Review: “People of the Lie”
Written by a psychiatrist, People of the Lie is a fascinating look into the nature of evil. Dr. Peck’s Christian understanding and psychiatric training provide a unique basis for this book. His is not a biblical examination of evil, although I believe a work of this kind requires at least some biblical foundation. His observations on group evil and exorcism alone make the book a must read for any Christian.
Having stumbled upon quotes from this book by a couple of other bloggers, my interest was piqued and decided to get a copy. I’ve long believed that a Christian can only have a complete understanding of good by having some understanding of evil. Dr. Peck explores several case studies he believes reveals the workings of evil. The title of the book comes from his psychiatric experiences with patients. People influenced by evil characteristically lie. In his study, this is evil’s primary tactic. People of the lie are narcissistic individuals who deceive themselves and others into believing they are morally upstanding and otherwise good people. In this way they typically avoid the light of scrutiny or truth which reproves them as the Bible states.
Given the fact that this is a work focused on a scientific study of evil, and a definition of evil which the average Christian may not have considered, his assessments on exorcism fall short, in my opinion. Nevertheless it is significant that Peck was a Christian believer and a trained psychiatrist who gives credibility to the practice of exorcism. There is a spiritual factor involved in evil which is beyond the scientific method to comprehend. Peck, to his credit, attempts to bridge the gap to give great insight into the character and nature of evil. This is a book highly recommended to any Christian believer who wants to better appreciate the work of God the Father and Jesus His Christ in redemption.