Trying to redeem the humble ‘tract’: saying something important in just 400 words.

How do you Make Sense of Evil and Suffering?

I’m sure you’ve noticed all the evil and suffering in the world.

Ponder the wars, rapes and murders that we hear about on a daily basis.

It’s probably over the top to mention Hitler but you get my point.

Former England football manager Glenn Hoddle was sacked because of his take on evil.

In 1999 he said that disabled people deserve to suffer because of their bad karma.

Some believe that deaf people suffer because they were evil in a previous life.

On this view all rape and murder victims deserve it.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead has a different message.

This Buddhist text tells us very clearly that everything is an illusion.

Your body doesn’t exist. Your mind doesn’t exist. You don’t exist.

Did I mention that evil and suffering also don’t exist?

Materialists, like Richard Dawkins, contend that evil doesn’t exist because only physical stuff is real.

They claim that there is no spiritual realm beyond physical detection.

No spirit, soul, angels, God.

They also tell us that murderers and rapists are just machines who have no free will.

In other words they can’t help themselves.

Do you agree with this materialist mindset?

Plotinus was a famous Greek philosopher and he asserted that evil comes from God.

This influential mystic believed that everything has emerged from God.

Both the good stuff and the bad stuff.

On this view God is both good and evil.

Does this sound strange?

Many people today are ignorant of what the New Testament teaches about evil.

They lack knowledge about the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus say about evil and suffering?

Jesus told us that there is a battle going on for this beautiful but broken world.

A war between God and His enemy, the devil.

Satan wants his followers to murder, rape and enslave.

Jesus wants us to love each other (John 13:34).

Jesus has come to rescue the world by destroying the work of the devil (1 John 3:8).

On the cross he defeated evil and the powers of darkness (Col 2:15).

One day He will come again to restore this world and end evil forever (Rev 21:1-4).

Picture it.

You are an MI5 agent.

You are observing Rupert, a posh human trafficker, who is just about to kidnap and enslave a young, vulnerable girl, Tina.

He will turn her life into a living hell.

He will grow rich on her misery.

How do you make sense of this evil and this suffering?

Mark Roques

Mark Roques

Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.