The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The problem of evil, and fight or flight

I had thought about how many try to answer the question of evil, but never come up with a satisfactory answer to the problem. The simplest answer I came up to with that it is not possible to justify what is unjust. I remember from the show “8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter”, there was a scene in the episode “Goodbye” when John Ritters character Paul died, due to the actors death in real life. I remember a scene where Kate’s mother who became all religious started giving all these explanations, suhc as “No one ever said life was fair” and “It was all in Gods plan”. Kate only got irritated with her mother’s solutions to this tragedy.

I also remember a clip on Spiritual warfare by pastor Gregory Boyd on the matter of evil, and he used a war analogy of not asking questions, and fighting against evil. This reminded me of the Buddha’s arrow sermon, where such questions are irrelevant for the sake of removing the arrow. The more I was thinking, Jesus third way of non-violent activism is the best solution of the problem of evil, not through a philosophical answer, but through action. I find that the problem of evil is only pondered when one finds themselves helpless in a situation. For example, I find that most people if they were to get a cut are going to clean the wound and get themselves bandaged up before asking why this happened. Yet I find more often, a more severe injury like a broken bone can get one wondering why this happened.

Yet the sense of helplessness I find comes from the matter that neither passive acceptance nor aggressive forms of activism solve anything, and often makes things worse. I find that often times the passivist way leads to indifference where the way of aggression can use the same methods they originally hated, or in states of powerlessness can fall into resentful brooding. The most common I have seen is a mixture of the two, such as the quiet guy who flips when things go too far, or the people who is a complete doormat to those in power, but can be quite tyrannical to those less powerful than them, or disloyal to those of equal power. The third way reminds me of Frodo’s fiat in the Lord of the Rings, where he vowed to take the rings, despite not knowing the way. I find that the most Christlike forms of activism are not about knowing the way, or having absolute power.

If you didn’t like Boyd’s collateral damage from spiritual warfare answer then you could try Oord’s essential kenosis where God’s capacity to respond to evil is shaped by His loving and hence noncoercive nature and various other factors some of which I go to into here:
https://www.redletterchristians.org/why-god-cant-take-away-suffering/

I was mentioning that Boyd was right about Spiritual warfare, and he is also a proponent of non-violent power under spiritual warfare. That is where I got most of my influence on this post, along with Walter Wink, Richard Rohr and the Linns.

One potential problem there is… the subjectivity involved in determining such things.

To emulate our forum’s Holy Fool, I perceive you mean something like this… :smile:

@mcarans is Oord a universalist?

Oord describes himself as a hopeful universalist.

How about the Parable of the Wheat & the Tares where we are told if the tares are ripped out of the field it will damage the wheat? But the wheat just continued to grow, not attacking back at the tares.

Ah ha! That would be non-resistance indeed!
Jesus’ teachings went a step further. He urged his hearers also to love those who hate them and to pray for them.

*You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. *
(Matthew 5:38-45)