Saturday 8 September 2012

By their fruits shall ye know them


It can be hard to discern evil when it first emerges, but after a while this usually becomes very clear.

From the perspective of spiritual warfare, this could be conceptualized as a reflection of the fact that purposive evil is impatient in its destructiveness of the Good (that is indeed one of its hallmarks) - so that evil cannot be very strategic, nor long-termist.

Thus, something of evil intent that is not obvious will (so long as it succeeds) sooner rather than later reveal itself in gratuitous acts of destruction against truth, beauty and virtue.


So, communism. It was at first difficult for many people to recognise this for the evil it is, many people were fooled by its stated intentions - but as there have been dozens of implementations of communism around the world and within most societies, its evil became very obvious (to those with eyes to see) in the systemic dishonesty, destruction of beauty and moral inversions.

'In theory' communism may be imagined to be of good intent, or at least this is debatable - but in practice we know (insofar as we know anything, because anything can be and is denied by evil) that the fruits of communism are evil.


In contrast, Mormonism. When it first emerged it would be hard to say whether it was a good or a bad thing, and on the whole perhaps it looked like a bad thing - in theory, perhaps, it looked considerably worse than communism.

But after about eight generations it is as clear as it ever will be that Mormonism is certainly not evil, and therefore (since nothing is neutral)  Mormonism must be on the whole Good. The fruits have shown us what it is.

(Of course, in a fallen world, Good things may become bad, that is indeed the tendency - but I mean up until now.)


But it is strange that so much discourse and debate ignores the fruits of ideas - ignores how things turn-out.

People still talk about atheism, the sexual revolution, or affirmative action, in a totally theoretical way, as if we had to discern and predict their implications - but these are old ideas, and their fruits are as obvious as anything ever is in this world.

We know how these ideas worked out.

By their fruits we should judge them.



Matthew C. said...

I'm really surprised at the lack of comments to this post.

I agree with everything you have written here. But I figured at least someone would stand up and defend atheism, at least.

Every time I read about "strange beliefs" of Mormonism, I think to myself "ah, but they are good people, and their kids grow up to be happy, and they actually HAVE kids". And the Mormons I have known personally have been good people, kind, honest, and living clean lives.

And if we look at the fruits of liberal culture -- housing projects, lek mating, no-fault divorce and the like, we see catastrophe piled on catastrophe again.

Great observations.

Tschafer said...

Your point about Evil being impatient is proved by the behavior of the USSR after WWII. In both the U.S. and Britain after the war, there was tremendous naievite about the nature of the USSR, as well as a huge store of goodwill left over from the wartime partnership against the Axis. Had the Soviets chosen to fly "under the radar" so to speak, and continue the pretense of partnership, Communism might have become unstoppable before the West awoke (and this is exactly the course of action that some Communists like Beria advocated). But no - it was as if Stalin couldn't wait to cast his evil into the face of the West, purging Eastern Europe, casting millions more into the GuLag, invading Korea, creating his own nuclear weapons, blockading Berlin. It's almost as if even the pretense of being good had become unbearable for Stalin, the mask had to come off, he had to quit (as they say today) "living a lie".

For this we can be profoundly greatful...

Bruce Charlton said...

@MC - thanks.

I regard Mormons as a litmus test for the seriousness of mainstream Christians. Obviously I don't expect people to defer to the explicit theory of Mormonism insofar as it contradicts (rather than - as usually - merely serving as a simple, clear and concrete 'plain man's exemplification of) mainstream Christian theology.

But if people allow this to justify an anti-Mormon stance, then they have lost-it.

I believe that mainstream Christians ought to be pro-Mormon; explicitly but not uncritically so.


@Tschafer - that's an excellent, and very convincing, argument which I hadn't previously considered.

Stalin was here displaying a typical behaviour of the servants of evil - e.g. as portrayed by Tolkien in Sauron and Saruman.

It is a measure of the wickedness of the Western intellectual elites that they were blind to this - since evil does not come much more blatant than in the form of Stalin.

If you fail to see the evil of Soviet Communism, then you must surely be a deeply corrupted soul - and yet of course that was precisely the state of the Western Left, and continues to be so.

Bruce B. said...

Interesting post. But what if one considers the fruits of false churches to be increasing indifference to or rejection of Christianity? From this perspective, the fruits of Mormonism are not good.