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Responding to Evil

What is the appropriate Christian response to badness, the occurrence of evil things that happen in our world, as a direct result of peoples’ chosen actions?

This is not an academic question that relates to the world of the totalitarian dictators of sixty years ago, or far away places in Africa or Asia, as the recent (May 2008) votes in Britain’s parliament demonstrate.

The votes decided to disallow fathers to have a required place in their children’s upbringing, to create hybrid human-animal embryos, and to continue the practice of allowing late abortions.

Now the society in which we live (not only in Britain) some while ago crossed the thin line between civilisation and barbarism, but this vote – perpetuating the legal permissibility of infanticide – has ensured that we not only stay with barbarism, but the process of dissolving the family and authentic parenthood – thence perpetuating the destruction of children and youths – continues.

Such happenings might naturally produce very negative feelings, of anger or intense sadness, at the ability (regularly discerned by orthodox Christians, in our society) of the bad people to win every battle; and how do we respond to such feelings?

Above all, this situation is so unfair; we have no reason to feel bad, but those who have are more than happy, content with the outcome, triumphal even – and there is nothing we can do about it. There is a saying – often adopted by Christians – that we should change the things we can change, accept (without feeling bad or guilty) the things we can’t change, and learn to discern the one from the other.

But the problem with this approach is that if everybody accepts such evils as abortion, as something they can’t change, things will never get better; the pro-infanticides in Britain’s ruling class are leopards which are unlikely to change their spots. So how do we respond?

Above all, we must not fall victim, I think, to declaring that God’s judgement will definitely fall upon them, taking comfort, in effect, in a kind of vicarious vengeance; “Vengeance is mine”, remember, the Lord says, not ours.

But we can rest in the certainty that, indeed, the eventual righting of all wrongs, the exposure of all evils (and the lies they depend on), and the restoration of true justice and righteousness will, at the end of time, take place – though many will perish in the mean-time, as so very many already have.

Till then, we have to grit our teeth, and soldier on, and pray earnestly for the people at the front line of the recent fight, whose pain must be very great; they are successors to those who, in Germany in the 1930s, opposed the Nazis; and we have to pray just as hard for the bad people, who may have aided their deceiver, but may not fully deserve their deceiving.

Yes, being a Christian is hard, very hard, and the people who think otherwise clearly inhabit some comfortable place outside Christianity.