Should we aspire for a better world?

As i understand it the problem of evil is a major issue and ive come to the conclussion that it cannot be fixed.So if only God can fix this broken world why do we even bother become better humans and act accordingly?Why not let things slide? For the worse or for the better? Why do we need to leave morally?
Why not just give it up?

I guess I don’t think God is just going to necessarily do it all supernaturally. I think he’s primarily going to do it through humans. The main reason why I continue is because I think that’s simply what good people do. Even if something is fruitless, like on a sinking ship in freezing waters where you’re all mostly going to end up dead, you still stay calm, stay peaceful, and try to help others die a little bit happier. Same could be said for being there for someone dying of an incurable disease. You don’t just stop worrying about their happiness and comfort just because they will be dead anyways. You love them.

So I think I general when you love humanity, despite all its flaws, it makes you won’t to do what Christ does and still care for those that need it and stand up against evil. I’m getting ready to spend my Saturday evenings again for a few hours by picking up drunk men and women from bars and driving them home for free. It’s going to be me and a 50 year old veteran. We had some others mock the idea with a few criticisms.

  1. Why help drunks who will just continue to be drunks?
  2. Why do it for free when if they have enough money to get drunk then they have enough for a Uber or to pay you?

Our response is simply because it’s an act of love. Nothing more or less to it.

Some people in this life struggle and it hardens their heart and makes them bitter and callous towards the suffering of others. Some people struggle and it makes them more empathic towards the suffering of others and so they are more open to helping. It’s just a matter of balancing it with other priorities. Sometimes, someone becomes an emotional vampire and all they want to do is drain others. You just use wisdom in who to help, how to help and when you need to stop. Helping and caring becomes easier when you set boundaries in place.

3 Likes

Starting with ourselves and reaching out.

2 Likes

I think the Christian response is God calls us into being co-creators of the world, and by living out the teachings of Jesus, we can actually do our part into making the world look more like the kingdom of God. Maybe on our own we can only do Delta X, but coming together with others we can actually make a big difference (look at people like Gregory Boyle, Mother Theresa, etc)

As it says in Acts 20:35, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” I don’t think this just refers to being blessed in the future. I think there are tangible benefits to our own character when we live our lives consistently with our values and help those in need. Indeed positive psychology seems to vindicate that volunteering and such really does have a positive impact on our mental state.

5 Likes

As I’m thinking of the situation it is pretty pointless. In the end you cannot change bad people and in my opinion if not already there will be a time where the bad ones will outweight the good ones(if it isn’t happening already). So more evil people=more evil in general and more suffering. Which in turn cannot be fixed by good.
So it feels like the good we do goes wasted. It is wasted by those people.

I was thinking what if we let the world come to a chaos? Let all good people do nothing for a month or two maybe a year. Let all morality collapse.
Maybe then God will come to fix this himself because I guess he isn’t available at the moment.

Does it? I guess much depends on what we believe we have the power to do; what the minimum is to effect change that counts. Maybe what Klax has referred to as breaking the statistical surface.

For a while I’ve been thinking over some of the existential questions that come up here and elsewhere in my life. A few things seem to have come a bit more into focus for me this week.

One of them, is that existential questions are usually framed in terms of meaning and meaninglessness. However, when people speak of meaning, they actually do it in terms of power to effect change, or more specifically the lack of such power. Does possessing little to no power really imply little to no meaning? If it does, our perversion through our fixation on power, is complete. We can’t see anything of value for what it is, if it does not relate to power.

One of my favorite professional associates killed himself Sunday. He was a beautiful, brilliant, kind person. He made the absurdities of our work world tolerable and even funny. But he loathed himself and had lived for decades in anxiety and agony I knew nothing about.

His wife sent me the sweetest comment, when she emailed me to let me know. He had spoken well of me. To know that I made any difference in his life at all is incredibly valuable to his wife, me, the coworkers who know about it as well as the coworkers and others who received similar notes.

Do what you feel you need to do, Nick. I’m committed to exploiting my powerlessness to make no universal change that makes the few lives I encounter more tolerable.

4 Likes

I wouldn’t say I am a Steven Pinker fan, but I do agree with his general thesis. There has not been a better time to live in human history than right now. It’s not as if there is no evil in the world today, but has there ever been less evil than right now? From where I sit, this is the least evil era in human history.

2 Likes

I feel obligated to do the right thing because I’m in a situation where for me right now life is almost unbearable. And because I have no people to turn my head on a shoulder I put myself in others people’s shows so they don’t have to experience what I do.
I give to others whenever and whatever I can. I try to make others happy because I don’t want to ever feel the sadness I’ve felt. Ill try keep people company because I’ve knows how it is to be lonely. My life is at almost ruins and I still do good for some reason. But still evil prevails.
So my actions goes to waste and that puts me in a worse mental and pshychological state than I was.

