Why is the world a mess

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2. 4 Test Questions of Life. Where did I come from? Why is the world a mess?What's the solution? Who am I (

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Why is the world a mess

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1. 1 “Why is the world a mess?” Koinonia Series on Worldviews* May 4, 2007

2. 2 4 Test Questions of Life Where did I come from? Why is the world a mess? What’s the solution? Who am I (& what do I do now)? ? Which worldview best matches reality?

3. 3 The “Mess” of Our World Full of suffering & evil e.g., Virginia Tech tragedy “I’m really at a loss for words to explain or to understand the carnage that has visited our campus . . .” – Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech president http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/virginia/virginia-tech.php Many of us still haunted by this Last week I met someone whose son goes to VT, traumatized by it, described the campus atmosphere at campus like a “funeral service” Yesterday UCD campus wide blackout, Alice and I both were thinking about Virginia Techhttp://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/virginia/virginia-tech.php Many of us still haunted by this Last week I met someone whose son goes to VT, traumatized by it, described the campus atmosphere at campus like a “funeral service” Yesterday UCD campus wide blackout, Alice and I both were thinking about Virginia Tech

4. 4 Problem of Human Evil Newsweek article: “Somewhere in all this is the will, the decision by the gunman to pull the trigger. Understanding that is the greatest challenge of it all.” [Sharon Begley, Newsweek, April 30, 2007, p.42] Mental illness, dysfunctional childhood, environment, etc. are blamed ? No mention of human evil & sin Newsweek article mentions the failure of scientists (biologists, socialogists) to find one single definitive cause of such killers, they thought it might be certain gene for violence, but then not all those who had that genetic make up became killers, harsh environment – but not all those who grow up in harsh environment become killers Scholars are scratching their heads, saying it’s a challenge to figure out what causes a person to pull the trigger Colson’s breakpoint article on how everyone rushed to explain that there must be something “wrong” with the killer: Faced with this kind of horror, we automatically assume that we are dealing with a madman -- a word the media has already used to describe the killer. That’s because we can’t imagine ourselves or anyone we know doing anything remotely like this. Therefore, we conclude that something must have been “wrong” with the perpetrator. And, since our culture is defined by what sociologist Philip Rieff called the “therapeutic ethos,” the “something” that’s “wrong” must be a psychological defect. Mental illness, not human evil, is our preferred explanation for what happened in places like Blacksburg or Columbine. There must be something wrong, because we are all good Newsweek article mentions the failure of scientists (biologists, socialogists) to find one single definitive cause of such killers, they thought it might be certain gene for violence, but then not all those who had that genetic make up became killers, harsh environment – but not all those who grow up in harsh environment become killers Scholars are scratching their heads, saying it’s a challenge to figure out what causes a person to pull the trigger Colson’s breakpoint article on how everyone rushed to explain that there must be something “wrong” with the killer: Faced with this kind of horror, we automatically assume that we are dealing with a madman -- a word the media has already used to describe the killer. That’s because we can’t imagine ourselves or anyone we know doing anything remotely like this. Therefore, we conclude that something must have been “wrong” with the perpetrator.

5. 5 Christian Worldview “Christianity is the only worldview that takes sin seriously.” [Chuck Colson, Wide Angle: Framing Your Worldview DVD] Acknowledges reality of human evil Need for individual responsibility Offers explanation & solution Christianity is the only worldview that takes sin seriouslyChristianity is the only worldview that takes sin seriously

6. 6 Our Responsibility God offers clear moral guidance Through our conscience and His Word (the Bible) Romans 1:19, 21 “God has made it plain to them”, “so that men are without excuse” Rebellion towards God ? Sin 1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. All suffering ? Consequence of our sin All suffering is direct/indirect consequence of …our disobedience & rebellion towards God All suffering is direct/indirect consequence of …our disobedience & rebellion towards God

7. 7 Does this Match Reality? World hunger, war, etc. – Direct result of man’s greed, hatred, callousness, etc. What about natural disasters, diseases, etc.? After sin entered, world became broken We are good creatures gone bad Explains complex mixture of good & evil ? Why does God allow us to choose evil? www.irri.org/.../annual/images/Factsboy.jpg http://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/EN/Artikel/2006/03/__Bilder/civil-war-in-sudan-971940,layoutVariant=Poster.html World Hunger – there are enough food to feed the world, but people’s greed keeps it from feeding the world, best seller are diet books in America War – fueled by hatred, disregard for human toll by the leaders What about natural disasters? God never intended for these…not part of initial creation But Bible tells us when man rebelled vs. God, creation rebelled vs. Man As a result: disease, earthquakes, etc. As for us, we are good creatures gone bad Complex mixture of good & evil See this in me… I am capable of certain moments of love, generosity, care (this makes sense bec. Bible says we’re made in image of God)…but then I am also capable of selfishness, calloused, etc. I am NEITHER all good nor am I all bad ? I have all the signs of a good creature gone bad *Lines up with REALITY well**www.irri.org/.../annual/images/Factsboy.jpg http://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/EN/Artikel/2006/03/__Bilder/civil-war-in-sudan-971940,layoutVariant=Poster.html World Hunger – there are enough food to feed the world, but people’s greed keeps it from feeding the world, best seller are diet books in America War – fueled by hatred, disregard for human toll by the leaders What about natural disasters? God never intended for these…not part of initial creation But Bible tells us when man rebelled vs. God, creation rebelled vs. Man As a result: disease, earthquakes, etc. As for us, we are good creatures gone bad Complex mixture of good & evil See this in me… I am capable of certain moments of love, generosity, care (this makes sense bec. Bible says we’re made in image of God)…but then I am also capable of selfishness, calloused, etc. I am NEITHER all good nor am I all bad ? I have all the signs of a good creature gone bad *Lines up with REALITY well**

