Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Turning a Blind Eye


The Penn State scandal is old news now.  There is really no need to rehash the alleged misdeeds of Jerry Sandusky.  No.  I want to talk about the rage that people feel when they think about a man who did absolutely nothing.  A man who allegedly saw Jerry Sandusky violating a child and then turned around and walked away. He passed the buck and thought someone else would fix it.

So now when people think about that they get angry.  Rightfully angry.  Righteous anger.  Some people want to know way a rather young, rather large guy, didn’t punch Sandusky in the face.  I want to know why he didn’t just say, “Excuse me, Mr. Sandusky, what in the world are you doing?”  That’s probably all it would have taken to stop it.  At least for that one child.  How do you witness that, quietly sneak away, and then lay your head down and sleep for the next dozen or so years?  

But then this happens quite a bit of the time.  People see things, they know something terrible happened, and they look the other way.  Somehow they pretend it never happened.  When the truth comes out anger ensues.  Not just at the party who did the horrible deed, but the person or persons who could have stopped it.  How could they have known this and done absolutely nothing? 

Shouldn’t the people who knew about these heinous acts be held accountable? That’s the problem with idolizing figures and worshiping them.  It blinds you.  You’re so enamored with the persona that you can’t see the obvious flaws. You’re willing to sweep glaring problems under the rug.  Maybe it’s cognitive dissonance.  Maybe what you see or find out is so completely contrary to what you’ve believed that you can’t even process it so you begin to rationalize it.  After you’re done rationalizing it you somehow twist it around so that it’s not such a bad thing.  The evil doer is spreading so much good that surely it outweighs his bad.  That seems sick and twisted doesn’t it?  Besides this scandal would rock the establishment and we can’t have that.

What do we call someone who can willingly turn a blind eye to the suffering of others?  What do we say about someone who has it in their power to right a wrong but doesn’t?   Why we call him good, benevolent, kind, loving, merciful, gracious and just.  We call him God.


17 thoughts on “Turning a Blind Eye

  1. Here's my perspective as a Christian in this:I remember as a young girl just struggling with the whole question of how a good God can allow pain and suffering in the world. (It is an ancient theological challenge.) In the face of deep sorrow, and pain, doesn't He care? Well, the incarnation says that He cares intensely. But, I wanted God with skin on. I was praying, and really accusing God about all this, and then I just got this sense of His loving presence and wisdom. It's difficult to explain in words, almost like a Jobian experience. Can a finite human know better how to order the creation than the infinite creator of the entire universe? As an adult, I now think that humans are only able to see things from a finite, albeit fallen perspective. And, we want the "quick fix" now. But, for God to totally eliminate all human suffering today, He would also need to completely eradicate human choice, and freedom of will. We would have to become like a race of Stepford wives. In the long term, and in the deepest sense, would this be better?God's kingdom is present now, and yet future in all it's fullness. It seems to me that as we walk out the ethic of "love your neighbor as yourself," people of faith are partnering with God in bringing justice and peace to the whole creation. We are His agents, God with skin on to each other. And, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians are assured that the arc of the universe is toward justice. Love will prevail.Rebecca.


  2. I hardly see how God stopping horrible atrocities could be likened to having Stepford Wives any more than thinking that Mike McQueary stopping Jerry Sandusky would make Jerry Sandusky McQueary's Stepford Wife. Your entire response sounds an awful lot like, "God's ways are higher than our ways", and "God works in mysterious ways". Anyway thank you for proving my point. Somehow you've twisted God standing by while children are molested and raped into a very loving and merciful act.


  3. The day I finally accepted the full weight of the blind eye of God was the same day I ceased being a theist in my heart.


  4. It is such a sad, sad story. Great parallel, and the "Mike McQueary stopping Jerry Sandusky would make Jerry Sandusky McQueary's Stepford Wife" was spot on.The truth is that you can stop evil and still let free will flourish. That is essentially the principle of why we have laws in our free society. 🙂


  5. If god existed, we'd have to arrest him.


  6. In a global sense, though, how could God allow human free will, and at the same time prevent all acts of cruelty and evil in the world. The only scenario I can see would be some sort of mind control, or total annihilation of all evil doers today..Yes, we have laws, but people are certainly free to violate the law, and face the consequence. And, folks are exercising that freedom of choice everyday. If people are not free to be cruel, can they truly be free to choose to be loving and just as well?I think God does sometimes miraculously intervene in our lives, but most often in our time and culture, He does work through human agents. For a while, I worked as an investigator in the Child Welfare system. I felt in a real sense called to that mission of protecting kids, and felt that what I was doing was from God.We'll have to agree to disagree about this, guys.Wishing everyone here a great holiday. Rebecca.


  7. @DougB,I can see that being a logical position. It's not where I drew the line. I often saw the injustice of God's neglect and similarly justified it with "His ways are hihger than ours" and Rececca's Jobian experience. I rationalized. I just can't seem to do that anymore.@Exrelayman,I don't think one has anything to do with the other. Your point is well taken. Some of the horribleness in the world has absolutely nothing to do with free will or sin. Though the Christian explanation is that the whole world is "fallen" because of free will and sin, so poor little frogger there has to suffer along with the humans. ::sigh::@TWF,That is why we have laws and if no one broke them would we say that the laws impede free will? I don't think so.@Paul Sunstone,I do believe you are correct. We have laws against failing to report/intervene in some crimes. @Rebecca,C'est la vie. To each his/her own.


