Image via WikipediaI'm quite exhausted from politicians and religious people talking about evil in regards to foreign affairs (particularly Islam), and propelling this idea that there is some kind of eternal struggle between good and evil in the world.
I think as humans, we're preoccupied with opposites, forgetting there is a spectrum contained within polarized concepts. Good vs. evil permeates our legends and movies. History is viewed through the lens of culture, and humans generally have a real problem with moral ambiguity.
I recently saw a fascinating video on the theory of how the universe first started to expand (the origin of space and time). During this birth, there was only matter and anti-matter in a struggle. Matter ended up dominating just enough to allow the universe to continue forming as it has over the past 13.7 billion years.
I wonder if this neutral struggle for dominance is ingrained in the human subconscious somehow, birthing a meme of good vs. evil. Various cultures (and religions) tend to view good and evil in very different lights. It's relative to cultural attitude rather than moral absolute.
Yes, there are dangerous people in the world, that pose a threat to our safety and our way of life. There are dictators, serial killers, terrorists, criminals, extreme religious leaders and corrupt politicians. As members of civilized society we don't condone murder, rape, slavery, genocide, theft, and so on. These are things that we choose to oppose and dismantle in our societies because they violate human rights.
I think it's absolutely lazy and irresponsible to blame the atrocities of the world on some invisible (and not empirical) force of evil, because such a force can't be truly understood, studied, and effectively combated.
I think we'd be much better off realizing that people take action because of what they think and believe in. Terrorists believe what they're doing is good for their country (and many times for their god). Serial killers have very good reasons (if you understand their thought process) for murdering their victims. The acts that result in such tragedy are obviously not to be condoned, but ultimately it's a process of warped thinking that drives people to do horrible things, not an invisible force.
The universe is indiscriminate in tragedy, and ultimately indifferent in human affairs. When we make foreign policy decisions (and really any other public policy decision) we must look at it rationally, trying to understand the motives of those who try to violate essential human rights. No invisible presence of good or evil (aka God and Satan) should be considered in these affairs. They are imaginary.
With an increasingly Christian military (evangelicals are proselytizing all over the place) and people of faith in public office, we must be wary of the consequences of superstition in relation to our freedoms, our national security, and ultimately our lives. Be afraid of superstition and irrational thought, not of an invisible force of evil in the world.