|By Ass. Prof., Theol. Dr., Niels Christian Hvidt
Research Unit of Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
Post Conference Ressources
Manus – download here
Audio Presentation – listen here
Audio Q&A – listen here
Article – download here
CV – open here
Theology has always reflected on the problem of evil, in particular the problem of innocent suffering, usually in the theological realm of theodicy. This problem has always challenged faith in a God who abounds in goodness and power and may thus well be the greatest challenge to theistic religions. The problem of evil has been said to constitute the core of present-day theological thought since modern human beings, especially sufferers, cannot ask about God in their cultural surroundings without inquiring about evil. Believers throughout the ages have lost their faith because of personal encounters with sickness and suffering which they believed God would have prevented. Thus, theodicy is not merely an issue of academic theology but imposes itself often when people experience suffering that struggle with, both physically, psychologically and spiritually. An important paradox complicates things further: Suffering can be both an obstacle and an occasion for faith (“Anstoss des Glaubens” in the double sense of the word.) Thus, there is growing awareness that the sufferings people encounter have, for many, become the pathway to faith in God.
The purpose of my presentation is to introduce the audience to some of the perspectives theology has provided on the problem of evil and to evaluate how they might provide solace for sufferers.