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  • Eric Kampmann

The Reality of Evil

For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me.

I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.

Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who

hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my

good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good.

—Psalm 38:17–20

The secular mind has a problem with “evil.” And this may explain why they have a major problem with the Old and New Testaments. For them, evil is external and easily identifiable. Evil can be reduced to class warfare where one group rapaciously preys on another. It is called colonialism or racism or bigotry and on and on. Notice that in secular terms, evil is most often found in other groups, exempting the observer from any culpability. In fact, the observer places himself or herself in the role of savior who will finally rid the world of pernicious blights once and for all. If this sounds familiar, it is because many of the twentieth century tragedies grew out of this view of evil in the world. Stalin built his gulags to rid his world of “evil” Cossacks and other groups within the Soviet Union, as Hitler built his death camps to exterminate the Jews.

The Bible exempts no one from the temptations that can lead to all kinds of evil. Even King David says he is troubled by his sin, and he confesses his iniquity because he knows that the temptation to sin against God and man resides inside the human heart. Evil does exist, but unlike the secular thinkers, we need not search “out there” to find it. The real transformative discovery is when we finally look to our own hearts for the source of so much of our troubles and sorrows.

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