Accepting Evil Poem by gershon hepner

Accepting Evil

Rating: 5.0

Accepting evil because God
moves in a most mysterious way
appears to me extremely odd.
More likely is: He’s gone away
and isn’t interested in us.
That’s why we haven’t got a prayer,
not even if we pray or fuss,
demanding that He be more fair
than He appears: condoning evil
would seem to be His major rule.
Do not blame Him or blame the devil;
to do so is to be uncool,
and blaming either of them misses
the point that even if they did
exist they don’t frequent abysses
to punish people who backslid.

Inspired by an article in The New Yorker by James Wood, “Holiday in Hellmouth: God may be dead, but the question why he permits suffering lives on” (June 9 and 16,2008) , discussing theodicy in general and Bart D. Ehrman’s “Accepting Jesus”:

Theologians and philosophers talk about “the problem of evil, ” and the hygienic phrase itself bespeaks a certain distance from extreme suffering, the view from a life inside the charmed circle. They mean the classic difficulty of how we justify the existence of suffering and iniquity with belief in a God who created us, who loves us, and who providentially manages the world. The term for this justification is “theodicy, ” which nowadays seems a very old-fashioned exercise in turning around and around the stripped screw of theological scholastics. Still, if polls are correct, about eighty per cent of Americans ought to be engaged in such antiquarianism. Union University, in Jackson, Tennessee, might profit from intense classes in theodicy. “God protected this campus, ” one of the students there said, because no one was killed in the tornadoes that devastated parts of Tennessee on February 5th. Since ordinary Tennesseans were killed elsewhere that night, the logic of such shamanism is that God either did not or could not protect those unfortunates from something that the state’s governor once likened to “the wrath of God.”…
Theodicy, or, rather, its failure, was the other major entry on my debit side. I was trapped within the age-old conundrum: the world is full of pain and wickedness; God may be jealous but is also merciful and all-loving (how much more so, if one believes that Christ incarnated him) . If he has the power to alleviate this suffering but does not, he is cruel; if he cannot, he is weak. I wasn’t consoled by the standard responses. Suffering is a mystery, I was told, as is God’s absence in the face of suffering. But this was what I was also told when prayers failed to make their mark: the old “incomprehensibility” routine. It seemed to me that the Gospels, central to my family life, made some fairly specific promises and laid on us some fairly specific obligations; yet that specificity could simply go on holiday whenever God himself seemed to have gone on holiday. (“God moves in mysterious ways.”)


John Richter 02 November 2015

I must agree - theodicy certainly should have a stronger foothold on us than it seems to have Gershon. But your poem tackles that explicitly - and perfectly - if God nor evil is to blame - then it leaves only we. For what else is there? If God exists - and He is not in fact dead - and if evil also exists - and if we are not God - and if we are not evil - then obviously God created evil for some purpose. So truly we can not blame evil for doing what evil does. But what exactly does evil do? Does it come in the form of a hurricane? I don't believe so. That is God - Since evil does exist, though, then it is only plausible to me that we are being tested by evil. And like the end of any other quiz or test we've taken in school - at the end of the day the bell rings. All the people that died on that tragic day - or any other - simply ended their quiz. Evil didn't end their lives. God did. He's not on holiday I think. He put us here for some reason too. To me it's not mysterious. At some point we failed to love - and we are here to learn how. And we will be reaped again - as so sewn. But to believe that - to believe we are being tested - that when the bell rings there is somewhere else to go - one must believe there is something other than this physical world - or at least after it. I do. I also believe Michael the Arch Angel was riding the waves of that hurricane. Because I believe he is the one - that harbinger of God - who sent us here in the first place. The battle is ever present and all around us. It is not a battle of life versus death. Those two are the constants - the knowns in a world cloaked by invisibility and confusion. We are already here - living in flesh. God and Michael only wish to bring us back. Our words and battle cries must not stray from that. For confusion is what evil does. Claiming that God is dead or inattentive might be only helping evil. Or becoming unwary minions to it.

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Ken E Hall 18 June 2010

Interesting title indeed..accepting evil..a fact of life but unacceptable to the man who has God in his heart, the evil doers have just been consumed by the devil. Enjoyed the read Had a look at but I am hopeless at moving round a computer page...regards

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Goran Gustafsson 12 December 2008

I think C.G.Jung made a point writing 'Answer to Job'. God need men as much as men needs God for the process of creation to continue, and eventually overcome the evil traits of becomeing conscious. /GG

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Ashraful Musaddeq 18 October 2008

Insightful nice composition. 10 from me.

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James B. Earley 16 September 2008

Thanks for your passionate insight. Please read 'Good And Evil.'

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