8. 8 God Made Us Free God wanted a love relationship with us Freedom is required for genuine love relationships Need option to choose otherwise e.g., Robots cannot love Risky – Potential for bad & for good e.g. Hitler or Mother Teresa www.baseballreliquary.org/MotherTeresa.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Adolf_Hitler.pngwww.baseballreliquary.org/MotherTeresa.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Adolf_Hitler.png

9. 9 “Limits” of God’s Power Can’t do things that are intrinsically impossible e.g. Make a square circle?!? ? Impossible by definition God can’t make a universe with free beings w/ potential for love … and also eliminate pain and suffering Impossible by definition of “free will” www.wall.org/~larry/onion/square.gif http://www.wall.org/~larry/onion/circle.gif Such freedom would be “fake”, illusory ? God cannot remove POSSIBILITY of evil without removing free will and therefore removing POSSIBLITY of LOVE Be careful when you say that, people assume that they are one of the good ones that God would spare if He zapped all the “evil” people in the worldwww.wall.org/~larry/onion/square.gif http://www.wall.org/~larry/onion/circle.gif Such freedom would be “fake”, illusory ? God cannot remove POSSIBILITY of evil without removing free will and therefore removing POSSIBLITY of LOVE Be careful when you say that, people assume that they are one of the good ones that God would spare if He zapped all the “evil” people in the world

10. 10 God’s Response to Evil & Suffering God is not aloof and unaware… God is grieved by evil & suffering in the world Gave us Jesus to die for our sins Confronted the root source of evil & suffering There will be a final resolution “[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” [Revelation 21:4] When people say “I can’t believe in a God who callously stands by while children are abused, women are raped and other awful things occur.” Our response “I can’t either” Rick Warren: “God doesn’t callously stand by. God is pained by that. Listen, He is more pained and cares more about those situations than you do. It grieves Him. It breaks His heart. When people say “I can’t believe in a God who callously stands by while children are abused, women are raped and other awful things occur.” Our response “I can’t either” Rick Warren: “God doesn’t callously stand by. God is pained by that. Listen, He is more pained and cares more about those situations than you do. It grieves Him. It breaks His heart.

11. 11 God’s Patience 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

12. 12 Other Worldviews For each worldview, need to ask: ? Does it match reality? “There is no such thing as evil & suffering.” Need to detach through meditation, positive thinking “Just accept it, you deserve it” Work towards better next life http://www3.uta.edu/faculty/reyes/teaching/meditation/TIME%20meditation%20cover.jpg http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1582701709.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg Eastern religion, Christian Science believe this Story of Christian scientist minister who when a boy asked to pray for his dad who was ill “your father is not ill, he only thinks he’s ill” “He must learn to counter that negative thoughts and realize he’s actually healthy.” The next day the boy came back, when asked how his father was, boy answered “today he thinks he’s dead” Rhonda Byrne’s THE SECRET –bestselling book, you get what you visualize, Law of Attraction, as reliable as Law of Gravity, avoid overweight people, avoid sick people who tell you about their sickness Nightline, one of the gurus quoted by Byrne was interviewed, when asked the starving children of Darfur “visualized their misery”, in all seriousness he said “I think the country probably has”http://www3.uta.edu/faculty/reyes/teaching/meditation/TIME%20meditation%20cover.jpg http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1582701709.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg Eastern religion, Christian Science believe this Story of Christian scientist minister who when a boy asked to pray for his dad who was ill “your father is not ill, he only thinks he’s ill” “He must learn to counter that negative thoughts and realize he’s actually healthy.” The next day the boy came back, when asked how his father was, boy answered “today he thinks he’s dead” Rhonda Byrne’s THE SECRET –bestselling book, you get what you visualize, Law of Attraction, as reliable as Law of Gravity, avoid overweight people, avoid sick people who tell you about their sickness Nightline, one of the gurus quoted by Byrne was interviewed, when asked the starving children of Darfur “visualized their misery”, in all seriousness he said “I think the country probably has”

