The Problem of Evil by Peter Kreeft

The Problem of Evil

 

The Problem of Evil by Peter Kreeft is how we can take the most difficult temptation around us and turn it around towards God. We have to put our trust in God because He is the reason the good is greater than bad, He is the reason that every being on this planet is not full of anger. The Problem of Evil explains the importance of an embodied soul, how we can practice with God, why good things happen to us, reaching heaven over hell, and having free will. It is an article that asks the mind and soul how we answer this problem.

We are an embodied soul. We are a single creature that are both the body and the soul. Whenever one is affected so is the other and this is can be both a reward and a loss that God has given us. As Peter Kreeft explains that  evil is not a being, but rather a wrong choice and when we make that wrong choice of choosing evil both our physical (body) and spiritual (soul) are now connected to evil. This can be enhanced by the idea of suicide. Once we are fully engaged in evil, this first goes to our spiritual self which becomes damaged due to the fact that God is unhappy with our free will. This then instantly damages the body becomes which is then physically gone. This is an example that when our embodied beings are punished, evil controls both our physical and spiritual persons. However, this gift that God gave us is also a great blessing because it is both with our soul and body that we are able to fight evil. When we physically attending mass or praying, we giving ourselves to God which is spiritual. God wants us to do this and so helps us reach the goal of choosing good over bad. This the one of the solutions of evil.

Another way that Peter Kreeft offers as a solution to the problem of evil is by practicing repenting, believing, and working with God. By practicing, we are focusing on Jesus Christ, who physically died because of evil rather than us just having a theory that evil may or may not actually exist. The cross is a part to God’s solution because by knowing that evil can destroy the Most Perfect Being, can we learn through practicing that it can be overcome as shown by Jesus going to heaven and forgiving all our sins. When we repent, we are confessing our sins to God which then  creates a step in reaching to heaven and as said before, destroys some of that evil that lurks within us. By believing in God and Christ Jesus, we have truly put our lives dedicated towards His. And by working with God, we are able to understand and cooperate with Him. When we are upset with our lives, we ask God to help us or when God asks something of us, we respond by “building his church”. Like practicing for volleyball, practicing faith makes it so much easier in the end.

Kreeft explains another solution to the problem of evil and that is by asking the question that started the problem in the first place and that question is, why do bad things happen to good people? The answer to this question is by rearranging the words so that is becomes why to good things happen to bad people? We are all sinners and if we deny that we are sinners, then we have just sinned again. When we are our best selves is when we reluctant to say that we are good people. St. Francis of Assisi was  rich, spoiled, and greedy when he was young. When you looked at him, never would you think that one day he would be a saint yet good things still happened to him and this a result of God not evil. As St. Francis got older did he start to realize his sins and notice all the “evil” that was inside of him. Kreeft says, Sinners think they are saints, but saints know they are Sinners. This is exactly what happened to St. Francis and by understanding that we are not God but people who make mistakes every day, is a deeper step into the solution of evil.  

Do I hope hell is crowded or do I hope hell is empty? This question is the replacement for whether or not hell is crowded or is empty. Some of us hope that hell is very empty but all we can do is hope. Unlike God, we do not know what the people around us are involved in, only God knows for all we can do is ask ourselves, Will they be in hell or heaven? Many of us are optimistic and say we are all good and we all deserve to be in heaven but once we become pessimistic, that hope turns into the idea that maybe they don’t deserve to be there, maybe they want to be there. This is when we ask the question to ourselves the most simple and complex question known to mankind and that is, What would Jesus do? What would Jesus do if he’d hope that hell is empty. Jesus would help those struggling, help those that have let temptation take over their souls, and He does. In order for us to answer our hopes is do follow in Jesus’s footsteps, live our lives according to His Word. The bible does not mention once that there is a being in hell and that is proof of evil not indoctrinating the lives on Earth.

As children of God, we are given free will so when we take that free will and “flush it down the toilet”, we are contributing to evil. When choosing between good or bad, most of the time we want to choose good. But there are the cases when people freely choose hell for themselves. God is not the reason for anyone to be in hell (if there is anyone in hell) but rather hell is a result of how much God loves us all. He loves and trusts us so much that He gave us free will and choose the path in which we take at the end. It is a consequence that comes with many prices. This is also why hell is the worst aspect of the problem of evil because it is so easy for us to take something like free will and turn away from God. By practicing our faith and trusting in God, can we take this free will for the greater good and in the end reach for heaven.

