#FPQ

His Will or my will?

Fandango’s Provocative Question Is there really such a thing as a necessary evil, or is it just a way for us to rationalize or justify doing something bad?

My answer:

As defined by the Church, evil is an absence of God.
The absence of God is a result of our free will. In this life, most of us try, fall, get up again, try again, fall, get up! That is life. Some give up totally; despair. Evil is not necessary just a result of expressing our own will above God’s Will. We are all sinners, and yes, we try to make excuses to justify our wrong choices.

8 thoughts on “His Will or my will?”

  1. While evil can well be defined as the absence of God, and that (absence) can be or is the result of bad choices within free will — not, maybe, an absolute necessity of free will — I wonder if it is evil to break one the “commandments” called the “ten.” If so, and then one has evil parents, where is the actual way to do what is right? A person will have to disobey parents (by which I do not mean that everyone needs to disobey parents or a parent).

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    1. Not sure I understand however, Breaking the Commandments deliberately is evil, rash or hasty judgment without consideration is not quite as evil as deliberate. God hates any degree of evilness but remember this important fact. God’s Mercy is greater than any evil committed.
      Mercy when we are genuinely sorry to confess our sins.
      Also, there is an expression among souls, i.e. voting for two candidates, both are evil, we tell ourselves, we are voting for the lesser of the two evils.

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      1. I said, “While evil can well be defined as the absence of God,
        and that (absence [of God/presence of evil]) can be
        or is the result of bad choices within free will —
        not, maybe, an absolute necessity of free will — …”

        That was acknowledging part of what you said:
        “As defined by the Church, evil is an absence of God.
        The absence of God is a result of our free will.”

        While I acknowledge the possibility and likelihood of what you said, I qualified it with my addition about evil not being an absolute outcome of free will. People can usually choose not to do evil, such that it’s not a foregone conclusion that as soon as anyone or someone has free will they or that person will be evil. And I see my belief on that as affirming part of this that you said:
        Evil is not necessary just a result of expressing our own will above God’s Will.

        I can’t affirm the whole sentence, because some people are put in no-win situations [to use easily-understood and quick terminology]. Actually, I can affirm the whole sentence if we are talking about the we of humanity together (that there is evil in the world because of choices made by people); not the we of every individual — although probably every person sins at some point{*} in their life, while that’s not the same. There are parents who are not only general sinners but horrible. And they can demand wrong behaviors or compliance from their children. Children are not in charge of this; they are children (they are also people). But there they are, doing something evil if they obey — but, also, evil if they disobey; evil theoretically (because of a truncated list of commandments/instructions [ten rather than the clarifying over-a-hundred, plus more in the newer Testament and then the understanding afforded by the Holy Spirit to increase wisdom beyond what is recorded]). There are times when the more instinctive thing to do is disobey an evil parent, but the child might’ve been drilled to override that and obey. While the “command” to obey was meant to be helpful, the parent has made it unhelpful.

        I think this can be seen as obvious, and I would rather not get explicit. [Upon writing past this point, I am returning here because I have to be a little explicit to differentiate this portion from the later portions. There are incestuous parents and violent parents. I could give more samples of categories, but I think that’s enough.]

        Part of what I’m pointing out is that we need to be careful what we presume to be God’s will. The human authority figure, for instance, isn’t always right; again, even though we can read that one should obey a parent and even though we can read that one (any female) should obey a husband or men. (It’s depending upon interpretation how far that goes, but the general concept is clear enough to see.)

        Secondly, there are some adults who think disobedience (of parents) is necessary. Some of those people are parents who then set up unfair and burdensome demands in the hopes that the child will disobey (I’ve actually seen this in believers who are taking their child(ren) to church); I’m saying it happens, not that all do it. Now, that tends to involve setups that are not defined as “sinful.” For example, if a parent says “You can never do anything without me around and directing your every move until you are eighteen,” when the secular law allows the individual freedom anyway, I can’t think of anything in the Bible that would call this overly-restrictive rule sinful. But it’s unwise. I’d go so far as to call it evil (except under extenuating circumstances such as the minor having already gotten into trouble with the law or having been dangerously promiscuous or impulsive).

