliosis.
The psychology of evil | Philip Zimbardo
Philip Zimbardo an American psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University. knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. It is indeed a slippery slope to hell. Evil spreads because of our apathy. Alice Miller in her book For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, explores the dangerous consequences parental cruelty.
As a parent, I know good children are the outcome of kind parenting. If we want evil to end we need to be aware of our behavior towards our kids. While at the same time cautioning them that there are bad people in this world and teach them how to protect themselves.