Illness, genocide, and sexual sin—new understanding and time-tested responses.
January 12, 2024
On Sunday, our pastor framed his message around an incident that Jesus used to also build a father’s trust.
By Mark’s account, the father questioned whether Jesus could do anything, after, from childhood, his son had never spoken, and periodically also had fallen into convulsions and foamed at the mouth .
Nowadays we might suspect that what the father and Jesus each described as a spirit was epilepsy. Suppose it was. Jesus, being God, would have known. Or Jesus, being human also, with a limited human brain and limited human experience, could readily have been told by God everything we now know about epilepsy, and more. Our limited human brains can understand plenty now.
But Jesus would still have been perfect, and would still have helped both the son and the father, without needing to know those details. A simpler overview would have sufficed. Jesus would have had this knowledge already from being human and having human understanding of evil.
God had created man to initially lack the knowledge of good and evil. God was and is good, and His work had been good. Then, Eve and Adam chose to eat the apple fruit that conferred the knowledge of good and evil (say, figuratively: in time, larger brains increased pain in childbirth  while providing higher reasoning). God then banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Even (again, say figuratively: they became separated from God and began experiencing suffering).
Jesus understood that suffering from epilepsy wasn’t the good that God does but rather was, in a word, evil. Referring to this suffering as evil could have been not about ancient lack of knowledge of medicine but about ancient knowledge of God and of evil. And of faith. If God can do all things, then whatever caused this evil suffering, God could heal.
At their core, Bible accounts of demon possession and in general of miracles may not be failures to understand science but rather, lessons in understanding God.
Nowadays, aided by science, we also can better understand Hamas people’s savage violence, murder, and desecration of Jews, and many Muslim people’s celebrations of these things. Each reflects both external, environmental phenomena and internal, biological phenomena.
In their external environments, many Muslim people are nurtured from childhood in ways like those lately being used to prepare people to kill in war. A person’s willingness to kill another person is increased by a demanding authority, group absolution, distance from the other person, the nature of the other person, and the person’s own predisposition .
Such learning has an internal biological mechanism. Whether hate is rational hate of genuine injustice or is unjustified hate of innocent people, when hate is felt repeatedly over time, it comes to dominate people’s actions and perceptions . Reasons to hate come to mind more readily. The opposite holds too. When compassion towards hated people is never felt, it becomes absent from people’s actions and perceptions. Compassion towards hated people becomes unthinkable.
Having developed in an environment that fosters hate towards Jews, and, through normal biological learning processes, having developed an internal physiology that carries out hate towards Jews, it becomes only natural to pass along this learning to children. If this cycle is nurtured or is simply left alone, it repeats throughout generations.
When behavior that harms others is reinforced, and that behavior is self-sustaining, both the social system that’s involved and the individuals who comprise the system can be described the most simply, in shorthand, as evil.
People directly attacked by such a system and such people must defend themselves, not by just waiting to be attacked but also by destroying the governments  and institutions that sustain that evil. The remaining people left behind will get a better chance to change.
People not directly attacked by such a system or such people must do nothing to sustain that system and those people . Sustaining such a system and such people would itself be evil. Instead, we must establish good boundaries . By doing this, we will first do no harm.
Closer to home, nowadays we can better understand our own proclivities towards sex outside of marriages between a man and a woman. Our external environments normalize sex outside of marriage, starting this normalization throughout childhood. Throughout our development courses, which continue throughout our lives, desire is repeatedly forced by external stimuli, and we repeatedly feel this forced desire and are internally shaped by it.
It’s God’s command to not have sex outside of marriage. Further, historical evidence illustrates that promoting sex outside of marriage has always weakened marriage relationships and children’s development, and by doing this has weakened individuals and societies.
All people are directly attacked by this system and its promoters, and must defend themselves. These attacks aren’t murderous, so the defense that’s needed isn’t to kill the promoters. But the defense is to destroy the governments and institutions that sustain this evil. Also, to first do no harm, by strengthening our personal boundaries, so that we ourselves don’t sustain or promote this evil.
Evil comes in many forms. All forms separate us from good, and therefore from God, Who is good. Our responses nowadays should be the same responses that have stood the test of time:
James Anthony is an experienced chemical engineer who applies process design, dynamics, and control to government processes. He is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party and rConstitution Papers, the publisher of rConstitution.us, and an author in Western Journal, Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, American Greatness, Mises Institute, Foundation for Economic Education, and Free the People. For more information, see his about, media, and overview pages.