December 17, 2012 by eneubauer
The truth is that evil really exists. Evil, mental illness and moral values are three issues that I have been thinking about prior to the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – the shooting, its implications and the talk surrounding the state of the shooter have brought my thoughts to center stage once again. The issues of Evil, mental illness and moral values are crying out for our attention and here’s why.
The idea of Evil personified (& hell) has been largely rejected by modern / post-modern man as myth and connected closely to the “fantasy stories” of the Bible. In addition, shifts in societal value systems have also set the stage for a wholesale rejection of traditional moral values in favor of what the majority deems as acceptable or normal. Finally, many holding to the mantra of fiscal conservatism have rejected serious investment in the research & treatment of mental illness (or the mentally ill). Hence, the rejection of morals, the treatment of evil as myth and our collective marginalization of those suffering from mental illness continue to cause Americans and others serious unrest. Let’s take a closer look at each from a common sense perspective.
Evil exists and in forms that many don’t even want to consider. The biblical perspective is that evil exists in at least two-forms. First, it exists in the form of “Satan” or the “devil” (CCC 391). The Catechism speaks of created beings (angels) who were intended for good. However, because love requires choice (a free action of the will) between the loved and lover, angels had to choose between Good (God) and Evil (the absence of God). Some angels chose to reject the Good and in this action were separated from God and His original intent for their existence – harmonious interrelation. (See CCC 392-395) In this act we see the development of evil personified. The second form of evil exists because of “original sin”. Humankind, in their rejection of the Good (God) under the enticement of Satan to, “Be like God” (Genesis 3:5 & CCC 396-401), were separated from harmonious interrelation with their creator. In this act humanity cooperated with Satan in their rejection of God and distorted, for the foreseeable future, the original intent of creation and the created order.
It is no secret that the foundation of our country was largely based on the Judeo-Christian ethic. These ideas were embraced by our Founding Fathers who were both Christian and other. History reveals that an embrace of this ethic is possible by those who identify with the Christian religion and those who do not. Embedded in this ethical system is wisdom from ONE that transcended both the moment and the intellectual capacity of man (history past, present & future). Therefore this ethic became the foundation stone of America’s cultural, political, and legal systems. However, times are changing and we now find ourselves in a post-modern / Christian culture with the emergence of a new ethic not rooted in Judeo-Christian principles. This new ethic is rooted in the agreement of the majority. Therefore whatever the majority of any one society deems as normal, ethical or acceptable is the new norm. Societies based on this ethic are no longer tied to the traditions of the past because post-modern man has evolved. We now believe man has the capacity to develop our own set of “rules” or “guiding principles” with no connection to that which transcends this physical world. Therefore, our understanding of what is objectively right and wrong has grown cloudy and will continue to be murky space as we constantly reinvent what is acceptable in secular societies. The result – moral confusion, deception and a vision of man completely free from the shadow of his Creator. This has and will continue to create problems!
Did you know that mental illness is so anti-American. It is in mental illness that we find what is antithetical to our American values / culture. The mentally ill are weak, feeble-minded individuals who claim an incapacity that is very difficult to define and detect and even harder to treat.
In America we love those that are 1st, successful in their field of work and strong (mentally, physically and spiritually). In addition, how you become successful isn’t of concern to us anymore. No one expects you to be perfect but the problems that do develop in the American person must be solvable – the person must overcome by an act of the will in concert with other assistance currently available to them.
Mental illness just doesn’t fit the mold. It is hard to understand and often requires solutions that use a plethora of treatment options. With physical ailments you can treat the issues with a doctors visit, a shot, pill or dietary manipulation. However, the solutions to mental illness require patience, sensitivity, research and funding. The solutions for the mentally ill begin with societal acceptance where the mentally ill are no longer marginalized, unemployable and isolated. The mentally ill can no longer operate in the shadows where they become the victims of a valueless society that even denies the influence of evil forces on the mind of the mentally impaired. Mental illness is real, funding for research needs to be on par with the funding of other types of physical ailments, treatment needs to be affordable and accessible to all. Anything less is anti-Christian and void of the values that I hold so dearly in my own life.
The rejection of evil and moral values is not the height of a new intellectual evolution. It is a short-sighted, valueless vision that will last only as long as the majority finds value in its own conclusion. It is highly subjective and has no connection to that which is obviously objective in nature. In addition, the continued marginalization of the mentally ill simply reveals just how far western culture has to go in honoring the unique dignity of the human being and ensuring that all who are in need (both physically, mentally, and spiritually) have access to solutions that will enable them to live a strong, healthy and productive life.
I hope and pray that we will take action in each area to ensure the long-term stability of our society and culture in this great American experiment.
Disclaimer: This article is not trying to draw conclusions from the Sandy Hook shooting nor is it trying to prescribe a certain solution. This particular event just drew out what I have been thinking on for some time. Its point is to encourage conversation relating to the problems I see in American life and culture.