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Post What if Evil Did Not Exist? From Ric Mauricio
Created by John Eipper on 09/19/15 9:38 AM

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What if Evil Did Not Exist? From Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA, 09/19/15 9:38 am)

Ric Mauricio responds to John Heelan (15 September):

And what if we didn't have taxes? What would all those IRS employees, tax preparers, and Enrolled Agents do? Might it be something productive?

Now John Heelan asks the age-old question, "why does evil exist?" Wouldn't we then have to ask the question, "why does good exist?" After all, one cannot exist without the other. Just like hot cannot exist without cold, or night without day, hate without love, pleasure without pain (sorry, will not get into a discussion on S&M here), hard without soft, winners without losers and smart without dumb, it is the nature of the world. It is what the Asians call yin/yang.

Religion, in its quest for understanding, comes up with stories to explain the existence of events. God vs. Satan, good vs. evil, saintly vs. sinful, beginning and end. Being brought up in a Roman Catholic environment, I chuckled at how the church was able to conveniently categorize the relative essence of evil--cardinal sin, mortal sins, and venial sins with the appropriate punishment (penance) for each. Now, in order to be saved, one must confess and be truly sorry for what they did.

But what if some woman asked you if you thought she was fat? Would you lie? Of course. You did not want to hurt her feelings. Are you sorry for lying? Not a bit. So you're going to hell in a hand basket (whatever that means).

Now imagine if we did not have evil. My guess is that we would not have 99% of the books written, or movies and TV shows written. If evil means losing, we would not have any sporting events. No need for many of music ... how many songs are written about heartbreaking romance? We would have no need for religion. Oh, wait, didn't John Lennon go through this already?

But then, wouldn't life then be mundane and boring without yin and yang? When I think of it, I marvel at the brilliance of whatever created this.

JE comments:  There's nothing much for me to add here, but just yesterday I was driving around and Lennon's "Imagine" came on the radio.


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  • To Hell in a Handbasket; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 09/20/15 4:01 AM)


    Gary Moore writes:




    On Ric Mauricio's pause from the grimness of evil (Sept. 19)
    to wonder just where the hell the phrase "to hell in a handbasket"
    came from:


    Turns out the Web is filled with cluelessness on
    this one. Wikipedia shows its dopey side (not the incisive
    side John Eipper has rightly commended) by never answering
    the question. The surprise, however, is that the handbasket is
    not to be carried by hand, but to be carried full of hands--as one of those generic Answer sites explores (if it's true):
    http://askville.amazon.com/expression-hell-hand-basket/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=2506232



    JE comments:  A basket full of hands would be decidedly hellish.  Here's something I found on the Web.  My thanks to the clever cartoonist:

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  • What if Evil Did Not Exist? (John Heelan, UK 09/20/15 4:16 AM)
    Ric Mauricio (19 September) perhaps misses my point when he commented: "John Heelan asks the age-old question, 'why does evil exist?' Wouldn't we then have to ask the question, 'why does good exist?' After all, one cannot exist without the other."

    I agree. However my point is not about the questions themselves but about who benefits from continuously providing Ric's preferred answer, "After all, one cannot exist without the other." It is the religious community that needs both questions and preferred answers. .


    Without the dichotomy of Good and Evil, religions could not justify themselves, just as in Saramago's novel without Death there can be no Resurrection or more prosaically no "Jam Tomorrow" for religions to promise.


    JE comments:  Jam tomorrow, or "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"

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    • A Moment with Browning (John Heelan, UK 09/21/15 6:24 AM)
      JE quoted Robert Browning in his comment of 20 September: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"

      However, previously Browning writes: "Well, I can fancy how he [Andrea del Sarto] did it all,/ Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,/ Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him,/ Above and through his art-for it gives way."


      Note the influence of "kings and popes."


      JE comments: We just saw an encounter between a pope (Francis) and a de facto king: Fidel Castro. I'm not 100% sure of the chronology, but I believe WAISer Massoud Malek was in Cuba at the same time as His Holiness. Massoud: please tell us more!

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    • More Thoughts on Evil; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 09/22/15 7:21 AM)
      Ric Mauricio responds to John Heelan (20 September):

      John, I believe we are on the same page. To expand on our discussion, not only do religionists justify themselves, and conveniently pick and choose what to believe in, religionists also found that the guiltier they can make one feel, the more power they have over you. I recall during our Confirmation (the sacrament) celebration, one of my classmates surmised that he could not participate because between his Confession (the sacrament of Penance) on Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, he had sinned. Of course, one wonders what that frightful sin could have been, but our Reverend Mother kindly put his mind to ease and he participated.


      I was told that one cannot pick and choose what in the Bible one can believe in. I was told that you either believe in everything the Bible says or you are heretical. My question to these people, "But doesn't the Church pick and choose? saying which teachings are Biblical and which are not?"


      But I guess I may be riding that hand basket (love that cartoon) on a zip line since I choose to believe in Jesus', Lao Tzu's, Baha'i, and Humanist teachings and not some of the Apostle Paul's teachings.


      By the way, has anyone noticed? We've got heaven right here. Good food, good friends, fine wine, and fine women. Ah, heaven.


      JE comments: Fine gentlemen, too. And in my book, a speedy car, a twisty road, and good weather.  WAISly heaven is fast, reliable Internet.

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