The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (2016) s01e05 Episode Script

Where Does Evil Come From

I grew up in Mississippi.
In my neighborhood, everyone was black.
Day to day, I didn't see overt signs of segregation.
But when I went uptown, it was a different story.
There is no bus service here anymore.
But when I was a boy, I was only allowed into one of these doors.
One said, "White," one said, "Colored.
" As a kid, when you're confronted with an evil like racism, your first reaction is confusion.
"Why does this exist? " "Where does it come from? " For all of our capacity to do good, the urge to do evil has plagued human history.
If you believe we live in a world under divine control, why should evil exist at all? So I'm going on a journey to try to understand why evil exists.
I know what you did.
My question is, can you tell me why? To discover how it invades our lives People who believe that they are possessed by an evil spirit can come here.
How evil first stole our hearts.
If you're lying or doing anything evil Your heart gets heavy and with a heavy heart, you're not gonna go to heaven.
And I'll see how some religions train us to fight the Devil.
You have two mentalities.
One is good and one is bad.
To turn the darkness I mean, I've done some incredibly terrible things.
into light.
You represent the hope of the world.
To understand why evil exists, we have to know where it comes from.
Some faiths see it as an unseen force that pervades the entire world.
Demons that lurk in the darkness.
For Christianity, it could be the Devil himself.
Or is evil something that comes from inside us? So I'm traveling to a maximum security prison to meet a man you could call evil incarnate.
So Kent, did you ever come face to face with evil? I've met some people who've done some very bad things.
Neuroscientist Dr.
Kent Kiehl is trying to pinpoint the source of evil inside the brains of psychopathic killers.
I wanted to try to understand why people do really bad things.
- Uh-huh.
- How to How to help prevent it someday.
Thank you.
I'm about to meet one of Dr.
Kiehl's most notorious subjects.
He's serving a life sentence here.
His attorney tells me this man raped more than two dozen women and murdered three.
He's been in jail almost since he was a teenager except for very short spurts or when he would get out of jail - he would go back to the same behavior - Mmm.
of raping and eventually it evolved into murder.
Did he confess to these? He confessed all of them.
I'm not going to show you his face, because I don't want to give any more notoriety to the man who committed these atrocities.
But I want to know what can make someone do what he did? - You know who I am? - Yes.
I know what you did.
My question is, can you tell me why? It was a spur of the moment thing.
Each time? I didn't have any plan to go out and snatch anybody, commit any sexual violence against anybody.
I had a desire, an impulse, and I wasn't able to stop myself from acting on the impulse.
Let me ask you, about what age did you start? Back when I was 21, 22, I was out looking for something to steal and I just spotted a teacher who had stayed late, so I decided to rob her, kidnap her and rape her.
I just pulled over on an access road and she fought back, slipped through the door and I just turned around and took off.
When did you first kill? Going on 27.
I was going out to commit a burglary and the crime happened.
Kidnapped, raped and murdered? Yeah.
I'm looking for the correct term.
It isn't guilt, it's remorse.
Did you ever experience that, that you know of? I don't see emotions like everybody else.
Um, I don't feel.
Uh, there was no remorse.
I think that I'm not wired the same as everybody else.
- So, Kent.
- Yeah.
Is this psychopathic? In psychiatry, we have a way of assessing what we call psychopathy or Psychopathic Personality Disorder and the lack of empathy, the impulse control, the poor planning, he scores, you know, in the 99th percentile.
What makes a person evil? Kent has scanned the brains of 800 psychopathic criminals.
This prisoner is the most extreme case he's ever seen.
So, this is a standard MRI scan.
Looks pretty normal when you run through the MRI scan, but what we did is quantify all the different areas of his brain and to try and understand, how dense are they? How strong are they, basically? This area of the orbital frontal cortex is very important for the formation of personality, for the control of impulses, for regulating behavior.
These three bars that I show here, this is the average inmate, this is other individuals that we call psychopaths in the red bar.
