• Evil,  Human Nature,  Politics

    Governing and Human Nature

    Consider the present state of political discourse. Isn’t it, at least in part, a discussion about evil and what to do about it? Of course, it also involves thinking about some things as evil and other things as good. But once a political group has decided what they think is evil, the debate is all about what to do about it. Debate over the environment is about what to do to confront the bad effects of successful economies. The debate over wealth and poverty becomes a debate about how to shrink the income gap. The same is true of debates over firearms, border control, the moral status of the unborn,…

  • Ethics,  Evil,  Politics,  Religion

    On Desire

    Dissatisfaction is a mental state induced by not getting what one wants. Desire is also a root of evil. As James puts it, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). There are at least two proposals on the cultural table for dealing with desires. Neither way works. The first way is to attempt to remove desires from the inside. This is the way of ‘enlightenment’ – coming to believe a new truth – there are no such things as desires. They appear real, but…

  • C.S. Lewis,  Evil,  Suffering

    Eight Great Lewis Quotes

    C.S. Lewis knew how deal with human pretentiousness: cut it out by the root. In Lewis’ hands our self deceptions are like some hidden terrorist cell who finds itself under the precise assault of special forces. For example, in The Problem of Pain, Lewis unearths some particularly well bunkered little wickednesses: We imply, and often believe, that habitual vices are exceptional single acts and make the opposite mistake about our virtues–like the bad tennis player who calls his normal form his “bad days” and mistakes his rare successes for his normal  Beware lest you are making use of the idea of corporate guilt to distract your attention from those hum-drum,…

  • Bible,  Ethics,  Evil,  Justice

    A Case for Punishment

    “Lock ’em up!” Punishment, in our culture, conjures up images of a Dickensian, authoritarian and bleak society, one marked by shouting and hitting. While there is no doubt that evil people use punishment as an excuse for cruelty, I’d like to suggest that punishment itself is morally justified. Much as I’d like a world without punishment, I don’t think we can have it if that same world has moral evil in it. So, I’d like to go against the grain: punishment is right, not always and not every kind and certainly not with hatred in the heart, but justified in a fundamental way. Actually, I’d like to go a tad…

  • Evil

    The Real Exorcist

    Apparently the writer of The Exorcist had no idea that anyone would find his book scary. He wrote it because he thought a story needed to be told. A real story. You can listen to the entire interview here. The reality behind stories of demon possession is largely ignored in our culture. We explain everything in terms of the physical and the psychological. Halloween is, in part, an attempt to make light of such evil realities, at least to turn them into novelties driven by the entertainment industry. Christians, on the other hand, are committed to the belief that there is more than meets the eye in our world. We believe that…

  • Evil

    Horrendous Evil Always Begins in the Human Heart

    There will be psychology – what was his mental state? Who was caring for him? There will be chemistry – what was he on? Did he abuse? There will be technology – what computer games did he play? How long every day? There will be politics- should we ban guns? There will be sociology – do affluent sons of broken families need help? And there will be biology – what gene causes violence? But an explanation of evil, if it starts anywhere, starts in the deceptive heart of human beings. Jeremiah writes, “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” There is no…

  • Evil,  Providence,  Rape,  Richard Mourdock,  Will of God

    What Does God Want?

    What do Christians mean when we talk about the will of God? On the one hand we talk as if God has control of all things, he wills all things. On the other hand we talk about things being against God’s will, what we call evil. This sounds like an inconsistency, if not a contradiction. Perhaps we say these things without really thinking about it. It might be okay if there was nothing wrong with the world, no evil, but, as it is, it appears that God doesn’t get what he wants. How can God both will evil and yet not want evil? Recently, Senate Candidate, Richard Mourdock, raised the…

  • Epistemology,  Evil,  Logical Problem of Evil

    Epistemological Answers to the Logical Problem of Evil

    Although I have already posted on this subject (here), I have some further thoughts. In fact, the following thoughts were an earlier attempt to respond to the logical problem of evil. The logical problem of evil is an objection to Christian theism that suggests that the Christian is somehow irrational to hold to the set of beliefs – God is good, God is all-powerful and evil exists. The set of beliefs is said to produce a contradiction. I said that, for my defense  I would contend that God determines all things, including evil, while human beings, not God, remain responsible for evil. This claim rests on a view of providence commonly…