Dancing in the Dark: Reflections on the Problem of Theodicy

Dancing in the Dark: Reflections on the Problem of Theodicy

Dancing in the Dark: Reflections on the Problem of Theodicy

Dancing in the Dark: Reflections on the Problem of Theodicy

Synopsis

"The structure of the book comprises a series of disciplinary perspectives that initially question the nature of religious language, which, in current discourse, often has an elusive, euphemistic quality. The subsequent discussion looks at the highly uncertain nature of the Special Creation hypothesis in light of the history of disease and mass extinctions, and the general vulnerability of the planet. Moral issues are also extensively considered, with a particular emphasis on war and aggression, and persecution and exploitation, especially in relation to both ideology and expediency." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Some years before the onset of his crippling illness, lse (LONDON School of Economics) and Cambridge academic Ernest Gellner wrote, “The universe is a torturer, it deprives one of hope but does not allow for assured despair” (1957). There we have the cry—one might also say the anguish—of the concerned agnostic. An intellectual who looks out on our unheeding cosmos which he sees as cruel but perhaps not entirely meaningless. Other philosophers have echoed similar sentiments. in Bertrand Russell one almost detects a poignancy—a kind of wistfulness—when he remonstrates with those who deride philosophy as pointless. He says these may be the views of a scientist or a historian, but hardly the retort of those facing “the prospect of cosmic loneliness” (Russell 1948). It is almost as though Russell was saying, “If only things were different.”

Despite all the impressive advances in science, the cosmos is incomprehensible. We are still unable to answer what might appear to be the most elementary questions. How it all began has given rise to much learned speculation, spawning such books as Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes. Even cosmologists tend to outlaw such questions as “What came before the Big Bang?” and “What caused the Big Bang?”—and certainly not “Why was there a Big Bang?” Not even astronomer Sir Martin Rees, in his book with the rather misleading title Before the Beginning, purports to tell us. Any “answers” to such questions can only be a form of presumption. Because before the totally mysterious and awesome inception of the cosmos, time as we understand it did not exist. Therefore, from a scientific point of view, such questions are completely meaningless.

Informed scientific opinion has it that we are the product of exploding stars, yet we are only dimly aware of such supernovae. They are usually so far away that they come and go in clusters that are so distant from our own system that they are even unnoticed by astronomers. the most famous event of this kind in what for us is remem-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.