Suffering and the Search for a Modern Theodicy

By Nordengren, Chase | National Catholic Reporter, February 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Suffering and the Search for a Modern Theodicy


Nordengren, Chase, National Catholic Reporter


On a recent evening, I was sitting in front of our local newscast as a local Lutheran pastor was interviewed for the show's signature conversation segment. The pastor was asked to discuss the nature of God's love in the light of apparent evil and tragedies like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. Per the segment's gimmick, the pastor had three minutes. A countdown clock rattled those precious seconds off on the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Sandy Hook prompted a renewed search for the cause of violence and destruction: Once again, we've begun to examine guns, mental health, video games and every other social cause we can imagine. Public policy should take on these issues with care; in particular, it is now clear the easy availability of powerful firearms greatly magnifies the severity of incidences like these.

Explaining the evil that visited that community, however, will likely require much more than three minutes.

2012 was a rather poor year for theodicy in our public life. Theodicy is the attempt to reconcile the omnibenevolent God with evil and suffering in the world and is a rather crucial part of how we engage with our spiritual life. We ask our pastors and preachers to support us as we suffer, to show us God's love in the midst of that suffering.

Public figures have been no help. In August, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, a former Presbyterian seminarian, attempted to reconcile the realities of rape and unintended pregnancy by arguing victims of "legitimate rape" have biological mechanisms that prevent pregnancy. By December, an ordained minister, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, said we should not be "so surprised" at events such as the Sandy Hook massacre when "we have systematically removed God from our schools." Gay marriage in particular has been a source of blame. In 2012, pastors cited God's anger over marriage equality as the source of hurricanes, the September attack on the United States embassy in Libya, and a variety of mass-shooting incidents.

Statements like these are appalling on their face. Beyond that, however, their utter simplicity belies a conceptual problem that might be driving the public away from Christian life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Suffering and the Search for a Modern Theodicy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.