Summary: Evil must be cleansed; it cannot be cured.

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“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” [1]

To the modern mind, evil is a malady to be cured. The mass murderer must be understood and the government must take steps to avoid the undesirable action ever occurring again. The underlying motive driving the thief must be uncovered and addressed so he will not want to steal again. National leaders and the cultural elite feel compelled to discover what drives the Jihadist who slaughters the innocent; and when the mass murderer is caught, we feel compelled to imprison him so that we can cure him. The overarching concept in modern jurisprudence is that evil can be cured. We incarcerate criminals, but the prevailing purpose for incarceration is treatment rather than punishment. However, evil cannot be cured.

Candidly, I am fearful of any government that attempts to cure evil rather than holding miscreants accountable for their acts. The old Soviet Union was a nation of laws—they had a constitution and agreed they would abide by the laws they drafted. Consequently, they boasted of their humane treatment of social deviants. The Duma did not outlaw Christianity; it reclassified it as mental illness. Christians were not executed because of belief in the Son of God—they were sent to mental institutions for treatment in order that they might be “cured” of their illness. It seems a trait of cultures and nations that with time they attempt to regulate faith through coercion, attempting to compel uniformity of thought among the citizenry. Christianity, especially, is targeted because it cannot acknowledge anyone as divine except for God.

After the fall of South Viet Nam, the conquerors from the north did not condemn those who differed on issues of policy with the state, they merely sent them to “re-education camps” where they would gain a new perspective and learn to keep their mouths shut. The northern Communists were disappointed that people spoke of them as uncivilised. “We are civilised,” they argued. “We don’t kill those who disagree with us; we re-educate them.” I suggest that efforts to cure evil are not only destructive, they are cruel in the extreme—they reflect the fallen nature of mankind’s ability to reason.

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