By answering to the problem of evil through practice and free will, we can become so much closer to God. All of us face a time in our lives where we encounter evil, but with the help from God, evil can be overtaken with love and trust.

 

Reasons to Believe by Peter Kreeft

Christian’s all around the world are constantly being asked about their faith and weather or not there is such thing as this Creator. Based on many philosophers like Peter Kreeft and Pascal, these questions can be answered in many ways like the proof of the First Cause, kingdom math, the idea of caritas, Pascal’s wager, or simply choosing the best path for ourselves. There are reason to believe in the Christian faith and these reasons only enhance believing.

One of the most popular beliefs worldwide is that everything happens for a reason. Saying this is like saying that teenager died in that car crash at age sixteen for a reason. However if we switch this around and come to the conclusion that everything happens for a cause then it becomes so much more easier to explain that that is why it happened. Now we can say that a teenager died in a car crash due to the cause of a drunk driver or distracted driving, not it just happened for a reason. Another aspect to understand is that God is not the cause behind all bad things. It starts with the sin of mankind that cause these existential crises to happen. God is though, the cause that we exist and the cause that we can be causes to making the world a better place. Every living and nonliving being, good and bad didn’t happen for a reason otherwise many Jews may still be alive. Everything happens because of a cause, Adolf Hitler was the cause behind the loss of many Jews. God made this world not as a reason but because He is the First Cause.

Throughout our whole lives, we are taught that one plus equals two and there is no doubt that is true but if we think beyond Earth and look toward heaven, we reach this idea called kingdom math. This idea is the concept of one plus one plus one equals one. Kingdom math is based on the idea that when we love, we give. It is more important to give then recieve and in this situation, the giving is the left side of the equal sign which is greater than the receiving on the right side of the equal sign. This is also what being humble is all about. The line from the prayer of St. Francis, “In giving that we receive”, is an exact example of what kingdom math is because we receive more happiness and get closer to God when we give rather than when we get more.

The definition of egoism is, a theory that treats self-interest as the foundation of morality. On the other side of the spectrum is what we call caritas. The is the Christian love for mankind by the works of charity and giving. At the start of every mass, we as Catholics, begin by saying we are sinners and part of that comes from being a little more self-centered than God would like us to be. One of the five commandments of the Catholic church is that we shall help the needs of the church and this is when we change from being an egoist to doing things out of love or being caritas. Going through this stage, we also face what is called altruism. Altruism is the practice of being disinterested and selfless concern for the people around us. The question that comes with the idea of caritas is however, How do we change? The answer to this is simply by going to church regularly. Once we understand that when we give, we receive, our hearts begin to take another turn and we begin to notice the people around us more. We are all victims of being an egoist but it is not impossible to change that state of mind and be a little more caritas, after all we do have free will and that is because of The Big Man Upstairs.

Pascal’s wager is the wager in which God is or is not. Unlike many, Pascal does not believe in the Agnosticism, which are those that accept the idea God exists but don’t really act on the idea. Atheism or Theism, this is what Pascal bases his wager off of, these two options. The wager is asking the question, Why choose bad and risk everything if you can choose good and not risk anything? When we take this wager, we are betting on eternity, picking knowledge over happiness. Believe too much, we don’t win or lose anything but if we turn to those that don’t believe, our lives are at stake. Now Pascal doesn’t tell us that if we don’t believe, our lives will be an existential crisis but if we choose to have Christ in our life, we will be guaranteed a purpose in life full of peace, hope, joy, and love. This is proven when we place a wreath made of evergreen with one rose and three violet candles during Advent. Pascal’s wager is this choice of having a full life that will never end or living our lives watching the clock tick by as a world beyond us is in our backyard.

