Our Evil Little World

It’s odd, really … the very concern that drives so many from Christ is what drives me to Him … the problem of evil.

A few years ago, an atheist contacted me by mail.  He saw a letter to the editor I had written, hunted down my address, and sent me a list of ten questions for Christians.  I responded, and we began a letter exchange for several months.  REAL letters, even … with stamps!

I’ve always appreciated that experience, partially because of the reasonable (and spirited) way we sparred with one another.  We did not agree on much, BUT there was an air of respect at all times.  I don’t see that anymore.  Honest debate has been traded for belittling and ridicule.

Most of Brian’s challenges to me had to do with the authority of the Bible, seeming contradictions in scripture, and about faith in general. (i.e. How can someone put their faith in someone/something they can’t see?)  Somewhere in our discourse, the age-old – and sincere question came up … if there is a God and He is all powerful, why then does He allow evil?

My answer at the time? He doesn’t allow evil.  Man does.

Brian asked me to just try and see it from his view, and I really did try … which leads to my problem with evil.  If, as Brian and atheists say, God does not exist, then where does evil come from?

I asked Brian this question.  His answer?  “What evil?” he wrote.  “I brought up the ‘evil’ idea, because you Christians have it all wrong.  Yes, there are bad things in life, but you keep insisting that the world is getting worse.  Really?”  He went on to explain something along the lines that Christians over exaggerate the problems and failings of people.  He saw the world as growing better, not worse.  He believed that through intellectual enlightenment, everyone is going to get along just dandy and the world will only improve.

“So you don’t think there is evil in the world?!”

I never got a clear answer.  The letter exchanges slowed down.  He sent me a tape with (ironically) a Christmas song he had written for children and then, the letters stopped.

The “evil” question remains for me.  Suppose there isn’t a Creator?  Suppose Darwin’s version of  evolution really has it right?  Then why can’t we achieve goodness?

Why is the news so full of hideous, senseless murders and theft and rape and child molestation and cheating and sex scandals and school shootings and mall shootings and work place shootings and suicide and online taunting and drug deals and the takeover of nations and human trafficking  and corrupt leaders and children suing parents and parents murdering their children and children murdering their parents and dozens of other atrocities?  Why do people destroy each other?

Please  … tell me … if there is no God and we’re basically good … please! … tell me this isn’t the best we can do!  I would much rather trust the experiences I’ve had that show a God who forgives rebellion and offers reconciliation with Him and His ways, rather than that we’re god and this is it.

The atheist model suggests that people are basically good … that we can get along … that we can achieve world peace.  Then, why in the thousands of years of existence, isn’t it working?  Why is it that the more people turn from Christ, the meaner and more dangerous our world becomes?

Atheists say they can’t believe in God because bad things happen.  I’m just as stuck …if this is the best that “basically good mankind” can do, I’ll take the Bible’s version instead.  I’ll take the version that says that peace comes in recognizing brokenness and acknowledging that we need supernatural help (a Savior) … that we’ll never get better on our own.  Makes a lot more sense than running into each other like battering rams, insisting that “I AM a good person! Gosh darn it!!”

Make no mistake, settling one matter of faith doesn’t erase other wrestles. But those are for soon and coming blogs.

Heart of Stone II
This is the 2nd “heart of stone” I’ve found in two weeks time. A reminder that I’m loved from the very foundation of the earth.
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7 thoughts on “Our Evil Little World

  1. My son insists we are getting better. Because we are able to utilize prior knowledge and therefore build upon it we can do more.
    I disagree. What about the very dark times of civilization with feudal societies and high death rates. There have been peaks of creativity and building, such as Incan and Aztec society, Chinese invention, and the art of the Renaissance.
    We aren’t getting better.
    I feel we go through cycles, highs and lows, just like weather cycles.
    I also believe God has His hand in the process. Where a society stands with God impacts their opportunities for the future.
    I studied Lamentations this fall. God uses Jerusalem’s enemies to punish Jerusalem and her people when think they’ve got it all figured out. When they repent and return, Jerusalem is protected and her enemies fall.
    Sounds kinda like today. People have turned from God to do their own thing.
    What happens next is up to us.

    1. Karen … Thanks for sharing. I think that in many ways, parts of the world are providing incredible solutions to some of our major problems. But, so many solutions, then in turn, seem to create other problems. Also, I think it is easy to mistake what we can accomplish as being somewhat on par with God, but we then, end up falling short because selfish motives get in the way. Your last two sentences pretty much sum it all up … I think the same way.

  2. I find this topic endlessly fascinating. MLK famously paraphrased Theodore Parker when he said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
    Do you think it’s possible that conditions in the world truly are getting better over time, not because man is basically good, but because God is in the continual act of refining and redeeming humankind?

  3. There is much to contemplate in your question. I do believe that God is in the continual act of refining and redeeming humankind … at least those humans who are willing to be refined and redeemed through Christ. I just don’t see where the world’s conditions as a whole are improving, at least not at this moment in history. Instead, much of the world seems intent on rejecting God’s redemptive answer. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t able to do accomplish incredible feats or show kindness to some degree. However, I personally, see more pain, anger, vengefulness, evil, darkness, etc. than I can remember in my life time. And I’m not sure it’s supposed to be any different. Seems like it takes the sorrows and/or the darkness of trying to achieve justice in our own means, to drive us to our knees and awaken us to our need for God. … That’s about as profound as I’m going to get at a late hour. :] As always, I appreciate your reflections!

    1. “Seems like it takes the sorrows and/or the darkness of trying to achieve justice in our own means, to drive us to our knees and awaken us to our need for God. ”

      #GodsPlan

  4. I have contemplated this problem of evil much over the years. My most recent landing place; as of just a few years ago; is Love’s restraint. If God is good and all powerful why does He allow for evil? Love gives choice. He gave mankind the power to choose good or bad … kindness or abuse … love or hate … life or death. He is God or I am god. And He has placed Himself in a place of restraint. He could interfere with our choices, He is powerful enough. But God … what is God looking for? Family, family that has chosen to love Him and be loved by Him. Otherwise we’d be puppets and He would not truly be loved. God has fenced Himself in to allow for LOVE ❤

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