The Science Behind Evil with Rice Broocks

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

The definition of “evil” can be both elusive and fluid. Some say they can’t define it, but they know it when they see it. So then how do we wrap our minds around the concept of evil? In the last episode of a series on God and faith, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen are joined by “God’s Not Dead” author Rice Broocks for a discussion on the broad spectrum of what’s considered to be evil.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain, to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging, to better target treatment, and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products, to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Welcome back. We are having the best conversation with Dr. Rice Broocks, the author of, God's Not Dead. We're going to talk about something a little sticky in this one if we can, if we can continue this week, of where is God in this world, that is a little crazy right now.
You brought up something earlier, and I want to continue with that, and it's gonna get a little touchy. So, alot of people who listen to us have been hurt. I mean like really hurt, traumatized, and I actually had a pretty traumatic childhood myself. I had a father who was a minister who, you know, my dad was very far from the perfect minister. Let me just start with that, and he was not a part of my life growing up. So, that will give you some idea, and then just a lot of trauma drama growing up with my Mom.
Now personally, I can tell you where God was when I was growing up, and there was a lot of trauma and drama. He wasn't there. That was the problem. So, for me, that was the problem. So personally, my life was full of chaos, and drama, and trauma, until I figured that part out, until I made peace with God, and I allowed God back into my life.
Dr Daniel Amen: Until you had [crosstalk 00:01:56] Him ... In your life.
Tana Amen: Then there was purpose. Then there was hope, and then there was healing, but not everybody's there, that listens to us. Not Everybody feels that way, and they don't understand, and so, what do we say to people who have experienced that kind of trauma and pain, and even far worse than I have.
Dr Daniel Amen: And where maybe, even the church hurt them.
Tana Amen: And that was my case.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, I grew up Roman Catholic. My mother was not kidding about that, and I went to Catholic school, but I'm completely horrified by the sex abuse scandal in the church, and it's not just that. As someone who's treated a lot of people who, grew up in, what really is abusive church families. When you hear that, what goes through your head, and how do you counsel people, 'cause I know, this isn't new for you.
Rice Broocks: No, and the first thing is always to listen to the people's individual story, so rather than just generically, when I'm asked this, each person has a story. Each person's life was dramatically affected, and if they were negatively affected in the name of God, or by somebody representing God, the highest condemnation of Jesus, the highest. When people talk about hell, and why would God send people to hell? I said, "Well, just to be specific, God, Jesus really talked specifically about hell to religious people, because who they were and what they represented, had such an impact."
Tana Amen: Yes.
Rice Broocks: The New Testament says, "Let not many of you become teachers, for there's a stricter judgment." In a short way, you know, just because somebody claims to believe in God, I mean, I believe in the police, and I believe in the speed limit, but that doesn't mean I'll slow down.
Tana Amen: That's a really good point.
Rice Broocks: So, just because somebody claims they believe in God, and even claims that they know what God instructions are, just makes them more culpable, not necessarily more prone to do it. That's why atheists can be good. When somebody says to me, "Are you saying atheists are bad?" No, atheists can be good. They do good things. Why can an atheist be good, and a religious person be bad? Because we're both made in God's image.
So, there's a moral code written on the inside of us. Romans Chapter Two ... Romans one says that God's the evidence of God is everywhere in creation, but then Romans Two says, "that the conscience bears witness to the fact that, that moral law's within us." So, even though you don't know where it comes from, or you can't account for it, you still can act morally, but even more so, if you know where it comes from, and you know there a source to it, to perpetrate an act against a child. I mean, Jesus said, "If you hurt one of these little ones, it would be better than a millstone tied around your neck."
So, the strongest condemnations are for those that would hurt somebody. The strongest judgments come for those that misguide people, and if you represent God, to steer them off, or to get them to where now they hate God, because of what you did, and they thought you were a believer, or thought you were a representative of God
Dr Daniel Amen: So, if I really want to get Tana going, you know, there has to be a Neuroscience part of this discussion.