  8. So, free will means I choose to hurt people but free will does not mean I can choose to be kind to people?If I have free will my 'right' to ignore evil and suffering is eternal, but my responsibility to intervene when I can to prevent, stop, or give consequences to evil contradicts free will?I am so glad that god is not my parent.There seems to be this idea that the only way to prevent evil is mind control. However, in our world, governments or associations that use mind control inevitably cause more harm. There is a very good way to lower crime rates, disease, and conditions such as depression: income equality. When the gap between the rich and poor is lessened, a safer society exists. That is not mind control. Free will is not impugned upon. Too bad god's only ideas for a safe society involved stoning everyone who did something he didn't like. How is that free will if living in a town where someone thought seriously about other deities deserved the death penalty?


  9. Yes, prairienyphm, fear is such a great motivator. That's not control at all. See, the thing is, some sort of control is necessary. I always thought the free will that God didn't try to control was whether we loved Him or not. He supposedly doesn't force us to love him. But having some control over evil isn't impugning free will. "God" could punch the molesters of the world in the face and they could still run off angry at him, hating his guts. But, no, instead Christians have to explain away the silence somehow. And they have to explain away the stoning, which is "God's" form of control.


  10. But D'ma, you with your limited, fallen mind should not judge God whose ways are so far above ours. It is a mystery beyond our fathoming. Yet I the Christian, with my limited, fallen mind judge correctly that God is good despite evidence to the contrary. The mystery is no hindrance to MY assessment. I have, of course, disdain for the believers of other faiths, who believe their holy books for the same reason I believe mine. (End of snark. Sorry – tried to refrain – the devil made me do it. It gets so dang old!)


  11. When the news of this first came out and I listened to what was happening on the news, I said to my husband, "Sounds like church."Look away. Ignore it. Sweep it under the rug. Cover it up so as to not hurt the cause of Christ and his church. After all, look at all the good they do. Surely the "good" far outweighs the "bad." Surely those championships speak for something. We want more championships. Surely the number of saved speaks for something. We want more salvations. We don't want to interrupt the status quo. Besides, what will happen to our incoming money supply if we upset the tea kettle?I think maybe it's easy for things like this to happen, especially within a Christian context simply because we do see it happen in the Bible. If the ultimate being, "God" can turn away from evil &/or cause it to happen . . . what's so wrong with people, you know, ordinary free-willing, fallen, finite people (who were made in the image of their "God") (and made to be free-willing, fallen and finite by their "God")doing the same thing. Their "God" set the example.But praise be to "God" for his arc of eventual justice. One of these days he'll straighten the whole mess that "he" set in motion, up.


  12. prairienymph said:"So, free will means I choose to hurt people but free will does not mean I can choose to be kind to people?"::raising my hand:: oooh, me, me, me! I can answer this one! ::squirming in my seat::Not at all, pn. If God forces people not to choose evil, but only causes them to do good then he is impugning free will. He is forcing them to only do good things. ::rolls eyes::What I'm suggesting has nothing to do with impugning free will. People could still choose to do evil acts. But if God sent one of His angels down here to kick their ass til their nose bled when they began to act on those evil desires then that would be thwarting the evil act, not impugning on their free will to do evil. There is a difference in my mind. Picture this:Jerry Sandusky approaches a little boy, invites him into his lair and entices him with all sorts of goodies; ball games, merchandise, quality time. Then on his way to carry out his dirty deed of heinous proportions, he is struck by a car or lightening, or falls dead of a heart attack(think Ananias and Saphira). The little boy never has to know what evil Sandusky had in his heart to do to him, and Sandusky gets to make his choice. @Zoe,That's exactly what all of this reminded me of. Church. Exactly. Every.thing.you.said.The thing is, if you believe the Bible, and for a very long time I did, there really is no free choice, no free will. There are only two choices: Choose God and choose life, or choose not-God and choose the fiery flames of hell. And even as a Christian you could never be too sure because when you did something a Christian should not do it was like wearing a shock collar. Oh you looked at that good looking woman a little too long, "zzzt", it's hell for you buddy. You want your neighbor's donkey, do ya? "zzzt" to hell with you too! Unless, of course, you make amends by saying three Hail Mary's and putting an extra fifty in the coffer.


  13. D MA, I enjoyed your article. We discussed this at our church during sunday school. The same thing could have occured years ago in another generation. I hope that you have a blessed day.


  14. Thank you, Anonymous. I'm sure that these same types of things have happened in every generation. There is nothing new under the sun.


  15. **What do we call someone who can willingly turn a blind eye to the suffering of others? What do we say about someone who has it in their power to right a wrong but doesn't? Why we call him good, benevolent, kind, loving, merciful, gracious and just. We call him God. **This summation of your post had a really good impact, and a nice way of demonstrating why unbelievers have a problem with calling God "good" and "loving" on the one hand, and then having God behave in ways that are neither good nor loving, as the words are defined. **If God forces people not to choose evil, but only causes them to do good then he is impugning free will. He is forcing them to only do good things. ::rolls eyes::**What I find interesting about this argument is that it's essentially saying that God deliberately created people imperfect. For God is considered good and perfect and incapable of sin. He simply can't make that choice/embark on that action. So, therefore, part of good's definition is perfection, and incapable of committing a sin.Yet God created people who are capable of committing sin via free will. Therefore, he created people to be imperfect, and then punishes them for that.Not only that, but Christian theology holds that everyone is born with a sin nature — people are incapable of choosing to be 100% perfectly good, because of that nature. Is that not infringing upon free will?


  16. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, OSS, round and round it goes…where it stops nobody knows!


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