Does pure evil exist? Does the “devil” make me do things I don’t want to do? Are there demons and such? Those are some loaded questions, aren’t they? The first answer would have to be, no, but only in the sense that I believe evil to be a twisting of truth; as per degrees, it can get so close to pure as to make no never mind. When you look at the likes of Hitler and the German people in the early 1940’s, where there has been a horrible twisting and turning that turns a group of humans into the demon to be rid of, where was the evil? In the German intent to be rid of other humans, there can be no doubt of this, yet, at the time, there were those who believed that they were doing the world a favor. How twisted can you get?
( I searched the ‘net for a pic that would show the awfulness of those camps without showing the piles of bodies that were mute testimony to the horrors of “gassing” train loads of human beings. I wanted to show that those who lived, lived in horrible conditions too, if it was just a quick death, there is some twisted mercy in that, but there was no mercy from the Nazi’s. I cannot blame those descendants who want to deny the existence of the death camps, they were so horrible, but denial will only compound the crime. Let us face the dark side of human capacity and conquer it, not hide it to let it come out in individuals like Dahmer and others of similar nature.)
There have been other despots since who have used other means of mass extermination, turning the “guns” on groups within their own ethnicity rather than have the world pounce on them for going after a separate group. These folks still get by with this behavior as though it were not just as twisted and evil as the attempted extermination of the Jews. The point here, is that it is not an “evil” that exists outside the human heart as a separate entity, it is the twisting and magnification of the darkest manifestations of human behavior. The sooner we recognize that all humans are capable of killing, and that most are even capable of despicable behavior in given circumstances, the sooner we can go about the business of learning how to release the dark emotions so that we may live more enlightened lives!
I am not a Calvinist, I also believe that those capable of despicable behavior are also capable of quite gallant behavior in other circumstances. Most humans have learned by the time they are adults, to curb the dark side of their nature and live to some degree a balanced enough existence to get along with others. In fact, most humans have learned by the time they are adults that some forms of kindness will get them a whole lot closer to their goals, even quite selfish goals, than nasty behavior. The difficulty I have with a Calvinistic perspective is that it is truly totally pessimistic where human nature is concerned and sees only the darker side as being natural.
This really is not the case. It is natural for humans to treat those they care about with gentle loving behavior. One will often see career criminals who make an exorbitant wage selling drugs value their families and close trusted friends as being beyond the worth of gold. It is not even unusual to see those capable of despicable crimes against other humans have loving relationships with four legged pets. Most humans are neither pure evil nor pure good. There are a few shining examples of goodness in our species, i.e. Mother Theresa, who, bless her heart, even she had severe doubts as to the presence of G-d. There are others on both sides of the coin. Humans are seldom uncomplicated in their way of being.
Does the “Devil Make me Do That?”
Do you think so? I don’t. I think our habitual way of thinking and acting have more to do with whether we will fall into something that should not have happened. I do believe that negative influences can nudge us into doing things we know are wrong, and are against our better judgment, even in grey areas. I believe that spirits exist, both light and clear, and dark and murky. I believe that if we open ourselves to them, (some of us were born open) we can hear them. Do I believe it is good to pursue this as a believer? Only if you are willing to go through the purifications common to Buddhist practice do I think it wise to seek the hearing breakthrough. If you haven’t purified your intention, and released your anger and the negative emotions, what you will hear will echo what is inside of you.
And yes, there is no doubt in my mind that some forms of what the psychiatrists presume are schizophrenic hallucinations may well be manifestations of hearing spirits, not all, mind you, but some. If you are hearing those voices and they are dark, I can only suggest you seek the help of a Buddhist monk or a Native American Holy Man or Woman. I made it out of the maze, yes, it can be done, but you must choose love first, any other way will get you lost. You cannot harbor negative emotions against any one without suffering.