Friday, July 25, 2008

The Problem with Evil

Talk about a serious issue. Here it is a beautiful day. The temperature is perfect. It’s neither to hot nor to cold and I'm stuck inside. See that is the problem of evil in a nut shell. Actually...I'm about to head out in a few minutes for a run...but I'm walking away from a project I've been working on for the past several hours. Two choices both important depending on the way you look at it.

First View: Staying inside for the next hour and not leaving work. Finishing the project and then I'm done with it. But that means...sitting in rush hour traffic and not getting home until late. I'll feel very important, and might save hundreds of dollars, but the truth is I might, at the end of my struggle, be no further along with the project then where I am right now. And because I'll be home so late...I'll not get a run in and feel all negative about myself.

Second View: I'll take off now, beat the rush hour traffic. Enjoy being with my kids and wife. Get out with my daughter and run about 4 or 5 miles and enjoy the beautiful day. But I know that come Monday morning the project will still be here...and I'll have wished I got the stupid thing done last Friday before I left.

Temptation + Opportunity = Evil.

That's the problem in a nutshell. When we have to choose between two reasonably equal choices how do we choose?

Polkinghorne writes that scientists " with partial knowledge and a degree of intellectual uncertainty."(Quantum Physics and Theology, page 70) We, all live with that reality that all of our knowledge is limited and that there will always be a degree of uncertainty when making decisions and there is the rub. We have to act and make decisions constantly in the dynamics of the moment…and live with the consequences.

So now to make the decision, we must use our values. What is the most important thing I can do right now. Well if you didn’t read it in the first paragraph you missed it. I’m headed home. My daughter will only be with me for another year before heading off to college. Today, I have been successful with the work that I had to get done and the truth is the only reason for me staying is to make myself look like I’m committed to the job. But my brain is numbed and I’m not going to improve on what is there. In fact because I’m not thinking clearly, I may make a mistake. So as it says in Ecclesiastics…there is a time for everything under heaven…and I’m making time for my daughter and family. This work will be here on Monday.

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