God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a good introduction to theodicy. Ehrman gives a broad and fairly thorough overview of what the Bible says about suffering. I like that he is not satisfied with the pat answers that are usually given for why people suffer.
Ultimately, I'm not satisfied with those answers, either and this idea of suffering was a key reason in my own leaving the Church and Christianity. This is not to say that I am an enemy of Christianity, but like Ehrman, I take an agnostic stance when it comes to the ideas of gods and spirits and other supernatural ideas.
I try to keep an open mind, and I have to be careful not to get set in one mindset; I appreciate Ehrman's way of presenting his discussion of this important subject: he didn't try to make those who believe the pat answers look ignorant or foolish, like so many militant atheist/agnostics do. He actually has an open mind, and with his current knowledge he makes many good points, all based on what is in the Bible.
The main thing, I think, is to start a dialogue and Ehrman has made an excellent starting place for such a dialogue.
This book resonates with me because many of the things Ehrman writes are similar or exactly my own thoughts, and it is always good to know that one is not alone when it comes to important issues and sometimes controversial topics.
If you wonder why the God of the Bible allows suffering and/or you're not satisfied with the pat and often parroted answers, you could do worse than to read this book. You may, as I did, walk away with more questions, but that is fine if you remember that the only thing that is certain in this world is uncertainty. We don't always have to have an answer.
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