Talking Through the Problem of Evil

So now that you’ve read through this session’s reading material, you should have a better idea of some answers to the problem of evil, even for this current coronavirus crisis. How do you actually, practically use this, though, say in a coffeeshop conversation? The best answer is to ask questions. Don’t take them in order like they’re presented here, of course. Ask, then listen, then ask another question as appropriate. Here are some sample questions:

  • What is it you’re really asking?
  • Is this a current hurt you’re dealing with? Or were you wondering something more like, how does the reality of God square with the existence of evil in our world?
  • If it’s a current hurt
    • How can I help? (Then do what helps!)
  • If it’s a theory-based question:
    • What do you mean by that?
    • Could you clarify, please?
    • Can you imagine a case where one person would have good reason to allow another person to experience some pain in their lives?
    • What kind of a world do you think it would be if humans could only do what was right?
    • What kind of a world do you think it would be if God prevented our bad decisions from having evil effects?
    • Would you like living in that kind of world?
    • Do you think it might change the entire meaning of what it means to be human?
    • What if God had a longer-term plan in mind for solving the problem of evil — do you think that might be possible?
    • If not, why not?
    • Can you see the possibility that God might have knowledge and wisdom beyond ours? Do you think that might make a difference in our understanding of evil?
  • If it’s a challenge, like “God can’t be real, because of evil”
    • What do you mean by that?
    • How did you come to that conclusion?
    • What does evil mean, in your opinion?
      • Based on the answer to that, explore some of the thoughts in the page on “The Atheist Problem of Evil.”
    • Also some of the above questions, which would help in this case as well.

Some of these questions come from Greg Koukl and his book Tacticshighly recommended, by the way!

Congratulations!

You’ve completed the reading for this session. Feel free to review, of course.

Now you can join in with your group or individually in viewing the teaching video>>>

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