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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Did Good Become Evil and Evil Become Good?

by Saint Mark (bio)

In my Employment Law class, my professor shared this cartoon (artist unknown) that, for me, epitomized the techtonic shift of the world's perception of good and evil and the confusion that has arisen regarding these diametrically opposed signifiers.

How did good become evil and evil become good? It is fascinating and devastating to note how quickly the social mores of the early 20th century (e.g. waiting until marriage to have sex, honoring the Sabbath day, religiosity, committing for life to marriage and children, etc.) have transformed into punchlines for 21st century society. Where being a homemaker was once honorable, now the title of homemaker is synonymous in some circles to the status of slave. Mother is a four letter word and dogs are considered a better investment of time, money, and energy than children. Men now delay or reject marriage and fatherhood as impediments to self-fulfillment, self-discovery, and just plain old self-centeredness. And, unfortunately, some women respond in kind.

My mother told me of a story she saw on the news of a woman (a wife and mother of two) who went to work abroad for six months and decided to not return home. She said she didn't want to be a mother any more. My mother asked her co-workers if they would "do it all over again." In other words, she asked them if they would go through the pains and joys of being a mother one more time now that their children were grown. Shockingly and unanimously, her group of co-workers all said, save my mother only, that if they had to do it all over again they would not go through motherhood!

Raising a family in a world where what I consider evil is more and more accepted and "appropriate," i.e. good, is a daily challenge, especially when what I consider to be good is mocked, devalued, or even invalidated by the world as something of little worth or "inappropriate," i.e. evil. How do I, in a practical way, teach my children to value what I believe is good when so many opposing messages come through screens, people and even institutions?

I know one thing: what is good must be defined as good and what is evil must be defined as evil if I want to have any chance of preparing my boys to be honorable husbands and fathers who are honest, full of integrity, loving and serve God and their neighbors. To me, those roles are the eternal ones that matter most.

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