The word “curse” often evokes fairytale imagery or some sort of mystical power which corrupts everything under its influence. But this magical motif in fiction has a very real non-fiction counterpart: irrationality (or sin). In children’s stories, we resort to magical language because it provides a simple and concrete way of depicting the corruption which takes place as a result of irrationality and sin in one’s life — or in the culture. At least, that would be the rational way of using such mystical language.
The Curse is in You
Unfortunately, there seems to also be an awful lot of people who really do think of sin or evil as some sort of mystical or magical force — like an invisible spell cast over the population, from which none can escape. After all, that would make it something beyond any one person’s control, and would therefore implicitly expunge everyone from any sort of guilt associated with it. Those who love their own darkness are all too eager to accept the premise that that darkness was pushed upon them, quite apart from their desires. And those who love their own darkness are quite opposed to shining any light upon that darkness (i.e. rationally analyzing it) in order to discover its actual causes and origins.
You see, part of the curse is to relegate it to the uncontrollable and inscrutable domain of mysticism. Whether one refers to it as a curse, or social forces, or God’s will, or “the way things are”, the attempt to leave it there, when speaking about causes and origins of sin, irrationality, and evil is sinful, irrational, and evil. It says, in essence, “This [evil] is inevitable in every way; it cannot be helped; it cannot be stopped; it cannot be opposed; it simply is, and we must conform to it”.
You Choose to Perpetuate the Curse — or Not
For the love of all that is good (literally), don’t think like that! Yes, there are causes (a great multiplicity of them!) when it comes to evil, irrationality, sin, and corruption. But those more outlying causes (listed above) do not in any way negate the the more immediate causes with which each of us “has to do”; and therefore they do not negate the ability (and moral responsibility) to fight against evil, and hold fast to what is good.
Those more immediate causes are those things in your life (and your soul) over which you do exercise control: your thoughts; your affections; your actions; your dreams; your plans; you work. Everything in your life flows ultimately from and through one source: you. [Don’t begin prattling on about it “being from God” — as if that fact negates the fact that it is also through you. Does God do anything in your life which does not involve you in any way? If so, then it wouldn’t be in your life]. You control those things in your life which proceed from you, and there is one particular part of you from which they proceed: your reasoning mind.
Fight the Curse … Far as it’s Found
And that is where the ultimate battle ground against the curse must take place for each individual: in his own mind — or more specifically, in his worldview. It is one’s worldview which ultimately determines one’s desires and one’s actions (and consequently, therefore, the general direction of one’s life). Truth in a worldview issues forth in blessings beyond compare, and falsity in a worldview issues forth in corruption and despair. If you hate corruption, you should hate false ideas. I do. I despise intellectual evasion. I despise contradictions. I despise fallacies employed by serious minds — because I despise death, which is the teleological end of the curse. I despise false political views because I despise the massive evils which must be spawned by them. I despise false theological views because I despise the massive spiritual shipwreck which must occur as a result of them. I despise false philosophical views because I despise the abject horror through which millions suffer (because they haven’t a clue about how to deal with reality!) because of them. I despise false ideas because I despise the curse.
You show me any evil — from 7.6 million people dying of cancer each year, to 11 million dying in the Holocaust; from a single mother’s struggle to just feed her hungry children, to an unemployed and exhausted father holding a gun to his own head; from children being beheaded for their religion, to children being “aborted” for convenience — show me any evil, and I’ll show you how it is either caused, or perpetuated, (and usually both) by willful irrationality, many times, on mass scales.
Christ came to bear our curse, by becoming a curse for us. We were under a self-inflicted curse through sin and irrationality which issued forth in spiritual corruption and inevitable death. But He took that curse (the curse of God’s wrath) upon Himself, and freed us from the much deserved guilt of wallowing in our own decay. Now, will we continue to wallow in that decay? Will we live ambivalently toward that darkness in which we once walked? Will we think lazily about that curse from which we are saved, so as to enable its grip and effects on so many others? No. The man who has been freed from such a curse hates that curse, and all of its effects. The man who has been freed from such a curse wages war against that curse, and all of its dark doings.
I hate cancer (it took my Grandma). I hate poverty. I hate despair. I hate depression. I hate irrationality, and evasion, and corruption, and sin. I hate death. I hate evil. I hate that damned curse. And I aim to fight it, far as it might be found. And the first place it’s found is: in ideas.
Originally published at www.thechristianegoist.com on December 24, 2014.
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