On Sin & Evil

July 4. Highland Park, Illinois. Another…the latest mass shooting.

In the aftermath, calls for “thoughts and prayers” and “more gun control”, and condemnations of “sin and evil.”

On this last point, the use of these terms, I think, is dependent on one’s worldview; that lens through which reality is perceived and understood.

I am a Christian. I believe in God, revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, as unconditional Love (generosity) and Justice (equality) for all, always and in all ways.

Sin (from the Greek hamartia, meaning, “missing the mark”) conjures an image of an archer whose arrows (figuratively, one’s aspirations) miss the target’s bullseye – a metaphor for God, the source and center of life and, in existential terms, the authentic living of being loving and just.

Poneros, one of the Greek words for evil, originally was associated with exhaustion from hard work, so to be no longer fit or functional. Poneros, considered ethically, connotes intentions and actions that are not loving and just.

In the shadow of Highland Park, in addition to mass shootings, I share my more-expansive, yet non-exhaustive list of sins and evils:

bigotry (of any kind)[1]

hatred (and hate crimes)




nationalism (of whatever land)

supremacy (of whatever color)

terrorism (foreign and domestic)

violence (of any kind, for any cause)

© 2022 PRA

Illustration: Satan Calling Up His Legions (1804), William Blake (1757-1827)


[1] Synonyms: chauvinism, intolerance, prejudice, racism

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