SOURCE: Vision Media

July 13, 2010 04:00 ET

Theodicy: Does Suffering Serve a Purpose?

Vision.org Examines How Religion and the Bible View Evil and Suffering in the World

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) -  In trying to cope in difficult times, people often look to religion to make sense of what they are going through and struggle to understand why God doesn't intervene and make things better. In "Why Suffering?" Vision publisher David Hulme looks at the "dilemma known as theodicy" and discusses the question "How can a good Creator God exist alongside evil or suffering in the world?"

Suffering and sorrow are all too familiar parts of the human condition. Dr. Hulme notes that "one of the complaints that agnostics and atheists make is that God does not intervene to prevent evil consequences for humans." He goes on to point out the result of such an action: if God did protect humans from themselves by keeping them "from acting at every wrong turn, they would soon resent his taking away their freedom to act as they choose."

The disconnect between wanting to choose our own actions, but not wanting to suffer the consequences means that humans do not learn what the "price of going the wrong way really is -- how costly it is." Hulme states, "That cannot be learned if every time the consequence is about to play out, He intervenes to stop it, so that there is no evident connection between sin and consequence."

Drawing from the experiences of authors Samuel Beckett and C.S. Lewis, Dr. Hulme compares the conclusions each man reached after enduring serious trials. While Beckett found he could not reconcile God and suffering, Lewis came to a very different opinion. 

In tracing the development of Lewis's beliefs, Hulme asks if it is possible "that the contradiction posed in the theodicy debate is a red herring in the first place and should not be considered? Could it be that once God's plan and purpose are discovered, then suffering, though never easy or something we prefer, becomes explainable?"

For more articles about religion and the Bible visit http://www.vision.org

About Vision.org
Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription of the magazine, visit http://www.vision.org.

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