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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Our Capacity For Evil

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Most people today look at Nazi Germany with a sort of befuddled wonderment.  They consider it the pinnacle of human evil, but they do not comprehend how a nation could get to that point and view it as some sort of aberration.  Of course such analysis ignores the other “great evil” – American slavery – about which everybody assumes racism is the cause, never realizing that it takes a capacity for evil far beyond mere racism to get into such a state.  In fact they ignore most of human history and that it is really only the Christianized west that has ever developed to a point where such atrocities look aberrant rather than the norm.  Humanity is capable of extraordinary evil -and worse we are capable of justifying it to ourselves.

Remember in August the furor in many circles over the CBS story about how Iceland, among the least religious countries on the planet, had virtually eradicated Down Syndrome through an aggressive program of genetic screening and abortion?  (Awfully close to eugenics, wouldn’t you say?)  Well, that particular evil is not ending there – it is getting worse.  You’ll have to forgive the article I link to here, it is written by someone for whom English is a second language and most of the links/references are in Dutch or German, but there are people in Europe arguing that,”Handicapped children cost money, so parents: abort or face a fine.”  In other words, under the auspices of socialized medicine (otherwise known as “single payer”) and socialized childcare, the argument is being made that to give birth to a child, known prenatally to be handicapped, is morally abhorrent.  Here is great evil born not of impulse but reason.  As one respondent quoted in the article said, “We haven’t come this close to Nazi before.”

If that does not send a shudder down your spine, if you do not want to cast out the person making such arguments as demonic, then let me suggest that you are part of the problem.  I know, we are supposed to be reasonable and accepting of all people, but we cannot let the need to be reasonable provide cover to the advocation of such evil.  Evil must be declared as the evil it is.  Where does this stop?  What about the severely disabled in their final years?  Forget the “cost of dying” stuff and just think about those that suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Such people are very expensive to care for.  Are we to declare their life as too expensive to maintain and euthanize them?  What “reasonable” difference is their between the abortion argument and the one I just made?  This is more than “those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”  This is Wormwood whispering in the ear of his patient.

It is not enough that we be able to reason well and argue ably.  Here you see that reason and argument can be perverted as easily as anything else.  There must be more, we must be transformed on such fundamental levels that when we hear seeming reason like this we are repulsed.  We need be transformed.

Into these thoughts steps my devotional this morning:

Regeneration—a word we don’t use often enough. It describes salvation and the realities of our new lives in Christ. This word suggests that salvation necessarily comes with changes in the way we act, speak, and think. In other words, regeneration speaks of being transformed. Although this may feel like a farfetched notion to some people, even to believers, it is a Biblical guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that for those of us in Christ, “the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

Clearly the church has failed at engendering such transformation in Europe in recent generations and the US appears headed in the same direction.  The same devotional contains some interesting ideas as to why that might be the case:

People are coming to an understanding that the do as I say, not as I do mantra is inadequate in bringing change and often results in resentment towards leaders and the principles that leaders seek to impart. Human beings require an example—something they can visualize, desire, and pattern their lives after. This is what made Christ’s birth, life, and death necessary components of God’s redemptive plan. Therefore, if people respond to examples, transformational leaders must live lives that demonstrate God’s will on earth more than we preach it.

[…]transformation will not happen until the antidotes for these issues are embodied by believers and the church first! Whether you are a leader in your house, community, job, or church, transformational change begins with you, and then flows down to those who follow you. Let there be change in the earth, and let it begin with me.



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