Can Humans Transcend Evil?
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Can Humans Transcend Evil?l

Last week I asked whether the human tendency to participate in the scapegoating process is an inevitable consequence of flaws in human nature, or whether we transcend this proclivity. No doubt, humans have shown the capacity for remarkable degrees of cruelty toward each other and toward nonhuman beings. And, as best I can tell, the willingness to perform acts of cruelty does not seem to correlate meaningfully with intelligence, intellectual accomplishment, or social standing.

It is understandable that compassionate people would despair about the prospects for peace and justice, given the violent and callous behavior of so many people. Yet, compassionate people who seek nonviolence in our relationships with human and nonhuman beings do exist. Indeed, entire cultures that respect all living beings exist, such as the Jains.

Cruelty and hardness of heart might be commonplace, but they are not inevitable. Why has Christianity had a checkered track record when it comes to human justice issues and a poor track record on animal issues? Individual Christians might be compassionate, but can the larger body of Christ be redeemed and become a vehicle through which God’s will is done “on earth as in heaven”? I will continue to explore these questions.

Go on to: Can Christianity Be Redeemed?
Return to: Reflections on the Lectionary, Table of Contents

Return to Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion