EVIL IN UKRAINE
President Putin's cruel, bloody and ruthless invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world and filled the headlines, but has anyone remembered the Cuban Crisis of 1962?.
The USSR had installed nuclear missiles in to communist Cuba, thus bringing them within easy range of mainland America. The USA was under direct threat. God-and-Russia-fearing Americans were appalled. Presidents Kennedy and Kruschev famously went eyeball to eyeball over the issue and for as brief period the whole world trembled on the brink of World War Three. At any second the Cold War could have become a Hot War, the nuclear holocaust that could have destroyed us all.
Then President Kruschev blinked and withdrew his missiles.
Now, sixty years later, Ukraine is the action replay of that crisis in reverse.
The West has been trying to coax Ukraine into joining NATO which would enable the West to install nuclear missiles within easy striking distance of Moscow. It is the Cuban crisis all over again but nobody has blinked. The sane solution would have been for Ukraine and all the other ex socialist republics to remain neutral, but the West insists that Ukraine must be “free” to exercise it's “Democratic” right to join NATO.
So the West is not quite as squeaky-clean as it likes to pretend about the whole horrible mess.
Putin has backed himself into a corner with his prolonged build up of his forces along the border, but the West steadfastly refused to give him any wriggle room.
Despite all his lies and bluster Putin must have had the same fears as the Americans back in 1962. The perceived enemy was getting too close and targeting him from his own backyard.
Sadly the merciless execution of the ensuing war and all its subsequent atrocities, plus the blatant lying and total suppression of all opposition within Russia, have totally negated all the sympathy it may have been possible to have for Putin's initial dilemma. Putin has gone power mad, not only risking but threatening nuclear Armageddon if he does not get his way.
For the atheist all thinking and discussion end there. It happens. Brute fact. That's the way it is.
For the theist this is not enough. To know how things happen and how circumstances escalate is not enough. To understand the eternal security dilemma, the need to maintain armies and defences you may hope never to need, but at the same time provoking the same fears and responses in your rivals, is not enough. If we believe that there is a God, and that He is all powerful and all good, then we have to ask WHY does He allow these things to happen?
The eternal problem of evil re-asserts itself. Why does evil happen? Why does history repeat itself in the form of endless wars that are insane, pointless and totally destructive? Why do the Adolf Hitlers, the Joseph Stalins, The Saddam Husseins and the Vladimir Putins keep reappearing? And why do they always rise to the very top of human society where their power hunger can do the most damage?
The problem of evil has been much discussed in philosophy and the prime defence of why God allows evil is the fact that wars and disasters always bring out the best as well as the worst of the basic impulses of humanity. In the blitz spirit, for example, the qualities of care and compassion for others come to the fore with many examples of selfless heroism and sacrifice.
We can see all this happening again in the heroic defence and suffering of Uktaine.
The atheist counter argument is always that this is not enough. The constant repetition of wars and disasters drowns out the examples of good that can come from these situations.
But can we take this argument one step further. Let us assume for a moment that the purpose of wars and disasters is to refine those better qualities of humanity. Could the constant repetition of such situations be because we all too soon forget what we have learned and return to the old patterns of greed and self interest, striving again for wealth and power and whatever form of empire building we can achieve. Every religion stresses the Golden Rule and any form of communal threat does bring the community spirit to the fore, but we forget too quickly and go back to the old ways. ignoring or using others for our own self advancement. Could it be that we need the constant reminders of our own vulnerability and the need to unite together.
In the science fiction novels of Julian May the evolved telepathic minds of humanity had to act in what she termed a metaconcert, working together as one, before the advanced mental community of the galaxy as she perceived it could accept Earth into their galactic community. Could these fictional pointers prove to be a clue to what God wants and why he allows wars and natural disasters to happen?
In my own book, God, War and Reincarnation, I came to the tentative conclusion that in all probability ours is a soul-building world. We are not a finished product. We are a work in progress. God is still shaping us and we are still evolving.
Also this is not a yet a perfect world in which God's Will is finally completed.
Think for a moment on the words of The Lord's Prayer as recounted in the Bible.
“.....Thy Will be done, Thy Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven....”
The clear indication here is that God's Will is not yet done here on Earth, but only in Heaven.”
In the meantime we have to steer in that direction, work for it, build for it, and help each other along the way.
We can only hope and pray that Vladimir Putin will not become totally insane and launch the nuclear holocaust he has threatened. The Americans dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the Second World War. Their rationale was that a full scale assault on the Japanese mainland would have cost more lives than the two atomic bombs. Could Putin use the same kind of rationale to convince his Politburo that one nuclear bomb dropped on Kiev could save the lives of an even greater number of Russian soldiers?
It seems that we can only pray that the realpolitik of Mutually Assured Destruction will hold his generals and the rest of his inner council in check.
Sometimes, as in Ukraine today, the demands of war will be heart-breaking, but we can only hope that the human spirit will go on. And pray that sanity will prevail before our civilization can be reduced to the Stone Age, or obliterated altogether.