Man doeth this and doeth that from the good or evil of his heart; but he knows not to what end his sense doth prompt him; for when he strikes he is blind to where the blow shall fall, nor can he count the airy threads that weave the web of circumstance. Good and evil, love and hate, night and day, sweet and bitter, man and woman, heaven above and the earth beneath--all those things are needful, one to the other, and who knows the end of each?
There may be some truth (atheists) do not need to believe in a god to be good, but then if they do not believe in a god, who do they believe gives the Universal Law of following good and shunning evil? Obviously, mankind. But then that is a dangerous thing, for if a man does not believe in a god capable of giving perfect laws, he is in the position of declaring all laws come from man, and as man is imperfect, he can declare that as fallible men make imperfect laws, he can pick and choose what he wishes to follow, that which, in his own mind seems good. He does not believe in divine retribution, therefore he can also declare his own morality contrary to what the divine may decree simply because he believes there is no divine decree. He may follow his every whim and passion, declaring it to be good when it may be very evil, for he like all men is imperfect, so how can he tell what is verily good? The atheist is in danger of mistaking vice for good and consequently follow another slave master and tyrant, his own physical and mental weakness. Evil would be wittingly or unwittingly perpetrated, therefore, to recognise the existence of a perfect divine being that gives perfect Universal Laws is much better than not to believe in a god, for if there is a perfect god, they will not allow their laws to be broken with impunity as in the case with many corrupt judges on earth, but will punish accordingly in due time. Therefore, to be pious and reverent is the surest path to true freedom as a perfect god will give perfect laws to prevent all manner of slavery, tyranny and moral wantonness, even if we do not understand why they are good laws at times.
Tell me,' asked Stas, 'what is a wicked deed?' 'If anyone takes away Kali's cow,' he answered after a brief reflection, 'that then is a wicked deed.' 'Excellent!' exclaimed Stas, 'and what is a good one?' This time the answer came without any reflection: 'If Kali takes away the cow of somebody else, that is a good deed.' Stas was too young to perceive that similar views of evil and good deeds were enunciated in Europe not only by politicians but by whole nations.
The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.
Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last forever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must be constantly won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined and good state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all.
All right I think we've been down here in the dark long enough. There's a whole other world upstairs. Take my hand Constant Reader and I'll be happy to lead you back into the sunshine. I'm happy to go there because I believe most people are essentially good. I know that I am. It's you I'm not entirely sure of.
It comes as no surprise to find [Norman] Mailer embracing [in the book ] a form of Manicheanism, pitting the forces of light and darkness against each other in a permanent stand-off, with humanity as the battlefield. (When asked if Jesus is part of this battle, he responds rather loftily that he thinks it is a distinct possibility.) But it is at points like this that he talks as if all the late-night undergraduate talk sessions on the question of theism had become rolled into one. 'How can we not face up to the fact that if God is All-Powerful, He cannot be All-Good. Or She cannot be All-Good.'Mailer says that questions such as this have bedevilled 'theologians', whereas it would be more accurate to say that such questions, posed by philosophers, have attempted to put theologians out of business. A long exchange on the probability of reincarnation (known to Mailer sometimes as karmic reassignment) manages to fall slightly below the level of those undergraduate talk sessions. The Manichean stand-off leads Mailer, in closing, to speculate on what God might desire politically and to say: 'In different times, the heavens may have been partial to monarchy, to communism, and certainly the Lord was interested in democracy, in capitalism. (As was the Devil!)'I think it was at this point that I decided I would rather remember Mailer as the author of and.