And you can see that he, he's really reduced.
He really does have a different brain.
And so he, he really does fit in that 99th percentile.
He's, you know, one in a million actually.
- One in a million.
- He's very rare.
You've been in prison now for, what, 30 years? Yup.
Long time.
What if I said, "I have a way to get you out.
"? Would you want to go? I'd wanna go, but since I did commit those crimes, I still have that - Incap capacity.
Society wouldn't be safe.
I don't have the same controls as you do or somebody else does.
This is an evil man.
Evil personified.
Neuroscientists say that his behavior is a result of bad neural wiring.
But the question is, even so, does he not still have a choice? Can he choose not to commit a heinous crime? Psychopaths are at the extreme of human behavior.
But we all face the choice to do good or do evil, and for thousands of years, we've battled those urges.
I've come to Luxor, capital of Ancient Egypt.
Egyptologist Salima Ikram, is going to show me one of the oldest depictions of our struggle to choose between good and evil.
So, right over there? Mmm-hmm.
All the east and, sort of, the part on the other side of the Nile, east of the Nile, was always the land of the living.
And then over here, you have the land of the dead - on the west.
- Literally.
- All those are tombs.
- Yup.
All of those are tombs and I want to show you one in particular.
These are the tombs of the nobles, just around the corner from the valley of the kings, where Tutankhamen was buried more than three millennia ago.
So here's the tomb of Menna.
- Menna? - Uh-huh.
Here we go.
Oh! Oh! - Look at that.
- There we are.
That's Menna over there.
And he was ascribed for the god, Amun, and he oversaw the lands of the god Amun and also over here, you can see this big harvest.
And he's checking out.
That's great.
They're harvesting their wheat.
This artwork is 3,500 years old.
1370 BC.
And it hasn't been touched up.
Those are his scribes, and he's overseeing the scribes.
- And - I'm gonna get back to the States, I'm gonna be a hieroglyphic expert.
You are.
Now, let me show you a little something about how Menna gets to go to the afterlife.
Menna 's tomb includes a remarkable feature that Salima tells me I have to see.
A scene where Menna would be judged on the balance of good and evil he had done.
This is all funerary procession.
You can see his coffin being brought here.
That's his coffin there? Uh-huh.
That's his coffin.
And then, he's brought here finally in front of the god Osiris.
This is Menna.
And then here, you have a complete innovation.
This is the first time you'd ever see this, really, in a private tomb.
And that is the weighing of the heart scene.
And here he's being judged to see if he was good or if he was evil.
In front of Osiris, the god of the underworld, Menna 's heart is weigh against the goddess of truth, Maat.
While Thoth, her husband, writes down the judgment.
So it's almost as if, uh, it's a Cliff Note for him.
Cliff Notes.
So if you're lying or stealing or cheating or doing anything evil, the whole thing is the fact - that it reflects in your heart.
- All of that weighs on your heart, your heart gets heavy.
- Mmm-hmm.
- I have a heavy heart.
- Yes.
- And with a heavy heart, you're not gonna go to heaven.
That's right.
You won't be able to have lift off.
Well put.
So in this depiction, his heart is indeed in balance? - Mmm-hmm.
- Right? - Right.
- So he's cool.
- Totally cool.
- All right.
Good to go into the afterlife.
You would think that that would be the beginning, at least, somehow, of the Judeo-Christian, ethic as it were, in terms of good and evil or not.
Basically, I think that modern religion has its roots in this idea of morality and that anything bad you do is reflected and can be judged in some way.
The Egyptians were very literal.
They said you can judge it by your heart.
Um, but even now, when, you know, you can say "He is pure of heart," - it means he's a good person.
- Right.
In the centuries after Menna, the idea of eternal reward for turning one's back on evil spread throughout Egyptian society.
And from there, if may have fed into Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Weighing of the heart assumes that fear of consequences is the only thing that keeps us on a righteous path.
Which makes me wonder, are we inherently good, or inherently evil? In fact, that question is at the very root of the Christian faith.
