As I mentioned in my previous post, we all recognize that there is evil and injustice in the world. We correctly recognize when a person does certain acts which are evil and injustice. We desire for these to be corrected and the injustice removed. I think it is human tendency to judge people and place them into either the “good” or “bad” camp. However, there is a problem.
One of the problems stemming from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is that we now think we can accurately judge people. We mistakenly assume that we know who is good and who is bad. Of course much of the time, the good guys look a lot like us while the bad guys are those who are different from us. Once we divide people into these categories, we believe that the solution to all that’s wrong in the world is to have the good guys beat the bad guys. We superimpose our judgements on top of the good verses evil conflict in the Bible.
At this point, the good guys are no longer merely good, they’re on God’s side, doing God’s work. The bad guys aren’t merely bad, they now epitomize evil and rebellion against God. If you believe this, then it is obvious that only righteous thing to do is to fight for God and incapacitate the bad guys using whatever means is necessary. It now becomes of supreme moral importance that our party wins the election (if you frame good and bad in terms of political beliefs). Or our military isn’t simply seeking the interests of our nation. No, we’re fighting against evil and wrongdoing in the world!
This is a highly controversial topic. I recently saw a story about a pastor who shot an intruder who was carrying a hammer. The majority of the comments were along the lines of “That’s my kind of pastor!” It seems that so many want a God who kicks butt. A famous pastor was quoted saying that he didn’t want a Jesus he could beat up. Yet that’s what Jesus let people do to him. True, this wasn’t because Jesus was weak and had no choice. But nonetheless it seems that many people do not want a savior who allows himself to be arrested, beaten, and killed—even though that’s exactly what happened to Jesus, the man who is supposed to be the center of our faith and our example. Instead we prefer the story of Jesus in the temple, overturning tables and making a scene. “This is a Jesus we can get behind!”
Why do so many people think this way? It goes back to the idea I opened with. We recognize when certain evil is committed and want something to be done about it. The good news is that Jesus is doing something about it, he is just doing so in a completely unexpected way… (More to come next time.)
photo credit: Dunamunde 2010 via photopin (license)