How does “Good vs. Evil” affect different parts of our lives | In Focus

Many of us see the world in black and white — but whether or not that’s a true reflection of the world can differ.

Manichaeism is a 3rd century A.D. religion originating in what is now Iran. This religion claimed Mani as its prophet.

Manichaeism divided the world into two parts: Light vs. Darkness, and Good vs. Evil. Even though the Manichaean religion is now extinct, the ideas that derived from it are found in modern America. Those ideas have major effects upon culture, religion, and politics in the U.S. today.


Manichaeism is very clearly seen in movies where Marvel superheroes like the Avengers battle forces of evil and are victorious. “Superheroes, for better or worse, are clearly feeding some sort of spiritual hunger in American culture”. People desire to see the world in stark contrasts between the wicked and the good. “Moreover, comic book stories give us a clear sense of good and evil and the human need for a Savior who is more than human…” (equip. org).

This approach to seeing the world as a battle between light and dark permeates such popular videos as Star Wars, where Luke Skywalker and his compatriots must battle the forces of the evil empire and where Darth Vader, Luke’s enemy, turns out to be his father who has chosen “the dark side”. “May the Force be with you” is a clear spiritual perspective slipped into a secularized science fiction movie. The Star Wars series is one of the most popular movies of all time. Luke, in contrast to his father, has chosen the light side. Like his father, Luke has spiritual gifts far beyond human talents and abilities.


“The angel Eltaum appeared before him [Mani, the prophet] and told him to leave the Mandaeans, live chastely, and to proclaim himself to the people after the passage of 12 years’ time. He proclaimed himself on Sunday, March 20, 242 AD, saying to the people: “As once Buddha came to India, Zoroaster to Persia, and Jesus to the lands of the West, so came in the present time, this prophecy through me, the Mani, to the land of Babylonia” (

Mani spoke as the “Apostle of the true God” ( At one time Manicheism was seen as a rival to Christianity. Trump’s Manichaeism is clearly seen in the conservative Christian view of progressive Christians as evil, with beliefs and practices that are Satanic and unbiblical, but ignoring scriptures that encourage helping the poor, the oppressed, and the fatherless. Progressive Christians, to a lesser extent, characterize conservative Christians as idolatrous by supporting programs and perspectives that limit female equality, freedom, and the welfare of immigrants and of the poor and minorities. Both sides tend to think and speak in polarizing terms—a part of Manichaean thought. For many on both sides, there is no gray. It’s only black and white, either/or.


Of the three, politics is where Manicheism is the most easily demonstrated in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s the conservatives who are most Manichaeistic.

According to many Republicans, Democrats and President Joe Biden are seen as evil, and of the Devil. Donald Trump as the titular head of the Republican Party, claimed on his Truth Social platform: “Jesus is the Greatest. President @realDonaldTrump is the second greatest.” Trump is now selling the King James version of the Bible. Trump’s “Bible” also contains the Constitution. The cost is $60. If Democrats are evil, and Trump is “second only to Christ”, then Trump is the epitome of good, in spite of civil convictions for rape and fraud, and a felony indictment for paying hush money to a porn star—a criminal indictment. Additionally, Trump is charged with election interference in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, also a felony criminal indictment.

What amazes me is how some conservative Republicans can hear and read Trump’s own words and still support him. Trump is peddling his brand of Christianity and comparing himself to Christ.

Perhaps we should include an addendum to Mani’s proclamation: “As once Buddha came to India, Zoroaster to Persia, and Jesus to the lands of the West, so came in the present time, this prophecy through me, the Mani, to the land of Babylonia. And I, Donald J. Trump, brought divine truth to America.”

The United States has its own brand of Manichaeism, but Trump certainly doesn’t appear to be in the category of super human, except in his own mind and in the minds of his followers. Darkness has become Light, and Evil has become Good.