posted on Dec, 5 2020 @ 06:07 AM
Good vs evil as a kind of yin-yang opposition was the doctrine of Manichaeism
for what it is worth, was officially rejected as heretical and mistaken by the Early Christian Church. Not being a Christian per se, this means little
to me, but I suppose it's worth reflecting on.
The early-medieval Christian philosopher Augustine (actually a convert from Manichaeism) set forth what would become official dogma on the
relationship of Good and Evil: He defined "evil" as "Distance from God." Since, the theory went, we were created with free will, it is up to us to
decide whether to cleave closely to the supreme being, or to drift away from the "Godly path." The farther we drift, goes the dogma, the more immersed
in evil and outer darkness we become. This is a choice we make by exercise of our free will.
Again, while I am not a Christian, I find the Augustinian mode a more nuanced and elegant response to the problem of Good vs. Evil than the
Manichaeian "yin yang" view. For one, the older Manichaeian model raises questions like: "If Good and Evil are equal and opposite, Is the Supreme
Being not all powerful?" "Are there two equal supreme beings, one good and one evil?" "Does the supreme being have both a good and an evil nature?"
"Where did this fundamental duality come from anyway? Why are there two fundamental forces and not one?" And so on.
By situating evil as a result of our free will, Augustine allowed for an all-good, all-powerful Supreme Being who had endowed man with free will as
part of being created "in His image." Evil becomes not a fundamentally split force from good, but an epiphenomenon of distance from the core of
good...and one that is correctable by choosing to move closer to the Supreme Being.