The word "evil" has always carried a sort of supernatural connotation in my opinion.  Before I rejected the idea of God, I would go to church on Sunday and listen to the kind, eccentric pastor give his sermon.  In everything he preached there was an underlying message about the distinction between good and evil.  He never spoke a hateful word about gays or nonbelievers.  He always associated evil with theft or murder or cruelty or dishonesty...things that were pretty easy to condemn.  Of course the people who lied and cheated and inflicted harm on other are evil, I would say to myself as a listened to the man who I had, and in many ways still have, such admiration for.

Then I threw away faith, however, and the idea of evil became more and more silly.  If I was to reject the idea of divinity incarnate, wasn't it also my responsibility to reject the idea of the satanic?  I think the notion of an evil force creates just as much of an "us and them" division as does the idea of a divine power picking and choosing habits and people to send a invitation to the promised land.

Of course it's predictable that humans would invent such a label.  Who wants to think that Hitler has any similarity to the average, decent human being?  Who wants to consider for a second that the spiteful reverend, Fred Phelps, who leads protests against the funerals of soldiers and homosexuals, actually has, in some twisted way, good intentions?   Though the label should be expected, however, I don't think it should be tolerated.  Instead making a futile attempt to label these people as supernaturally subhuman (and I know it's tempting) It may be more beneficial to look at the human motivations (the thirst for power, the tendency to fall into senseless, dogmatic habits) that spark such horrifying behavior.


Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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