Theodicy Quotes

Quotes tagged as "theodicy" Showing 1-30 of 42
C.S. Lewis
“His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say, ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words, 'God can.' It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Walter M. Miller Jr.
“Listen, my dear Cors, why don't you forgive God for allowing pain? If He didn't allow it, human courage, bravery, nobility, and self-sacrifice would all be meaningless things.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

Martin Amis
“It is straightforward—and never mind, for now, about plagues and famines: if God existed, and if he cared for humankind, he would never have given us religion.”
Martin Amis, The Second Plane: 14 Responses to September 11

C.S. Lewis
“Even if there were pains in Heaven, all who understand would desire them.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Christopher Hitchens
“You might think that, by now, people would have become accustomed to the idea of natural catastrophes. We live on a planet that is still cooling and which has fissures and faults in its crust; this much is accepted even by those who think that the globe is only six thousand years old, as well as by those who believe that the earth was "designed" to be this way. Even in such a case, it is to be expected that earthquakes will occur and that, if they occur under the seabed, tidal waves will occur also. Yet two sorts of error are still absolutely commonplace. The first of these is the idiotic belief that seismic events are somehow "timed" to express the will of God. Thus, reasoning back from the effect, people will seriously attempt to guess what sin or which profanity led to the verdict of the tectonic plates. The second error, common even among humanists, is to borrow the same fallacy for satirical purposes and to employ it to disprove a benign deity.”
Christopher Hitchens

“And so sovereign Providence has often produced a remarkable effect--evil men making other evil men good. For some, when they think they suffer injustice at the hands of the worst of men, burn with hatred for evil men, and being eager to be different from those they hate, have reformed and become virtuous. It is only the power of God to which evils may also be good, when by their proper use He elicits some good result.”
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy

Christopher Hitchens
“In ridiculing a pathetic human fallacy, which seeks explanation where none need be sought and which multiplies unnecessary assumptions, one should not mimic primitive ontology in order to challenge it. Better to dispose of the needless assumption altogether. This holds true for everything from Noah's flood to the Holocaust.”
Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens
“One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlösung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate.

I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Dorothy L. Sayers
“If God made everything, did He make the Devil?' This is the kind of embarrassing question which any child can ask before breakfast, and for which no neat and handy formula is provided in the Parents' Manual…Later in life, however, the problem of time and the problem of evil become desperately urgent, and it is useless to tell us to run away and play and that we shall understand when we are older. The world has grown hoary, and the questions are still unanswered.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker

Christopher Hitchens
“In the aftermath of the recent wave action in the Indian Ocean, even the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williamson [sic], proved himself a latter-day Voltairean by whimpering that he could see how this might shake belief in a friendly creator. Williamson is of course a notorious fool, who does an almost perfect imitation of a bleating and frightened sheep, but even so, one is forced to rub one's eyes in astonishment. Is it possible that a grown man could live so long and still have his personal composure, not to mention his lifetime job description, upset by a large ripple of seawater?”
Christopher Hitchens

Dee Henderson
“God decided to create a world where free will was more important than no one ever getting hurt. There must be something stunningly beautiful and remarkable about free will that only God can truly grasp, because God hates, literally abhors, evil, yet He created a world where evil could happen if people chose it.”
Dee Henderson

Patricia Crone
“Reincarnation offers a better justification of evil than anything monotheism can offer, but it does so by blaming the victim and sanctifying the status quo.”
Patricia Crone, The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism

Theodor W. Adorno
Das Bedürfnis, Leiden beredt werden zu lassen, ist Bedingung aller Wahrheit.

(The need to lend a voice to suffering [literally: "to let suffering be eloquent"] is the condition of all truth)”
Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics

Immanuel Kant
“Job says what he thinks and feels, and how every person would likely feel in his position. His friends, on the other hand, talk as if they were secretly being watched by the powerful Ruler whose case is open to their verdict, and as if, in making their verdict, they cared more about winning His favor than about the truth. This trickery of maintaining something just to keep up appearances, contrary to their true beliefs, feigning a conviction they did not have, stands in stark contrast to Job’s candor, which is so far removed from flattery that it borders on audacity, but nevertheless casts him in a very favorable light.”
Immanuel Kant

Neal A. Maxwell
“Elder Maxwell on Wintry Doctrines
Elder Maxwell said that “if we are serious about our discipleship Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do.”
This was what he came to call the wintry doctrine at the funeral of a young father in 1996 he put it this way “There are in the gospel warm and cuddly doctrines and then there are some that are just outright wintry doctrines… one of them frankly is that we cannot approach real consecration without passing through appropriate clinical experiences because we don’t achieve consecration in the abstract. … sometimes therefore the best people have the worst experiences… because they are the most ready to learn.” (Bruce C. Hafen, The Story of A Disciple’s Life: Preparing the Biography of Neal A. Maxwell, p. 14)”
Neal A. Maxwell

