On Good, Evil, and Victim-Blaming

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming” in The Atlantic is a few months old, but I had more than a few different thoughts and reactions, not limited to the original scope of the article:

Essentially good and just people are capable of, and have more often than not, committed horrible acts, words, and deeds against other human beings. Furthermore, they will conjure an array rationalizations that will allow them to downplay or ignore the pain, indignities, and suffering they have caused. However, that’s not always the case; I’m certain that everyone harbors a couple shameful memories of horrible things they’ve done that they refuse to reveal to discuss with anyone…

The absolute worst thing you can tell anyone who is suffering through a trying period is that everything will work out for the better in the end. This is often expressed in some form of “everything happens for a reason.” It’s the worst type of sympathy you can show someone, because it’s not sympathetic or empathetic at all, and the person saying it thinks they are expressing some kind of kind condolence. Essentially good people often spew this kind of crap – I’ve experienced it first hand…

The world is not a just place. You can do everything right, and still come out on the losing end of things. Horrible people will get away with and profit from their actions against others, and frequently they will suffer no ill consequences or be punished for them. Hell, sometimes they’ll succeed so wildly that no one will ever discover what they did. I know a lot of people find comfort in the idea that these people will face some form of divine or karmic retribution, but I’ve learned enough about religion to know that there’s no guarantee of that either…

Finally, while I appreciate religion’s many positive benefits, it’s very possible that this is an area where religion hurts more than it helps. It enables the human weakness, one exhibited by both the religious and non-religious, of wanting “someone else” to properly engage with and assist another person who has been victimized. It’s a far easier path to tread.

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