A young American couple, Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, 29, quit their jobs to take a year-long bike trip around the world. Sadly, the trip took a fatal turn on a route near the Afgan border where they were stabbed to death by alleged ISIS terrorists. The couple ignored warnings about the dangers of the region, claiming to believe that evil was a make-believe concept.
Earlier on their journey, while in Morocco, Austin wrote:
"You watch the news and you read the papers and you're led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are ax murderers and monsters and worse.
I don't buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we've invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it's easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that's quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this."
It's pretty shocking to think that anyone could be this naive. You would think that all anyone would need to do is to watch or read the news to know that evil is alive and active in our world.
But perhaps even more surprising is the denial that evil exists within ourselves. For it is one thing to be suspicious of the "narrative" presented by the media; it's quite another to deny our own dark side. It's not "make-believe" to believe that evil is real. But it is pure fantasy to deny what we all know to be true within--sin dwells in all of us.
There are consequences to living in denial of such a fundamental truth. It causes us to turn a deaf ear, like the Geoghegans did, to important warnings we might otherwise heed. And there are also spiritual consequences to living in denial of the existence of evil. When we refuse to acknowledge the sin that dwells within us, we turn a deaf ear to God's warnings of impending judgment and to our own personal need for salvation.
As tragic as the story of the Geoghegans is, this is far more tragic.
"For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come--sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person" (Mark 7:21-23).