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.