Rice Broocks: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Because, you know, we have a database of 150,000 scans now, and part of our database, we have about a thousand convicted felons, including 100 murderers.
Tana Amen: Oh, and we could not agree on this. We still don't alot.
Dr Daniel Amen: I actually had no opinion on the death penalty ...
Tana Amen: I do.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... until attorneys started sending me people who did seriously bad things, and when you see their brains, not always, but most of the time, they're severely damaged brains, and then I'm like, it is not the sign of an evolved society, to be killing sick people, and so, I've been in court on death penalty cases, and ultimately, I realized that's why in the Bible it says multiple times, not to judge, 'cause it's complicated, right?
Behavior is complicated and just because you have a bad brain, doesn't mean you're going to do something bad. Right? It's complicated. There are spiritual factors. There's psychological factors. There's social factors, but my work has softened my heart, and what I get horrified by, is often they have brains that could be better, and you know, that's what I believe God put might me on earth to do was the mission I'm here to do.
Rice Broocks: [crosstalk 00:06:52]
Tana Amen: God and I are still working out my ...
Rice Broocks: Let me respond to that, but I don't want to interrupt you. I don't want to interrupt you. Okay, yeah.
Tana Amen: God and I are still wrestling. If someone hurts my child, jail's the only place there is.
Rice Broocks: Okay, yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: We have had ...
Rice Broocks: I'll do it quickly. I know you have something to say.
Tana Amen: Not happening. I'll have none of it.
Rice Broocks: We've had many discussions.
Tana Amen: Yeah. No, it actually talks about not judging individually, if I'm correct, it says that as a society, our laws are made to be. I'll look into this.
Rice Broocks: The wrong is wrong. It's Kinda like cholesterol. There's good and bad. Right? There's good and bad judgment. We're the judge with righteous judgment.
Tana Amen: Yes. Thank you.
Rice Broocks: Then judging something is ...
Tana Amen: And they're to pay for it.
Rice Broocks: Judging something is like the guy that sees a woman on the bus, and her kids are unruly and he's going, "That woman's terrible."
Tana Amen: That's personal judgment. Right.
Rice Broocks: And then all of a sudden he finds out, he corrects. He can't take it anymore to "Hey, get your kids under ... " And he says, and the woman says, "I'm sorry, I just lost my husband."
Tana Amen: Yes.
Rice Broocks: So here's a woman who's just come from seeing her husband die, and she's on the bus, and so you judged based, not on the full facts, but you know, there is an entire book of the Bible called Judges. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing, and there will be eternal judgment, as it says in Hebrews Six, that one of the basic doctrines is eternal judgment.
So, I think what ... and I'm not going to intrude on your area of expertise, because I think that there's always case by case things. That's why a good judge will listen to every case. When somebody asks me, is God going to give a blanket pass to this group of people in eternity? All, y'all go to heaven. You got the stamp on your hand. You said the right words. I said, wait, the judgment, because God is eternal, He has an infinite amount of moments, to listen to every detail, and every word of your life. It says we will ... Matthew 12, stand and account for every idle word. So, God has an eternity, to each individual that's ever lived, to stand before Him, and to go through every second of our life, and why it happened.
So ultimately, I think that there is a righteous judgment. I think there are factors, that have to be dealt with individually. So, back to the earth, not to eternity. Back to the databases and the brains. I think that's why we have to bring every factor. Now, I think as a whole, I don't think a person who commits some crazy act though, did that all in one day. In other words, there's probably a pattern of other things that lead to that. So, when it comes to, I think if a person is mentally ill, then obviously, then they should be given that consideration.
In general, the general principle though is that, there's the strongest judgments, and for somebody to hurt a child, that's obviously God's not behind that, and God will deal with it, and that's why I think there's, think about the Mercy of God, that all this is coming to light.
Tana Amen: But we can help out a little, until that time, until God takes over?
Rice Broocks: Well, We are not ...
Dr Daniel Amen: So, let's talk about James Holmes, who was the Batman Sugar.
Tana Amen: And no. So, okay, that one actually makes me cringe. I'm not totally without ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Empathy?
