More on free will: who’s responsible when bad things happen?

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, March 21, 2013 by politicswestchesterview

I’ve been thinking about good and evil lately. Unfortunately, people probably think more about evil these days; at least, our daily newspaper and other news sources certainly do.

In “Free will, whose will? Some theological questions for the day” (March 13), I wondered whether exercise of human free will for evil showed the “sleep of reason” (Goya’s phrase) or the “sleep of God” (as envisaged by pope emeritus Benedict). I could, actually, settle for “the sleep of good” as an explanation, as cold is not an entity in itself but the reduction or absence of heat.

Lisa Longo’s post “Guilty” (March 17), on the recent rape case judgment in Ohio, has some interesting observations, starting

Some religions claim we are all born with “original sin” staining our soul. There are days I agree with the sentiment but not for the same sanctimonious reason most religions give. I have my own theory….

The post goes through expressing sympathy for the victim, her parents, and the perpetrators’ parents and family. Then:

But for the two boys, I have no sympathy.

Even as I write those words, I realize they are not absolutely true. My heart breaks for them too. They ruined their lives, and for what? Why? By what standard did they think that what they did was okay?…

Lisa is sort of taking us through the stages of denial of evil: How could something so bad happen? How did people get so evil? Wait, do we all have something to do with it? …

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester


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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, Nathaniel Smith, Values

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