Sunday, February 10, 2013

Evil Versus Suffering (PhD Edit)

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Evil Versus Suffering

Vermeer, within his study, makes a distinction between evil and suffering.[1]  Evil is a harmful event or situation that causes human suffering.[2]  Natural disasters and disease would be considered evil;[3] whereas, in contrast, suffering is the active emotional human response to evil.[4]  Evil is not suffering, but it is only when human beings attempt to find meaning with the negative results of evil that suffering exists.[5]  As Francis Young (1999) points out, there is no simple satisfactory answer for suffering within theodicy,[6] but the cross of Christ has the power to provide a genuine meaning in the lives of Christians.[7]  Suffering was part of Christ’s redemptive work.[8]  Bonhoeffer writes suffering, along with rejection ‘sum up the whole cross of Jesus’ as he died on the cross, Christ faced human rejection.[9]  Gebara offers a different position when she writes that the suffering of a God-man has been used by certain people to accept their own suffering within conformity,[10] and some religious movements can use this concept of suffering to cover up ‘misery or unjust crosses.’[11]  Gebara notes that suffering caused by evil persons committing wrong actions, should be distinguished from ‘anguish present in every human life.’[12]  The existence of evil is understood,[13] but Vermeer and the Nijmegen school are attempting to make empirical sense of resulting suffering, in light of the saving work of Christ on the cross.  



[1] Vermeer (1999: 7).
[2] Vermeer (1999: 7).
[3] Vermeer (1999: 7). 
[4] Vermeer (1999: 7). 
[5] Vermeer (1999: 7).
[6] Young (1999: 556).
[7] Young (1999: 556).
[8] Bloesch (1987: 127).
[9] Bonhoeffer (1937)(1963: 96).
[10] Gebara (2002: 90).
[11] Gebara (2002: 90).
[12] Gebara (2002: 90).
[13] From research, at least within liberal and conservative Christian traditions, evil is deemed to exist, as is the problem of evil.  This is not to state that every single documented religious philosophy acknowledges evil and the problem of evil.

BLOESCH, DONALD G. (1987) Freedom for Obedience, San Francisco, Harper and Rowe Publishers.

BONHOEFFER, DIETRICH (1931)(1996) Act and Being, Translated from the German Edition, Hans-Richard Reuter (ed.), English Edition, Wayne Whitson Floyd, Jr., (ed.), Translated by H. Martin Rumscheidt, Fortress Press, Minneapolis.

BONHOEFFER, DIETRICH (1937)(1963) The Cost of Discipleship, Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York.

GEBARA, IVONE (2002) Out of the Depths, Translated by Ann Patrick Ware, Minneapolis, Fortress Press. VERMEER, PAUL (1999) Learning Theodicy, Leiden, Brill.

VERMEER, PAUL (1999) Learning Theodicy, Leiden, Brill.

YOUNG, FRANCIS (1999) ‘Suffering’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.


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Jeff said...

Here's one regarding Evil vs. Suffering (though meant in a somewhat different way, and not exactly politically correct):

DON CHERRY, Canadian Hockey Commentator for CBC Television, was asked on a local live radio talk show, what he thought about the allegations of torture of suspected terrorists. His reply prompted his ejection from the studio, but to thunderous applause from the audience.

HIS STATEMENT:

"If hooking up one rag head terrorist prisoner's testicles to a car battery to get the truth out of the lying little camel shagger will save just one Canadian life or American, then I have only three things to say:

'Red is positive, black is negative, and make sure his nuts are wet."

Jeff said...

Got an error, so trying again:

Evil [people] vs. Suffering [for their evil]:

DON CHERRY, Canadian Hockey Commentator for CBC Television, was asked on a local live radio talk show, what he thought about the allegations of torture of suspected terrorists. His reply prompted his ejection from the studio, but to thunderous applause from the audience.

HIS STATEMENT:

"If hooking up one rag head terrorist prisoner's testicles to a car battery to get the truth out of the lying little camel shagger will save just one Canadian life or American, then I have only three things to say:

'Red is positive, black is negative, and make sure his nuts are wet."

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Good ol' Don.

If one goes that route...

Thanks, Jeff.

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