I went to church and socializing afterwards yesterday, in St Dominikus in Oslo. I heard former Conservative Minister of Culture, and also a Catholic, among many other things, Lars Roar Langslet, talk about a book he had published recently. Langslet definitely belongs to the liberal part of Høyre, but said nothing about today’s politics.

The most interesting part was to hear him give an answer to the problem of evil. Why are evil things in the world, if God is as good as everybody who believe in him, says?

His position is a well-thought one, I think, and of course well-known, saying that we are given a free will and therefore have a choice between good and bad things.

One could also say almost the same from a different perspective, that God has given us the world to take care of (including ourselves), and that the responsibility then is basically ours, not his.

You could call both positions practical ones, in that they both mean that we have to do the job ourselves.

The first way of seeing it focuses on our individual situation, having a personal responsibility for our own life and for others, the second one has the weight on our common position as men and women, a totality of humans with a responsibility for whatever needs to be taken care of. We can’t do without any of the perspectives, I think, something to remember in today’s political situation.

Some situations in life are so difficult that you may say you don’t really have much of a choice, for example in the case of long-lasting disease. At other times it’s obvious that you have to do something about what’s going on, with yourself or someone else, and not push the responsibility onto someone or something else.

It’s perfectly possible to really land in a tight spot too, privately or professionally, where you may have to hurt someone to get out.

But I think most things or actions are not only good or only bad, and we don’t know of all the consequences of what we do either, I think we’ll have to agree on that. So we’d better not be too careless about what we say or think about these things. Extreme positions taken into real life have a tendency to be unreal or dangerous, or completely pacifying and numbing, if made into a closed system.

St. Dominikus is the church of the Dominican community of Oslo, situated at Majorstua.