The earlier leaders of the Church trace our tendency to sin back to Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit.
Original sin.
I've come to meet Baptist reverend and theologian, Kutter Callaway, to find out whether original sin means we are all evil at heart.
- Hi, pleasure to meet you.
- Thank you.
- Have a seat.
- Thank you.
Which book were you reading? The first few chapters of Genesis.
That is exactly what I want to talk about and what I want to talk about is sin.
What is original sin? Well, it's a good question.
The Christian tradition kind of coined original sin into some primal desire that we all have, that's a very basic human urge or impulse.
Because Adam sinned, that original sin was passed on from one generation to the next, perpetuated generation after generation after generation.
I have recently spent some time with a person who, we could say, personifies Mmm-hmm.
evil, and you just say, "Why did you do these things?" And he would say, "I just felt like it.
I mean, I don't know.
" Now, that's inherent evil, isn't it? What you saw, you could name that as a sort of demonic thing.
This is demonic.
It's demonic, but I think it's important for us to acknowledge that there is a little bit of him in all of us.
There's something inherent in us that seems to bend itself towards death and violence.
Is there a devil or is that just a metaphor? Uh, it is a metaphor and also, the Devil is real.
There's a lot of different forms.
You know, devils with pitchforks, to goblins or ghouls, etcetera.
In the New Testament you even get Jesus, interacting with Satan.
And yet, at the same time, you have Jesus talking to one of his disciples and saying at one point, "Get behind me, Satan.
" So it seems even Jesus is dealing with both a An actual presence, you might say is a personified evil.
And at the same time, that we can be satanic, demonic in our own desire to steer away from what God wants.
We are born with the capacity for evil inside us.
Most of us struggle our whole lives to resist the temptation to do wrong.
But there could be another source of evil in our lives.
The people who brought us into this world My dad was a alcoholic.
whether they are living or dead.
Why does evil exist in the world? Is it because we all have evil inside us? Or does it come from somewhere else? I've traveled to India to understand what Hindus believe is the source of evil, the unhappy souls of their ancestors.
I'm in the city of Varanasi to visit the temple of Pishach Mochan, where exorcisms go on all day long.
My guide, Varanasi resident and educator, B.
Vidya, introduces me to the head priest, and to see the goblin, or pishach, who is said to live here.
So there was a goblin.
For 15 years, he was wandering around in pain.
So he finally prayed to Shiva.
The great Hindu god, Shiva, puts the goblin through a purifying ritual which ends with a dip in the nearby pond.
That instantly cures him of his disease.
In return, Shiva orders the goblin to protect people near the pond from any other evil spirits.
Now, Shiva asks, "Okay, you are cured, "so you're going to help all the people who suffer "being possessed by evil.
" So this is a benign goblin? Yes, he is a benign goblin.
Now this pond has become a place of healing.
A haven for people who feel their lives are haunted by an evil presence.
So here you look at the water, it's brackish, - but people believe that - Brackish? - Something is going to - Is that a term for it? So, you know, uh, the typical theme is "water cleanses everything.
" Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna buy that.
Hindus believe that when someone's death is traumatic or unhappy, their soul can become angry and haunt the lives of their children or other relatives.
This can cause mental or physical illness.
Even financial troubles.
The correct rituals, however, can liberate the unhappy soul and free the living.
What's going on over there? That's the shaman, he's preparing - He's exorcising? - Yes.
Their conversation, no one can understand.
- It's done in a - What he's speaking in tongues? He is speaking in tongues, yes.
And then the patient responds either screams or responds in tongues or they have spasms.
And then, finally, they believe that it's released.
Most of the people who come here don't need a full-on exorcism like this man.
The Shukla family are typical clients.
They're having money troubles and they worry that the spirits of their ancestors may be the cause.
So this is a departure ritual for the spirit that is wandering around.
What gives the impression, what makes one think, "Oh, my parents' spirits are not settled.
"? I think personal troubles, then something is causing them trouble.