1 Like

It depends on a lot of factors. Maybe for us it’s not maybe for others it is. But evil still prevails sadly.

Nick, if you are struggling like my coworker was — to any degree — you may need to find someone who can help you deal with bearing these burdens. It sounds like these may no longer be “merely” philosophical.

Around here, we can provide you with argumentation and additional stress. But if you need something different from that, you may need to look elsewhere.

1 Like

No money enough for therapy right now as if it helped the first time anyway. Then I was just a teen(although I guess age doesn’t seem to matter for that sort of thing). Now I’m older and a bit wiser and have gone trough enough . I wish I had someone to bear them with but unfortunately I don’t .

I like to present these questions because I like philosophy and the big what ifs that you can play around. But yeah when things aren’t really to good you turn to philosophy naturally i guess.

I just wish God did something to fix this. Not for me ,I couldn’t care less for myself anymore but I’ve encountered many broken people the past months that I can’t even help myself because of my problems

2 Likes

I’m headed to work, but I found your question stimulating, so here’s some quick top of mind thoughts:

I generally agree with your conclusion that evil is a major issue and we cannot fix it. That can be a pretty discouraging thought, but there are a couple responses (at least off the top of my head) that lead me to reject the “give up and let it burn” mentality.

  1. Based on logic. Sure I may not be able to fix the world or get rid of evil and perhaps the world is becoming more evil but that’s all somewhat irrelevant. Would I rather contribute to the world in my immediate vicinity becoming a better place for me, my family, friends, neighbors or would I rather contribute to it being worse? For me I’d rather make things better as much as I can, even if it’s a task I can’t complete.

  2. The idea, for Christians anyway, is not generally to be better people but rather to live in a new reality that frankly doesn’t make much sense in the world we live in. That reality is resurrection. This is the claim that Paul make in many of his letters, that we are “dead to sin and alive in Christ” so we ought to begin to live like him. It’s not so much about forcing ourselves to live morally but rather to change the way we think so that the way Christ lives is more and more the way we live. (Check our Romans 6 and basically all of Ephesians). In short the idea in the bible is that a better world is coming, whether we participate in it or not.

I’ll also add that in 1 Cor 15:19 Paul pretty much agrees with you “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” The hope of following Jesus is that things will be made right and the earth restored.

Keep in mind that while it seems that “evil still prevails sadly”, the idea in the perspective in the bible is quite different. So much so that Paul refers to Jesus being brutally abused, humiliated and murdered by humans as making “a public spectacle of them, triumphing over [evil]” (Col. 2). In Paul’s mind good being overpowered by evil was a humiliating moment for evil.

Having said all that, I’m sure getting a bunch of responses like this one, attempting to solve your discouragement with logical arguments, isn’t particularly helpful. At the end of the day there are a lot of terrible things happening in the world. The choice is before us each day to do good or not.

I’m sorry you’re feeling so much despair over this, be sure you aren’t alone in that. Don’t give up.

4 Likes

I’d broadly agree with you here T. Though I think that because we’ve never been more aware of what is happening in the world, it often feels like the opposite is true. Not to mention people tend to idealise the past generations/eras, etc.

Folks in the UK love to invoke the ‘blitz spirit’ as if it were this grand utopian social lubricant, but the reality was that organised crime, looting, and black markets flourished as did poverty. Objectively, British society for me and my children is better than that of my great-grandparents and their children, blitz spirit or not.

4 Likes

Welcome to our corner of the internet, @Dalbinator. :slight_smile:

Well strictly speaking there is one person you do have quite a lot of influence over, just as we all do.

There are no purely bad people nor any purely good. People are never complete but rather always becoming.

I trust you’re not advocating that all should cease aiming toward a more decent outcome over the contribution of that one person over whose actions they have the most say.

Whatever you think God is, it isn’t at all clear He wants a world made decent by His own decree. Some of us wonder if He even really has that option. Maybe you’d have an easier time accepting our human lot in life if you didn’t think an Uber parent was standing just behind you with the power to intercede but reluctant to do so?

Well i assume you talking about oneself ? The only influence on a person i have is on my self.

In the Eastern Orthodox churches (and Catholics ) we have the theology of saints.
I dont know if its the same but here in the Church Of Greece we have countless stories wether true or not of people who dedicated their life to God and to do good that they were basically “sinless”.
The goal of theser stories is to aspire to be like them.

So i would like to think that the human spirit is capable to become “sinless” in that sense or to a degree that evil is almost completely gone if im beign made understood.

I suggested to turn a blind eye to the world . For instance if you see someone struggling id suggest not help because that person might turn ti be evil as well.
I suggest complete indifference

God is described as a parent.Whata else would a parent do if not that?