Stanley Fish of the NY Times writes a book review on both Bart Ehrman and Anthony Flew's newest books. I'm more interested in Ehrman's because of the topic on which he's writing: "God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer.”
I love reading anything Bart Ehrman puts in print, so I'm sure I'll be reading this as soon as possible. Two statements Dr. Ehrman gives in the interview intrigue me:
Given [the] theology of selection – that God had chosen the people of Israel to be in a special relationship with him – what were Ancient Israelite thinkers to suppose when things did not go as planned or expected? . . . . How were they to explain the fact that the people of God suffered from famine, drought, and pestilence?”
And one more...
“If he could do miracles for his people throughout the Bible, where is he today when your son is killed in a car accident, or your husband gets multiple sclerosis? . . . I just don’t see anything redemptive when Ethiopian babies die of malnutrition.”
In the article, Ehrman also goes on to talk about how most books that deal with theodicy do so in such an abstract manner as to tone down the severity of the evil that goes on.
This is not commenting on the book, but rather on theodicy in general. I agree with Dr. Ehrman - it is a great evil that any child would die of malnutrition. It is uncomfortable to look upon death, regardless of how used to it you are. There is always this sense of "This should not be." Without God, not only does evil not make sense, but our response to evil makes absolutely no sense. If Ethiopian children dying of malnutrition is simply the way things should be in a natural world, we should have no qualms over it. It's just how things go. We should be like Camus and think that everything is just absurd, pointless. But we aren't like that. We recognize that this is not how things should be. The reality of evil, outside of syllogisms and textbooks and philosophical glitter, points me in the direction of God, not away from Him.
(HT: Mark Goodacre)