Rabbi Irwin Kula hails from the notoriously liberal Upper West Side of New York, but he is also close friends with Glenn Beck. Being able to see the strengths of both conservatives and liberals, Kula spoke on Tuesday about how the two groups see evil differently.
"Al Qaeda and ISIS [are] evil and they must be stopped," Beck told the rabbi on his television program. "I think we can all agree -- when you are enslaving children, when you are raping women, when you're stoning homosexuals, when you're burning teachers alive in front of their students, it's evil and it's got to be stopped."
But Beck was concerned that the United States has acted with too much "hubris" in the past, and not enough "humility," and the west's hubris will lead to "some horrible humbling experience."
"What the more conservative people understand is, there really is evil in the world. Liberals don't understand that," Kula said. "If you don't take care of that evil, that evil will kill you. ... Very often what liberals do is they let conservatives do all the killing, be the container of all of that really tough stuff."
But Kula said liberals understand that "evil doesn't pop out of nowhere."
"If you're a religious person, you can use the understanding of the demonic and satan. But evil comes from somewhere. We're all implicated," Kula said. "We're all one so we're implicated in that process. It doesn't mean we're to blame. But we have to try to discover, what is it that contributes to creating this level of evil? This level of distortion of what it means to be a human being?"
Beck said he believes evil can be produced "because of hubris," and said much of the conflict in the Middle East can be traced back to how the west "lied, cheated and stole" in the early 1900's with the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
"There's also other factors," Beck added. "But again, if you're not humble in your approach, evil -- you just pour on the steam on evil."
Kula agreed, but reiterated that "no matter what, it doesn't justify that sort of evil."
"It helps us understand it, and that's one of the confusions. We think that if we try to understand it, automatically we're justifying it. We are not justifying it," Kula concluded. "But by understanding it, we can pull back. We can do the active, real killing that we're going to need to do. And at the same time we can pull back and be a touch more humble about the control we have, whether it's as Americans or individuals over the way the whole planet is going to unfold."
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