The Presence of Evil and the Absence of Goodness


We live in a period of history where belief in a benevolent creator is starting to fade.  Science, to some, has become the only solution to the questions.  We mourn this month the senseless attacks and killings of the very young and innocent, here in the USA and in China.  Where our nation and world is headed is up for debate. It is a debate that is needed and done with empathy and civility.  This last week my grandson was born. I did not realize how precious he was going to be in my life.  The events in China and Newton, CT reinforced my love for him and tore me apart for the families who have lost life’s most precious blessing. My wife and I wept openly. My grandson’s birth marks the beginning of the fifth generation in my life, from my great grandparents now to my grandson.  I have seen in this time frame the remarkable explosion in knowledge and technology.  I have listened to the stories of personal sacrifice and hardships during the Great Depression and of World War II, and the undaunted spirit to rise above all that was so very bad. Their time was a period of revival of spiritual beliefs.  Our parents never wanted us to experience that age of history.  They wanted better for us.

I was raised in a period of time where neighbors brought food into the center of the neighborhood to share their blessings and to know their neighbors.  I had a fantastic childhood and observed what community meant. Parents were allowed to discipline each others children for bad behavior, as were our teachers. We needed reinforcement what was acceptable and what was not. My parents stayed married to honor their sacred commitment to themselves, the witnesses at their wedding and yes, their creator. My values were formed during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Now, I truly miss those times. Then something drastically and dramatically changed. Our sense of values were changed due to a long period of relative peace and economic growth.  One has only to read history that there are good times and bad times.  This has been repeated over and over again for thousands of years.

The 1980’s up to now brought about more violent movies, video games, music videos, and other media.  We now actually embrace evil. Villains are now heroes.  We now accept broken marriage and families as the norm, yet wonder why our youth are insecure, distrusting of their adult counterparts and have such low value in themselves and others. Much music in this world denigrates women, parents, law enforcement and yes people of spiritual belief. Yet, when evil acts happen we question how and why. We ask how a creator allows such bad things to exist or to happen?  Shouldn’t we be asking a different question?  How have we allowed the presence of evil to exist?

We shout that government must intervene in our everyday lives to some extent, and at other times we want them out of our lives completely.  We violate laws that tell us drugs are bad, because we justify the temporary relief of pain and reality they provide. If children are born with medical conditions, we don’t blame our addictions or habits, we blame a creator. If people are killed, we blame inanimate objects, whether they be guns or knives. Yet with other issues we want and plead for government interference to protect us. Does this sound familiar with how we view a creator? We wonder why he is not present at bad times, but the remainder of times we want that creator to stay out of our of lives.  Such is the issue of free will.  Would you want a creator that controls your life like a puppet?  I don’t think you would.

One of my favorite quotes of all times sums up much of my thinking,

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.”

This quote is attributed to Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher.  His most important publication in this regard was his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents of 23 April 1770. In this he called out the over reaching power of government and the apathy of the citizenry to allow them to take control.  Whether you fear ethereal influences or governmental influences, you cannot relegate your personal responsibility.  What is the cause of our present discontents?

Yet, somewhere in all my years, this collective wisdom has been lost or challenged. Instead of simplicity and bliss, we have a life moving at a breakneck speed creating the disintegration of family, community, country and world. We no longer have time for one another. We would rather spend our free time hidden in a video game, a movie, or with virtual social interaction on smart phones. I see people more interested in themselves than in others. I read such vile commentary on news blogs.  There is no longer compromise, there is only headstrong opposition and stagnation.  We can’t resolve problems because people want someone else to pay for the solution. Money and possessions have become the object of our infatuation and identity.

Why does it take tragedy to awaken our senses and our souls? Evil can be described in many ways and the absence of empathy is just one. Try this today, look at your fellow man and know he too struggles with something in his life.  You can see it in peoples faces very plainly.  Offer a smile, a simple hello, or open a door to ease a burden.  Give a child or an elderly person a moment of your time, this is more precious to them than anything. Let them know they are important to you and the world. Demonstrate the presence of goodness.  It starts with you, not your creator or your government.

I contemplated back in the year 2000 where our world might be headed.  I wrote the Chosen One of Allivar trilogy as an allegory on those thoughts.  What is the meaning of life? What interferes with us having peace?  I am a man of spiritual convictions, yet I hold my beliefs to myself.  I have not been granted authority to judge or change the world. I believe in the presence of evil in our world. I would sacrifice myself at this very moment to defeat the presence of evil and end all the pain this world is experiencing. Yet, evil can reside in a man’s and society’s heart and will not be defeated in one generation.  It will take many.  Is this the meaning of life?  Are we placed here until we get it right?

I want the very best for my children and grandson. Yet I want them to understand the meaning of hard work, independence, self sufficiency, but to care for others of less fortune. Above all, I want them to understand the importance of family. My thoughts and my beliefs are embedded in the hero Arimar in my trilogy.  It is a story of humanity and of family. In this story children die. They are actually murdered.  Why?  Because we do not recognize the preciousness of life until it is taken from us.  If we were given a second chance at life, would we do anything different, or would we still display our apathy.

We need good men to do the right thing.  We need stories and actions of goodness.  We need love songs. We need heroes and heroines more than ever. We need to rise as one to raise the next generation.  If we do not, then defeat is our certainty, and this world, this paradise will be lost. This has always been the quest of evil, the very reason for its presence in this world. We are one family, regardless of our language and skin color. My first book in the trilogy is titled, “Rise of the Fallen.”   It is a play on words as the story chronicles the rise of evil and the fall of worlds.  Yet, it has a second meaning, which is the rise of fallen immortals to confront evil and to defeat its presence once and for all.  The fate of the final standing world is at stake.  What will be our fate?

I value the perspective and opinion of others, it is how I learn and have empathy for them. I respect the opinion of those of faith and those of no faith. I would love to read your honest, yet civil perspective.


2 comments on “The Presence of Evil and the Absence of Goodness

  1. I am pleased for you and your family and share your thoughts about our world. I am from similar times and experienced much the same freedoms and sense of community. I never took it for granted and have always tried to honour the principles of respect and consideration .I wish people didn’t see these things as quaint and old fashioned. The good old days were not always so good and these days are not always so bad but why do we have to leave the good things behind as we march into the future. Old fashioned values in a modern world can only be a good thing.

    • ewgreenlee says:

      Peter, thank your for replying. During all ages in history we have had troubles. All I can do is compare one period over another. We did not require law enforcement at our schools during the time I grew up. I wish I could not only explain this, but reverse its current need. Hopefully from these tragedies we will all become better people. Thank you for sharing your story, as difficult as it must be.

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