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theodicy.docx

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Department
Religious Studies
Course
Religious Studies 1023E
Professor
Corrine Walsh
Semester
Summer

Description
Theodicy 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 deeply personal. 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 their. Theodicy Grk theos = God, dike = justice Classical question why do the innocent suffer – why bad things happen to good ppl 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 farming. 2) Educative Theodicies - educative role of suffering can play in human life – Vicarious suffering of others serves an educative purpose/ something for us to learn by manifesting the consequences of sin to the world and by helping to purify and uplift the suffered Scape goat goes back to Judaic txt & bible – jesus’s crucifiction & removing human sin giving hope & Leviticus 16 - Yom kippur day of atonement sins of community placed upon a goat & sent into the wilderness where it dies – sign of community asking gods forgiveness for sins 3) Eschatological Theodicies –reward for suffering is in the next world – fulfillment or reward for innocent suffering in a realm beyond the world Those who are suffering get Heavenly domain/ A kingdom of God at the end of time in Christianity Eschaton – the end times (death, judgment, heaven, hell & the return of Christ) All 3 see suffering as inherent / inevitable & justifies it as disobedience/ suffering is arbitrary. 4) Theodicy and Mystery – Innocent suffering overwhelms rational efforts at explanation The problem must remain a mystery to humans because, although God is benevolent & just, humans lack the knowledge or insight to judge God’s ways – so it’s a mystery. Story of Job – classical theodicy / great literature of the ancient world Job was beset w/ many sufferings – Wealth / Marriage / Children / Health – ended up shunned by the community & sitting on ashes/garbage – asking god / putting god on trial & finally gets the answer from God that we can’t comprehend God’s ways – Job concludes its beyond all human comprehension. 5) Karma and Theodicies - The law of ‘cause and effect’ – Karma causes suffering: In a world ruled by Karma no innocent suffering exists – all suffering is brought on by Karma. Max Webber considers this to be the most rational & throu
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