hear see speak no evil
hear see speak no evil

The Mystery of Sin and Evil

Have you noticed how modern secular people do not use the word “sin” or “evil”? They do not believe people are sinful or evil, instead they are sick, psychologically dysfunctional, or it is just something in their DNA. Dr. Richard Dawkins attributes it to what he calls “a selfish gene.”

An act of evil or psychological issues?

Back in April of 1999, after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred twelve of their fellow students and one teacher, our nation was in shock. How does something like this happen? A day or two later, the headlines from one of the local papers read, “Littleton Shootings are Symptomatic of Male Identity Crisis.” The article blamed it on psychological issues and did not consider it an act of evil.

Two and a half years later, after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Alice Hornstein, a student at Yale, wrote an article that was printed in Newsweek magazine. In this piece she wrote about a class discussion they had right after the attack. She was shocked and appalled that there was no moral outrage among the professor and the students. Not one person was willing to admit this act of terrorism was evil. In fact, some of her classmates did not believe what these terrorists had done was wrong.

Is it impolite and politically incorrect to speak of evil and sin?

Dr. Dallas Willard was a brilliant philosopher who taught at the University of Southern California (USC) and for a number of years was head of the philosophy department. He said “In intellectual circles, evil, like sin, is a non-category. It is impolite and politically incorrect to speak seriously of it, even if it involves flying airlines loaded with innocent victims into skyscrapers.”

A person who I believe provided some great insight into this was Dr. Hobart Mower. He was a well-known psychologist who received his PhD from Johns Hopkins and taught for years at Harvard and Yale. One year he served as the President of the American Psychological Association.

I mention him because he wrote an article in the American Psychologist that was quite controversial, but very important. In the article he said:

“For several decades we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and claimed our liberation from it as epoch-making.

But at length we have discovered that to be free from sin is to also have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful. It is to court the danger of becoming lost. The danger is, I believe betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral and ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being and have lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity.

What’s ironic, our patients who come see us, eventually realize we, their psychologists, are asking the same questions they are: Who am I? What is my deepest destiny? What does living mean?”

It seems that Dr. Mower had exposed his profession to the truth, because he received a great deal of criticism for this article. Apparently he never came to any type of religious belief through this awareness of sin, and eventually he took his own life.

The heart of the Biblical message

The heart of the Biblical message is the depravity of the human race, and that God sent his son to redeem us and set us free from the slavery of sin. As the Apostle Paul declared: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24, 25)

When you consider the issue of “sin” and “evil”, you have to wonder if the secularists have it right or is the Biblical view correct. I would ask you to look out into the world and ask yourself which view is consistent with reality. What you will always find is that the perspective which is not true will present a view of life that simply does not fit in with the real world we live in.


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