        On top of that being a device to try and elicit something that can be called rebellion,+ some parents proceed as if it is their job to “break the spirit” of the child. I’ve heard this preached in the pulpit of a Christian church. So, some parents are deliberately trying to break the child and some are inadvertently breaking a child who tries to obey. It would take a while to pull out and illustrate all the possibilities, here. These would be in terms of attitudes and intentions and goals in the parents and in terms of details of process.

        + Some parents consider the disobedience as essential to growing up. I could understand this in adults who have no religion. But, as I said, it’s happening on purpose with parents who teach their children (or have others teach their children) to obey because God said so (which I think we could agree is supposed to mean do so).

        {I will give one example just to show that a child can obey. I followed my mother’s extreme rules. And she looks down on me for it. She looks down on a lot of people who didn’t have the fortitude to disobey or even to sin in more obvious ways (while she was already a Christian during thinking this way). Still, she sits in church and tells herself she’s above it all. She behaves as if forgiveness is just telling the story differently from how it really happened. I had to suggest to her that she consider the confessional (her never having thought of it despite her talk of religiosity and her converting to Catholicism). But she still sees it like magic; if she goes into the confessional, then it’s going to be okay to continue to lie about what happened in order to gaslight everyone. No facts. She brings up stories from the past to either lie or look down on people. She’s right — in her mind — even to hold onto ideas and desires for which she should repent. With this one example, I nevertheless can’t convey the full attitude without a lot of words. I’ll keep it shortish. I won’t get into her more blatant sinfulness. She wanted to be done with parenting as soon as possible (and saw her method as the most likely route); I didn’t know. This is different from some parents who simply have an understanding that maturity involves breaking away before it’s “allowed.” She may have used that theory as rationalization, but it became corrupted (beyond what I already see as incorrect).}

        Next, there are parents who don’t think straight in another way and, rather, act like demanding that their child understand something along the lines of advanced chemistry is a matter of obedience versus insolence. Or that not stuffing oneself with a ton of what is on a plate is evil for not just doing what you were told.

        My point is that I will not perpetuate onto others the mistakes or wrongdoings that have been done to me or that I’ve seen (not the reflexive judgments either). It not right simply because it happens. We have to integrate truth.

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        1. There is a different way to look at your experience as a child.
          The Church teaches that a child is not responsible for their deeds because they may not have reached the age of reason, which is approx. Seven years of age. It is true that some children, depending on their gifts of wisdom, might understand right/wrong earlier or some later. God only knows.

          Also, sin is committed either by human weakness or the love of evil. If a soul is guilty of loving evil, that is very serious in the eyes of God. I pray in the case of your parent; she was weak in that regard. Having said that, we must remember the Bible informs us that to scandalize a child is very serious.

          Your parent used you as their instrument, just as we use things as instruments for good or evil purposes. The instrument itself is innocent; the person who is causing its use is guilty if evil is wrought.

          During the sacrament of Confession, the priest is God’s instrument. God forgives the sins; the priest acts on God’s behalf. Proper Confession, the recipient must be humble, be sorry because their deeds have offended God, and try not to offend God again. If these are missing, the Confession is void, and again only God knows.

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          1. Oops. I forgot to include this for the asterisk in the previous post:

            { * I believe I sin if I invest in a company (even if inadvertently on my part) that steals from people less powerful or attacks them. [This is a separate or side topic which isn’t meant to necessarily be about parents.] }

            Back to the main topic…

            If a child disobeyed a parent because the child had
            any sense the parent was wrong, I would not
            instruct the child to confess of having
            done something evil. I’d want to
            booster their conscience.

            Additionally, I out-
            right instructed my sons
            to disobey my mom whenever
            she acted like gluttony was being good.

            I agree with your point of view on confession being void. Except that I think there are times we can see that there was no significant if any sincerity. That meshes with the saying about not doing the same thing over and over and over — such as trusting that parent — while expecting a different result (thereby fitting a definition of insane).

