The Mystery of Sin and Evil

The Mystery of Sin and Evil August 12, 2022

I was out of town last week and didn’t have time to write a blog. Today I am sharing a blog I wrote in February of 2017.

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Have you noticed how secular people today do not use the word “sin” or “evil”? They don’t believe people are sinful or evil, instead they are sick, psychologically dysfunctional, or it is just something in their DNA. Dr. Richard Dawkins attributes it to what he calls “a selfish gene.”

Back in April of 1999, after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred twelve of their fellow students and one teacher at Columbine High School, our nation was in shock. How does something like this happen? A day or two later, the headlines from one of the local papers read, “Littleton Shootings are Symptomatic of Male Identity Crisis.” The article blamed it on psychological issues and did not consider it an act of evil.

Two and a half years later, after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Alice Hornstein, a student at Yale, wrote an article that was printed in Newsweek magazine. In this piece she wrote about a class discussion they had right after the attack. She was shocked and appalled that there was no moral outrage among the professor and the students. Not one person was willing to admit this act of terrorism was evil. In fact, some of her classmates did not believe what these terrorists had done was wrong.

Dr. Dallas Willard was a brilliant philosopher who taught at the University of Southern California (USC) and for a number of years was head of the philosophy department. He said “In intellectual circles, evil, like sin, is a non-category. It is impolite and politically incorrect to speak seriously of it, even if it involves flying airlines loaded with innocent victims into skyscrapers.”

A person who I believe provided some great insight into this was Dr. Hobart Mower. He was a well-known psychologist who received his PhD from Johns Hopkins and taught for years at Harvard and Yale. One year he served as the President of the American Psychological Association.

I mention him because he wrote an article in the American Psychologist that was quite controversial, but very important. In the article he said:

“For several decades we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and claimed our liberation from it as epoch-making.

But at length we have discovered that to be free from sin is to also have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful. It is to court the danger of becoming lost. The danger is, I believe betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral and ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being and have lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity.

What’s ironic, our patients who come see us, eventually realize we, their psychologists, are asking the same questions they are: Who am I? What is my deepest destiny? What does living mean?”

It seems that Dr. Mower had exposed his profession to the truth, because he received a great deal of criticism for this article. Apparently he never came to any type of religious belief through this awareness of sin, and eventually he took his own life.

The heart of the Biblical message is the depravity of the human race, and that God sent his son to redeem us and set us free from the slavery of sin. As the Apostle Paul declared: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24, 25)

When you consider the issue of “sin” and “evil”, you have to wonder if the secularists have it right or is the Biblical view correct. I would ask you to look out into the world and ask yourself which view is consistent with reality. What you will always find is that the perspective which is not true will present a view of life that simply does not fit in with the real world we live in.


Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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