Whenever there is a financial loss in the family and frequent sicknesses, bad dreams and So everything is associated with this possession thing.
To make their ancestors'spirits happy, the Shuklas must prepare them a good meal, one that is blessed by the priest.
They offer the honey, clarified butter, banana, fruits and everything.
This would be offered to the dead soul which is gonna eat the food.
So this would be a special meal.
After receiving all the food, they offer a lamp and an umbrella and a pair of shoes.
So here, every departed soul is treated like a real human being.
- Uh, it's welcome - The spirit? Yes, the spirit is treated like a real human being.
The ancestors receive what they need for their journey in the afterlife.
After the Shuklas offer the food to the sacred pond and nail a coin to this holy tree, the unhappy souls of their ancestors are set free and the shadow of evil lifts.
In Christianity, you've got the Devil and you've got God.
You've got good.
You've got evil.
Uh, don't seem to have that going on in Hinduism.
In Hinduism, there's no dichotomy between good and evil.
The same person can become good and evil.
In a temple like this, even the evil is treated very respectfully and is treated caringly.
That's very interesting.
Very interesting concept.
Because I think it sort of frees us up to be better.
Oh, yeah.
There's always, at the end, the hope.
The hope that even the evil can be liberated.
And evil can be purified, like taking a dip into the pond.
So I've been watching people in these temples.
I mean, crowds of people doing ritual to ritual, trying to stay in the good graces of their ancestors.
But the thing about it is, evil is not spurned.
Evil is thought of as a spirit that needs help.
Just Needs to find peace.
Hindus want to guide evil into becoming good.
That idea is also the basis of another faith.
One of the oldest and most influential religions in the world.
But it's one most of us have never heard of.
It's called Zoroastrianism.
I've come to Orange County, California, to meet the president of the temple here, Arman Ariane.
- Welcome to California Zoroastrian Center.
- Thank you.
Zoroastrianism began 3,500 years ago, in ancient Iran.
The central symbol of the faith is fire.
Today, there are just a few small pockets of Zoroastrians around the world, mostly in India and Iran.
But some are here in California.
This is the fire temple.
This fire is always going? This is a symbol of Zoroastrianism.
The fire is always going.
It represents enlightenment.
The more you are aware of this world of ours, the more you know what's ahead, the better decisions you can make.
It's kind of like you're walking with a flashlight in your hand.
The brighter the light in your life.
- That's right.
- How does that tie into Zoroastrian belief in the separation of good and evil? In the Zarathushtra school of thought, you have two mentalities, which were translated by westerners as spirits.
One is good and one is bad.
They are principles.
They are a way of behaving.
So the Zoroastrian motto is good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
Zoroastrianism is a religion focused on defeating evil.
Zoroastrian priests wear clean white robes, which like their sacred flame, represent enlightenment.
The path away from evil.
Prayers are still said in the ancient Iranian language, Avestan, which was spoken by its founder, Zoroaster.
Professor of religion, Gregory Riley, had been studying how Zoroastrian beliefs shaped Judaism and Christianity.
And how they gave birth to the idea of the Devil.
Zoroastrianism pre-dates the Abrahamic religions? That's right, yeah.
Zoroaster postulated that to defeat evil in the world we're gonna have to have a cataclysmic battle.
And God and the Devil are gonna fight it out.
That's New Testament.
That's not Zoroastrianism.
Yes, it is Zoroastrianism.
And if you look at the great mass of religions around, there's no devil.
The Israelites, they lived without a devil until they're in Babylon.
The Jews met Zoroastrianism and they began to assimilate ideas.
They come back and the Devil begins to appear in Jewish literature.
These ideas about the Devil having caused that evil, those things start to work on people.
So, by the time we get to Jesus' day they've actually created a name for the Devil, - Beelzebub, if you've heard that word - Yeah, he's got a few of them.
So the great competitor of Jesus in our New Testament gospels.
- This is now a new take? - That's right.
