Russell and Duenes

When God Goes, Wicked People Become “Crazy”

with 3 comments

While listening to some of the talking heads on Libya today, my wife made a very keen observation. She noticed that Qaddafi was being discussed as if he were “crazy.” The U.S. bombing campaign might thus be ill-advised since a “crazy” man, who is “not a rational actor,” is liable to do anything to his people. But why is Qaddafi “crazy” and “irrational?” My wife said, “Couldn’t he be, say, evil? Couldn’t he simply be a wicked man, doing what wicked men do”

This may seem like a small point, but I think it betrays a significant shift in our culture. We’ve largely discarded the notion of “good and evil,” and have therapeutized and psychologized everything. So people are no longer wicked and evil, but are simply “insane” or “irrational.” Hitler wasn’t truly wicked, he was just “insane.” Same for any other mass murderer or the like. When notions of sin, judgment, and a righteous, holy God go out the window, so do notions of righteousness and wickedness among human beings. We can no longer muster the moral and spiritual courage to say that people are evil. We cannot get ourselves to render judgment against anyone (except against those who think that we should talk about evil and sin).

We do well to ponder the consequences of this shift. I think they are momentous.


Written by Michael Duenes

March 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

3 Responses

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  1. Thats a very good point, very good food for thought.

    Ben Mueller

    March 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm

  2. I agree with you regarding crazy versus evil. This discussion reminds me of a study I once heard years ago regarding the concept of a “strongman” in the Bible. I don’t recall the references that were used but I recall that Goliath was an example of one. Not only was he physically intimidating but supposedly he was also used and possibly possessed by the enemy to the point that his enemies “trembled” in his presence due to the evil within and around him. The lecturer gave a few figures in the OT like this and he conjectured that modern figures like Hitler and Stalin might possibly be considered similarly. I’ve wanted to find those notes and study those references as I was unfamiliar with the concept.



    March 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    • Good thought, Kurt. Indeed, as our culture has gotten away from God, the new “god” becomes a kind of scientistic rationality, and thus, a person who opposes the new god is “irrational” and crazy.


      russell and duenes

      March 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

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