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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?

Why? Greek Gods, Human Lives

Image by <a href="http://bit.ly/1caRlQt">Josep M Marti</a>/<a href'=" http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>
Poseidón (Pabelló Grecia) - Expo Zaragoza 2008";

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.

Mary Lefkowitz is Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Among her books is Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths [Indiebound|Amazon]

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