Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bound to be Evil

Evil is often done by the nicest of people, though I think it impossible by those courageously kind. Thus nice people are often quite unkind. The source of this apparent paradox may originate with the etymology of the word “religion.” “Religion” comes to English by way of the Latin religare meaning to bind back, suggesting that religion entails having ones arms bound, perhaps even behind one’s back. If so, then inflexibility is certainly an aspect of religion. For those bound back by religion will lack a significant degree of freedom. The religious, then, seem at least etymologically bound to some inflexible, thus totalitarian, set of ideals. And if those religiously bound to their totalitarian ideals are antagonistic to others who are not so bound, then it is certainly up to the religiously bound to bind the irreligiously unbound -- in their own interests of course -- to be nice of course. Jihad here we come, of course.

On the other hand, kind people, unlike merely nice religious followers, are doomed to ecumenicalism. To be kind to another person one must respect that person despite that person’s particular bindings. If one is kind, then, one must also have the courage to break free of the ropes of one’s own religious binding. Unlike the merely nice, the courageously kind hold their principles by freedom of will, by freedom of faith, and not by an inflexible religare, a religion of ropes or shackles or threats or eternal damnation. Therefore, those who are kind must be courageous, for the kind know all they have is their own raw will to hold them to their ideals. But stronger than religare, the bindings of the kind are gossamer of adamant.


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