13. 13 Other Worldviews (cont’d) “It’s all society’s fault” Kids are inherently good ? Corrupted by society Problem: Little children are not innately good “Just teach people what laws to keep” People are good ? Need right sacred book & rules Problem: We can’t do right even when we know it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:BenjaminSpock1968.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_%28painted_portrait%29.jpg Jean Rousseau – taught children are inherently good but corrupted by society Best selling author and child psychologist, Dr. Ben Spock most influential book on parenting in 1940’s, told parents to reject viewing kids as prone to evil, need of civilizing, instead told parents to see children as evolving psyches in need of ATTENTION So when a kid steals, he taught parents to consider what that child needs more of “need more…approval at home” and even a raise in allowance! Similar message in parenting books in 1960’s, 70’shttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:BenjaminSpock1968.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_%28painted_portrait%29.jpg Jean Rousseau – taught children are inherently good but corrupted by society Best selling author and child psychologist, Dr. Ben Spock most influential book on parenting in 1940’s, told parents to reject viewing kids as prone to evil, need of civilizing, instead told parents to see children as evolving psyches in need of ATTENTION So when a kid steals, he taught parents to consider what that child needs more of “need more…approval at home” and even a raise in allowance! Similar message in parenting books in 1960’s, 70’s

14. 14 Romans 7:17-19 “For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” [Eugene Peterson, The Message translation]

15. 15 Warning Dangerous and foolish to ignore reality of human sin & evil e.g., Norway Prison “[when we try] to explain away moral evil, we fail to take it seriously, and we fail to constrain it. When we refuse to listen to the true diagnosis of the sickness of the soul, we will not find a true remedy, and in the end it will destroy us.” [Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?, p. 191] Colson’s story about maximum prison in Norway Chuck Colson’s example of maximum state prison in Norway, bragged it was the most humane and progressive methods of treatment in the world Warden showed the prison which was more like lab than a prison She bragged about the number of counselors and type of therapies they gave They met so many counselors, Colson asked “how many inmates were mental cases” “All of them of course” “What do you mean, “all of them?” “Well anyone who commits a violent crime is obviously mentally unbalanced.” Ah yes, people are basically good, so anyone who could do something terribly wrong must be mentally ill, solution is therapy Tragically, I would also soon see its failure.” When he gave gospel presentation, no response, glazed expressions when in most prisons, message of sin and God’s grace hits home in most prisons, not here where no concept of personal responsibility, therefore no need of forgiveness or a Savior One worker thanked Colson, she described frustration of working in a system with no concept of personal responsibility, and therefore no reason for personal transformation Days later, she was escorting a prisoner as part of their therapy on was raped and killedColson’s story about maximum prison in Norway Chuck Colson’s example of maximum state prison in Norway, bragged it was the most humane and progressive methods of treatment in the world Warden showed the prison which was more like lab than a prison She bragged about the number of counselors and type of therapies they gave They met so many counselors, Colson asked “how many inmates were mental cases” “All of them of course” “What do you mean, “all of them?” “Well anyone who commits a violent crime is obviously mentally unbalanced.” Ah yes, people are basically good, so anyone who could do something terribly wrong must be mentally ill, solution is therapy Tragically, I would also soon see its failure.” When he gave gospel presentation, no response, glazed expressions when in most prisons, message of sin and God’s grace hits home in most prisons, not here where no concept of personal responsibility, therefore no need of forgiveness or a Savior One worker thanked Colson, she described frustration of working in a system with no concept of personal responsibility, and therefore no reason for personal transformation Days later, she was escorting a prisoner as part of their therapy on was raped and killed

16. 16 Being judgmental? Accepting a person ? Approving their action Jesus accepted sinners … but never approved of their sins Colson’s approach in Prison Ministry: “I love them so much that I don’t want them to stay where they are.” [Wide Angle: Framing Your Worldview DVD] Un-loving to encourage a person to continue in destructive path Jesus would say again and again to people “Your sins are forgiven… go and sin no more” Colson’s quote about his attitude in Prison Fellowship ministry as he ministers to prisoners Colson: “I can love them just exactly where they are. At the same time, I love them so much that I don’t want them to stay where they are. I’ve got to be able to say “this is sinful behavior. This is wrong and you’re responsible for it. If you don’t tell people they are responsible, you are doing them an enormous disservice. So you are not judging them. You are judging their sin and it’s correct to judge good and evil.”Jesus would say again and again to people “Your sins are forgiven… go and sin no more” Colson’s quote about his attitude in Prison Fellowship ministry as he ministers to prisoners Colson: “I can love them just exactly where they are. At the same time, I love them so much that I don’t want them to stay where they are. I’ve got to be able to say “this is sinful behavior. This is wrong and you’re responsible for it. If you don’t tell people they are responsible, you are doing them an enormous disservice. So you are not judging them. You are judging their sin and it’s correct to judge good and evil.”

17. 17 Conclusion Christian worldview answers satisfactorily: “Why is the world a mess?” Doesn’t deny reality of evil & suffering Explanation makes sense Acknowledges individual responsibility Offers hope

18. 18 Next Week Where did I come from? Why is the world a mess? What’s the solution? Who am I (& what do I do now)?

19. 19 Application Questions Q: What are some ways that tonight’s talk has helped me to better understand the problem of evil/suffering in this world? Q: What are some examples that demonstrate that I am a “good creature gone bad” as the Christian worldview teaches? Q: Do I take full responsibility for the evil and sins that I commit? Why or why not?

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