I was just reading one of Rachel's blog posts on evil, which is a topic I had tucked away over the last decade, because I couldn't reconcile my thoughts about it. Since I've had S., I've been thinking about it more and more. When I hold her and kiss her soft fuzzy cheek, I truly can't fathom how anyone could hurt a baby.
I believe in capital punishment, although I have serious reservations about its use, given the number of wrongly convicted people in prison today. I believe some people are just "bent", in the words of C.S. Lewis, and we should eliminate them with no remorse, as one would shoot a rabid dog. Although it doesn't feel as viscerally satisfying, life in prison is likely a crueler punishment than immediate death, so perhaps justice is served in our system after all, at least for those who were accurately convicted.
Where I really struggle is with God. I read an article in 1996 about a terrible crime committed against a Christian family and it shook my faith to the core. Why didn't God protect this family? But that implies that only Christians deserve protection, which doesn't feel right. The greater question is one so many have wrestled with through the centuries: why does God allow evil to exist at all? How can a pure being tolerate the existence of such a vicious race?
The answer I've always been given is that evil exists so we may have free will, and that free will matters because God wants us to choose to love him or her (I actually think God may be gender-less and the "Him" may be a patriarchal construct, but that's a different post). But what kind of deity considers atrocities like the rape of babies and torture of bystanders an acceptable trade-off in order to be loved? Maybe we should be focusing not on proof of the existence of God, but contemplating what his/her existence and toleration of us suggests about his/her nature.
Are our hands raised in worship not covered in the blood of innocents?