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            1. Interesting point about sin, IS, accordingly sin is a sin when deliberately, knowing you are offending God, but you do it anyway. The reason is, offending God is what makes it evil. i.e., your –> “I believe I sin if I invest in a company (even if inadvertently on my part) that steals from people less powerful or attacks them.” Therefore if you invested and were not aware of the evil doings but found out later (no sin), now after you found out and continued to support the company, that would be another story.

              Usually, a child knows when they are doing something wrong, that is why they sneak. Some children do not have a properly formed conscience, especially THESE DAYS, when bad is normal (good; okay), and good is portrayed as bad. I wouldn’t worry about how or what to instruct your child when they go to Confession. If the priest is not a Modernist (another story), the priest will advise them.

              Gluttony is one of the seven capital sins; you did right!
              Seven deadly sins, also called seven capital sins or seven cardinal sins, in Roman Catholic theology, the seven vices that spur other sins and further immoral behavior. First enumerated by Pope Gregory I (the Great) in the 6th century and elaborated in the 13th century by St. Thomas Aquinas, they are (1) vainglory, or pride, (2) greed, or covetousness, (3) lust, or inordinate or illicit sexual desire, (4) envy, (5) gluttony, which is usually understood to include drunkenness, (6) wrath, or anger, and (7) sloth. Each of these can be overcome with the seven corresponding virtues of (1) humility, (2) charity, (3) chastity, (4) gratitude, (5) temperance, (6) patience, and (7) diligence.

              Getting back to the Sacrament of Confession, what is required your mindset MUST be sincere in that you will give it all you can NOT commit that same sin again. However, if you fail in that endeavor, you get up and try again. We must be sincere. Others laugh at Confession because they see Catholics going back over and over to confess the same sins, but the same others run to their therapist over and over to discuss their same problems.

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  2. The reply box (really the information fields bellow it) following after your last comment, this afternoon, isn’t working. So that’s why I’m responding here (unattached) instead.

    That’s an interesting point about people returning to both therapists and to confessing. I would be frustrated with the manipulative or hypocritical behavior in either case. It’s one thing to return to deal with different things. But some people just aren’t sincere. And yet, it’s a good idea to try again.

    You said: Therefore if you invested and were not aware of the evil doings but found out later (no sin), now after you found out and continued to support the company, that would be another story.

    Technically, you’re right about that. I was thinking a couple things. For one, that someone might figure it’s okay to leave it there (or that they can get away with leaving it there after knowing) if they didn’t know when they put it in; I’d disagree with that, as you do. But I didn’t say it outright, so I was too brief… and that was insufficient. I was also thinking that most people are what I consider neglectful in this regard. Better (supposedly) not to check or ask those kind of questions and not to know (supposedly). Admittedly, it’s complex to find out. (One or two “issue” type subjects are easier to find out about, but I don’t think that goes far enough.)

    As for the child with a bad parent who I wouldn’t tell to confess or wouldn’t shame for not doing something wrong that the parent told them to do, I think what I’m trying to get at is that children (and a lone child ) in a tough situation need someone in daily life (and however many someones they can get) not giving them heavy messages against them when they actually did right (in disobeying). Or they need to know that they could second-guess something they don’t feel right about; that it’s actually okay, even important, to do so.

    (Of course, we don’t want to convey that just being a pest is the goal. It’s all a balance that requires adults or older young people to be paying attention.)

    This was a pleasant conversation, Myrna.

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    1. If a bad parent was telling their child to do something wrong and the child disobeyed, this child has reached the age of reason, has reasoned it was wrong, and refused, that is good! (No sin of disobedience!) Your right; such a child is better off without people confusing them with bad advice. As far as a child being a pest, if the child was adequately prepared to receive the Sacraments, the child knows he/she is not obligated to discuss anything they spoke to the priest about in the first place, nor are the parents to ask the child. Confession is about the person and God, no one else.

      Remember, there are two points to sin, the most critical point is, when you sin, you understand you offended God; next, believe it or not, a lesser evil to your neighbor such as stealing from them, lying, destroying property etc whatever
      ! Including when it is agreed between two people to sin together both are offending God FIRSTLY, then they hurt each other in the long run, they live with guilt, embarrassment longing to fix the nix = discomfort.

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