Johann Baptist Metz
“Radi se mnogo više - i to isključivo - o pitanju kako uopće valja govoriti o Bogu pred neizmjernom poviješću trpljenja svijeta, 'njegovoga' svijeta. To je pitanje, kako ga ja vidim, glavno pitanje teologije; ona ga ne smije niti eliminirati niti svojim odgovorom prepuniti.”
Johann Baptist Metz, Memoria passionis: Ein provozierendes Gedächtnis in pluralistischer Gesellschaft

Johann Baptist Metz
“Odakle dolazi dojam da je Crkva lakše izlazila na kraj s krivcima-počiniteljima negoli s nedužnim žrtvama? Nije li naša kristologija toliko pretjerano determinirana soteriološki da više niti ne dopušta teodicejsko pitanje (na koje se niti može dati odgovor niti ga se može zaboraviti)?”
Johann Baptist Metz, Memoria passionis: Ein provozierendes Gedächtnis in pluralistischer Gesellschaft

“Lamentations' testimony is bitter, raw, and largely unhealed. Its poems use 'wounded words' to illumine pain and resist God's acts in the world.”
Kathleen M. O'Connor, Lamentations and the Tears of the World

Kallistos Ware
“If there is a "problem of evil" there is also a "problem of good." Wherever we look we see not only confusion but beauty. In snowflake, leaf or insect, we discover structured patterns of a delicacy and balance that nothing manufactured by human skill can equal. We are not to sentimentalize these things, but we cannot ignore them.”
Kallistos Ware

“If we did not feel the bitterness of his anger, we would not so sweetly relish His love.”
Timothy Rogers, Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy

Fyodor Dostoevsky
“I don’t want harmony. . . . I’d rather remain with my unrequited suffering and my unrequited indignation, even if I am wrong. Besides, they have put too high a price on harmony; we can’t afford to pay so much for admission. . .”
Dostoevsky Fyodor Dostoyevskyoevsky

Daniel Defoe
“I had been telling him how the devil was God’s enemy in the hearts of men, and used all his malice and skill to defeat the good designs of Providence, and to ruin the kingdom of Christ in the world, and the like. “Well,” says Friday, “but you say God is so strong, so great; is He not much strong, much might as the devil?” “Yes, yes,” says I, “Friday; God is stronger than the devil—God is above the devil, and therefore we pray to God to tread him down under our feet, and enable us to resist his temptations and quench his fiery darts.” “But,” says he again, “if God much stronger, much might as the wicked devil, why God no kill the devil, so make him no more do wicked?” I was strangely surprised at this question; and, after all, though I was now an old man, yet I was but a young doctor, and ill qualified for a casuist or a solver of difficulties; and at first I could not tell what to say; so I pretended not to hear him, and asked him what he said; but he was too earnest for an answer to forget his question, so that he repeated it in the very same broken words as above. By this time I had recovered myself a little, and I said, “God will at last punish him severely; he is reserved for the judgment, and is to be cast into the bottomless pit, to dwell with everlasting fire.” This did not satisfy Friday; but he returns upon me, repeating my words, “‘Reserve at last!’ me no understand—but why not kill the devil now; not kill great ago?” “You may as well ask me,” said I, “why God does not kill you or me, when we do wicked things here that offend Him—we are preserved to repent and be pardoned.” He mused some time on this. “Well, well,” says he, mighty affectionately, “that well—so you, I, devil, all wicked, all preserve, repent, God pardon all.” Here I was run down again by him to the last degree; and it was a testimony to me, how the mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme being of God, as the consequence of our nature, yet nothing but divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of redemption purchased for us; of a Mediator of the new covenant, and of an Intercessor at the footstool of God’s throne; I say, nothing but a revelation from Heaven can form these in the soul; and that, therefore, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I mean the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, promised for the guide and sanctifier of His people, are the absolutely necessary instructors of the souls of men in the saving knowledge of God and the means of salvation.”
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

David Bentley Hart
“I do not mean that there is anything intellectually contemptible in being formally "godless" -- that is, in rejecting all religious dogmas and in refusing to believe in the God those dogmas describe.

One might very well conclude, for instance, that the world contains far too much misery for the pious idea of a good, loving, and just God to be taken very seriously, and that any alleged creator of the universe in which children suffer and die hardly deserves our devotion.

It is an affective -- not a strictly logical -- position to hold, but it is an intelligible one, with a certain sublime moral purity to it; I myself find it deeply compelling; and it is entirely up to each person to judge whether he or she finds any particular religion's answer to the "problem of evil" either adequate or credible.”
David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God : Being, Consciousness, Bliss

Ellen Debenport
“Most people bestow tremendous power onto those human beings we consider evil, who cause of threaten harm to others, even though we know they are acting from their own pain or fear. Would ignoring evil disarm it? Don’t dismiss the idea. As we have declared War on Terror, a War on Drugs, a War on Poverty, a War on Crime, the problems only seem to have gotten bigger. We cling tthe notion of evil as detrimental, unpredictable force in our world and refuse any suggestion that it is not real. We argue for our fear about terrorism or climate change or economic instability, heatedly trying to prove that things are only getting worse. And in doing so, we reinforce the principle that what we focus on grows. We create our experience by where we place our attention. What we resist, persists.”
Ellen Debenport, The Five Principles: A Guide To Practical Spirituality

