Children have a wonderful innocence that is plain to everyone. There is no evil in the heart of my little 9-month old boy. I look at him, though, and I know that someday there will be evil in his heart. I don’t mean big, horrible evils, I mean the little everyday evils that we all have in us. Selfishnesses, guilty pleasures, insecurities and less than honorable intentions. We all deal with our imperfections and our fairly consistent ability to not be the people we aspire to be. Someday all of these wonderfully innocent little children learn evil. Innocence is lost and this little bit of everyday evil takes its place. But something also is gained. You wouldn’t want these children to be innocent forever. The wonderful quality of innocence becomes the rather uglier quality of ignorance. Children grow up and as they do they are ever acquiring knowledge. Innocence is traded for knowledge. Evil, if you will, is part of the deal when you gain knowledge.
I regard the Bible as basically mythology, especially the old testament. The story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent sums up the above paragraph vividly and succinctly. Do you take a bite of the apple? Do you trade innocence for knowledge? Or do you stay in the garden of ignorant paradise?
I choose knowledge.
This parable is still a very apt topic today. Some people want to legislate us into this ignorant paradise. No premarital sex, no drug use, no abortions, no homosexuality. While I know these are not always ignorant people, they sometimes are admittedly wildly optimistic about their desire to see us legislate the ideal world. I choose knowledge. Kids will have sex, people will abuse substances, women will decide whether to remain pregnant and a certain percent of the population will be gay. These are facts. Our policies must be based on and address the world as it is, not as we wish it would be. We bit the apple. Now let’s use the knowledge.