The problem with coffee


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Science has achieved incredible results. We’ve probed deep within the atom. We’ve seen to the farthest reaches of the universe, and we’ve discovered drinking coffee will extend our lives. Our language today is splattered with the accomplishments of technology. We phone, we text, we drive and we’ve doubled our lifespan. All things ancient societies would have never understood. But there’s one thing they knew that we don’t. We don’t talk about it. It’s evil.

We know everything about coffee, but today’s scientific society has forgotten how to talk about evil. When big banks wreck down the economy, it’s a crisis of the financial system. When murderers run amok in schools, it’s psychological insanity. When a dictator takes down his own people, it’s the fault of their governmental structure. All those things are real problems, and we should debate about our financial systems, we should cure mental illness, and we should find the best government for each civilization. But this chatter hides a deep and serious underlying tragedy. If there’s one thing upon which ancient religions and modern atheists agree, it’s that human beings have the propensity to do evil. Freud called it the death drive. I can live in a world-class economy with the best possible government fostering perfect parents, and I might still murder my brother. Why?

Evil exists in the world because I am in the world. I can drink all the coffee in Columbia and it won’t solve my problem. It’s indefinable, mysterious, and incurable. Big government, small government, capitalism, socialism, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Mormon, none of those can help me. I can reduce my carbon footprint to nothing, I can eat only locally grown food, and I can give my life to save my less fortunate brothers, but that won’t treat my illness. I can follow every law of the Bible, the book of Mormon, or Sharia to the letter, and I will still do evil. The only answer to my problem, the only answer that there has ever been and ever will be is Christ.

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Ernesto Tinajero

Thanks Bruce for your thoughts. The one thing I could add is the article that you quoted on Coffee started with this:

“Older adults who drank coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP.”

It made me laugh as the risk for ultimately ending in death is the same for coffee drinkers as for non-coffee drinkers, 0. We all die it is just a matter of when and not if. I wonder if the reason we stop talking about evil is that we want to be the problem solvers of all problems like death, evil, government and everything else. If we cab solve all the problems, then we would be like Gods. Now, where have I heard that one before and what did that wily serpent promise?

Ryan Downie

What do you mean when you say that the only answer is Christ?

Ryan Downie

Also, why should scientists speak on evil as scientists? Science says nothing about evil in the sense I think you mean, but rather tries explain the nature and causes behind things we call “evil”.


Earnesto- Great comment. I agree! I feel like we’re living in a science bubble. We had a housing bubble that went bust, but I feel we still have a science bubble. There’s a general attitude that science can solve everything and religion is a byproduct of a foregone age. I think science and religion both have their place, and both are vital to a properly functioning society.


Ryan- I think you answered your first question by your second. The scientific process cannot say anything for or against the existence of evil. This is why religion is of equal importance for society. The problem I’m addressing is that the language of our culture is unduly angled towards science. We don’t talk about evil anymore. Science has no answer for the problem of evil; it doesn’t even raise the question. The only answer is religion, and since I am a Christian, my answer is Christ.

Ryan Downie

Bruce – I think you are setting up a false dichotomy. Just because “evil” is not the subject of science, it does not follow that religion is the necessary default authority/solution. “Evil” is a word, which need not be couched in religious categories. In fact, many have argued that religion furthers the problem. Furthermore, science can offer help towards solutions because it does promote education and understanding into the matters that cause “evil”. Science can also help us understand how societies should function in order to promote well being.

Also, I’m not sure I’d agree that no one talks about evil anymore. In fact, the problem of evil is a very prominent counterargument to the claim that God exists.

Finally, I’d like to know HOW Christ is the answer to this problem.


Ryan, I think we are in agreement that science can help with solving the problem of evil. I believe in a perfect society science and religion would work together. But if you take the example of the financial collapse, there was certainly evil involved on the part of the individuals at the big banks, but the discussion has revolved around a systemic financial solution.

Christ is the only solution because science will never ultimately solve the problem of evil. It is a problem that transcends matter and energy. Only God can fix us.

Ryan Downie

Bruce – I’m still not seeing how you get from “science will never ultimately solve the problem of evil” to the conclusion that “Christ is the only solution”. Why should that be true and HOW is Christ the solution? Obviously, if God does exist, “He” doesn’t fix us, so in what sense is this really a solution?

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