Recently, on my daily train ride into the city, I had, for me, a ‘typical’ conversation with those standing in the vestibule. The subject: going to church.
A fellow passenger brought up the fact that he attends to a certain church. Another passenger then mentioned that she attends a Catholic Church. I mentioned that I attended church near my town. A fourth passenger, a young woman carrying a black bag decorated with astrological and satanic symbols and the word “Spirituality” written boldly across the bag, looked up from her hand-held device and said, “I don’t go to church…Too much hypocrisy.” She said this looking directly at the woman who mentioned her attendance at a Catholic Church. The young woman went on to mention the priests and young boy abuse scandals.
I regrettably glibly said, “We are all hypocrites. Some people realize this and attend church to change their ways.” We then went on to discuss other things.
A deeper and honest and loving discussion on my part would have brought up the truth about God and the hard questions that she and I and all of us face in our daily lives. There are certainly questions of man’s brokenness, his hypocrisy and profound questions about evil, suffering and… a good God?
If you have read the ancient Book of Job then you would have come across man’s earliest known and hardest life question as the basis of Job’s story: Why does a good God allow suffering and evil?
And, if you have read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s (a Russian novelist (1821-1881)) “The Brothers Karamazov” you will have come across thought-provoking questions on the problem of suffering and evil. There, one would find man’s most pressing concerns in story form, concerns about God, good, evil, suffering, doubt and faith.
The Veritas Forum video below presents an insightful conversation at Duke University. Issues of war, pacifism, suffering, evil, moral ambiguity, hate crimes, death, the UN, International law, forgiveness and the Kingdom of God are broached by N.T. Wright, a well-known New Testament Scholar and author. He provides answers to many universal questions and places the answers in the context of the Kingdom of God and not the society at hand. The video introduces N.T. Wright and his book “Evil and the Justice of God”
A conversation with Professor N.T. Wright at Duke University: