In the last 6 months we as a nation have experienced tragedy on a seemingly unprecedented scale. From the Newtown shootings, to the Gosnell abortion clinic murders, to the bombing at the Boston marathon, it seems as if the hurt just keeps on coming. In the wake of such grief and pain it is only natural to ask why and to seek cause. While we may never know exactly why in terms of forensic motive there is a logical reason why these crimes were committed. The problem, however, is that us modern, western thinkers are ill equipped to deal with the reality of that logic. There is no other explanation for these heinous acts apart from the existence of evil. Yet to even mention the word causes us to scoff or to chafe.
In his book entitled, The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost Their Sense of Evil, Columbia University distinguished professor Andew Delbanco nails us for our impoverished view of the metaphysical
If Delbanco is right, and I believe that he is, what does that say about us? What implications does it have for our culture and for our future?
One definite result of a society devoid of the reality of evil is the inability to think and act rationally. In a society where evil exists it makes perfect sense to punish evildoers and not the innocent. Such a society would take people like Kermit Gosnell and Adam Lanza and hold them accountable for any crimes for which they are convicted. It does not make babies born outside the womb to be discardable tissue nor does it shift the blame from the perpetrator (the shooter) to an inanimate object (the gun). In the absence of evil, however, there are no boundaries of common sense that provide protection for the innocent.
The reason why our society cannot abide the existence of evil is because evil has implications that hit close to home. If evil exists, it cannot exist in a vacuum and must therefore be the antithesis of good. If good exists then there must be an ultimate source of good and that source must have the right to determine what is right and what is wrong. Such value judgements ultimately lead to the foot of God and if God exists then surely he must have something to say about all this that could possibly create a kink in my plans for this weekend. This is ultimately why we are, as a people, very conflicted about this undeniable evil even when we are on the surface acting as if it doesn’t exist.
The good news is that God does exist and that he is in control and he does have a plan to deal with evil. The sooner that our minds are awakened to this fact by God and we begin to see things from his perspective, the better off we will be. To take any other position on the undeniable evil that is all around is nothing less than burying our heads in the sand and hoping it goes away.