Dr M Scott Peck a psychiatrist who is in the self-help genre wrote the famous book People of the Lie. It is about evil people and what he learned from his patients regarding what evil is and what it does.

He regards evil at being its strongest and most complete form when the person does not even realise they are evil. He points out how ordinary evil is. Evil people will see evil as good or justifiable or neutral. He sees your evil as a mental disorder for it is a mask for terror you are in denial about.

He writes, "Treated badly by its parents, a child will usually assume that it is bad." He says the child is not able to assess a parent correctly so he or she will naturally think he or she is to blame for the poor parental treatment. He or she deserves it. "When a child who is grossly confronted by significant evil in its parents, it will most likely misinterpret the situation and believe that the evil resides in itself."

Peck does not realise we are doing that with God especially when we are children. We do it when we grow up as well for the scars never heal completely. He virtually admits that if a child gets sick and sees that God must have made the sickness the child will blame herself. That will happen in its most tragic form when the child is suffering sexual abuse. Original sin teaches you are born estranged from God simply because that is what you would choose to be if you could. That adds to the pain and guilt.

Christians say that baptism forgives original sin but forgiveness if real does not take sin away but tries to leave it in the past.  A forgiven murderer is still a murder.  Baptism calls you an original sinner and that is insulting.

Finally, the good thing about the book is the originality of the ideas. But they are quite odd when you unpack them. He writes about evil in a religious way but tries to use the word in a medical way which will not do.  He is trying to make spiritual and religious ideas take over psychiatry and that is an abuse.  It is too exclusionary to atheists and sceptics and to religionists who do not see evil in the way Christians do.  His account of evil shows despite himself that Jesus and the religion of Christianity are evil themselves.  Jesus was a person of the lie.

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