Talking evil

Cast: Jill, a Christian; Jack, a confused man; and Joe, an atheist.

Act I

Jack: Why is there evil in the world?

Jill: Simple. We are free to choose; we are not mere puppets, we humans. God made us with the capability of choice, and the evil of the world is the result of us choosing not to love Him, or each other.

Jack: Nice.

Jill: God is great! I mean, He’s Huge!

Jack: …wait. What about tsunamis?

Jill: What?

Jack: You know, huge waves caused by shifts in Earth’s crust. How are those caused by our bad choices? And what about being killed by a cheetah? Or being blinded and paralyzed because of a random blood clot?

Jill: That’s irrelevant. Evil is an inevitable result of free will. Even God can’t avoid that.

Jack: Wasn’t he supposed to be all-powerful?

Jill: Look. I have to consult my priest. Bye.

Act II

Jack: Why is there evil in the world?

Jill: Easy. There is no evil.

Jack: Huh?

Jill: Either we believers live, and that’s God’s benevolence, or then we die and go home to Him, and that is His benevolence too. There is no evil.

Jack: Wait — so it’s good whether you live or die?

Jill: Yes. And what’s this brief existence down here compared to the eternal bliss of Heaven?

Jack: Do you have a needle of some kind, then?

Jill: What?

Jack: For in utero baptisms. If a newborn dies before being baptised, it’s Hell, right? Eternal Hell?

Jill: No. No, no, no… listen. It’s not the baptism. It’s believing in the Suffering —

Jack: Don’t tell me someone that can’t discriminate between a diaper and your best shoes understands vicarious dying. What about babies?

Jill: Why, they’re all saved. Babies are sinless. Of course they’re born full of the original sin, dripping with the foul blackness of it, but they’re sinless enough.

Jack: Um, I’m not so certain about this. Do they, uh, grow up in Heaven? I wouldn’t want to wear diapers for millennia. And if they do, what will they feel like?

Jill: What do you mean?

Jack: Just that it must be strange, knowing that you’re up in Heaven because you were strangled by your own umbilical cord, while all your relatives are burning forever for, uh, not being so lucky.

Jill: The Lord works in mysterious ways. He takes the good ones to Him when they’re young. They’re too good for this world.

Jack: So God arranges them to die so they won’t do something that would soil them?

Jill: You got a problem with that?

Jack: Wait. If they’re so good, they couldn’t earn a Hell-ticket anyway, so they’re missing life and the love of their undecided parents… and if they could fall just like everyone else… Isn’t that pretty ugly preferential treatment?

Jill: Hey, parents are comforted by it. “She was too good for this world.” Anyway, I’ll consult the priest again. Clearly this isn’t convincing you.

Act III

Jack: Why is there evil in the world?

Jill: Why, it’s the Devil, of course. This corrupt world is his playground.

Jack: And God allows that?

Jill: Why, it’s just to tempt people, to see if they’re worthy. What’s the worth of salvation if it’s automatic and universal?

Jack: But if evil’s the work of the Devil, and it’s to tempt the faithful… what about those that don’t get a chance?

Jill: Whatever does that mean?

Jack: What about those that are crushed by falling girders or shot by murderous madmen days before they would have turned to God? And I’m not so sure about this Devil business… so God is perfectly good and just, and he still allows this horned guy to disturb, mislead, maim and kill us down here? He’s allowed to mislead, right? Doesn’t that mean that the poor in spirit will burn? Something gives. I mean, this Devil guy is inferior to this God guy, right?

Jill: Absolutely.

Jack: How come he’s still winning? Most of the people in the world are going to Hell by any criteria, whether Catholic or Islamic. What kind of a God would design, with perfect foresight, a world where the majority of its inhabitants are doomed to eternal suffering? Or where a stray falling rock might doom you to that place before you see the light? And if we all are saved, why this world? Surely he doesn’t want to prime us for the bliss of Heaven with the pains of this world. I can’t imagine cancer patients and rape victims slapping Jesus’s back and thanking Him for a nice experience. Am I missing something here?

Jill: That is incredibly insensitive and evil. Good-bye.

Act IV

Jack: Why is there evil in the world?

Joe: You mean, why bad things happen to good people?

Jack: Yeah.

Joe: Shit happens, man.

Jack: That makes sense.

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