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Posts Tagged ‘evil’


We’ve had a number of events recently that have shaken many Americans to the core. The reality of evil was pressed home in painful fashion. Sadly, most Americans aren’t prepared to face the reality of evil. If people are considered basically good, then we essentially think such things should not happen here where we are educated and prosperous. Those things only happen there, wherever there may be. But not to us, not on our shores.

There are a number of books that have tried to tackle this problem. Some good. Some bland. And some quite horrible, like the sadly popular book by Rabbi Kushner about the God who wants to help but really can’t. He also assumes there are good people.

“To come to grips with the problem of evil and suffering, you must do more than hear heart-wrenching stories about suffering people. You must hear God’s truth to help you interpret those stories.”

Randy Alcorn has released The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering for this reason. It is a shorter version (120 pages) of his book If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering. It makes a readable, meaningful book that you can hand out to people who are suffering, or struggling with the suffering of others. He covers lots of ground in succinct fashion, including illustrations and examples to help people understand his point. It is not dry and academic. He writes of his own suffering and how he had to make sense of it. He believes any faith that doesn’t prepare you for suffering is not a biblical faith, and our churches must do a better job teaching biblical theology to prepare people for suffering.

“The pain of suffering points to something deeply and unacceptably flawed about this world we inhabit.”

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Super Hero movies are all the rage these days. I enjoy many of them. They are often about things our culture struggles with: technology, government etc. They often portray a world in which there is good and evil, and in which good ultimately prevails. Many of the Marvel heroes share in our foibles and weaknesses. They are not perfect. In a sense they give us a measure of hope that people can solve the crises before us.

But, I think, there is a potentially dark side to this “hero worship.” Or should I call it “hero longing”? The problem is not the heroes themselves, but the limitations of the heroes which, in part, creates their appeal to us.

Heroes deal with external evil. They rescue people from the tyranny and destruction of an evil being. They recognize that evil is “out there”. They are capable of dealing with evil out there.  And the evil “out there” needs to be dealt with. We do need someone to rescue us from evil people and evil structures.

This is one reason why so many rely on government- to rescue them from evil out there. Governments should be just, and punish evil doers (Romans 13). But it is what neither a hero nor a government can do that is just as important. Dealing with the evil within.

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It is hard to summarize the impact of an event.  I know I will not say all that could be said.  That’s because I don’t know all that could be said.  So, if you expect the authoritative statement of how 9/11 affected our nation and our world you will be sorely disappointed.

Some Positives

We Saw Heroic Actions- as we learned more about what transpired on 9/11 we learned of great acts of heroism.  We learned about some of the passengers on United 93 who fought the terrorists so they could not fulfill their plan.  They knew it would mean their own deaths, but the plane would not be used to kill others.

There were the many first responders who entered the twin towers knowing they probably, some definitely, would not make it out alive.  But they gave their lives to save the lives of others.  They are heroes.  As are the many people who surrendered days of their lives to search for survivors.

There are many heroes who decided, based on that day, to serve their country in far away places.  They loved their country and its citizens and offered their lives to keep them safe.

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15

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