Home » Religion » Atheism » Beyond Good and Evil Round II: A Response to John Zande

Beyond Good and Evil Round II: A Response to John Zande


The proposition of good and evil is not a functional moral dichotomy – there is simply too much conditionality in moral analysis. I think that there are really only two principles that inform a meaningful moral dialog. The first is power – the capacity to make reality conform to our will. The second is love – an irrational desire to create power in the object of our affection. Moral analysis focuses on “who are you loving with your exercise of power?” The ultimate moral condemnation is “only yourself.”

I do not deny that the world is full of pain, but that is an inheritance from our Darwinian past, which is a process free of morality. In Genesis, when the Bible heralds the Fall as the entry of sin into the world, it is to recognize a separation from that past into a future of rational moral analysis. “Adam and Eve” are a metaphor for the human struggle with shame, guilt, forgiveness and redemption (all in the context of human society – God doesn’t need to deal with these issues).

The question is whether there is a force that lifts us up from brutal biological competition toward rational moral discourse. The Christian proposition is that Jesus came and died to demonstrate that there is nothing that can alienate us from God’s love or qualify us for preferential treatment in his eyes. This was demonstrated even in the face of murder at the hands of the culture that he came most immediately to love. His victory was to create a foothold for divine love in the world, and that foothold has broadened enormously over time.

So my response to your position is: yes, things are still bad, but they are far better than they were. It is only by looking at the trends that one can form a judgment concerning the efficacy of love. I experience its power day-by-day in a world that you seem to not to experience.

You have a great deal of intellectual energy, which you seem to focus toward the purpose of creating pain in others. My experience is that such people often are “doing as was done unto them”, looking for someone strong enough to show them how to heal. I can only offer Hume’s response to Hobbes (the latter whom you echo, btw). Hobbes averred that life for most was a “war of all against all” and “nasty, brutish and short.” Hume’s response was: “Mr. Hobbes has forgotten the operation of his own heart.”

If you want a person committed to the proposition of loving to read your book, you should start by offering a testimony regarding the things that you do love. That’s a point of contact that might allow them to engage your view of the world.

As it is, those of us that love have improved enormously the condition of life on this Earth. We’re at a turning point in that process, having nearly exhausted the resources that were laid up in the past. Under those circumstances, it will ultimately be those that learn to work together that survive.


Zande’s response to this was an assertion that he was trying to clarify the true nature of the reality we inhabit. My response was:


Thank you for your considered response. I find myself, however, still seeking a declaration of the allegiance of your love.

Truth is indeed terribly important. Those that divorce themselves from truth ultimately abandon power (the ability to make reality conform to our will). For those that love, the truth of suffering is an essential goad to action. But the truth is only what it is. The goal of any active intelligence is to create new truth. It is through creative action that I find greatest meaning in life, and my ability to create is largely contingent (in the “no man is an island” sense) on the good will of others. That means offering them good will in return.

From a Christian perspective: yes, in its foundational state, this creation was indeed a reflection of Lucifer’s character. But I see the action of Divine Love in the mechanisms that are provided to heal his insanity. It is the simple existence of that possibility that I celebrate.

Good luck on your journey!


Mr. Zande’s response was to ask me to remove my religion from his blog – which I found odd because the only religious statement was actually an affirmation of Mr. Zande’s thesis.

9 thoughts on “Beyond Good and Evil Round II: A Response to John Zande

  1. YOUR Views ARE So Unique AND Refreshing Love THE Adam AND EVER Metaphor. I have never heard that before. Your thinking is much like adyashanti. Sometime I think you are him on disguise. I got your book reading it think weekend

    • Thank you for your continuing encouragement. It’s hard for me to see myself as accomplishing much because the thing that people seem to find so valuable is that I see the greatness in them. We have come so far, against such a terrible burden of selfishness, that even just falling and getting back up again appears heroic to me. I have been blessed so often to be near people when they make that step, and I see and celebrate that in many of the great spiritual writings. Spiritual courage and tenacity are there in every historical era.

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