Freedom and conscience are universal attributes. All people have a choice and an internal moral compass called conscience. Establishing this is crucial for any argument in favor of progress. There is no progress without a knowledge of good. All must know evil is harm and hurt. Progress is the overcoming of evil. Even in a secular age, with religion on the wane, hurt and harm are prevalent. We need to call evil out for what it is and defeat it.

Men like Jeff Flake did not hesitate before walking away from Donald Trump. It was not a political decision.

It was a revulsion caused by the palpable harm which arises from the expressions and actions of the President.

Good and evil as it actually is

A few years ago I created a simple chart to suggest the actual character of good and evil as it emerges in real life. I do not claim it is perfect or that there cannot be a debate about it. But as a general description that covers everything from the unspeakable evil of mass murderers to the semi-conscious habitual wrongdoing most of us do, it is apt.

This chart is necessary to sustain the basic argument of these articles – that we are all individuals who are fully united with every other person on the planet and perhaps even with all life.

We are universal, and what divides us is how we behave in relation to the chart above.

Spectrum

To be on a Spectrum of Good And Evil is more than having the capacity to move from being loving and free to being cold and murderous. It is to recognize our power to make and change history for the better. It is what can move a whole people to embrace real democracy, a democracy that is fair to all.

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We are not tied to being this character or that. We are choosers of values and actors on the stage of history. Jesus was not the author of a creed but of a way of living that was forgiving and just at the same time. He was not afraid to condemn hypocrisy and unfairness. He was prepared to accept being decent as a reasonable basis for living.

Being decent, for Jesus, meant being nonviolent and iconoclastic. It meant having no idols and no gods other than the one to whom one prayed. It did not mean taking anything over, or ganging up, or casting stones at the unrighteous. The chart above is a distillation of what is within the reach of all who want a meaningful chance at becoming decent people.

Evil has many guises

Self-harm is endemic in our culture from overwork and opioids to post-traumatic suicides. The harm of others is fresh in all our minds. Because things are evil is not a reason to play blame games. It is a call to change. Seeing we are on a spectrum means knowing we can change. The values on the upside of the chart above can be life-savers.

The reward for understanding this, is progress. All I am doing is talking about reality. We miss a lot. Progress happens to be booming in the world. If we do not see it, maybe our culture is clouded by ill will or fear. These things will pass. Progress toward goodness is bigger than all of us.