The Problem of Evil: Deliver Us From Temptation

The Problem of Evil: Deliver Us From Temptation January 23, 2015

Please watch the short video:

The illustrator and narrator have asked that continually nagging question: How can there be a good God yet all this bad in the world?

Above all, this is the question the church must answer. The question and the current response to reject anything smacking of “institutionalized religion” do not erase the human need for divine connection. It does call into question the way God has been perceived and described for millennia. Is God really the great and fearful power-mongerer in the sky, wreaking vengeance on hapless humanity if we don’t see things a certain way? Yet even the ultra-orthodox are not spared horrific events and despairing nastiness.

We can debate our theological issues ad infinitum, but until we have a concept of God that is able to encompass and transcend evil AND whose people actively address the nature of evil in the world rather than collaborating with it, the church has no power.

When Jesus spoke, he broke the system of religious people being participants in evil and oppression. He called us to actually love as God loves, to be perfect as God is perfect, to show mercy, to pray for our enemies, to carry their burdens for them, not seek to destroy them or cast them out.

These are big charges. We’re so hung up focusing on individual sexual sins or theological differences that we can no longer see the logs in our eyes that are destroying others in our raging self-righteousness and power-grabbing self-preservation.

This is why we are drawn to stories of saints–or make them up–because we need to know that somewhere, somehow, someone managed to transform evil into good without themselves succumbing to the temptations.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What’s the temptation? That we will use the tactics of evil to “do good.”  That we will condemn the sin in the other, but will tolerate it and even celebrate it in ourselves.

I know there is goodness everywhere–probably thousands of unsung good stories for every single episode of unmitigated evil. But unmitigated evil, too often masquerading as good, threatens to destroy the world.

Church: what is your answer here?


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