Jews make it their own.
Christians make it their own.
Islam makes it their own.
But just as the idea of the Devil in Christianity evolved from ancient beliefs, modern Zoroastrianism has evolved too.
For many Zoroastrians, the Devil is no longer a real demonic figure.
It's an internal combatant.
The struggle between good and evil is one that takes place in the mind.
So, the Zoroastrian motto is good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.
And the order is very important, because you start with a thought, you talk it with a mentor before you take any actions.
This way you don't get yourself in trouble.
And there is no Satan, there is no devil, something outside, influencing us? - Right.
- Meaning, therefore, that God is resident - in each of us? - Each of us.
The Zoroastrian school of thought is not something in the past or future, but what we can do at this very time.
All our problems in the world are man-made.
Therefore, they should be solved by man.
- Can be.
Must be.
- To blame it on a supernatural force is not a Zoroastrian notion.
Zoroastrians believe that good and evil exist within us all and we must make the choice for good.
Each one of us has to purge evil from within us every day by doing good, doing the right thing.
Purging the world of evil is not the work of messiahs, kings, prophets.
It's the work of each one of us.
Be we tailor, butcher, salesman, actor, whoever we are.
I like that.
But is it really possible to conquer evil without the threat of a real devil? Without the threat of eternal punishment? In New Zealand, psychologist Jesse Bering believes we need supernatural beings to keep us on the right track.
Are you guys ready to play a game? Yeah Jesse devised an experiment to test his theory.
Oh! All right.
Come on, you guys, make a circle, and sit in front of me here, and I'll go over the rules for you.
So, you see this, this piece of tape? The first rule is that you can't step over the line.
The second rule Is that you've got to throw with your back To the dartboard.
So, you can, kind of, go like this, and do the best that you can.
Oh! See? Oh! Not that easy, is it? You're gonna be playing this game one at a time, and the person that gets the most Uh, points on the dartboard gets a very special prize at the end of the day.
All right, we'll see you guys in a little bit.
Jesse watches through hidden cameras to see if the children cheat.
So, here we've got a little boy and you can almost see the machinations in his mind.
Let's see if he does it.
You can hardly blame a six-year-old for doing that.
He really wants the prize.
He thinks he can get away with it, and it's the normal Child response.
This little girl.
Look at her, she's going right over the line, and she's putting several balls on the board itself.
And she's checking now to see if anybody's actually Watching her or can see what she's just done.
They think they're alone in the room, and why not cheat if you can get away with it? Nobody's watching.
But, what if someone was watching? Jesse runs the exact same experiment on a new group of children, and an invisible supernatural being.
Now, before we begin I wanted to introduce you guys to somebody really special who's in the room with us, right now.
Now, her name is Princess Alice.
Have any of you ever heard of Princess Alice before? She's a very friendly, magical princess and she's got a very special ability.
She can make herself invisible.
Princess Alice is sitting in that chair right now.
So, you guys go upstairs for now, and then we're gonna bring you each down individually to play the game.
With the kids believing they're under the gaze of an invisible princess, Jesse sees something remarkable.
Now, this little girl She's been pretty good so far.
Clearly not interested in breaking the rules.
So, here we've got a little girl, and she's actually touching the chair to see if maybe she can feel Princess Alice sitting there.
Princess Alice.
Oh, she's saying, "Princess Alice.
" So, she's clearly not cheating here.
That's the power of belief, you know.
These kids have never heard of her before, but all of a sudden, she becomes real in their minds.
Jesse's results are always the same.
So, what we've seen after testing hundreds of kids with the study is that kids that are told that Princess Alice is in the room with them when they're left alone, are significantly less likely to cheat.
She's doing the same thing that any supernatural agent or God would do in a given society.
She is watching them, she cares about their social behavior, and ultimately, the implicit assumption is that somehow, she will act if they violate one of the rules.
Jesse's research suggests that we need to believe we're being watched to eliminate selfish behavior, to keep evil in check.
