I have debated the problem of evil for many years. A crisis of faith did that for me and I ultimately have been on the quest to figure out who is morally responsible for evil in the world and what they should do about it.
Many yell at God about evil but all God ever did was give people a choice about a) whether to know good and evil or not and 2) once they had that knowledge left them free to decided what to do about it. God ultimately only gets involved with evil when it reaches a certain point when only his power is sufficient to end it, if you look through the Bible. Otherwise he leaves it to human agents to deal with it. Sometimes God backs that agent with tremendous power, signs and wonders and other times he does not. The point is if it is within human capacity to do something about evil in the world then God, who sees us as the ones who opened Pandora’s Box in the first place, should exercise responsibility to pick up our mess. We made we either need to do something about it or live in it and quit complaining. Even natural evil could be dealt with more effectively if we took up what we could do ourselves. God really only seems to get involved when he is truly and genuinely the only one who can do something about evil.
So that leaves it to us but we continue to bone head with such ideas as ‘picking the lesser of two evils’. This does not help the problem and is poor philosophy at best. The Christian perspective is to pick what is right, not the lesser of two evils. For me this leads me to asking what causes evil in the first place? If I were to propose a simple answer it is desire that is self-centered or misplaced. Either the person makes choices because they feel narcissistic at the moment or they in their good intentions cause harm to others. Eve’s choice in the garden is an illustration where both overlap quite a bit. He good intentions lead to evil because it affected others beyond herself. This leads to the simple fact that most evil in the world is not perpetrated by people who are narcissistic, there evil is easy to see and stop. More evil is regularly perpetrated by those how have good intentions and then rise to power to force those good intentions on others. They use force in an attempt to bring about good and in the process have to force people to their will and it is this use of force that is evil.
I have often been asked: don’t you feel you know what is best for others? Yes, I do. However, that is not the question when it comes to evil. The question is really: Do I have the right to enforce what I think is best by force on others? The answer is no because to violate a person’s God-given liberty is also evil. People have the right to be free and make choices for themselves – even bad ones. It does not help to fight evil or bad choices by doing something that is equally wrong – using force to make them do good. God does not do this so why do we feel compelled to do so? There is nothing wrong with using force to protect people from evil but to try to force good with force is wrong because it assumes what good is from only a certain point of view.
As the political news heats up (even though the election is still well away) I will probably hear the saw – “sometimes you have to vote for the lesser of two evils”. My response, ‘no thank you, I am going to find a way to vote for something good.’ It is in this spirit I will support those who genuinely want government force to stop forcing people to do things against their conscience or right to choose for themselves. This desire for power over others must end if evil is to end.