Tana Amen: No.
Dr Daniel Amen: The whole imaging stuff for me, it just gave me pause.
Rice Broocks: Yeah.
Tana Amen: And I admit, it did me too.
Dr Daniel Amen: Pause and purpose. So, for those of you that haven't seen the Facebook talk I did, at Saddleback Church, it's now got nearly 40 million views, and I tell my passion story, and my nephew, when he was nine years old, attacked a little girl on the baseball field, for no reason, out of the blue. He was drawing pictures of himself shooting other children, and hanging from a tree. He's Columbine, or Aurora, or Sandy Hook, waiting to happen, and it ended up he had a cyst the size of a golf ball, occupying this space. Easy to call him bad. Hard to go. Why? My faith has always been the same. It's, you know, there's complex reasons for behavior, and I'm not the judge.
Rice Broocks: It isn't as hopeful though. You think about it, that people that like, I think it was Garfield who was shot, and he didn't die from the assassin's bullet, because of his physician's dirty hands that operated on him.
Tana Amen: Yeah, interesting, right?
Rice Broocks: Yeah, So here we are, we're learning so much, and imagine being able to get brain health early on, so that the person ...
Tana Amen: That's the hope.
Rice Broocks: The person never gets to the point of doing what he did, or she did.
Tana Amen: See, that's why I love what we do.
Rice Broocks: Yeah, because your neck, you actually were getting better, and I think that's why collectively, I think if I look back 200 years ago, 300 years ago, the world was a pretty crazy place in the middle ages. I mean when, even though it seems bad to us, a lot going on, I think collectively as a society, there's an overall globally, from poverty, to sicknesses being eradicated too. I think it doesn't seem like it, because we tend to ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Focus on the negative.
Rice Broocks: ... judge things on the immediate moment, but I think that there's such an understanding coming, and there's so much insight into our DNA, and to brain scans, in to, you know, how do we operate in civility with other religions? That's possible. That's not a pipe dream. That's not a distant dream. I think they're massive areas, and massive examples, that we could go into, if we had the time, of where the good is taking place.
The problem is the bad news sells. That gets that amplified.
Dr Daniel Amen: Where you bring your attention, determines how you feel. Thank you so much.
Rice Broocks: This was a joy. Thank you both. This is great.
Dr Daniel Amen: This was just amazing. How can people learn more about your work, your church? I mean obviously, they can go online, and get, God's Not Dead, or The Human Right.
Tana Amen: You were showing me an app earlier, that was really cool too.
Rice Broocks: Yeah. Yeah, they can just download. There's a God's Not Dead app. That's one thing. That's kind of a central location, where ...
Dr Daniel Amen: And your last name is spelled a little funky.
Rice Broocks: Yeah, thank you. I've been explaining it, but the Rice is even more of needing an explanation.
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah, I want to know. We're going to have dinner later, so I want you to tell me that.
Rice Broocks: Well, that was the Rice University. That was actually my relatives, that was the one that founded that, but that didn't do me any good when I'm growing up. I played basketball in high school, and I got to play one minute, so they called me Minute Rice.
Tana Amen: Oh, that's so funny.
Rice Broocks: So, yeah.
Tana Amen: That's hilarious.
Rice Broocks: So, when I speak to sports teams, I'm always quick to say, "Look, it has nothing to do with my athletic bag." I [crosstalk 00:13:19].
Tana Amen: That is so funny. Minute Rice.
Rice Broocks: So, but, yeah. So,
Dr Daniel Amen: B-R-O-O-C-K-S
Rice Broocks: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: God's Not Dead app. Thank you so much.
Rice Broocks: Thank you both, and thank you for what you ... I wish I could have interviewed you. I'm going to do it on the, God's Not Dead app. So, your turn's coming.
Dr Daniel Amen: I'll look forward to it. Take care.
Tana Amen: It was wonderful.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you for listening to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes, and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing, to get a free signed copy of, The Brain Warrior's Way, and The Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook, we give away every month.