Stoning The Devil

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At a Moslem yearly ceremony of “stoning the devil"
Nearly three hundred were trampled and killed,
As a crowd had a moral binge and rocked painted targets,
Made as substitutes for the devil.
I see the trouble as,
When we externalize the devil,
And let ourselves go,
We get so emotional, outraged and overwrought,
We turn ourselves unintentionally into devils.

The devil we have most to fear,
Is not outside of us but in us,
When we demonize people and causes,
Becoming zealots and “being too righteous.”
No human can afford to put on excessive righteousness.
If what I think of as good people let themselves go,
The ugliness in the voids inside them materializes.

Where then is the devil?
Waiting inside of all of us to materialize, of course,
As we jump off the ship of reason and humanity,
And go overboard,
Just as the devil is in our carelessness and apathy,
When we, unlike the Good Samaritan, pass suffering by.

If to be rightly ordered is the goal of righteousness,
When is the process of achieving morality correctly done?
Whenever it is steady and not passive-aggressive,
redemptive, balanced in thought with a fair picture of human
But when you see another person only as the evil enemy,
You have turned yourself into a categorizing devil;
Yet if you do nothing, you become an indifferent devil.
The human situation often descends to devils arguing.
Each trying to prove the other is the devil,
Sad but also comic.
This dehumanizing argument is common among peoples.
My temptation is to walk away.

If I leave, I think, “Why involve yourself?”
Such arguments are an idiot’s delight,
But to those living in ignorance of the spiritual world,
An idiot’s delight is just the way they like to live,
They like to pass their lives,
They go from scene to scene,
Throwing accusations everywhere,
Collecting injustices and arguing over minor points.
Jesus said they argued over little things, gnats,
And swallowed big mistakes, camels.
Instead we should try to see the other’s perspectives,
And cultivate a moral sense of proportion.
Never becoming freaks like two blind people raging.


Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.