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Unspeakable -- Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror
by Os Guinness © 2005 (HarperCollins: San Francisco, CA) [242 pages]
[Answer 14 of 20 questions correctly to receive 11 hours of Continuing Education credit.]

 

Chapter 1: Evil and the Examined Life (p. 1-16)
1. Which of the following does the author conclude about evil?
a. The modern world is less evil.
b. Evil is rarely ignored.
c. Evil is no longer defined as “sin”.
d. Evil has made our morality stronger.

2. The author cites the twentieth century as “the most murderous century in all history” in which one hundred million human beings were killed in wars and another one hundred million were killed by their fellow human beings in political repression, massacre, and genocide. He states that the worst modern atrocities were perpetrated by
a. followers of monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
b. religious extremists, fanatics, and fundamentalists.
c. secular regimes led by secular intellectuals and in the name of secularist beliefs.
d. countries in possession of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Chapter 4: Our Greatest Enemy (p. 34-46)

3. The author describes atrocities committed by Christians and atrocities committed by secular regimes. On the one hand, Christian evils include the slaughter of the Albigensians (60,000 killed), the massacre of St. Bartholomew (30,000), the Sicilian Vespers (8,000), the Spanish Inquisition (10,000), and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (160,000 displaced). On the other hand, Cambodia’s Pol Pot slaughtered 2 million people, Russia’s Joseph Stalin murdered 30 million, and China’s Mao Tse-Tung killed 65 million people. The author’s reason for listing the number of people killed or affected is
a. to show that faith in God doesn’t make a difference in eradicating evil.
b. to refute the modern misunderstanding that says that “more wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil [has been] perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history.”
c. to show that religion becomes destructive when taken out of private life and put into the public square.
d. to demonstrate that the best contributions of faith in God -- such as the rise of the universities, the development of modern science, the abolition of slavery, and the promotion of human rights -- are far outweighed by the evils perpetrated in the name of God.

4. In his book
The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker argued that psychological categories were fundamentally ______ in explaining virulent evil.
a. inadequate
b. necessary
c. sufficient
d. insightful

Chapter 5: Why Me? (p. 49-57)

5. Pain and suffering usually produce which of the following reactions in people?
a. a loss of control -- especially since I didn’t cause it nor could I have prevented it.
b. the unfairness of life -- Suffering seems to strike me at random and for no apparent reason, even when I don’t deserve it.
c. loneliness -- At the moment I desire attention for my suffering, many others are going about their daily lives.
d. all of the above.

Chapter 6: Where’s God? (p. 58-66)

6. In this chapter, the author concludes that people who ask
“Where’s God?” when they are suffering
a. are in danger of losing their faith as Elie Weisel did because of his horrible experience at Auschwitz.
b. want to hold God somewhat accountable for their suffering since He is both willing and able to prevent it.
c. should realize that arguing and quarreling with God indicate a lack of faith.
d. really don’t believe in God’s goodness.

Chapter 8: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Evil (p. 81-93)

7. In his book
Modernity and the Holocaust, Zygmunt Bauman argues that the Holocaust
a. was carried out by millions of ordinary people.
b. was simply the result of monsters of evil.
c. was a modern rarity in an otherwise peaceful world.
d. will probably never happen again.

8. Which is TRUE?
a. Modern evil is done only by those having “intent to harm”.
b. People with good intentions are not capable of evil.
c. Personal virtue is a sufficient barrier to evil.
d. Evil may be done by people with no evil intentions.

Chapter 9: Freedom’s Tilt Toward Evil (p. 94-107)

9. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for
a _____ people.”
a. lawful
b. diverse
c. moral and religious
d. free

Chapter 10: Nirvana Is Not for Egos (p. 115-124)

10. Which is TRUE about Buddhism?
a. There is no remedy for evil and suffering in this world; there is only renunciation of this world.
b. There is the prospect of a coming world without suffering.
c. There is no “you” nor “I” since detachment from all desires extinguishes a personal self. There is only the undifferentiated impersonal or ground of being (God or Brahman).
d. “a.” and “c.”

