Tale of the Five Army Officers

by waiting 3 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • waiting

    With several threads going on about why God would let Satan live, the discussion if logically God is Right, etc., I remembered this fine thinking material originally copied from H20.

    If nothing else - it puts into mental pictures our quandry of our mental understanding of God's understanding and actions towards us.

    The Tale of the Five Officers (2000)

    When Ms. K. was slowly raped and murdered by a common thug over the
    course of 1 hour and 55 minutes, in plain sight of five fully-armed
    off-duty police officers who ignored her terrified cries for help and
    instead just looked on until the act was carried to its gruesome end, I
    found myself facing a personal crisis.

    You see, the officers had all been very close friends of mine, but after
    hearing about their inaction, I found my trust in them shaken to its
    core. Fortunately, I was able to talk with them later on, and had my
    doubts laid to rest.

    "I thought about intervening," said the first officer, "but it occurred
    to me that it was obviously better for the murderer to be able to
    exercise his free will than to have it restricted. I deeply regret the
    choices he made, but that's the price of having a world with free agents.
    Would you rather everyone in the world was a robot? The attacker's
    choices certainly weren't in my control, so I can't be held responsible
    for his actions. Besides, I needed to give the attacker enough time to
    prove to all the onlookers that crime and violence is truly wrong, and
    that obeying the law is the best way of life."

    "Well," said the second officer, "my motivation was a little bit
    different. I was about to pull my gun on the murderer when I thought to
    myself, 'But wait, wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity for some
    unarmed by-stander to exercise selfless heroism, should he chance to walk
    by? If I were to intervene all the time like I was just about to, then no
    one would ever be able to exercise such a virtue. In fact, everyone would
    probably become very spoiled and self-centered if I were to protect
    everyone from rape and murder.' So I backed off. It's unfortunate that no
    one actually showed up to heroically intervene, but that's the price of
    having a universe where people can display virtue and maturity. Would you
    rather the world were nothing but love, peace, and roses?"

    "Personally, I didn't even consider stepping in," said the third officer.
    "I probably would have if I didn't have so much experience of life as a
    whole, since Ms. K's rape and murder seems pretty horrible when taken in
    isolation. But when you put it into context with the rest of life, it
    actually adds to the overall beauty of the big picture. Ms. K.'s screams
    were like the discordant notes that make fine musical pieces better than
    they would have been if all the notes were flawless. In fact, I could
    scarcely keep from waving my hands around, imagining I myself was
    conducting the delicious nuances of the orchestra."

    "Look, there's really no point in my trying to explain the details to
    you," said the fourth officer, who we had nicknamed 'Brainiac' because he
    had an encyclopedic knowledge of literally everything and an IQ way off
    the charts. "There's an excellent reason for why I did not intervene, but
    it's just way too complicated for you to understand, so I'm not going to
    bother trying. Just so there's no misunderstanding, though, let me point
    out that no one could care about Ms. K. more than I did, and that I am,
    in fact, a very good person."

    "I'll let you in on a secret," said the fifth officer. "Moments after Ms.
    K. flatlined, I had her resuscitated, and flown to a tropical resort
    where she is now experiencing extraordinary bliss, and her ordeal is just
    a distant memory. I'm sure you would agree that that's more than adequate
    compensation, and so the fact that I just stood there watching instead of
    helping her has no bearing at all on my goodness."

    By now, it had become clear to me that there was no difficulty
    reconciling my friends' goodness with their behavior that one day, and
    that anyone who disagreed must be doing so for love of evil over good.

    After all, anyone who has experienced the officers' friendship in the way
    I have knows that they are good. Their goodness is even manifest in my
    life--I was in a shambles before I met them, but now everyone remarks on
    what a changed person I am, so much kinder and happier, and possessed of
    the inner calm that everyone so desperately seeks. I am ashamed that I
    ever doubted their entitlement to my loyalty and my love.

    As I was getting ready to leave, the first officer spoke up again. "By
    the way, I also think you should know that when we stood there watching
    Ms. K. get raped and stabbed over and over, we were suffering along with
    her, and we experienced exactly the same pain she did, or perhaps even

    And everyone in the room, myself included, nodded his head in agreement.

  • Francois

    So what's your point?

    In addition, were there five realities in that scenario, or was there only one?

  • patio34


    That pretty well covers all scenarios about why any God would allow such suffering in humans. And why the whole thing just doesn't make sense any way you look at it.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.


  • Scorpion

    I see that it was the humans who cause the suffering and humans (officers) that allowed it. People can truly be evil as well as complacently evil.

    I see so many today blame God for the evils that humans impose upon one another. Do these that blame God have a direct link or channel of communication with God, so they know exactly that God is the one causing and allowing the suffering?

Share this