Matthew 6:22-23

This is an interesting pair of lines. It introduces a huge topic in Christianity and in Western thinking, which is the duality between good and evil. It is this duality that defines Western thinking. This duality is also what separates, in the most general way, Eastern thinking from Western thinking.

I know I am grossly and disgustingly oversimplifying this, but here’s one uneducated guy’s take on all of philosophy on the planet earth. Note the fact that I separated all of the philosophy on the whole planet into two little groupings shows that I am hopelessly a Westerner in my outlook. I do not apologize for this.

I do realize that dualities create a lot of problems if you stick to them slavishly. People who speak in “Us vs. Them” terms sound like complete idiots. Worst of all, you can relax a great deal if you give up these dualities. I certainly have. This is one of the messages of _The Way and the Power_ by Loa Tzu. I tried this in my own life, but the thing to remember is you give up “unnecessary” distinctions. This does not mean giving up a sense of right and wrong. Hippies get this wrong about Taoism (and Zen Buddhism) and take this as a license to do whatever you want.

Hey, if you wanna do whatever you want, do it. Don’t waste time digging up musty ancient philosophers to rubber stamp your preselected ideas. Stand on your own two, preselected feet. I’m behind you on this. If you read an ancient text, do it with an open mind to LEARN SOMETHING. This is a pet peeve of mine. My other one is flies.

In this passage, Christ does not contrast good and evil, but rather “single” vs. evil. This is bizarre. Another head scratcher: “thine eye be single, thine whole body shall be full of light” or “thine eye be evil, the whole body shall be full of darkness”. For some reason, I keep getting hung up on the word single. What is it about thine eye being single? Single focused? Single minded? What? How does this contrast to the word evil. They are usually not opposed to one another. Is evil somehow multiple?

I can’t even start to speculate on this. It seems to be just another confusing head scratcher. I can picture myself standing there listening to this sermon and scratching my head. People around me are shrugging going, “WTF” or “Okaaaay.” Or maybe that’s only me there is the “inappropriate” laugher while the rest of the herd just stands there and pretends to understand. Who the hell knows.

What I think is that this should be on a banner somewhere at a sports event. “For a real good time read Matt 6:22-23”.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 6:22-23”

  1. ltverberg Says:

    The phrases “a single eye” and “an evil eye” were both idioms used in first century Jewish culture and elsewhere in the Bible. This line makes perfect sense when you see the cultural context surrounding it. I wrote an article about it at this link:

    http://www.egrc.net/articles/director/articles_director_1203.html

    Lois Tverberg

  2. Leroy Glinchy Says:

    Hey, that article made a lot more sense. I greatly appreciate the link and the insight. Without this background there is no way, I could have understood passage.

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