Posts Tagged ‘Evil’

Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil is the title of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical work.  It is a highly controversial book in which he successfully debunks the tenets of Christianity and in which he relativises the notions of good and evil.  There are two types of morality, he argues, the ruler-morality and the slave-morality.  It is the difference between them which is considered good and evil.  The ruler-morality considers good to be the ‘noble’ and the ‘warlike’, the strong and the powerful, the dominant with the will-to-life (which is power and control by another name).  The good in the slave-morality consists of attributes such as compassion, charity, forgiveness, fortitude in suffering etc.  – values which, he says, arise in the subjugated and the oppressed.

For Nietzsche, society and the masses should serve an elite few – the aristocracy – so that a few ‘supermen’ can be bred from this group which will contribute to the overall creativity and intelligence of the world.  It resembles a Hellenic conception of power (whose ‘democracy’ allowed for slaves).  But Nietzsche does not adopt Platonic and Socratic ideas of what is good and evil for these are absolute in concept and more interesting.

For Plato, what is good is the ‘agathon’ – the pure.  But for Nietzsche purity is an idealistic term whose original meaning escapes him.  It is the ‘pure’ of theology he deconstructs and shows how this good is linked in with the life-denying concept of original sin and pain and suffering for the rewards of a hypothetical here-after.  Such concepts were popularized by medieaval church scholars, like Thomas Aquinas.  Ecclesiastical goodness and purity is that which is non-sexual, non-physical and is burdened by a good dose of martyrdom.

It was not the Christ figure of Jesus that Nietszsche reviles, but rather the ideology perpetuated and propagated by the ruling class of the day.  The Christianity adopted by the ‘disciples’, many hundreds of years after the event, was an amalgam of Judaic and Islamic scriptural discourses.  In these discourses, god is a great punitive judge, patriarchal, and full of avenging wrath and power.  This great judge not only punishes one for his crime (whatever that was in the day) but he promises to punish generations of his children aeons into the future (sic!).  There are only a few direct quotes from the great enlightened master, Jesus and the most significant ones are not included in the Bible (all versions) but were found in Thomas’ and other gospels found in the late 19th Century. (Such revolutionary notions as we are all god’s children and heaven exists in the heart of all human beings.)

Nietzsche rightly points out that Jesus was a man of peace.  His words were in diametrical opposition to the scriptural dogma of the day.  He preached love and maintained that to love your loved ones is easy, but the aspiration should be to love your enemies.  Turning the other cheek, was a controversial idea in those days, given the ruling class’s belief in an avenging male god who judged and punished for the smallest misdemeanour.  Jesus embodied peace and maintained his silence even when the church and state crucified him.  I consider it a profound tragedy and stupidity that this brutality has been privileged as his divine purpose!  Sacrificing the man of peace is clearly symbolic of a more ancient heritage – the sacrificial lamb.  For to kill and sacrifice one’s own is to placate the war-like monster/god, or a fertility symbol, to help make crops grow.  The concession to violence because god is on one’s side, is still a prevalent and dangerous medieaval theological teaching  today.

So Nietzsche tears into the anti-life theology which breeds hatred of the body and eulogizes pain and suffering.  In this theology, there is no mention of a heaven-in-life, on earth, but the mere belief in a heaven which comes only after death (if you are good that is – whatever that means).

Having tried Christianity and found it wanting on many counts, Nietzsche declares god to be dead.  This became the catchphrase of European intellectuals and artist from early 20th century culminating the nihilism of postmodernist thought.  For the latter, there is no god, no absolutes, and nothing outside of language.

Nietszche found Eastern philosophies much more to recommend them.  He liked the idea of (ego) self-transcendence and the life-affirming qualities of joy, peace and prosperity here on earth.  But being a man of words, essentially, not experience, he remained entangled by his own discursive web, finally succumbing not to self-transcendence, but insanity.  He died in a mental asylum, completely unaware of his meteoric fame and Europe’s eulogy of his works.

So we may ask is there anything beyond good and evil?  Obviously, these are relativist terms since what is good for one culture may not be good for another.  As Nietzsche cleverly points out, these notions are relative to one’s class and position in the pecking order.

