Religious Studies 1023E Lecture Notes - Pol Pot, Omnipotence, Agrarian Society
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Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is their suffering?
And where do we find goodness?
Theodicy = Perenial questions most religious have asked & tried to answer – we
think of these questions when they happen on a global scale & when they are
Case Study of Cambodia
Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge, took power in 1975 – 1979. Transformed the
country into Utopian Agrarian society – abolishing religion / cities / money
3 Classification of ppl: full-rights people, candidates and depositees
(deposited from cities & killed)
Of a population of 8 million – killed 2 million ppl (1/4 of all ppl) - mass graves
in Phan Penh
Killing fields of Chong Eck – 9k pits exhumed – 43 left alone – 40k ppl killed
Grk theos = God, dike = justice
Classical question why do the innocent suffer – why bad things happen to
Traditional understanding: Justifying the ways of benevolent God in the
face of chaos & evil in the world - Coined by Godfried Leibniz 1970 essay on
theodicy justifying imperfections of the world – evil doesn’t conflict w/ god’s
goodness – Theodicy = Specific - Social scientific understanding: Describes
a wide range of religious and ideological explanations of the anomic (the
chaotic and evil experiences faced by both individuals and societies)
Question is known as Trilemma (good god w/ evil world) –Western question
on western god
Suffering - Explaining suffering& the presence of evil
Omnipotent - all powerfull
Omniscient – all knowing
Trilemma is how we reconcile this – how does good & gracious omnipotent &
Omniscient god allow evil & suffering.
Major Theories of Theodicy
1) Sin and “Free Will” Theodicy (1 of the oldest theodicy) –
Suffering exists & there is no innocence Christian doctrine of Original Sin
All human beings participate in or inherit the sin of the first parents, Adam
and Eve,whose violation of God’s commands (Genesis 3) justly brought death
and suffering to the world - eating the fruit of the tree of good & evil which
was against god (disobedience) Humans inherit original sin as the descendents –
introduced suffering into the world- no real innocence from disobeying god.
Punishment Eve desired her husband & pain in child birth / Adam w/ tough