There is no mystery to evil.
In fact making evil into a mystery,
Is a bad idea.
There are only good ideas and bad ideas.
Anything that brings purposeful, unprovoked harm,
To other sentient beings,
Is a bad idea.
Evil is a bad idea,
In the hands of a leader.
Be a leader only,
With a good idea.
If you must,
Be a follower,
For a good idea.
Be smart enough,
To be aware,
Of your own bad ideas,
And confine them to your head.
If you cannot,
Then you must leave immediately.
The temptation to mystify evil is equal to our bewilderment at humanity, how many good people are led to do the worst things imaginable. The answer is not evil in them, but the evil of bad ideas inside leaders, and the tragedy of human obedience. The one alternative that has always worked is very good …
Below is an excerpt from my book, Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence, and Peacemaking, pp. 177-179 . The reason I am reproducing this now is given the Jewish season of New Year, repentance, and the never ending assault this summer on the decency of the Abrahamic religions, their constant use and abuse by states and extremists alike, it strikes me as the right time to remember the thousands of years and thousands of texts that are humanitarian and decent in just one tradition, let alone all the great sacred traditions of humanity. We must not forget, we must not let states and their extremists bury the wisdom of any great tradition.
Conflict Prevention Values In Judaism
benevolent care of the self (al tehi rasha bifne, ahavah kamokha, im ayn ani li)
self-scrutiny and change (heshbon ha-nefesh, teshuva)…