Eradicating amoral evil

When habits or beliefs are obviously wrong and we fear their consequences, we are apt to fight hard to eradicate them. Less obvious wrongs and ones that seem to have no undesirable consequences are more apt to be left uncorrected. For that reason what might be considered amoral evils can be as pernicious to individual and collective integrity as blatant immorality.

Sometimes whole societies have accepted practices such as theft, adultery, or murder as normal; more generally, white lies, greed, selfishness, sensuality, ruthlessness, establish themselves as accepted amoralities. "That's life," people sigh, as though the consequences could be ignored.

This is why the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are so important. They contain standards that at times appear to agree with social thinking and at other times go quite contrary to it. The requirements seen in the Commandments and Beatitudes force us to question practices that may have gradually become so usual they are indulged amorally—that is, without conscious knowledge of their wrongness. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy observes: "Evil is sometimes a man's highest conception of right, until his grasp on good grows stronger. Then he loses pleasure in wickedness, and it becomes his torment. The way to escape the misery of sin is to cease sinning. There is no other way." Science and Health, p. 327.

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Joseph had his own angels
February 7, 1983

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