Need your input
Question: In the novel I'm writing, there isn't a single main antagonist exactly, but an organization that takes up the whole antagonist role. The organization is an order of monks/priests who literally worship evil as a principle in and of itself. I cannot stress enough my desire to portray them as more than the cheesy "we follow an evil god" kind of villains. They are actually deeply philosophical, intelligent and piously devout to their spirituality. Importantly, these monks do not practice religious fanaticism or imperialism; they do not attempt to "convert" or "preach to" anyone. They believe that good and evil are an eternal balance upon which the universe rests, and that their purpose in existence is to be wicked. One monk speaks of his faith to a supporter of the hero, "The light attempts to seep into all corners of the world, leaving none in peace till it has covered all. The darkness seeks only to keep its fair share. It rests in its deep places, content and unobtrusive". In response to a tirade by a white-clad woman, another monk (in a black habit) asks, "How would your dress glow without my robes set against it?" I want these to be philosophical villains who make the reader stop and consider what good and evil really are and their roles against and beside each other.
Too cheesy? Can I be clearer? Any suggestions? I would love a pro's advice on this concept! Thank you!Answer:
It is perfectly acceptable to have an organization be the antagonist, especially if it tends to appear as a homogenous group - like the ants in the short story "Leiningen versus the Ants" or the Borg as they first appeared in Star Trek
Of course, sometimes it becomes necessary to give this group a voice, as in the Borg Queen. But if that spokesperson can just as easily be replaced with another, the principle holds.
The trick with the good/evil theme is that everyone thinks they are on the side of good. Just like certain Wall Street types who will argue that "greed is good," and believe it, even though thousands of years of moral philosophy and experience say otherwise.