The price of consciousness and conscience
It is already July 22nd. One year ago, a man could buy, gather and dispose guns, explosives, all sorts of different techniques and quietly go to the administrative center of the Norwegian capital Oslo. He put his bombs, left and calmly got to the island of Utøya and simply, very simply shot down the youths gathered for an annual meeting; the island is almost a national symbol for freedom of speech and conscience in Norway, for the leftist movements.
Anders Behring Breivik had prepared his actions with much precision. He had planned them and told it was a consequence of the full collapse of the non-religious, apostasic and anti-Christian absence of reaction to Islam. One year passed, exactly today he did kill 77 people. Norway was in shock.
Norway is still in shock today and we can read and hear that on the media and live in the country. There is a deep trauma and it shall not pass easily. I did follow directly what has happened in Norway and there has been in the country that is rather intermingled a profound Lutheran-based reaction of prayer and a religious interrogation. To begin with, Breivik was told to be insane and kept in a hospital. The Laws in force in Norway had no views as how t oface such a mass killing and such a mass murderer. Today, the after-killing is deeply difficult to accept and the society slowly examine what should be done. After some investigation, Breivik was reconsidered as being "sane".
How far a society can be driven out of the "usual" laws, morals, ethical behaviors; the price of mental conscience, awareness, of life as being stable; real care or absence of any real consciousness and defect of spiritual comportemental decency. Norway reacted with much shock and the sense of faith that has nourished the local culture for around 1000 years.
Yesterday's "Batman mass killing" in a common, basic instinct great city of Colorado suddenly questioned the United State of America. They are not in the same situation as in Norway. In Norway, it is not current that people come, freely buy guns and all sorts of weapons. The only thing stipulated by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, an Israeli specialist of anti-Semitism, is that when he visited Norway and Oslo, he was not check even a single one time!!!! He could have done anything. No control of anything.
This is supposedly not the case in the United States after 9/11. Frankly I don't trust that. Because the United States are not totally united, consist of different States, with different Laws, different legal and social considerations. There is no real agreement among the States and each State basically can work things out without referring to a huge and very sophisticated legal, political, social and collectivity-managing systems "overshadowed by some all over the map US" national and international, para-federal pattern or structure that maybe odd or obsolete.
In Germany, there have been some mass killings like in Erfurt some years ago; a man entering a supermarket and killing beyond any "consciousness". Still, such crimes are "restricted" or supposedly discovered and controlled, often after terrible misdeeds.
In America, these actions are current so far it is possible to kill, murder and wipe out the crimes out of memory or to screen them. James Holmes was a bien bizarre, but not more than anyone else it seems, so far he was alone, an outsingled individual and student, a nice boy...
It is then possible to speak of "evil"? Not the same way Norway did and shall do today. The Norwegian nation and the residents in the country felt gathered by prayers. This is not the same in the U.S.A. Basically, Amlerica immediately refers to God, the Bible, faith or multi-denominational split realities that cannot gather the same way old and rather obsolete Lutheran Norway still can do.
In their religious "systems", the Americans" are also split. An Orthodox hierarch must clearly define what a sin is. He should also personally call the faithful to unity of a clear and meaningful theological position. The Eastern Orthodox Church - as Judaism - does not recognize the "original sin" as it is admitted by the Western rites and the Catholic and Protestant Churches.
Of course Evil exists. We know that in Jerusalem where the pact on Job is real and daily... and clergy as lay people parrot about love and unity. Sin is absence of obedience to God, but original sin is not what we accept. On the other hand, the Devil is at work. This is a real point. Is it what happened in the two and far more events that turned to these two comparable weird and bizarre mass murders?
The Jewish tradition speaks of something else that we -Christian Orthodox - do have: the instants, moments when consciousness stumbles down, get twisted, revolves and maddens, losing self-control and any kind of human normal behavior, if any among the human nation.
The appended link describes the American reality and how Americans are left helpless when facing such situations that will be forgotten and not overcome. Sin? Indeed! It is something that is to be compared to the situation before the Giving of the Laws (Oral and Written Laws at Mount Sinai).
The Orthodox theologians who came from Europe (Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Meyendorff) and so many other spiritual guides and teachers have paved the way to decency and correct definition of what sin and "tests and/or temptations" and consciousness mean with exactitude. Each group has to speak with much doctrinal exactitude and precision. Otherwise things are melting down. Messy way.
The Job situation is that the servant of God is put to try and test by an agreement passed between God and the Devil. And the Devil foretold God that Job will curse Him. But God said it was not possible. On the other hand, He told the Devil not to "touch to the integrity of (Job's) soul = do not drive him to craziness, full absence and lack of any consciousness".
This is what the Jewish tradition recalls on Yom Kippur eve: "Forgive, wipe out, pardon, absolve all the sins committed by the Community of Israel as also of those who reside in their midst BECAUSE ALL THE (human) NATIONS HAS ERRED BY FULL ABSENCE OF CONSCIENCE/כי כל העם בשגגע".
Sin only exists when the sinner is aware if his sin. No one can replace a person who would not accept or be able for any reason to confess a sin and repent.
Evil does exist. He exists and seeks our souls and bodies and often, throughout all generations, he tried and tempts and provokes all of us -whosoever we are or pretend to be. Sin is a first step.
what then to do when "beyond-consciousness" overcame the notion of sin. Evil cannot be reduced to some false "original sin". How to prove that a murderer is responsible, more than than more responsible than a society that aches and steadfastly refuses to convert? This is the problem of our generation as it was by the time of Sodom, the city of exclusion, the worse social misdeed.
av aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)