I was very saddened on Saturday, January 23rd to learn of the passing of Larry King at the age of 87. I always enjoyed watching his show. Many people said that Larry used “soft ball” questions and rarely put his guests on the spot. But I not only learned a lot from Larry King, I often had a lot to reflect upon after some of his “soft ball” questions.
Twelve years ago I celebrated the 9:30 pm mass on Christmas Eve. By the time I got home it was 1:30 am and I was still all wound up. So I turned on the TV. Larry King was interviewing Stephen Hawking, the physicist, cosmologist, and author who had suffered from ALS since 1963 when he was twenty-one. He could not use his vocal cords to speak, but with special software and a computer he was able to use a digitally generated voice. Hawking was regarded by many as having the best intellect in the world. Stephen Hawking died in 2018 at the age of 76.
I thought that is was interesting that Larry King was not interviewing someone like Cardinal Dolan of New York or Joel Osteen on Christmas. Here I was at 1:30 am on Christmas morning watching Larry King, a professed agnostic interviewing Stephen Hawking, a professed atheist. How “religious” could this conversation get, given both of their professed unbelief in a God?
After a few minutes Larry King asked Hawking what I thought was anything but a “soft ball” question: “What is the cause of all evil in our world?” Now if King had Cardinal Dolan or Joel Osteen sitting across from him, I know what their answer would have been: “Original Sin!”
But this was Stephen Hawking, a professed atheist, who gave an answer that has changed my whole perspective on how I see myself and how I see the world.
Hawking in his digitally generated voice responded: “All evil comes into our world because of one word!”
Larry King was taken aback, “One word? All evil has come into our world because of one word?” “Yes,” said Hawking. Larry King leaned to the edge of his seat. At 2:00 am on Christmas morning I moved forward to the edge of my seat as well. “What is that one word?” begged King.
“BETTER,” announced Hawking with his digitally generated voice.
Ever since that Christmas, many times throughout my day, either subconsciously or consciously, I reflect on the word “BETTER” and how evil comes into my heart and into our world.
Examples of evil in my life and throughout the world, because of the word BETTER, are as numerous as the sands on the beach I can see though my window……
The White people are BETTER than those Black Lives Matter people who marched and protested with some doing damage after George Floyd was killed.
The Black people are BETTER than those White people who sit and say nothing while every Black mother and father has to instruct their children again and again about the police every time they leave their house.
The examples are as numerous as the sands on the beach – an individual, a group, a religion, a country, a candidate, a party, or a class of people bring evil into the world when they think and they act like they are BETTER.
Throughout my day, I have to reflect and keep telling myself, “Don’t fool yourself, Laz, you’re not any BETTER than that person!“
God Made Us All DIFFERENT, but not BETTER Than the Other Person.