In his book, Reason For God, Timothy Keller juxtaposes two quotes from H.G. Wells.
Can we doubt that presently our race will more than realize our boldest imaginations, that it will achieve unity and peace, and that our children will live in a world made more splendid and lovely than any palace or garden that we know, going on from strength to strength in an ever-widening circle of achievement? What man has done, the little triumphs of his present state … form but the prelude to the things that man has yet to do. – H. G. Wells, A Short History of the World (1937)
The cold-blooded massacres of the defenseless, the return of deliberate and organized torture, mental torment, and fear to a world from which such things had seemed well nigh banished – has come near to breaking my spirit altogether … “Homo Sapiens,” as he has been pleased to call himself, is played out. – H. G. Wells, A Mind at the End of Its Tether (1946)
Notice that Wells wrote the second statement just nine years after the first quote. One could say, “H.G. Wells was just a bit mercurial. He was a writer; those guys are always exaggerating.” Or, is this about how most of us see the world as well? Perhaps at one and the same time we rejoice at the great progress of the human race and we are sickened by our propensity to violence and crime. Do we not even recognize this same condition in our own hearts knowing that each and every one of us is capable of great love and great hate? I know that my own heart has a propensity to want, and sometimes take, more than I deserve. I am jealous of what others have and therefore do not love those others as I should. If my situation were different, if these emotions of mine were cultivated by a charismatic leader for the political aspirations of a nation, a race, a religion, who knows the monstrous acts of which I might be capable.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said,
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? – The Gulag Archipelag
Solzhenitsyn is talking about a word we no longer speak in polite company: “sin.” The only solutions for sin are found in God. The solutions are not political, psychological, economical, or medical. The solutions are not in religion, not in our version of God, not in our version of the God story. The solutions are found in God. Augustine said to God, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, ‘Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well'” (Matthew 5:38-40). Jesus also said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Seek the answers for humanity in a God who has dealt with the darkness of men’s hearts and has provided a solution.