Good Surrounded by Evil
IN TODAY’S world, it may seem that few people are willing to give of themselves. Some, however, still wish “to make a difference”—to do good to others in some way. Each year, countless numbers of people give billions of dollars to what they feel are good causes. In Britain, for example, donations to charity reached a record $13 billion (U.S.) in 2002. Since 1999, ten generous philanthropists have given or pledged more than $38 billion (U.S.) to help the needy.
Some of the good works accomplished by charitable workers include paying for the medical bills of low-income families, mentoring children of single parents, funding immunization programs in developing countries, giving children their first book, supplying breeding animals to farmers in poor countries, and delivering relief supplies to victims of natural disasters.
The foregoing facts show that humans have the capacity for doing good to others. Sadly, though, there are also people who commit unspeakably evil acts.
Evil on the Rise
Since the end of World War II, there have been nearly 50 documented incidents of genocide and politically motivated mass murder. “These episodes,” states the journal American Political Science Review, “have cost the lives of at least 12 million and as many as 22 million noncombatants, more than all victims of internal and international wars since 1945.”
During the latter half of the 20th century, up to 2.2 million people were murdered in Cambodia for political reasons. Ethnic hatred in Rwanda led to the deaths of more than 800,000 men, women, and children. Religiously and politically motivated murders in Bosnia resulted in over 200,000 deaths.
Identifying more recent acts of evil, the secretary-general of the United Nations said in 2004: “In Iraq, we see civilians massacred in cold blood, while relief workers, journalists and other non-combatants are taken hostage and put to death in the most barbarous fashion. At the same time, we have seen Iraqi prisoners disgracefully abused. In Darfur, we see whole populations displaced, and their homes destroyed, while rape is used as a deliberate strategy. In northern Uganda, we see children mutilated and forced to take part in acts of unspeakable cruelty. In Beslan, we have seen children taken hostage and brutally massacred.”
Even in so-called developed lands, hate crimes seem to be on the rise. For example, Independent News reported in 2004 that Britain has witnessed “an eleven-fold increase in the number of victims of racially motivated attack or abuse over the past decade.”
Why do humans who have the capacity for doing so much good commit such wicked acts? Will we ever be free from evil? As the following article shows, the Bible provides satisfying answers to these perplexing questions.
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