Being held to account

If suffering is seen as the Achilles’ heel of Christianity, then justice poses a similar problem for atheism. Let me explain. Human beings have an innate sense of justice and believe that the guilty should be punished and the wicked held to account. The problem with a godless universe is that very often this just doesn’t happen.

Take Idi Amin for instance, who in the 1970’s led a reign of terror in Uganda. Up to half a million people died at his hands. While eventually forced into exile he lived out his days in comfort and never expressed remorse for his crimes. He got away with them.

Now we find ourselves watching helplessly as another despot, Vladimir Putin, unleashes death, destruction and misery upon the people of Ukraine. But while we long for the day when he might stand before the International Criminal Court in the Hague, it is more likely that in this life he will never be held to account for what he is doing.

The Bible, however, gives a different view. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are ‘destined to die once, and after that to face judgement’; and goes on to give this sombre warning, ‘It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’

The truth is that in a world created by God no one ultimately gets away with anything. Putin will one day be held to account for his life and so will you and I.

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