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The Lasting Problem of Evil
essay [ ]
...concerning Dan's poem "The Lie" and the thereupon following comments

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by [wipperud ]

2007-07-01  |     | 

This essay is inspired by a series of comments regarding Dan's poem THE LIE, where Dan represented the Atheist or maybe Agnosticist point of wiev and Romulus represented traditional Christian belief.

So, if you haven't left the website yet, let's proceed with the discourse on whether or not an omnipotent God is responsible for human atrocities. Dan's reasoning seems to move along these lines: If God exists, which Dan personally doesn't believe, he/she must be a dumb or even evil God since human cruelty occurs quite often. His position is, of course understandable. With Christians talking about an omnipotent God and so much war and murder happening in this world, you cannot condemn people for regarding Christian faith as unfair or useless.

However, isn't Dan putting some kind of restraint jacket on religion when he presumes that God, being omnipotent, relieves man of all responsibility concerning his/her immoral actions? Free will is, in fact, an important aspect of Christian theology. When Adam and Eve dwelled in Eden, God was the father figure who made all the decisions. Eve undertook the task of listening to the snake and pinch a fruit from the tree of knowledge. As a result mankind was heading out of the Garden towards civilization. This interpretation of the myth is solely mine. Other Christian believers may regard it differently. Civilization craves organization, knowledge, reasoning and responsibility.
To reach a perfect level of civilization is to put it mildly extremely difficult. Nature causes further problems in the realm of Eros, when man is not capable of repressing urges that may be most harmful to other human beings.

I do think Agnostics and Atheists have a point when they put their finger on all the atrocities performed in the name of God and religion. But I am also convinced that it is equally unfair to make God responsible for all actions performed in God's name as it is unfair to bereave man of all responsibility for his/her actions.

And what about ideologies as opposed to religions? In the 20th century we have seen homicides committed by both nationalist, fascist and communist governments. «The others» were always to blame, enemies of the people, the nation, the race and so forth. Idealism and utopianism can both be a blessing and a curse. In some cases the idealistic dream of a perfect society, a «heaven on earth» has proved utterly fatal. Utopianism was a driving force for totalitarian Christian leaders, like Calvin and Cromwell as well as the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. I'm sure you, as a reader, has read some of the tales about his reign of terror. Clearly mankind still struggles with the need to always expand the territory and the power. This tendency is present both among men and animals.

Is every attempt at approaching a truly humanitarian and civilized way of life futile, then?

I definitely do not think so. For the last twenty years the number of death victims due to armed conflicts has decreased remarkably. That fact establishes hope. And there IS a lot of love and caring in this world. Everyone has a responsibility to keep on caring if he/she already does so.

A solution? Of course not! All we can do is keep on working, living and loving. Personally I do believe in a compassionate God who has seen the necessity of leaving a lot of important decisions to man. Lastly you may ask why I believe in God. For me it's too much of a limitation just to acknowledge what I can sense clearly in my surroundings. Imagination and spirit, mine and others, is just as real for me as the physical phenomena described by natural sciences.

And my imagination might have been a decisive force when I started writing poetry on this website.

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