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Dr. Scott Peck wrote a book titled, “People of the Lie.” Early in the book Peck tells one of the stories form his counseling practice that helped lead him to see that evil is a genuine reality in the world. He calls it, “The Case of Bobby and His Parents.” Bobby was a 15 year old boy who was sent by the court to see Dr. Peck because his grades in school were falling. He was depressed and he had an accident with a stolen car. Dr. Peck met with Bobby and heard his story. After meeting with Bobby a few times, Dr. Peck was alarmed by what he saw. He was even more alarmed by what he heard. He learned that Bobby’s older brother, Stuart, had committed suicide in June of the previous year. Stuart had shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. Stuart’s suicide had clearly been the cause for Bobby’s academic slide and personal depression. But there was more. At Christmas time Bobby’s parents gave him a .22 rifle. “Isn’t that the same kind of gun your brother used to kill himself?” an amazed Dr. Peck said to Bobby. “It wasn’t the same kind of gun,” Bobby replied. “It is the same gun.” Dr. Peck was stunned. Bobby’s parents were all but telling him to commit suicide too. Dr. Peck called the parents to this office. They seemed to be quite normal, blue collar, church going, and hard working people. Dr. Peck confronted them with their deed. “Don’t you see that giving Bobby this gun is like telling him to go out and kill himself?” Dr. Peck inquired. The parents, Dr. Peck tells us, could see no such thing. They were blind to the consequences of their own deeds. In his continued work with Bobby and his parents Dr. Peck began to formulate the thesis that these parents were evil people. Bobby was in the clutches of evil powers. This evil resided in his parents. They were people who could simply not tell the truth about themselves. This is Dr. Peck’s definition of evil. Evil people deceive others by building layer upon layer of self-deception around them. Evil people are not the same as sinful people. It is not their sins in themselves that distinguish between evil people and sinful people (everyone is sinful). The difference is that evil people refuse to acknowledge any fault at all in their character.

J. Think about some of the people in the news. Saddam Hussein still believes that everything he did was right. Osama Bin Laden believes that leading terrorist activities is a good thing. When people like this are brought to question about these activities, they attempt to throw the light on others. It was the Kurds. It was the Americans. It is simply not true. Dr. Peck says 99% of the evil done in the world is carried out by those who are convinced they are absolutely right. Make every attempt to delude themselves to believe that they are right all of the time. No thought about what they did wrong, because they are right.

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