Why? God and Tragedy

In the wake of horrific tragedies, you often hear this question: Why? RadioWest is hosting an occasional series of conversations that ask scholars, theologians and philosophers how faith traditions understand the role of God in human life. It's an age-old question - but why does God allow bad things to happen?


Mon August 26, 2013
August 27, 2013 | Culture

Why? Greek Gods, Human Lives

Poseidón (Pabelló Grecia) - Expo Zaragoza 2008
Image by Josep M Marti/Creative Commons via flickr

The classical scholar Mary Lefkowitz says that modern discussions about why tragedies occur begin with the premise that God is all-present, all-knowing and always good. That's not the way ancient Greeks understood the divine though. It was a world in which suffering was unavoidable, and the gods could be beneficent, hostile or completely uninterested in human affairs. Tuesday, we continue our series on God and tragedy with Lefkowitz, who joins us to explain how unpredictable gods could bring out the best in humanity.

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Mon May 20, 2013
May 21, 2013 | Culture

Why? An Evangelical Answer

Image by Pierre/Creative Commons via flickr

Tuesday, we return to our series on the nature of God and why tragedy is part of the human condition. Our guest is the Baptist theologian Albert Mohler. For Mohler, the answer can be summarized in one word: sin. Moral evil, he says, is the direct result of man's revolt against God's authority and the responsibility for tragedy lies squarely on human shoulders. Dr. Mohler joins Doug to explain how asking why God allows suffering is the wrong question and how he understands mercy and redemption as God's answer to tragedy.

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Tue March 19, 2013
March 20, 2013 | Culture

Why? The Book of Job

Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Image by andrevanb/Creative Commons via flickr

Wednesday, we continue our series on why a loving God would let bad things happen with a look at The Book of Job. It's of course the story of a successful man who loses everything: his wealth, his children and his own health. It's all the result of a contest between God and Satan, where God allows this suffering to test his faithful servant. Doug is joined by the scholar and Conservative Rabbi Harold Kushner for a discussion about the ancient fable and what it teaches us about God.

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Tue February 26, 2013
February 27, 2013 | Culture

Why? An Atheist Answer

Earthquake Memorial, Gyumri, Armenia
Image by Tony Bowden/Creative Commons via flickr

Wednesday, we offer the second in our series of conversations aimed at this age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people? Our guest is the evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins, who says that science is exactly the place to look for answers. He argues that once we acknowledge that we are on our own, without a god to question or blame, we can move on to doing something constructive about human suffering.

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Wed February 6, 2013
February 7, 2013 | Culture

Why? A Mormon Answer

Image by midiman/Creative Commons via flickr

Why would a loving God allow horrible tragedies to happen? It's an age-old question and one that gets revisited whenever stories of mass shootings and sweeping natural disasters make headlines. Thursday, we're beginning an occasional series of conversations with theologians and thinkers to explore the question. We begin with Mormon scholars Terryl and Fiona Givens. They've recently co-authored a book called The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life

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