The biggest question that every single Christian must be prepared to explain is why we should believe in God in the first place. Pascal’s wager does play a major part in the answer to the question but there is still so much more to why we should. Even though this a very complex question, the most simple of answers is why not. Like said in Pascal’s wager, why should we risk losing everything rather that having joy and not risking anything. Why should you choose the flavourless, dry cracker, if right beside it, there is a freshly baked loaf of bread that your grandmother made? This is why we should believe in God. God is the one that is full of love, gives you a hug whenever you need one, puts a smile on your face when we are in His presence. Not having God in our lives is that dry cracker that will never fully satisfy us. Even the agnosticism, somewhat believe and it’s those baby steps that God is patient with. He doesn’t force us to believe but there is nothing more special in this world when God is smiling down on us. Without God, life is not complete and in order for this life to be complete, we should believe in God.

Reasons to Believe by Peter Kreeft is a great example on ways in which we can understand what is the core of the Christian faith. From the understanding of kingdom math to what is Pascal’s wager, even the most Catholic of us feel the need to be closer to God and this is so beautiful because this is what God truly wants of us as his disciples. There are so many reasons to believe and these are only five ways out of so many.

Figures of Speech: Sunrise on the Veld

Irony- And he raised the gun, then he lowered it again. An irony is a phrase that seems to contradict itself. This phrase is an example of one because the reason the boy went out to the woods was to hunt and shoot, now he sees this dying buck and hesitates to shoot it. He knows that he could end it’s life right there but he still doesn’t. It is ironic that the boy goes out there too end something’ life but when given the chance, puts his gun down.

 

Personification- And the trees were showering a faint, silvery rain. Personification is when you give nonhuman objects human characteristics. As the boy walks through this tunnel, he’s experiencing trees give him a shower of crystals.

 

Metaphor- But by the time he had on his clothes his hands were numbed and he could scarcely hold his shoes. A comparison of two objects without using the words “like” or “as”. The comparison Lessing uses in this statement is the idea of the boy not wanting to wear his shoes and a sacrifice. It’s cold and the boy refuses to wear his shoes which resembles a sacrifice because there are risks yet he’s still doing it.

 

Paradox- And the exaltation and pride of mounted in him till he was shutting his teeth hard against a violent desire to shout his triumph. A contradicting statement that when explained may prove to be true. This statements is an example of a paradox because the boy even though he wants to shout out his power, he went to hunt and shouting would only ruin that opportunity. He wants control yet to stay in control he has to remain silent. It makes you ask yourself, is he really in control and contain all the power?

 

Juxtaposition- But also grimly satisfied with his stoicism. A juxtaposition is when two words close together are in contrasting effect. Grimly and satisfied, two words that contradict each other. Lessing’s use of these two words really shows the boy’s personality. The idea that you can be happy but in a mad way. The fact that there are many ants eating this buck alive and yet the boy is satisfied because he didn’t kill it. To be grimly satisfied is a way in which humans, even when mad have that little joy inside us.

Word Craft: Sunrise on the Veld

Vigilant- Remaining vigilant all night and counting the hours as he lay relaxed in sleep. To remain vigilant is to be very focused, always on guard. Lessing uses this word in a way that shows a big part of the boy’s energy. Although he is asleep the “dark part of his mind” is still awake, waiting for the moment to come. Everyone of us as a “darker part of the mind” that wants power, that wants to control over ourselves. The devil wants to control over God and is always vigilant to receive that power. The contrast between light and dark is everywhere including inside of our minds, a voice that wants us to “sleep” and a side that must stay awake and vigilant to prove that they are dominant. To remain vigilant in this story is to prove to ourselves that we all have a part of our mind wanting to it is better than the other side even though it is not successful all the time.   

 

Superfluity- He was clean crazy, yelling mad with the joy of living and superfluity of youth. Everyone of us experiences a superfluity of youth. It’s to be wild, joyful, enjoying this crazy thing called life. Doris Lessing shows us the importance of why we should all be as excited with life as much as the boy in the story. There’s a world out in front of us waiting to be explored, waiting for that joy inside of us all to come out. God gave us laughter, happiness, a little craziness for a reason and that reason is for the whole world to see. We all have that urge to go out and express this superfluity just like the boy, we all want control and we all want for the world to listen to us. Everyone on this planet has that superfluity of youth inside them.    

 

Tumult- He rushed down the vlei under a tumult of crimson and gold, while all the birds of the world sang around him. A violent, cruel, dome that thinks it’s superior over everyone and everything on the earth. In the story is contradicts the sentence before it: with the joy of living and a superfluity of youth because even though the boy is running freely and thinks that nothing can stop him, there is a sky above that represents violence as if were a trap. The idea that its is crimson and gold is only just a warning that the boy clearly doesn’t notice. We all are distracted by power that we don’t see the real power that hovers right above us.

