Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

Author Archive

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” relays the story of a man who decides to murder his neighbor due to the fact that he is annoyed by the old man’s glassy eye. The image above depicts how after murdering the old man the main character hides his body under his floor board and invites in several police officers who wish to search his home. After committing the crime, he is unable to cope with the guilt and hears incessantly, the old man’s heart beating. He is finally driven so mad as to admit to his own folly. This story is a good example of how human beings are sometimes the best judges of their own character rather than a divine or hellish being and can therefore asses their own punishment for their own crimes. While the character in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” has no problem planning and carrying out his crime, he feels a sense of remorse for the killing afterward and begins to produce the sound of the old man’s heart beating out of his own consciousness. The man claims these sounds to be something he heard along with “all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell…” These noises come from his own sense of guilt and himself being a judge of his own character. This man almost serves as his very own devil figure by tempting himself to commit the crime and then as his own godly figure by haunting himself afterward with the idea of sin and wanting forgiveness or punishment for his crimes. The story manifests the idea that humans can sometimes judge their own character and mistakes through the lenses of guilt and remorse. They can also attend like positions of godliness or hellishness through their own errors or judgments.

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“Follow you into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

There is a song written by “Death Cab for Cutie” that relays the words “In Catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule, I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black, I held my tongue, as she told me son, fear is the heart of love, so I never went back.” (“Follow you into,” 2000)This lyrical statement provides substantiation for the Catholic Church’s use of fear as a means of transforming people into suitable Catholics. And although the songwriter implies that he himself was not swayed by these means of intimidation, many others have been in past and contemporary cultures. While religion is a faith based institution, it is also an enterprise that is meant to teach love and affection to a society. While fear may spark an infinity of faith and devotion, it is not capable of warping the hearts and minds of people into truly loving and connecting with a higher power. Other religious groups both Christian and non are responsible for the very same act of instilling fear into their congregations, yet none so much as those of the Catholic practice.
According to Catholic convention and Isaiah 11:2-3, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is fear itself. Such gifts are only available to those who are in an ostensible “state of grace.” Furthermore on this principle, Fr. John A. Hardon states that “the fear of the lord is the desire not to offend him.” (Richert)
Along with the idea of fear in modern religion, the song also explores contemporary ideas of death by young people in society. As the music video entails, a young man is grappling with the idea that death is inevitable and closer to him as every day passes. The hole, representing death and darkness, grows larger every time he turns away from it. Yet, when he finally falls in and realizes that it isn’t as scary as it had seemed, he goes willingly and nothing in the world changes due to his passing.


The Ground Zero Mosque

This artwork represents the anger caused by the plans to build a mosque near ground zero in New York City, New York. Obviously, the picture entails one of the two towers falling as a new mosque is created by its ashes.
The Ground Zero mosque was a recent and highly contested debate that became both political and religious. It was announced last year that a Muslim religious group wanted to build a mosque approximately two blocks away from Ground Zero. Some were so outraged by this event that they claimed this idea to be similar to building a concentration camp near a Holocaust memorial. As radical as that seems, thousands of people were rallying behind the destruction of this plan and therefore negating the ideals that our country was founded on including freedom of speech.
This issue not only tackled freedom of religion but property rights as well. Americans thought that to solve the problem of evil that had befallen them on September 11, 2001 they should then marginalize a religious group who was not at all responsible for these acts or entirely representative of the enemy country. Such issues as this one demonstrate how inadequate humans really are to handle or be judges of such situations.
The Ground Zero mosque earned its ridiculous name in the media through these much televised and discussed debates. However, the name has a very negative connotation and is completely biased by implying that the plans to build the mosque were to directly build it on top of ground zero instead of two blocks away as they were in reality. September 11, 2001 gave rise to many religious debates which had had no grounds previously. As the event becomes farther away in the past people are forced to create new issues to pursue their nonsensical arguments.


The Book of Eli

Ignore the advertisement please. This is just a preview for the movie The Book of Eli. However, I would recommend seeing the entire movie, it is really great!
The Book of Eli is a movie telling the story of a post- apocalyptic world in which the main character (Morgan Freeman) is a blind man who has one of the last books in the world. The book he carries with him is a brail bible which he literally guards with his life. Many try to take this from him in order to misuse it to control the remaining people in the world and gain power by lying to others about what the bible actually says.
This movie is a good depiction of how religion has the ability to be exploited for bad causes. Eli wants to protect the book and take it to people he can trust so that the word of God is never lost. However, the antagonist in the movie wants to have the bible in order to have absolute power of those people living under his rule in the post-apocalyptic community. If the bad guy had the bible he could lie about the things it said and tell people that God gave him some extraordinary power. When the antagonist is actually able to retrieve the book, he is unable to read it for it is written in brail. Eli is able to remember every word of the bible which he has read every night and continues on his journey to pass on this written word.
The movie gives an interesting insight into how the world would be if we were to experience an apocalyptic happening and lose all written works. These documents protect our history and identity and when put in the wrong hands have the ability to cause severe harm.


Dascent by Christopher Clack

This image created by Christopher Clack depicts a scene of Christ being lowered from the cross. However, in the picture, this happens on a very construction like scale, where it is not discernable whether the people on the ladders are traveling up or down. There are multiple Christ- like figures in the image that are being carried on the ladders. The entire event is being viewed by a spaceman in the bottom left corner and the artist whose image is seen in the background behind the cross. The shroud is encompassing the people on the ladders as well as covering the face of the artist to show that he is not taking an active part in this event.
This image depicts Christ being lowered from the cross as a supernatural event. It is reminiscent of similar religious art works such as the “Last Judgment,” with the lighter, more holy like images being at the top of the image and the darker, more hell like images at the bottom. If Christ is being lowered from the cross in this photograph then it could be said that he is being even more humanized through his death as he is being pulled away from the heaven like entity at the top of the depiction.
The people in the print that are working on the ladders are taking part of or are in control of the phenomenon. Since they are taking Christ down from the cross, it is likely that this representation is also insinuating that they put him up there. The event depicted as a construction scene is suggesting that the crucifixion was a planned job and is therefore necessary for the betterment of mankind. In a way this event helped to build or encourage mankind to move forward.


Religious Conflict

While this image is obviously very humorous, one has to take into account that it is also a very accurate depiction of the world we live in today.
One of the biggest problems in our society today is conflict between different religions. Such animosity has caused millions of deaths and even entire wars. In this way, humans try to take on the role of being the ultimate judges for one another’s ideals and beliefs. Most religions, especially Christianity, consider their higher power to be the ultimate judge of their actions. While they say this and read many holy books that tell them the same thing, they continue to discriminate and kill in the name of their religions.
Another good example of such judgment takes place in James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. The main characters George and Robert have very different ideologies concerning religion. While Robert is steadfast to Calvinism, his brother George is an un-devout Christian. Robert then takes it upon himself to kill in the name of his beliefs and eventually kills his own brother with the sense of having done his God a favor. Robert even believes that he has taken the sword of his Lord to carry out such works.
By considering themselves as having the ability to evaluate one another or serve as their own godlike figures, people from different religions will constantly be at war. While Christianity and most other religions are very much the same. Most of them have one divine entity, and are based on the ideals of love and acceptance. Considering this it is easy to say that it is highly hypocritical for these same people to kill or judge those who disagree with them by miniscule amounts. As the saying goes, one should practice what they preach.