God's Problem
God's Problem
God's Problem
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Type: Audio Book
Format: mp3
Language: English
User Rating: 3.8571 out of 5 Stars! (7 Votes)

In this sometimes provocative, often pedantic memoir of his own attempts to answer the great theological question about the persistence of evil in the world, Ehrman, a UNCChapel Hill religion professor, refuses to accept the standard theological answers. Through close readings of every section of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, he discovers that the Bible offers numerous answers that are often contradictory. The prophets think God sends pain and suffering as a punishment for sin and also that human beings who oppress others create such misery; the writers who tell the Jesus story and the Joseph stories think God works through suffering to achieve redemptive purposes; the writers of Job view pain as God's test; and the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes conclude that we simply cannot know why we suffer. In the end, frustrated that the Bible offers such a range of opposing answers, Ehrman gives up on his Christian faith and fashions a peculiarly utilitarian solution to suffering and evil in the world: first, make this life as pleasing to ourselves as we can and then make it pleasing to others. Although Ehrman's readings of the biblical texts are instructive, he fails to convince readers that these are indeed God's problems, and he fails to advance the conversation any further than it's already come.

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| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Bart Ehrman is one of the most prolific and well respected authors and scholars on Biblical studies today. God's Problem is a deeply personal look at the struggle that Ehrman (and each true seeker of truth) faces when examining their beliefs:

* If God is All Powerful

* If God is All Loving

* Why is there suffering?

Ehrman then examines many of the Biblical attempts to answer this age old question - through the Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah and the prophets, the Gospels, the Epistles, apocolyptic literature ranging from Daniel to Revelation, and even extends it to Dostoyevsky. The challenges, contradictions and intellectual wangling come to life in his writing.

Ehrman's personal wrestling with these same issues and with a Biblical knowledge that was honed over decades of study leads him to an agnostic worldview.He is clear and consise in his argument for it, and provides the reader with much to ponder.And while the challenges to faith are real and powerful, the book presents a position that is non-dogmatic.Understanding that the book is a reflection of Ehrman's personal struggles with the topic (and he doesn't hide this perspective at all) leaves the reader open to maintain, adapt or adopt any belief system on the topic.

A good book, one that will make you think, and think critically.The philosophy and scholarship is as sound as any on Biblical exegesis and history, and the personal aspects make it extremely appraochable for the scholar and layman alike.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Ehrman's book was well written, lucid, comprehensive & thoroughly convincing; an excellent study. Now, after reading it, I'm an agnostic. Dang.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Whether or not one agrees with professor Ehrman's views, this book is most thought-provoking. Non Christians always ask, "Why does God allow suffering?" while Christians generally gloss over the issues and come up with an Adam-and-Eve answer or something equally unsubstantial. Whether you are a believer or unbeliever, this book will provide you with plenty of food for thought. If you are a Christian, you will see the questions commonly raised believers. It is a most useful book on all accounts.

| 1 out of 5 Stars!

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said, 'I don't believe that God exists.''Why do you say that?' asked the customer.
'Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children?
If God existed, there would be no suffering and no pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.' The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument.

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard.He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to the barber,'You know what? Barbers do not exist.''How can you say that?' asked the surprised barber. `I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!' 'No!' the customer exclaimed. 'Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.' 'Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me.'

'Exactly!' affirmed the customer. 'That's the point!God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help.That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world.'

| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Outstanding study of issue of suffering in human life.Author provokes readers into facing the flaws in traditional answers to the question of "why suffering" and bravely states his own conclusions.You don't have to agree with the author to appreciate his integrity and sharp intellect.

| 4 out of 5 Stars!

This is the second Ehrman book that I have read. I too believe that when you consider all the arguments for and against god that suffering and evil in the world are critical ones. Bart makes a logical progression from the most obvious reasons for suffering such as punishment for sin or teaching a lesson, to less obvious justifications that are intimately tied to doctrinal issues (redemptive suffering and testing faith), to other biblical perspectives (apocalyptic grounds). Like any theory, no one explanation for suffering covers all cases of suffering and some are even contradictory.

For suffering to be "rational" it should have an objective (that humans can appreciate). What good does it do a person or a people when they severely punished to the point of debilitation (or death) when a milder form of consequence would have done the trick?The eternal suffering in hell has no redemptive or corrective value--can god be eternally upset with a person whom he designed to be weak and prone to temptation?

More disturbing, is this the god we are supposed to model? Doesn't "loving" mean just enough correction to bring one back on the right path? Suffering and evil can only exist in the world if god permits them. While Christians may say it is a mystery that will be explained in the next life, it is hard to image a reason why innocent children and masses of normal people all over the world suffer in their everyday existence, who are no more evil than you or me.

In the end there may be no answer for suffering other than naturalistic explanations of which many happen (from our limited perspective) randomly.

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