Saturday, 27 September 2008

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

The Fall brought thorns and thisles to the world. Photo from the Greek island of Lesvos.

Joel Kontinen

The Finnish media have been full of question marks following the incident at Kauhajoki in western Finland where a 22-year old catering college student killed ten others before turning his gun on himself. For instance, the daily Aamulehti spread a huge “Why?” over the entire top part of its front page on September 24. People are bewildered. There are few answers and even these are mostly speculations.

When The Times asked G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), a famous British author, to write an essay on the topic ”What's Wrong with the World?" his answer was succinct: "I am. Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton."

Chesterton’s answer was biblical. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote: ” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “ Paul wrote in Romans: “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

We live in a world where the consequences of the Fall are very obvious. The sin of Adam and Eve turned a very good world into a valley where tears are not unusual.

The great story that prevails in the western world explains that all that exists has come about by itself. The worldview based on evolution does not acknowledge the existence of God and man does not thus feel that he is is accountable to anyone for his deeds. Man chooses his own norms and values. As Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed indicates, this sometimes has tragic consequences.

Philosopher David Berlinski writes about the Nazis who at the beginning of the Second World War stormed into eastern Europe and forced Jews to dig their own graves. An SS officer watched as an old bearded Jew was digging a deep hole that he knew would be his grave. The old man stood up and said, “God is watching what you are doing.”

While some might welcome Darwinian evolution as an excuse for getting rid of biblical norms and values, some others might regard it as a source of despair and hopelessness. In November 2007 Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot eight people and himself at Jokela High School in southern Finland. He admitted being an evolutionist who wanted to help natural selection in getting rid of the less fit individuals. Matti Saari, the Kauhajoki gunman, seemed to have shared Auvinen’s disposition.

If the SS officer and the Finnish gunmen had believed that God saw what they were doing they might have desisted from shooting their victims.

Unfortunately, society does not tolerate those who dissent from the prevailing philosophy of hopelessness. However, a return to a Christian worldview might make Finland a safer place.

Faith in God can be an excellent resource solving the problem of hopelessless. “For I know the plans I have for you,’declares the LORD,’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “ (Jeremia 29:11).


Berlinski, David.2008. The Devil’s Delusion. Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. New York: Crown Forum.