September 5, 2011

Is Pope Benedict evil?

RELIGION - Have you seen this guy?

It's Pope Benedict XVI.

Formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger, the same guy who allowed sexually abused deaf children to continue being abused and even made efforts to cover up the scandal... the same guy who opposes condom use in AIDS stricken Africa... the same guy who described his own leadership as "a dictatorship of relativism" (pride is one of the 7 deadly sins, FYI)... the same guy who declared 'holy war' on people claiming to be suffering from stigmata or claiming to be having visions... the same guy who pardoned Holocaust deniers and brought back the Good Friday prayer which prays that Jews 'may be delivered from their darkness'... the same guy who was in the Hitler Youth during WWII.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of intolerance, deceit, and indeed sins which Pope Benedict has done. (A little research and you will uncover quite a list out there.)

But what is most obvious to the naked eye is just how evil he looks. We should never judge a book by its cover, but in this case the old belief that a person's life marks their face with their emotions stands true. A person who is happy constantly will have laugh wrinkles, a person who is sad or stressed with have obvious signs due to lack of sleep, and so forth.

Pope Benedict looks like he has lived a life in which he was constantly plotting evil, bringing to mind Emperor Palpatine (Sith Lord from Star Wars), Gargamel (the evil wizard from the Smurfs), Richard Nixon (once considered the most hated president in American history) and Adolf Hitler (the most evil man in recorded history). They all had faces which suggested a lifetime of evil thoughts and emotions and those emotions left their mark. (True, Emperor Palpatine and Gargamel are fictional characters, but the analogy is still valid.)

But is this self-described dictator "evil"? Or just misguided, proud, greedy, lustful, gluttonous, slothful, wrathful and envious? He's evidently not out there leading a holocaust, but he's not exactly doing humanity any favours when pardoning Holocaust deniers.

It all comes down to how we define evil, measure evil and balance it against acts of kindness.

If you believe in god or karma we could assume that if Pope Benedict is truly evil he will be punished later. A religious person should therefore let God decide, for who better to judge a person based on their evil deeds?

But if there is no god and no karma, what then? Well then its a matter of what evil things a person does and whether these things eventually kill Pope Benedict... you see there is a reason why they are called "The Seven Deadly Sins":

Lust will kill you when you acquire a venereal disease.
Gluttony will kill you with a heart attack, cancer or other illness.
Greed will kill you when you take too much and it ends up being your downfall.
Sloth will kill you when you neglect to do something important to your own survival.
Wrath will kill you when you pick a fight with someone with more strength or cunning than you.
Envy will kill you when you pick a fight with a rival.
Pride will kill you when you assume you are invincible.

Thus even if we don't believe in any religion we can still learn from and appreciate the wisdom that certain actions or inactions can lead to our own demise. ie. Failing to act on climate change and global warming could be a death knell for many.

In theory the Seven Deadly Sins work a bit like karma. Do enough evil acts and they come back to haunt you.

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