Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The reality of evil

Jonah Goldberg reminds us that monsters do exist. Parents who abuse and starve their children, priests who sexually molest children under their care--these are the monsters of our day. Yet today, Goldberg notes, we have tamed monsters into "cute and cuddly beasts" a la Monsters Inc. Here's Jonah:

A lovable monster is a very new concept because, first and foremost, monsters are about evilness . . . . it shouldn't surprise anyone that our understanding of what monsters are has evolved. The problem, it seems to me, is that not all evolution is synonymous with improvement. About a decade ago, Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco wrote an elegant book, The Death of Satan, in which he argued that America had lost the ability to speak in terms of evil. He called it a "tragedy of the imagination," and he was right.

For decades, a therapeutic culture of "understanding" was on the rise. Except for acts of racism and so-called homophobia, there was a mad rush to "understand" evil people. . . .

The tragedy of the imagination was that we couldn't appreciate that evil is real and it exists. In a society where everyone is a victim and it's not right to "judge" others, there's just not much room left for real monsters, while society itself becomes monstrous.

I found my way to this article, by the way, via Instapundit. Goldberg's article may appear in a politically oriented publication, but all Christians, of whatever political bent, do well to remember the reality of evil. Only when we acknowledge the power of sin and evil does the light of the good news of Jesus Christ shine most brightly.


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