Enlightened discourse recognises that even a murderer has the opportunity to know his/her own true self.  It recognises the potential of ALL human beings to know and experience (as a feeling, not a thought) a realm beyond good and evil and beyond judgment.  All human beings house the boundless and infinite power of what we commonly refer to as god.  To know this state, is to be full of peace and love (and a great many other things besides).

Socrates is rarely quoted by Plato.  One quote, however, remains ‘know thy self’ and it was inscribed on the entrance of the Delphic temple ages prior.  Plato believed that the pure, the agathon, existed in the realm of ideas (messing with philosophy for centuries later).   One cannot easily dismiss, however, his belief, that human beings exist in a land of shadows and half-baked perceptions.  Plato’s writings are a poor testament to the great revolutionary and enlightened teachings of Socrates – so revolutionary, the authorities so threatened by his influence on the young, that they poisoned him to death.

To know one’s self implies an answer, as the great man of peace, Prem Rawat, points out in contemporary times.  It implies that if one pursues self-knowledge, that the profound meaning of that inner experience will propel one into the self-transformation of a Socrates, a Kabir, a Meera, a Rumi and countless others who acknowledged the power and the knowledge of the Self (the divine within) and found in their experience, the experience of the Absolute – the one truly beyond Good and Evil.

By Eleni Pouliezou/DissidentVoice

Posted by John the Revelator

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Recently I was reading an article by Max Lucado entitled “Where Was God When Hurricane Sandy Hit?” This question is often very confusing, but really it shouldn’t be. I’m speaking of why calamities occur and does God have a hand in these, often time, unfortunate incidences such as the massacre that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. The Scriptures are quite clear in answering these questions. Lucado was dealing with Hurricane Sandy ravaging the East Coast but after reading the article by this titan, I was left puzzled. Was he supposed to be bringing comfort? Was he answering the age old question of how and why good and bad things happen? Because of his article I felt compelled to write this to enlighten and strengthen God’s people.
In the Old Testament there was a close relationship between weather and the spiritual condition of people (1Kings 8:35-36, Joel 1:17-20). Sin brought physical punishment during famines and plagues of insects and storms. God caused winds and he created them (Gen 8:1, Exod 10:13, Num 11:31, Ps 107:25, 135:7, 147:18).
In the New Testament, God sent us his Holy Spirit to communicate with us, to walk along side of us as well as teach us about the dynamic changes as compared to the OT. We have to first put things in perspective; this is not God’s world since he allows Satan to have certain rights. If you read (2Cor 4:1-4), God allows Satan to have free reign for a while until he reestablishes his kingdom. We are given free will to do and be as we please. (Eph 2:2) speaks of Satan as the Prince and power of the air and as children of the most high we understand our rightful place in this world; we are no longer children of disobedience. We have an enemy who was cast from heaven to this earth (Rev 12:9).
Lest we forget God is in charge of this earth, he is the supreme ruler (Jn 17:14-16), we the Ecclesia are not of this world because of our relationship and right standing with God. We have to understand when it comes to obedience, man has always been disobedient (Ex 16:28) and because of this disobedience, God destroyed the world once (Gen 6:3).
We must transfix our minds toward the Messiah (Eph 2:2-6) and look to the Scripture. Job is the best example of a man humbling himself in the face of true calamities. He is a model that should be preached and studied, for his is a true example of how Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Allow me to say this, Satan is only one being. He isn’t omniscient, meaning he can’t be everywhere at once, therefore he uses his personal agents: demonic spirits. Through all the issues that plagued Job he never lost faith or blamed God. Job continued to praise God in the face of horrible circumstances. Job prevailed and became greater in God’s eyes and was victorious in life as well (Job 42:12-17). We must remember this isn’t God’s world, Satan was cast out to be the ruler of this world; and he is the Prince and power of the air (Eph 2:2). Why would he cause hurricanes and storms to kill innocent people?
The Messiah asked about tragedies so let us read a foundational truth in (Lk 13:1-5). Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” The question was answered in straight forward fashion. We must repent or likewise perish; Jesus showed that God had nothing to do with the deaths. God doesn’t cause these things to happen but rather allows evil and some simply unfortunate accidents to occur.
We have victory and in our victory God gives a place of safety and comfort.
(Ps 91:1-16)
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God
91 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

 By John The Revelator