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Evil Isn’t From God, It’s From Us

The irreverent comedian George Carlin died several years ago. He was raised as a Catholic but became an avowed atheist. Apparently he came to this position after must searching. Here’s how he explained it in one of his routines. “I want you to know something–this is sincere– when it came to believing in God, I really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God who created each of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that. But I got to tell you that the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime and corruption...This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a Supreme Being. Just between you and me, in any decently run universe this guy would have been out of a job a long time ago.” Carlin is not the first person to make these points. He was, I think, an intelligent man who cared a great deal about the state of the world. It would have been interesting to talk to him about his position. Specifically, I would like to have engaged him–and others who take the same position–on why he blamed God for the evil done by humanity. Almost everything in his list is the result of human activity, freely chosen selfishness, anger, greed, or pride. What Carlin is implying is that God should have made it impossible for human beings to do evil. God should not have given us freedom, or God should stop us when we are about to do evil, which of course means that we would not be really free. What he is criticizing is God’s decision to desire a relationship of love with his creatures. There can be no love that is not free and so freedom, and the sin that can come from it, had to be included in creation. Evil isn’t from God, it’s from us. But even then, God isn’t silent. After all, He sent us Christ to show us how things are supposed to be.


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