For many years I taught that the character of God (perfect goodness) and the reality of sin (awfulness of evil) should be the two subjects we study the most–both individually and in school.
You can’t get much right about life if you don’t know God (his justice, love, grace, and forgiveness) and form a hatred for sin because of its destructive nature (Proverbs 8:13).
While preparing for a break between college quarters, I ran across an article by Dennis Prager on the importance of teaching American kids about evil. We also need to teach them about the goodness of God.
Good and Evil
As you know, I respect Dennis Prager as one of the clearest cultural thinkers in America. Instead of dabbling around the edges of issues, he usually peels down a layer to root causes like few cultural commentators have the ability to explain.
Here’s his article in its entirety on the importance of understanding evil.
Why Young Americans Are Not Taught About Evil
By Dennis Prager
Most of our schools teach almost nothing of importance, and nothing is more important than the study of good and evil.
In the United States today, nearly all schools, from elementary through graduate, concentrate on teaching about racism, sexism, preferred pronouns, homophobia, transphobia, LGBTQIA+, climate change, diversity, equity, inclusiveness and white guilt.
In other words, most of our educational institutions, including the most prestigious, do not educate.
Here are a few proofs.
It is almost certain that the great majority of American high school and college students (with the obvious exceptions of Christian students) could not name the four Gospels (presuming they even know what they are); five of the Ten Commandments (presuming they know what those are); or the names of two Shakespeare plays.
Most American students know little about the American Revolution, let alone about the French or Russian Revolutions. The same holds true for the Constitution and every other American founding document. It is doubtful that, other than Washington and Jefferson having owned slaves, American students know anything about these men or could name two other Founders.
When it comes to evil, the ignorance is enormous, often almost total. For example, according to Pew, about half of Americans ages 18-39 cannot identify Auschwitz or any other Nazi death camp.
And there is every reason to assume that much fewer than half could identify the Gulag Archipelago (20 million-plus murdered); the Ukrainian forced famine (5 to 6 million murdered in a little over a year); Mao’s Great Leap Forward (about 60 million murdered); or Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (about one in every four Cambodians murdered).
As noted, almost no one outside of Russia has ever heard of the Russian Civil War, let alone knows anything about it. One reason is that the winners, the communists, had no desire that people know about it. Yet, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, about 10 million people, the great majority noncombatants, were killed.
Why don’t students know about evil?
The first reason is that nearly all the genocides of the 20th century were committed by communists, and the Left, which runs virtually all educational institutions, has always had a soft spot for communism.
If people were to recognize that communism has been the greatest source of evil in the modern age in terms of numbers murdered, number of lives destroyed, liberty stolen, and the sheer amount of human suffering inflicted (greater by those metrics than those of the Nazis before they were forcibly stopped), the Left would lose much of its appeal.
Another reason is the foolish notion that people are basically good. This has been a left-wing belief since the French Enlightenment leader Jean-Jacques Rousseau came up with the idea. As he wrote in his book, “On Philosophy, Morality, and Religion,” “Man is a naturally good being, loving justice and order; there is no natural perversity in the human heart… All the vices imputed to the human heart are not natural to it.”
This nonsense had been foreign to the Western mind. Its view of humanity was rooted in the Bible, and neither Bible-based religion—Judaism or Christianity—affirmed the goodness of the human heart. As Genesis states, “The will of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” and the rest of the Bible repeatedly warns us against following our hearts.
However, as the West began to abandon the Bible, including belief in the God of the Bible, Westerners began to believe in man. As Marx put it, “Man is God.” People had no choice. For if there is no God to believe in, one must believe in man—or one has literally nothing to believe in. Therefore, belief in man’s inherent goodness became both psychologically and philosophically necessary.
A third reason follows from the second. With the exception of the mass murder of the Armenians (which was committed by Muslim Turks), the genocides and the other horrors of the 20th century were committed by secular regimes. Given the centrality of secularism to leftism, this fact has been kept from young people.
Likewise, the fact that all these genocides were committed by big governments is not taught to young people because big government is also central to left-wing ideology. In other words, a true depiction of the evils of the 20th century would mean the end of the two pillars of left-wing ideology: secularism and big government.
If you want to make a more moral world, you must begin with the study of evil. But, for the reasons enumerated here, the Left is not—and cannot be—interested in fighting real evil. So, the Left fights made-up evils: American systemic racism, transphobia, capitalism, carbon emissions, sexism and former President Donald Trump, to name a few.
This is why young people know almost nothing about evil. The Left doesn’t want them to know about it. Because knowledge of evil inevitably leads directly to rejection of the Left.
We are living in a dangerous time in the Western World where, because of the dearth of knowing God and hating evil, we are increasingly becoming totalitarian and ripe for a socialist-communist revolution.
As Prager wisely points out, most young people today have no concept that atheists have committed over 100 million murders in the past century. There’s nothing even close to that carnage in world history.
Yet many young (and older) Americans continue to vote for atheistic Democrats.
That reveals the power of deception of the Satanic forces behind what Prager calls “The Left. “I prefer to clarify who these people are by using “atheists” instead. That’s their belief system.
I oftentimes hear secular folks spin the false narrative that “more people have been killed through religion than any other force.”
That’s nonsense unless you’re willing to admit that atheism is a religion. It’s the “king of murder” because it centers on human selfishness and big governments where dictators rise to oppress and kill people.
Second place in evil goes to the false religion of Islam which relishes using force to advance its warped ideology. That’s why we saw the resurgence of jihad a few decades ago.
But when a civilization lives by faith in the True biblical God and imbibes his character through a born again faith and practice of the Ten Commandments, they learn to hate evil, lock up criminals, and create freedom-loving societies where democracy thrives.
America’s future hope comes down to a rebirth of the truth about good (God) and evil (sin).