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Good and Evil in a Secular Age

By good I mean
what comes from the willful
exercise of what makes for good
tolerance helpfulness
democracy and non-idolatry

By evil 
I mean the conscious
inflicting of harm
whose end can and does result
in the taking of life

We are as we always have been
in a secular age
where history is made by persons
all persons
by their conscious
choice of the values
on which they act

Thus good and evil
is not something we can 
somehow move beyond
We can move beyond the hoary values 
that continue to set the stage 
for evil events
For we must rest assured that
evil is the result of our choosing values
built on intolerance
on the failure to help and enable
those in need and on the denial 
of the same rights to all 
Evil and idolatry are
partners in the creation
of a culture of

Simply because we live in a secular age
is no reason to suggest that
we fail to define what evil is
and to confront it
confident that the values
that save us are embedded 
in all persons
and that evil results when these values are 
ignored and repressed

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The remarkable video at the link above is of a performance of "Sto perigiali" Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis in 2001.

Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.

This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…