Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The problem of evil

At a site I visit frequently one of the members questions the effectiveness of prayer: "I don't pray because of Pascal's wager, for I do believe. I pray because I want God to listen, even if He won't alter predestination or random negative events. Knowing God could alter them but won't is a tough way to rationalize our earthly intelligence with that of a supreme being." He refers to a group to which he belongs studying C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain and also to a couple he knows who are experiencing great physical and emotional hardship. There are a lot of responses to his enquiry including one that led me to the lecture below by Peter Kreeft, who begins by quoting from the preface of that book by Lewis:
...[T]he only purpose of the book is to solve the intellectual problem raised by suffering; for the far higher task of teaching fortitude and patience I was never fool enough to consider myself qualified, nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.
That is also what Kreeft attempts here acknowledging that answering the intellectual problem may not help those in the midst of emotional crisis. I have always found Kreeft helpful as an apologist and this is pretty good. It takes about an hour and a quarter.