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Well, it’s March, so bring on the madness. This time of year means only one thing around here: basketball, basketball and more basketball.
And though there isn’t as much local interest in the KHSAA Sweet 16 this year, NCAA Tournament fever is high. Regrettably, my “home team” – the Indiana Hoosiers – are sitting this one out (again), and I find myself sounding like a Chicago Cubs fan as I hopefully say, “Wait till next year!”
Nonetheless, like all other sports fans, I look forward to watching my fair share of games over the next couple of weeks.
Both UK fans and U of L fans are excited about their teams’ chances to make a splash in this year’s tournament – and by the time this goes to press, both will have already played their first games.
The Cardinals know their opening-round opponent (in-state rival Morehead State) a little better than the Wildcats know theirs (Princeton). When asked whether he knew anything about their Ivy League opponent, one of the UK players said, “Uh…they’re smart.”
Since I know there are several UK fans who read my column, I’ll refrain from making any of the easy jokes that come to mind (of course, UofL fans are welcome to insert their own).
But, barring a major upset, both UK and U of L will have survived their first games and will be playing again on Saturday – giving their fans more reasons to cheer.
Before I leave the realm of college hoops, let me congratulate my friend, Luke Sprague, and the rest of the Bellarmine University men’s basketball team for their NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship on Tuesday night.
Bellarmine moves on to play in the Elite 8 in Springfield, Mass., next week and are (in my opinion) the best hope for a local team to win a national championship. Good luck Knights!
Though I would like to focus solely on basketball, alas, there is other “madness” in the world that clamors for our attention.
Indeed, it seems lately that the world is literally blowing up. From the tumult and chaos rippling across the Middle East, to the protests at the state capital in Madison, Wis., to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it is easy to understand what the Bible means when it says that since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the earth has been in “bondage to decay” and is “groaning” as it waits for Christ to return and set things right (cf. Genesis 1-3 and Romans 8).
Although the rampant evil, chaos and decay in the world is actually evidence forthe Biblical worldview, inevitably some try to make the unsustainable case that bad things happening in the world prove there is no God.
This argument, though common, has numerous shortcomings. For one, if there is no Ultimate Truth, no Universal Standard of right and wrong (i.e. God), then philosophically there can be no such thing as evil.
As the great Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer has said, “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”
In other words, without God, the actions of Hitler and Stalin were morally equivalent to those of Mother Teresa. Literally speaking, if there is no God there is no logically defensible reason to even categorize things as good or evil.
In fact, from an evolutionary perspective, the earthquake in Japan and the chaos in the Middle East are necessary “goods,” as Nature is simply evolving to make things continually better and better.
In this view, cancer, pain, war and even natural disasters and death are all a part of the march of evolutionary progress that should be embraced rather than scorned.
In this way, the implications of Darwin’s theory and other godless views of the world are totally contrary to rational thought and what each of us knows by simple observation: The world is not getting better.
As only one example, if humanity is continually evolving and things are getting better all the time, why was the 20th Century the bloodiest in the history of man (a fact made even more startling when you realize that the vast majority died at the hands of their own governments)? This is progress?
The Biblical worldview, however, actually fits with the facts.
The Bible teaches that God created a perfect world, but that because of man’s sin, death, disease and decay entered the world, and things have been gradually getting worse since.
When I look around at the world, that makes sense to me.
From the Christian perspective, death, disease and chaos are not mechanisms to bring about evolutionary progress – they are unwelcome intruders into God’s design. When I think of my own experience, that also makes sense to me.
The good news is that in the Bible God doesn’t just explain why things are they way they are, He also provides the solution to our desperate need.
To solve our spiritual need, Jesus came to die on our behalf, taking away the eternal effects of our sin. And, rather than leaving us alone to suffer the physical consequences of this fallen world, He stepped down into the chaos we had created and offers to walk through it with us.
Is there evil in the world? Are death and disease good or bad?
Though the answers to those and similar questions should be obvious, I never cease to be amazed at how those who deny the existence of God twist themselves into philosophical pretzels trying to craft their response.
As Thomas Sowell has written, “It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious.”
The reality is that only the Bible provides a satisfying answer to the question of why there is so much “madness” in the world.
Now, if only it could help me fill out my tournament bracket....
Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.