So, the proverbial question is, would you rob a bank if you thought that nobody could possibly know that you've done that? And I think if we're honest with ourselves, many of us would walk in there, and actually take all that currency.
An all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful interventionist moralistic deity.
That helps steer people in the direction of good behavior.
The reward of heaven, and the threat of eternal punishment in hell keep us on the right track.
But what about those who have succumbed to evil? Can faith lead us to redemption? Or does evil mark us for life? I'm traveling the world to discover why people believe evil exists.
Christians, Jews and Muslims believe it's part of the human condition to be tempted to do wrong.
Many faiths urges to fight temptation, to put the greater good ahead of our self-interest.
But can we actually rid ourselves of evil? In Sarnath, India I witnessed how Tibetan Buddhists purge themselves of evil thoughts.
The monks here at the Vajra Vidya monastery perform daily chanting rituals.
The music puts them in a meditative state of mind.
Buddhists believe the urge to do evil stems from our ignorance of how our minds work.
The ritual helps these young monks locate the source of those bad thoughts So that they can understand their cause and overcome them.
But not everyone wants to fight their inner demons.
There are plenty of people who seem to be hell-bent on doing bad things.
Is there any way to change them? I've asked Kent Kiehl, the neuroscientist who studies psychopaths, to meet me again.
I wanna know if his brain scans give us the way to combat evil.
I mean, we always accept evil as "There it is, it just is.
" "There's nothing we can do about it.
" But could these brain scans be used, maybe, to intercept some young people before they get going on this? I think they can.
When we understand the systems of the brain that are different in people who commit these bad crimes, it gives us an opportunity to try to develop a treatment for that.
This is like if you, you know If I injure my arm, and my This muscle gets atrophied, just like these certain areas of the brain are atrophied, I might be able to develop a treatment program that remediates that atrophy and fix it.
At about what age range would you think, as an expert, you would have to start looking? Following Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in the United States, we were asked by the parents who lost their children there to do that study, to analyze brains of kids that we've studied, who've killed other people versus kids in prison who've not.
And when we did that analysis, I wasn't sure that we would find anything that different.
But we really did.
Certain areas of the temporal lobes, of the emotional areas of the brain were underdeveloped or they hadn't achieved a normal development.
So, when you say kids, what are you talkin' about? - Are you talkin' about - 14, 15, 16.
Yeah, so, that's the kids we were working with.
Unfortunately, those kids had killed about 16 people.
The neuroscience, today, is about 10, 11, 12, we think, that we can help identify and separate kids that are problems versus kids that are just disruptive and are gonna grow out of it.
If you were a judge and you wanted to know, "Is this a high-risk kid or a low-risk kid? " We can say, "This is a high-risk kid.
" We now have a tool that can help us understand or can help predict the worst type of things that we all wanna prevent, a homicide, a death.
What we really wanna be able to do is get better and better at predicting, and then, that'll help us be better and better at preventing.
Science may help identify those who are most prone to evil, but how do you turn your back on a life of evil? I've come to Los Angeles to meet a man who wiped all trace of evil from his life.
All right, buddy.
You are all done.
Uh, I'm lookin' for Brian.
Brian Wagner.
Morgan Freeman.
Brian Wagner.
How are you? I'm very well, indeed.
Very well.
- How are you? - I am doing well, sir.
Tell me something about yourself.
I hear terrible things.
Well, for 16 years I was a neo-Nazi skinhead.
- A neo-Nazi skinhead? - Yes, sir.
I was in multiple skinhead gangs.
I was an enforcer in one, did some incredibly terrible things to a lot of undeserving people.
I was an evil person.
I wanted to hurt the world.
Uh, that's all I wanted to do.
I was I had a sense of just Utter destruction for everybody.
That was That was my driving goal.
Well, let me ask you, how did you get to the street? Why were you on the street? I fell in with a gang, basically, is what happened.
I fell in with the wrong people.
I was 14 years old, and I was running the streets.
