If we believe there is a God who created each of us, then each of us is a child of God. And each human person has the divinity of God within him, or her. We call this divinity within us, the soul. It is the only part of us that doesn’t die. That makes the soul, and what happens within it, essential.
“I decline to accept the end of man… I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” ― William Faulkner
As Faulkner says, the soul is spirit, just as God is spirit, and capable of great compassion, enormous sacrifice, and inexhaustible endurance. We see these capacities expressed in many good people that we know, and sometimes we express those same qualities ourselves.
But often, compassion, sacrifice and endurance are not expressed by a person’s spiritual nature. Sometimes, he or she expresses the opposite. To an author, this is food for a story. This is the opportunity to illuminate the battle between good and evil, as Faulkner does in his work.
Because there is today, and always has been, a battle between what is inherently good, and what is inherently evil–and despite what we say or how we act, I believe each human being knows the difference.
It is natural for an author to write about this very real battle between Truth and Lies. In a story, this plays out in particular characters—-people who struggle with what they believe is right and what they know is inherently wrong. All of this happens in the soul of a fictitious character, where his or her intentions lie. But it is the same in real life.
In each of our lives, we either shine our soul, or sully it, by our various decisions to accept Truth, or Lies, Good, or evil.
Most of us don’t like to hear that we can choose between good and evil. Some of us don’t even recognize evil anymore. We put an acceptable face on evil because of today’s saccharine tolerance for ‘anything goes,’ and that the end justifies the means. We are allowing ourselves to be blinded to the better call in our soul. But a thing is not good or evil because it’s trendy or popular. The better call of our soul is to set aside our pettiness, our selfishness, and our conniving natures, and to lift up the dignity of the human person as a child of God, from conception to death. For that is an absolute Truth God has implanted in our soul.
I think, deep down, most of us know this. And deep down, we know that absolute Truth will endure, that it is not relative to public opinion, and that it is a twin of immortality. For me, it is most important for a writer to remember that, too.