Sunday, June 19, 2011

The POE Revisited

The idea for this series was sparked as I read some of the excerpts from The Brothers Karamazov.  How loving your specific neighbor was so suprisingly difficult to pull off.  In that same chapter, Fyodor Dostoyevsky deals with another big theological paradox.  Perhaps the biggest paradox there is....

The POE....the problem of to reconcile a loving omnipotent God....with all the evil and suffering in the world.  That is the basis of theodicy, the defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. 

From my own experience, I've found that his defense...or vindication, the word used in some dictionaries "ain't easy." I wasn't a Christian very long before I was faced with reconciling those three key points that form the theodicy riddle, the "therein lies the question" quandary/paradox/koan....
  1. The goodness of God
  2. The omnipotence of God
  3. The existence of evil
 Epicurus summed it up:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
It haunted me for the longest time and  I was just absolutely, totally pissed off at God about all the starving children, death, disease, pestilence, natural disasters etc that abound in our world. We were barely on speaking terms, He and I. Well, mainly "I." He was still whispering softly to my heart but I wasn't interested in listening, I had a major pout going.  Huge chip on my shoulder.
But I wanted....needed....answers. And so I googled....and surfed.....and clicked on link after link about suffering and evil.  The Brothers Kromanov might have inspired this series, but I have no shortage of resources to draw from.  I have dozens, possibly hundreds, of articles saved on my computer....about suffering, the POE…..all trying to answer questions like…. just where the hell is God when we suffer.  I printed many of them off and saved them in binders.  I have at least as many links saved in my favorites and just as many quotes saved in my quotes file.

I plan on this being a series....but you know how I sometimes stray from the original, central theme.  I think the conversation between the two brothers is profound.  It sums up the problem of evil in a nutshell....succinctly.  Perhaps it will remind some of you of a long forgotten required reading assignment in English Lit....or perhaps it will be prose that many, like me, never struggled to read and understand.   And when it comes to the problem of evil, who really does understand? 

More in my next post about the conversation between the two brothers, Ivan and Alyosha.   Here is the link to the excerpt.....Fyodor Dostoevsky on the Problem of Evil from the Brothers Karamazov.

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