Explaining Our Shock In An Evil World

It has happened again. Another major tragedy has left multiple victims dead or wounded. Social media is awash with people shocked and saddened, offering prayers and sympathy as they ask the question: “How could something like this happen?” You’re almost in disbelief as you read/watch the news reports and everything inside of you screams, “THIS IS WRONG!” It is certainly not the first or the last time that we are left with a situation like this. As a note, this specific post omits the details of the recent attack because the topic is general enough to explain the next tragedy as well.

Why are we so shocked when this sort of thing happens? No matter how many times it happens, people are still no less-shocked. As a Christian, as saddened as I am about these recent events and other similar evils in the world, I am not shocked that such a thing could happen again.

The Danger In A Worldview
Western secular society today is very optimistic about itself. People have convinced themselves that they are on the right side of history. We are constantly progressing towards “equality” and “tolerance” because we are not so barbaric like previous generations. C.S. Lewis called this “chronological snobbery.”

Think of how often a new smart phone or car comes out. The adverts are imposing the idea that “newer is always better.” Surely, it’s 2016 and our society is much more civilized today. Look at how far we’ve advanced in our technology and our thinking.

They say that we are good without God; science will win the day and prove that we don’t need God to have a good society.

In Canada, there is a campaign called “People For Good” where they are “encouraging Canadians to do everyday good deeds because frankly, our social fabric needs some mending. Our goal is to make Canada a kinder place by giving you the inspiration to go out and do some good of your own.” The adverts are aimed at expressing the belief that we are not naturally bad people.

One group even proposed that there was a scientific study which “suggests that humans are naturally good. This study adds to the mounting evidence against the popular misconception that corruption is a trait of human nature.” Unfortunately, this goes against common sense. Surely, tragedies like this throw out that “scientific study” as irrational. As details come to light about the attacker(s), we do not praise them as naturally good people who made a simple moral mistake here.

The danger with this sort of thinking is that it has too high a view of history and too high a view of human nature. The Nazi’s, Communists, ISIS, and the recent attacker(s) have all thought that they are “on the right side of history.” The reason why people are so shocked when evils such as the most recent one in the news have been committed is because we think that people are “naturally good.”

A Biblical Response
The Bible is not too optimistic or pessimistic of human nature and history; rather, it is very realistic and helpful to understand this recent tragedy.

5 quotes from the Bible in regards to human nature:

  • Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
  • Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
  • Romans 3:10-12 It is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
  • Ephesians 2:3 (we were) by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Christianity is different than the Western secular worldview in today’s society because it is both pessimistic about the past, but optimistic about the future. Tim Keller says “There is no reason for Christians to believe every decade and stage in history will be better than the stage before, but we believe that all is being brought infallibly to a glorious end.”

Forward Thinking
Christians understand this evil we’ve recently seen in light of the resurrection of Jesus. We believe that humans are sinful by nature and that is why this heinous act was recently committed against these victims.

Furthermore, we have a hope in the fact that one day Jesus will come back to judge the living and the dead. Christians who lose their lives will ultimately see a final resurrection and live in a world in which this sort of tragedy will never be committed ever again. We want to see justice prevail; not only for the families of the victims, but for the perpetrator(s) who acted out their sinful nature to the highest degree.

One day, all will be made right and they will pay for their crimes in a full and final way. Revelation 21:4 tells us that Jesus will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” This comes as good news to those affected by this recent tragedy.

If you are not a Christian, then there is no looking forward to this. If you are not a Christian, then there is always going to be difficulty in understanding how humanity, which is supposedly “naturally good,” could do something so evil.

In certain situations, the talk now becomes politically charged in regards to gun laws, immigration, or whatever else may seem like the root cause of the problem to a progressive Western secular culture. Unfortunately, as necessary as these talks may be, they still miss the mark.

We fail to address the real motives of the attacker(s) if we fail to look at the true nature of the human heart. It may be hard for you to believe that this sort of thing can happen again until you get a proper Biblical perspective towards human nature. As a Christian, I am saddened by this recent tragedy, but I am not shocked.

God Bless,
Tyson Bradley