 

Vaguely- There were small twitches from the mass that still looked vaguely like the shape of a small animal. Vague is a term used to describe something that isn’t very clear. The boy can still see that strong buck but only a little. When things may seem clear in life, there are always “ants” that get in our way and block that clarity. God has a plan for everyone and in the beginning it starts all clear but time passes by and the devil and sin comes in. This makes these plans vague which is exactly what happens to the boy. He had a clear shot but he waited and not soon after sin or the ants get in his way making his shot more vague.   

 

Foliage- He was walking swiftly through the dark tunnel of foliage that in day-time was a road.  The foliage are the leaves a tree or plant. Lessing’s use of this word describes the path that the boy takes from his safe, light home to the dangerous and dark woods. The walking from the known to the unknown. The tunnel that is either full and bright or it’s falling, crashing down because the time is up. You never know what to expect when walking through a foliage between light and darkness.

 

Ten Minute Spill #2

Time is limited

Sometimes it goes to fast:

Say grace with your family,

Stare at the northern star,

Do things you’ve never done

If you are patient then you’ll be rewarded

Translations: Idea to Image #2

A society in which greed surrounds

Rules are as common as water in a ocean

Obstacles are found in every corner

The only heroes are the government themselves

Days pass by with zero sense of living

 

One man, tired of all the deja vu

Takes a journey to who knows where

It is a risk, for he could get caught

Thrown in prison for as long as his heart beats

But it is a risk he is willing to take

 

On the hill no one dares to cross

The man stares at the grey, dead village

A village where he knows he’s not meant to stay

One thousand and one emotions run through his body

He’s ready to see a world beyond any dream

 

Green valleys, blue skies, a bright yellow sun

A place he’s never seen in his whole life

A place he never knew even existed in this world

Joy fills him like rain filling a puddle

It was a behind him, waiting for him

 

He hears the screaming and sorrow behind him

Knows hw must run as far away as possible

He must find a place where he can be free forever

Find a home, find love, find a life worth living

Now that he’s free, he has the whole world to explore

   

First Line Auction

The minutes tick by, not many left

A decision that I must make now

A decision that determines me

It’s now or never

 

Do I go left or right?

This way or that?

I cannot decide, it’s too hard to

If I just had a little more time

 

My heart is beating like never before

I can feel the intensity gaining on me

If I don’t make it now

I will never have another chance at life

 

I can be with my family and friends again,

Or I can be alone as usual

Alright, I’ve made my decision

I choose…to love

Five Easy Pieces

His strong yet gentle hands warm the people he cares for

They provide comfort as I cry in my room

Letting me know everything’s going to be alright

 

They wrap around me, not letting me go

Holding me tight against his heart

Wiping all my worries away

 

The Cook Islands are a lost, lonely child

A loneliness of what I am feeling

A small piece of land in a wide, open ocean

 

I look into his blue, soft eyes

Ask him a question I’ve been waiting to ask

“Would you take me to a place where loneliness surrounds?”

 

He smiles with a tear rolling down his face

“I will never let you go and you will never be alone,

I am always here beside you”

An Emotional Landscape

We’re all crammed in the back

I in the middle and brother and sister beside me

It’s a long journey

But it is worth the drive

 

We stop to take a break

We all pizza except Mom herself likes subs

Then we get right back on the road

Waste no time at all

 

Almost at our destination

We sing to the music to pass time

Play a game our dad taught us long time ago

Close our eyes and let time pass by

 

A tall, blue house catches our eyes

We know the people inside will be happy to see us

Right across the field is where we will be stopping

A faint smile runs across our faces

 

Down the rough, gravel driveway

A family of seven all lined up

We jump out of the vehicle

One of the happiest moments of all

Ten Minute Spill

She told herself to jump off a cliff

It pained her like a needle in her skin

Mother told her “No”

Don’t do before you think,

She stood on the edge of her death

Thought about the rest of her life

The sweet taste of a big, juicy strawberry

Laying on the grass making pictures in the clouds

The whir of the wind blowing in her hair

The voice of mother speaking of love and care