John Green
“I stand by my pre–Van Houten analysis of the Dutch Tulip Man. Not a con man, but not as rich as he was letting on.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Robert G. Ingersoll
“What would we think of a father, who should give a farm to his children, and before giving them possession should plant upon it thousands of deadly shrubs and vines; should stock it with ferocious beasts, and poisonous reptiles; should take pains to put a few swamps in the neighborhood to breed malaria; should so arrange matters, that the ground would occasionally open and swallow a few of his darlings; and besides all this, should establish a few volcanoes in the immediate vicinity, that might at any moment overwhelm his children with rivers of fire?
Suppose that this father neglected to tell his children which of the plants were deadly; that the reptiles were poisonous; failed to say anything about the earthquakes, and kept the volcano business a profound secret; would we pronounce him angel or fiend?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, On the Gods and Other Essays

“I spoke with the Dungeon Master,” I said.

The room was silent for a bit; there were some looks of confusion.

“That’s your name for the entity that you believe created and controls all of reality?” asked Amaryllis.

“Yes,” I replied.

“And you spoke to it?” asked Grak.

“Yes,” I replied again. “Him. Or, he took a human form, I guess, but I think it was a him. I’m kind of under the impression that he was what he claimed to be.”

Amaryllis was clenching the table. “Please tell me that you were diplomatic.”

I paused slightly and tried to think of how to word it. There were two memories of how it went, and I could put them in sequence because of how one of those memories ended. “We didn’t really prepare for me to meet the all-knowing entity that controls the world,” I said. “It started off with -- look, I think overall it was a positive, productive conversation, but -- I asked him about the problem of pain, and he was kind of a dick about it, so I beat him to death.”

“No,” said Amaryllis. She closed her eyes and shook her head. “No, Juniper, why, I’m pregnant now, I can’t even drink my sorrows away.”

“He wasn’t actually dead,” I said.

“Oh?” asked Amaryllis, opening her eyes. “Really? The all-seeing entity that controls reality didn’t die from you punching it?! How could anyone possibly have seen that coming!”
Alexander Wales, Worth the Candle

Robert Alter
“In several ways the most profound development of the structure of intensification occurs in what is arguably the greatest achievement of all biblical poetry, the Book of Job. When we move from the prose frame story in Chapters 1 and 2 to the beginning of the poetic argument in Chapter 3, we are plunged precipitously into a world of what must be called abysmal intensities. It is only through the most brilliant use of a system of poetic intensifications that the poet is able to take the full emotional measure and to intimate the full moral implications of Job’s outrageous fate. The extraordinary poem that constitutes Chapter 3 is not merely a dramatically forceful way of beginning Job’s complaint. More significantly, it establishes the terms, literally and figuratively, for the poetry Job will speak throughout; and, as I shall try to show in my next chapter, when God finally answers Job out of the whirlwind, the force of His response will be closely bound with a shift introduced by His speech in the terms of the poetic argument and the defining lines of poetic structure. What I am suggesting is that the exploration of the problem of theodicy in the Book of Job and the “answer” it proposes cannot be separated from the poetic vehicle of the book, and that one misses the real intent by reading the text, as has too often been done, as a paraphrasable philosophic argument merely embellished or made more arresting by poetic devices.”
Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry

Robert Alter
“At the very beginning of the poetic argument, we entered the world of Job’s inner torment through the great death wish poem that takes up all of Chapter 3. These first thirty seven lines of God’s response to Job constitute a brilliantly pointed reversal, in structure, image, and theme, of that initial poem of Job’s. Perhaps the best way to sense the special weight of disputation over theodicy is to observe that it is cast in the form of a clash between two modes of poetry, one kind spoken by man and, however memorable, appropriate to the limitations of his creaturely condition, the other kind of verse a poet of genius could persuasively imagine God speaking….

Perhaps the finest illustration of this nice match of meaning and imagery between the two poems is the beautiful counterbalance between the most haunting of Job’s lines wishing for darkness and the most exquisite of God’s lines affirming light. Job, one recalls, tried to conjure up an eternal starless night: “Let its twilight stars go dark, / let it hope for light in vain, / and let it not see the eyelids of the dawn” (3:9). God, near the beginning of His first discourse, evokes the moment when creation was completed in an image that has become justly famous in its own right but that is also, it should be observed, a counterimage to 3:9: “When the morning stars sang together, / and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (verse 7). That is, instead of a night with no twilight stars, with no glimmer of dawn, the morning stars of creation exult. The emphasis in this line on song and shouts of joy also takes us back to the poem of Chapter 3, which began with a triumphant cry on the night of conception—a cry Job wanted to wish away—and proceeded to a prayer that no joyous exclamation come into that night (3:7).”
Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry

R.C. Sproul
“People often ask, ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’ and I say, ‘that’s only happened once and He volunteered.”
R.C. Sproul

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