Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Divinity Matters

 "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me ... I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7 [760 to 700 BCE]

 "[Then] came the day I ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were opened and I was alone - terribly alone in a world without God and without man. Without love or mercy. I had ceased to be anything but ashes, yet I felt myself to be stronger than the Almighty, to whom my life had been tied for so long. I stood amid that praying congregation, observing it like a stranger.”
Elie Wiesel, Night, 1960 CE

"Does the nature of suffering, including its apparent causes [or lack thereof], breadth, duration, and intensity, argue against the existence of a personal God?"

Reconciling the ideas of divinity and humanity ... with the coexistence of good and evil ... and with the mingling of innocence and suffering ... has challenged every generation both before and after Job ... so why should we be any different in 2017?  It seems there is a time for everything in today's world ... and that anything goes ...
  •     a time for the classes, religions and nations of earth to be ripped apart by gaps in wealth, theology and might that are beyond our imagination [much less our understanding] ...
  •     a time for powerful climate changes to unleash ruin ... while powerful nation states unleash war [both military and financial] ... making virtual slaves and/or actual refugees of multitudes [especially the poor] ...
  •     a time for the foundations of current civilization to convulse and collapse one-by-one as human, animal and environmental problems proliferate ... demanding a new world order to rise from the rubble of cities, habitats and nature to fill the resulting void.
We have secured a broad spectrum of capable thinkers to consider this troubling question [and its corollaries] honestly and logically ... and to help us understand ... why reconciling a personal God with evil and suffering has never been and will never be logically possible [or, perhaps, even humanely desirable] ... or why and how we can stand as never before as apologists for the perpetual and undiminished goodness and omnipotence of God [the evil and suffering of all time notwithstanding].

When and Where

Tuesday, November 28th,  7:00 to 8:45 pm
Friends University,
Sebits Auditorium in the Riney Fine Arts Center


With hope and gratitude, please welcome our 6 panelists [in order of acceptance]. Remember, our panelists have busy lives so we do NOT ask them to provide a point of view [POV] statement or suggested readings in advance ... but if they do, we will provide links to those materials following their name/bio below ... and we encourage you to review them in advance as well.

Fr. Paul O'Callaghan (Dean of St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral)
Fr. Sherman A. Orr (Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church)
Rabbi Judah Kogen (Hebrew Congregation)
Rev. Tom Penning (Pastor of Jubilee Presbyterian Church)
Dr. David Cullen (l'Universite des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg)
Jamar Martin (local atheist/agnostic/skeptic community leader)

The Evening's Format

The first half of the evening will consist of each panelist giving an opening position statement. The second half of the evening will be dedicated to questions ... from panelists to their fellow panelists ... and from the audience to panelists ... so bring your questions as well as your answers [if you have any 😕].

And for those of you who are inclined to get some questions out in the open for consideration BEFORE the evening's meeting ... feel free ... join the liberales ... and blog your COMMENTS and REPLIES below as needed/wished to build some trains of thought for us.

NSS  Suggested Readings

Christian and Atheist Ethics : How Much Common Ground? 2013

God Wounds Us Because He Loves Us, Marshall Segal, 2017
Suffering, Jewish Virtual Library
The Problem of Evil, Wikipedia

The Problem of Pain ... CS Lewis, 1940
When Bad Things Happen to Good People ... Rabbi Harold Kushner, 1981
The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? ...  David Bentley Hart, 2005
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically ... Peter Singer, 2015