You probably have heard this story before – my 4-year-old little girl was just diagnosed with cancer, and I am devastated by this news. I find it hard to pray. I feel angry, and I don’t understand why God would allow this to happen. People say God has a plan, and he is looking out for us, but how are we to understand a good and loving God when such tragic things can happen to innocent children?
Still, others philosophically wonder – why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? He must have known what they were going to do, and it seems to me that it would’ve been better if He had just stopped them. The world was already perfect, so why didn’t God keep it that way?
Many articles try to explain why a merciful God would allow bad things to happen to good people – see here, here, and here, for some examples – and a Google search will find you many more. However, most of these explanations rely on a religious belief that this world is temporal, and we live for a judgment, into a better “Kingdom of God” in another life. But this does not help us today, even if temporal. And what of those that have a different view in their religious beliefs, agnostic or even atheists? So we ask the broader question:
Is it moral to allow bad things to happen to people?
Americans very shortly will be making major decisions on the country’s direction in the 2020 fall presidential elections. Many call it a generational pivotal election to decide the future of the country – a move toward socialism or maintain our merit-based capitalistic system. Political rhetoric is the state of play. One critique often charged against conservative persuasion is that they are heartless and have no empathy for the needy or those that fall into misfortune due to no fault of their own. Those on the Left will often say that conservatives have no morality – if one has the power, why wouldn’t you help those in need? Basically saying that it is immoral to “allow bad things to happen to people.”
This “not allowing bad thing to happen to people” manifests itself on the Left with popular government socialist programs like universal healthcare, free college education, welfare, and even a universal basic income. America is a rich modern country. To not provide these socialist government programs is immoral, even barbaric. This especially abhorrent when one sees the fabulous wealth of the uber-rich. Leftists reject the idea that it is envy politics – it is pure evil selfish greed. Are they right?
The counter-argument from conservatives is quite simple – “don’t feed the bears.” There is a reason they put up signs in many of our state and national parks not to feed the wild animals in the park. The animals will be baited into living off the handouts of park visitors and never learn, or be able to fend for themselves when there are no handouts. This human interaction ends up acclimating wild animals to interact unnaturally with humans, against instincts designed to promote well being and defense, putting both the human and the bear at grave risk. Think about it -they never put a human down for wandering into a bear’s territory or being aggressive. Eventually, you will kill all the animals in time.
In human society, it can be even more devastating. One may think, well … it will be just a temporary hand up to get the needy through a rough patch. Perhaps this sounds like a laudable strategy, but handouts tend to attract even more needy – those who may decide it is easier to live off of handouts or attract other needy folks from foreign lands via uncontrolled immigration. Eventually, the number of needy will outstrip those that can provide the needy’s resources and collapse the entire system. We have seen many examples of this in history – do I really need to list the examples? Ok, … here and here are some examples if need be. There are very few examples where socialism has worked on a long term basis – where it has; it has been small very homogeneous and monolithic thinking groups of people at best.
But this idea of “not allowing bad things to happen to people” is not just about economic socialistic redistributionist ideas. Still, others desire to put nerf balls around ever hard edge of society in terms of regulations – to help the people, of course. In the end, these types of efforts inevitably distort the free nature of people and tend to help one group over the other, leading to devastating outcomes. Here are a few examples of this – here and here. However, one of the recent egregious failed ideas that came from even left-wing Michale Moore was the desire to solve supposed climate change with horribly counterproductive policies.
And yet Leftist still talk about how Christians are the immoral ones. The Right Wire Report begs to differ. Leftists, which many could care less about a God, try to say they know better than the Christian God. Do we really want to live in a world where, if you stick your finger into a fire, it won’t get burned? How will we ever learn not to do wrong things? And yes, time and chance do happen to us all, even if we don’t do wrong things. It is from these events we learn. Consider the following Biblical principles that discuss measured help for the needy and that there are no guarantees in life:
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10 – For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
- I Timothy 5:8 – Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
- Leviticus 23:22 – When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. Note that the poor still need to go out and work to receive help.
- Ecclesiastes 9:11 – I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
There is another aspect to this concept of morality and redistributive basic needs through the government. Like bears, humans are inherently wired to meet the challenges of survival. True, like all living things some of us will not meet the threshold of survival of the fittest. But handing over our fate to a central arbiter who chooses what is a basic need and just who gets the benefits seems more than counter-intuitive.
Governments are not static they change by democratic process or force, and often rapidly. While family, community, and humanity’s social commitment to another fellow being’s welfare is essential to the human experience, both as free will and mutual growth, seem far more moral and sustainable. The goal of compassion should never be to leave a human vulnerable to dependency no more than the goal of feeding wild bears should lead to them being euthanized.
Does this mean that we should not help the needy or the misfortune? Not at all. But it must be done carefully where the need is clearly understood, limited, and does not disrupt this learning process. And more importantly, it must be done voluntarily. There is no morality in forced tyrannical socialist Marxist economic government systems. It would be the downfall of that society. Disagree? Please explain, if you do in the comment section of this article.