Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The news of the killing of two American soldiers was horrible and disturbing [ no man is an island ] in a way I don't recall before. Sinister, and despite what you may read elsewhere, a complete betrayal of Islam.

Having opposed the war to begin with (I thought the US would mess up the aftermath), I still dont think the US should "cut and run," but I think it is increasingly likely that it will. I read in too many places today that this is "a war the US must not loose but cannot win". If that view becomes the concensus, the US public will force a withdrawal.

There is only so much evil people can confront.

A friend who has seen the beheading video of Nick Berg said that he "couldn't get it out of my mind for days....don't watch isn't good to...couldn't get his crying and screaming out of my mind...these people are very sick."

I found that I have become rather Calvinist, or Augustinian, about this. I don't think people who doe this are sick, I thinkthey are evil. But that does not mean incomprehensible: a good follower of St. Augustine and his view of fallen humanity would say that evil is more comprehensible to fallen humankind than good.

I want think that humanity is basically good, but I dont feel like that very much at the moment.

Perhaps western religious thought (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic is simply not adequate to address why people behave evilly. The first words read in a traditional Chinese education (from the Hundred Character Classic) were "Man is Good." Mencius, the second great name of the Confucian tradition noted that when normal people hear a baby cry, they will try to help. He argues that getting people to act evilly is like pushing water up a hill - it can be done, but is not natural.

Rather than just regard these perpetrators of atrocity as evil, perhaps we should regard them as unnatural.

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