Evil in the night

Barnaby Alkire
5 min readOct 10, 2022


Lately, I’ve been fascinated by our nature.

The manner in which we live, the choices we make, and how our perception of life develops. If you don’t know, I grew up in a heavy religious background. Where I knew too well that my choices meant Heaven or Hell.

As an adult, this made me pretty paranoid because I was dreadful about my sinful behaviors. I carried around a lot of guilt and at certain points, I accepted my nature. I was a sinful man who liked doing sinful things. Things like watching porn and getting drunk.

My addictions to those vices kept me up at night.

I use to be critical of myself because I knew better not to get drunk or watch porn. In the night, I was left alone to my thoughts, and the question bubbled up to the surface, am I evil?

Does smoking cigarettes, getting high, drinking or overeating make me a bad or worst, an evil person?

In my religious mind, yes.

I felt bad for making the choice to live out my flesh. I was guilty and I was ashamed of my conduct.

Where did that come from?

As you might have guessed, my perception, and interpretation of religion.

As I reflect on my religious upbringing. I was told to do good because that would honor God. I did good things and I pursued being a leader in my school. I did my best to be highly intelligent and to have fun. I had high standards because I wanted God to be proud and I wanted my Pastor and family to be proud. I sought validation and acceptance.

I never wanted to intentionally hurt people and I wanted to live up to my name as an encourager. However, with this high performance, perfectionist mindset came the brutal reality of beating myself up for missing the mark and not being enough.

As a kid, I was so hard on myself. Years later I found a label for that and it was called self-deprecation.

Hopefully, that paints a picture for you of the mind of my young life.

As the story goes, I was accepted to Liberty University, a Christian college, a place where they train champions for Christ. It was right up my religious alley and I was stoked to attend the University. It was there that I learned about TULIP. The acronym for Reformed Theology is taken from https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-tulip. It goes like this:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

It’s the five points of Calvinism that summarize God’s work of salvation.

For the sake of the post, I’m going to focus on Total Depravity and then wrapped up with the Doctrine of Orginal Sin.

Total depravity hit home when I first heard about it. In my interpretation of it, I summarized the T as us, human beings, being wicked and evil. A nature bent towards selfishness and who have the inability of doing good or choosing God.

The picture that was painted for me back then was that I was dead in the sea of transgressions and God, through His Son, picked up my lifeless body placed me in the boat of grace, and began to operate on my chest. From there Christ opened up my chest to replace my dead heart and gave me his blood and his heart. He rescued me and brought me back to life through the power of the Holy Spirit. If my memory served me correctly, that’s how I was taught about this new Theology.

He chose me and gave me a new life. He gave me the ability to see the world and revived me through his blood. A little creepy, but it works. The scripture that was tied to that story was Jeremiah 17:9, which goes like this…

The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick; who can understand it?

That nailed it for me, I was convinced that people are evil and we need a savior to change our nature. I was 22 years old when I heard about that. I guess you can call it the Gospel message. Hearing that I wasn’t good, really messed me up. I went along with the narrative and, to give context, I was in Christian counseling when I first heard this point of view. I was super vulnerable and easily emotional about everything. The counselor saw how emotional I got, and deemed this as a work of the Holy Spirit.


Or, I was super fragile because of INITIATING TRAUMA DUMP:

Parent divorce

Losing a family home to foreclosure

Being diagnosed with a mental condition

Getting kicked out of school for acting out my mental condition

I experienced all of those ripples of trauma in a span of 5 years, so it was fresh when I was 22 years old.

I felt so angry, bitter, and lost. I was a good person and I felt there was an injustice bestowed upon me.

So now I didn’t view the world as good, I saw it as evil.


That started at 22 years old and from there I beat myself up because I felt like I was evil through my own vices. Things started to change when I was 26 because I started to become disciplined. I began adopting a Growth Mindset and became less critical of myself. I was still wrestling with my nature and the nature of others.

So I have a mental condition that I talked about earlier. If I’m not taking care of it, it can lead to some serious social situations. I’ll spare the details and fast forward to the concept of Orginal Sin.

A doctrine taught in most churches where the state of the world has a sinful nature due to Adam’s and Eve's rebellion in the Garden. His defiance inputted us as children of Wrath and rebellion.

My interpretation is that we are all born evil. And, that can be pretty harsh. This was brought up in a book called Original Sin Is A Lie by Bob Peck. I thought it was an interesting read and it was revealed that the doctrine may not be true. It had me wondering, am I the only one thinking that we are born evil?

The answer to that question is, yes!

I did a survey of a few of my friends on FB and others offline. A lot of people believe evil is a social construct and that it’s entirely based on context. I had people saying that evilness is brought about by the environment and trauma. It’s a learned behavior and people’s nature when they’re born is neutral. I found that helpful and it got me out of my own head. I had one person say, we are born evil because we are born into sin. The majority though said no.

Since thinking about it and asking the question, I’ve changed my mind.

I no longer believe the world is evil and that human beings are evil. I feel like our behaviors are ever-changing and we have the power to do good and seek God. Here’s another mind shift that I have had recently.

That’s our worth and value as human beings.

We are worthy and valuable because we are worthy and valuable.

There’s nothing that can change that no matter if we won the Nobel Prize or murder someone. I feel like the murderer is redeemable and is still worthy and valuable.

That’s all I got, and I hoped you enjoyed the reading. It’s been good to reflect on this stuff.

I’m still a Christian and I now have compassion for the church and for myself. We are all a work in progress and there’s plenty of room for reconciliation and forgiveness.

You got this, and I love you.