These guys gave me a place to stay, they bought me beer, made me feel accepted and wanted.
And after about my tenth year I kind of realized, this is a subculture of degenerates.
I realized that I'm not superior to anybody.
In fact, I was pretty, well, a lower Form of humanity, you know.
Now, we're up to 10 years after you've been running around with these people and you had An epiphany.
Tell me little bit about that.
Some really Just magical things just kind of happened out of nowhere.
Like? Well, I went to a skinhead concert in 2005, and I met a woman there, and by the January of 2006, we got married.
By February, she was pregnant.
It was I had to start taking a hard look at what I was doing with myself.
I'm bringing this child into the world, and um, told them I can't do this anymore, I'm done.
I got to take care of my son.
So, during that time I made the change on the inside, I actually had to make a physical change on the outside.
- How's that? - Let me show you.
That is what I used to look like.
I mean, my neck was completely sleeved out, my face was sleeved out.
I looked the part.
I couldn't escape the way I looked on the outside, even though I had already changed on the inside.
I got in contact with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
They actually set it up to where I was able to get the tattoos taken off my face.
Well, now I mean I can see little indications of scars that, more like you were, maybe in a fight at some point and they healed up.
It looks like you had all these stuff removed.
How long a process was that? It took about two-and-a-half years.
There was 25, 26 treatments, something like that.
Every two weeks I was getting laser-zapped.
It was, uh, ungodly excruciating.
My face was constantly swollen, I looked like the Elephant Man.
It was bad time.
And here's actually a picture of me during the process.
That looked like you got punched in the eye.
It looks like I was a bad boxer, yeah.
Sort of like paying dues.
I very much looked at it as a penance, actually yes.
- Okay.
- I took the pain As a reminder that I've caused enough, so, I might as well have some.
Can you describe to me your sense of yourself in those times in terms of evil? Looking back, I had absolutely no remorse, I was borderline sociopathic.
I got no feelings.
I wanted to hurt the world.
When I was going through the tattoo removal, I found God.
Before that, I was a pagan.
And, uh My life was always dark.
I always had a hole in my soul, I guess, would be the best way to put that.
I don't know exactly what his name is, or if it's even Judeo-Christian, there is a godly presence in the universe, and it made itself known to me.
It helped me realize that there is good and evil in all of us, and my goal now is, basically, when I just leave this world a better place than when I got into it, you know.
Just try to be a good person.
That's all I can do, and I hope for that's good enough.
We have Sometimes Thoughts that evil, it just exists, and there's no hope.
But you represent the hope of the world.
That transformation, that complete transformation that you yourself made.
And for you to be able to just completely turn yourself around like that, it is very, very encouraging.
And I'm honored to talk to you.
Thank you.
Well, I've got to tell you something I've been noticing.
You're a good-looking man.
Well, thank you.
So are you by the way.
High five! The outward stains of Brian's past have been wiped away, but I'm struck by the astonishing differences in his two lives on the inside.
There was evil in his heart.
His admission.
Deep and remorseless.
But, he says, the birth of his son, and a dawning belief in God is what purged him of evil.
If Brian can do that, it gives us hope that people can change, evil can be contained.
This hope is at the core of the Christian faith.
We have gathered today on this river bank to perform one of the oldest traditions in our faith.
That of baptism.
People sin.
But those sins can be washed away.
We follow Jesus' example today, as we baptize Austin, Katie, Abby, Norman and Chris.
These five do this as a sign of repentance and forgiveness of sin.
Baptism points the direction to where we are headed.
And it's a new start on life.
The Bible tells us Adam and Eve knew no evil until they ate the forbidden fruit.
Almost every faith tells the story of how evil begins.
Whether we believe it comes from unhappy souls, the Devil himself, or the devil within.
We all eventually come face to face with evil.
But I think we need to know evil, because, in spite of all the suffering it causes, it drives us to do good.
Without evil how would we have ever developed our unique human characteristics? The ability to express kindness, mercy, forgiveness? February 2017