Chapter 11: I Do It My Way (p. 125-135)

11. Atheism has declined because
a. although it appeals to intellectual elites, it is too bleak for the ordinary person.
b. leaders like Bertrand Russell admitted that the ethics of atheism “won’t stand the test of life.”
c. it promises final defeat and “extinction” to all of the labors, devotion, inspiration, and “noonday brightness” of human genius and achievement.
d. all of the above

Chapter 12: The People of the Crossed Sticks (p. 136-152)

12. For St. Augustine, the challenge of evil is a trilemma: “If God were all-good, He would only will good, and if He were all-powerful, He would be able to do all that He wills. But there is evil. Therefore, God is either not all-good or not all-powerful, or both.”
The unique and biblical response to evil in this trilemma is
a. to resolve once and for all the mystery of evil and suffering: where it comes from and why it happens.
b. to blame evil and suffering on human existence rather than human action: it would have been better to have not been born at all.
c. through a bifocal view: to embrace what is good and beautiful about a world created by God and be outraged at the intrusion of evil and suffering initiated by moral disobedience.
d. to minimize our attachments to this world through self-denial and focusing only on the world to come (heaven).

13. For the trilemma in question 12, the unique and biblical response to God’s goodness and power in relationship to evil is:
a. God’s goodness is displayed in His willingness to suffer with us (in Jesus Christ). God’s power is displayed in His eventual eradication of all pain and suffering in the world to come.
b. Since God’s goodness and power are too vast to understand, they must simply be perceived and asserted through a blind, irrational “leap of faith”.
c. Because evil and suffering will always be with us, we must adopt a passive resistance to them. God, in His goodness and power, will eventually eradicate all pain and sorrow in the world to come.
d. There is no resolution to the trilemma of why an all-good and all-powerful God would allow so much evil and suffering in the world. It is a complete mystery.

Chapter 13: The Problem with the World is Me (p. 157-169)

14. In the biblical view,
a. there are good people and bad people in the world.
b. evil resides in every human heart.
c. great confidence is placed in the goodness of human nature and in human endeavors to improve society.
d. every one is a victim and must do whatever possible to survive.

Chapter 14: The Politics of Second Chances (p. 170-181)

15. Regarding forgiveness, the Bible clearly teaches that
a. God does not forgive a person who has sinned against a human being unless that person has been forgiven by his victim.
b. There is no evil too great that God cannot forgive it.
c. Only the injured party can forgive, so murderers are unforgivable (since their victims are not alive to exercise forgiveness).
d. Forgiving some crimes may actually encourage more wrongdoing.

16. After surviving Ravensbruck concentration camp where her sister, Betsie, had died, Corrie Ten Boom forgave a former guard because
a. she had to save face with the audience she had just spoken to about God’s forgiveness.
b. she was a strong and virtuous person.
c. she had forgiven other guards before.
d. she knew forgiveness was an act of the will, not an emotion.

Chapter 15: The Courage to Stand (p. 182-194)

17. At a forum for political and business leaders near Washington, D.C., an Asian leader described himself as a “Hindu seeker after Jesus” because
a. he could no longer accept the Hindu teaching that he (and all the other individuals he cared about) were nothing more than a dream in the mind of God.
b. he saw no basis in Hinduism for fighting for the rights of individuals.
c. he was deeply moved by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stand for justice and human dignity during America’s civil rights movement.
d. he witnessed the response of Christians to come to the rescue of his countrymen after a massive earthquake in contrast to the lack of response from his own people.

18. Which best describes the biblical explanation for suffering?
a. As with Job in the Old Testament, God does not usually explain why we suffer.
b. We suffer today because of sins we committed in the past.
c. Enduring suffering with a Stoic, emotional detachment produces virtue and mature character.
d. God has allowed you to suffer for such and such a reason.

Chapter 17: Other Unwitting Prayers (p. 211-221)

19. The Frankfort School praised traditional religion for keeping alive
the possibility of transcendence. In this context, transcendence means
a. acknowledging that all truth is relative; there are no absolutes.
b. the hope that universal tolerance will someday be a reality.
c. having a basis for responding to absolute evil with absolute judgment and justice.
d. giving up the notion that evil people are damned to a literal place called “hell”.

Chapter 18: The Rainbow through the Rain (p. 222-238)

20. After growing up in a violent Chicago neighborhood in the 1920s, serving in the military in Europe, and devoting himself to a lifelong study of the Holocaust, Philip Hallie became overwhelmed by depression. What rescued him from despair and served as a rainbow of hope
against the backdrop of the forces of evil of darkness?
a. the sacrificial willingness of America to send military forces into World War II.
b. witnessing the undaunted courage of Winston Churchill in standing against the forces of evil.
c. seeing the unrelenting persistence of Simon Wiesenthal in pursuing Nazi war criminals and bringing them to justice.
d. the true story of the rescue of 5,000 Jewish children from the Nazis by the tiny French village of LeChambon-sur-Lignon.