War And The Fallenness Of Man
Over a million videos of the Syrian civil war have been uploaded to youtube, and they are getting hundreds of millions of views. I’ve seen a couple of them and they are extremely graphic — ‘extremely’ even seems too effete a word to describe just how graphic they can be. If you have the stomach for it, in this video is an already half-dead Syrian rebel being mercilessly shot over and over again by a sniper. Some gun-fights, such as this one, show the combatants only a few feet apart. Other videos show innocent civilians, some of whom are even children, being mowed down by machine guns.
The situation in Syria is not an atom short of hellish. We’d like to think these images of death would be forever carved in the memory of those who’ve seen them, as though they were too horrid and abominable to fail to be so; as though these people, dreadfully vitiated as they were in these final moments, had been taken by some great and unnatural evil — an evil so monstrous and unnatural that it behooves only in the worst of nightmares.
But what’s arguably just as sad, if not even sadder — as it is perhaps a worse evil — is the reality that for most of us none of it will be; most of us will forget this. We will make the customary affectations of empathy and moral outrage, then we will give ourselves congratulatory pats on the back for doing so. Then we will do nothing; we will forget about it and get on with our lives.
Those who think the Christian notion of the fallenness of man to be silly have either been too inoculated by feel-good ideas like those of Steven Pinker, or are completely unaware of the history and nature of man.