After 9-11 it took me weeks before I could write about it. Days after the Sandy Hook Massacre, I still find it difficult. I feel that the world is a horrific place, and there is nothing that I can do to help it. Worse, I feel that evil is the default condition of the world, and that good is fleeting and powerless to stop it. Yes I believe – KNOW - that evil exists, and that as a result good does as well. But where I differ from my Christian, Jewish and Muslim friends is that I do not believe G-d is all powerful, that good is in control. No, I believe the Devil rules and we exist in his fiery realm. The glimpses of goodness we get in our existence are just the shattered remains of Heaven that he long ago destroyed. So when John R. Coyne, Jr says “There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil,” I disagree slightly: Evil is not the exception it is the norm. Evil is to be expected, what should surprise us or challenge our beliefs is when something good happens.
Ben Stein says what I feel best, writing, “There is plenty of blood of all kinds on our hands, especially of the most innocent and blameless among us… real babies, truly innocent. God help us. Man is made of such crooked stuff that it is impossible to set him straight, said a famous philosopher. God help us.”
If only G-d could, but He can’t because He is vanquished, destroyed, reduced to mere shimmers of Grace in the heat of our hellish existence.
Update: Jed Babbin suggests forcibly incarcerating the mentally ill should be considered. Since a paranoid schizophrenic threatened to kill my wife (and she refuses to arm herself), I’m all for it. It would have also saved the poor soul who was pushed in front of a subway train in NYC. Would it work in all cases? Perhaps not but the option should be on the table.