In post two, I ended with this:
“One difficulty of discernment in real life situations is found in examples of bad behavior founded on flawed understanding of God’s absolutes. Church groups are often represented in this category.”
Fire consumesEvil nation states are an entirely different sort of problem. Nation states appear evil because of their state policies. We may greatly disapprove of individuals who choose evil acts based on flawed or totally wrong motivations. We see such such individuals in our daily life, and recognize their existence. We expect this may occur. These individuals may be either evil persons or persons who promote evil acts but will seek repentance should they realize their sin. Evil nation states are much more difficult to understand. How could so many of their citizens approve or allow such a thing?
The nation state raised by Nazi Germany is probably the clearest recent historical example. Germans chose over some years to follow Adolph Hitler. He was an exceptionally hypnotic and charismatic presence and his voice could, almost supernaturally, influence others. The person Hitler is reported to have had some good personal qualities. He reportedly loved dogs. He did, however, order the extermination of a dutch breed when he assumed total power. A dog of that breed had bitten him in WW One. He almost succeeded.
Years before coming to power, Herr Hitler described fully the basics of his plan for Germany in his book Mein Kampf. Included was the place of Jews (not really people, and a primary cause of German problems), Christianity (he instituted his own pagan religion with the aim of replacing Christianity), which are only two examples, Such extermination program of Jews, Romani (gypsies) and other groups will place any nation as evil. The antagonism toward Christianity and program to replace it also make that state evil. These are only several aspects of German government policy which foster privation of good.
A view of life in such a nation state was masterfully portrayed the the 2008 movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Set during World War II, the story was seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp . The father, an SS Gruppenfuerer (U. S. Major General equivalent) is assigned as commandant of one of the extermination camps which used ovens to dispose of inmate bodies. His wife and children did not know it was such a place. The wife and daughter discovered the camp’s mission from different perspectives. The off-hand actions of German military staff give graphic insight into the cultural beliefs of that time.
Similar, if substantially different in degree, are groups of people which band together and pursue evil acts. When this happens, we must judge them by our accepted Christian absolutes. Such individuals or groups may be evil groups, such as the satanic church group mentioned in post 2. Other groups may repent when their evil acts become clear to them.
In contrast to Nazi Germany, finally transformed into an evil totalitarian dictatorship, nations may not be declared evil because of their political or economic systems. God no where blesses any particular political or financial system. Not even any variety of Christianity.
Any nation may become evil by choice. Myanmar under Pol Pot is an example. They exterminated certain classess of citizens such as college graduates. Myanmar subsequently rejected this governance and became a far more, if imperfect, benign nation state. Present day Jehadist groups pursue destruction of innocent life in their effort to defend Islam. Jehadist understanding of Islam is a distinct minority theology within Islam.
Islam and Christianity are the only two world religions which actively work to convert the world to their beliefs. The hymn Onward Christian Soldiers is an expression of that zeal. These two imperatives clash. Unless either religion chooses to literally exterminate the other, they can not be termed evil. Individuals or groups may be termed doers of evil acts when such acts occur. From my Christian vantage point, I hold Islam as a wrong religion. So long as they do not prevent others from choosing Christianity, I leave their judgement to God the Father.