If, as I’ve suggested over the last several posts, “oneness” is a better lens for looking at our religion than “twoness,” the implications go deep.
A young man in our community is off to Central America to work with an organization combating human trafficking. Before he left, he came by for a chat. While he was energized by the prospect of helping those victimized in the worst way, he was also a bit apprehensive. “What is going to happen,” he asked, “to my innocence, when I come face to face with true evil?” “What will I become when I have to deal with the devil – the slave trafficker?”
We spoke about his grand adventure for a while, and then I brought up some of the ideas from these last posts.
“If God is a distinct entity, apart from you, and if people are all separate, discreet, packages of otherness,” I said, “you will have one experience with both trafficker and victim. But if your starting place is oneness instead of twoness, you’ll have an entirely different experience.”
Through history, I said, a lot of people have had an “out-there” god and “separate-from-me” enemies. Lots of people, organizations, even nations, have had the idea that they were on god’s side; the side of goodness. They have been equally convinced that their enemies were on the side of evil; marshaling lots of armies and tax dollars through the centuries to fight evil with god on their side.
And when our starting place is a god who is “out there,” and people who are separate from us, these instincts are as natural as natural can be. We can’t help but be revolted by our enemy’s debased hearts, by their disregard for the most basic principles of decency. When we see them as “other,” of course we can’t image ourselves cut from the same cloth they are.
And given the awful things people do (imagine Nazi’s along with slave traffickers), it is very difficult not to see things this way. And if you do, I told this young man, you’ll be in good company. In fact, I said, yours will be the majority opinion.
But, I said, there is a different way of seeing things.
You could start with the fundamental assumption that the same Spirit of God that animates you, animates your enemy. You could imagine that your enemy is crafted in the same Divine Image that you are. You could see yourself connected to the victim you seek to protect, and connected to the victimizer who perpetrates the evil. You could be one with the enslaved, and one with the enslaver.
This is weird…
It strains credulity…
It demands a very different way of thinking about evil.
But the teachings of Jesus and the saints…
And the discoveries of the quantum physicists…
…tell us this is a better way of understanding the reality we live in.

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