Tuesday, September 9

Our Conundrum

God's Problem

Bart D. Ehrman


In Bart D. Ehrman's book God's Problem, an ancient difficulty is examined by Ehrman. On one hand, we have the " all loving" God (with many, many exceptions) ,the horrific world in which we find ourselves living. If we find ourselves living in the world Ehrman does, it is not a happy scene at all, despite protestations to the contrary.

Ehrman seems to be in a constant wrestling match between God (traditionally created) and all the agonies we face. However, the books are - for lack of a better term - a more holistic vision. While any Bible or Torah is certainly a wide-ranging text, what can Ahura Mazda say to us? Or Krishna? How can the writers of Talmud affect or color the original texts? In the more modern version, how can Thomas Merton (whom I greatly admire) affect our ways of thinking?

I don't think what is generated is as much a tabula rasa as much as a tabula "holistica". Do I believe that any thinking will see suffering wiped out, or, more realistically, understand it? Of course not. But what I can do is alleviate the suffering, and protest the outrages. This is one area in which Ehrman and I can agree.

I myself have accepted Buddhist teachings. However, Thich Nhat Hanh has, ironically, felt a deep appreciation for Christian teachings. Not in the very traditional sense, but it is there. Perhaps if we see more holistically, we will see more.

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