Dinesh D’Souza Debates Bart Ehrman on Theodicy (Serious Saturday)

“Let us not grovel for the beetles and the earthworms of almost forgotten faiths which may perchance be discovered beneath the stones and sod of the Old Testament, while the violets and the lilies-of-the-valley of a sweet and lowly faith are in bloom on every page and every oracle revealed within the Word of God is jubilant with songs of everlasting joy. The true religion of Israel came down from God arrayed in the beautiful garments of righteousness and life. We cannot substitute for this Heaven-made apparel a robe of human manufacture, however fine it be” (Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly? The Sunday School Times, 1922).

Theodicy [thee-od-uh-see] noun, plural -cies. a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.

theodicy, (from Greek theos, “god”; dikē, “justice”), explanation of why a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God permits evil. The term literally means “justifying God.” Although many forms of theodicy have been proposed, some Christian thinkers have rejected as impious any attempt to fathom God’s purposes or to judge God’s actions by human standards. Others, drawing a distinction between a theodicy and a more limited “defense,” have sought to show only that the existence of some evil in the world is logically compatible with God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness.

The problem of evil lies at the very heart of the biblical account and serves as the crux of the unfolding drama of redemption, and it is this problem that Bart Ehrman really rejects God. Dr. Ehrman has written a few books on the evidential reasons he rejects God, however, he admits he rejects God for other reasons. Which is good, because his “scholarship” in regards to his assumed reasoning for his rejecting of the Christian God has been excoriated and found wanting, and… frankly, full of contradictions. So this debate is getting to the core of Ehrman’s “crux” of the problem… which is why this is still the biggest problem for skeptics, because Christianity (alone), offers not only an emotional fix for life (James 1:2), and an answer beyond this current life (1 Corinthians 15:42).* 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  We can get ourselves into trouble in our Christian lives if we don’t put the totality of our hope upon our coming inheritance in heaven. It is a package deal, so-to-speak. So this debate is an important one as it gets to the center of what Christianity answers best in comparing non-faith to it.

*…During the last quarter century or so, an enormous amount of philosophical analysis has been poured into the problem of evil, with the result that genuine philosophical progress on the age-old question has been made. We may begin our inquiry by making a number of distinctions to help keep our thinking straight. Most broadly speaking, we must distinguish between the intellectual problem of evil and the emotional problem of evil. The intellectual problem of evil concerns how to give a rational explanation of the coexistence of God and evil. The emotional problem of evil concerns how to comfort those who are suffering and how to dissolve the emotional dislike people have of a God who would permit such evil. The intellectual problem lies in the province of the philosopher; the emotional problem lies in the province of the counselor. It is important to keep this distinction clear because the solution to the intellectual problem is apt to appear dry, uncaring and uncomforting to someone who is going through suffering, whereas the solution to the emotional problem is apt to appear superficial and deficient as an explanation to someone contemplating the question abstractly. Keeping this distinction in mind, let us turn first to the intellectual problem of evil….


But, of course, when one says [the problem of evil is] “solved” one means “philosophically resolved.” All these mental machinations may be of little comfort to someone who is intensely suffering from some undeserved evil in life. This leads us to the second aspect of the problem mentioned earlier: the emotional problem of evil.

For many people, the problem of evil is not really an intellectual problem: it is an emotional problem. They are hurting inside and perhaps bitter against a God who would permit them or others to suffer so. Never mind that there are philosophical solutions to the problem of evil—they do not care and simply reject a God who allows such suffering as we find in the world. It is interesting that in Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, in which the problem of evil is presented so powerfully, this is what the problem really comes down to. Ivan Karamazov never refutes the Christian solution to the problem of evil. Instead, he just refuses to have anything to do with the Christian God. “I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I am wrong,” he declares. His is simply an atheism of rejection.

What can be said to those who are laboring under the emotional problem of evil? In one sense, the most important thing may not be what one says at all. The most important thing may be just to be there as a loving friend and sympathetic listener. But some people may need counsel, and we ourselves may need to deal with this problem when we suffer. Does Christian theism also have the resources to deal with this problem as well?

It certainly does! For it tells us that God is not a distant Creator or impersonal ground of being, but a loving Father who shares our sufferings and hurts with us. Alvin Plantinga has written,

As the Christian sees things, God does not stand idly by, coolly observing the suffering of his creatures. He enters into and shares our suffering. He endures the anguish of seeing his son, the second person of the Trinity, consigned to the bitterly cruel and shameful death of the cross. Some theologians claim that God cannot suffer. I believe they are wrong. God’s capacity for suffering, I believe, is proportional to his greatness; it exceeds our capacity for suffering in the same measure as his capacity for knowledge exceeds ours. Christ was prepared to endure the agonies of hell itself; and God, the Lord of the universe, was prepared to endure the suffering consequent upon his son’s humiliation and death. He was prepared to accept this suffering in order to overcome sin, and death, and the evils that afflict our world, and to confer on us a life more glorious that we can imagine. So we don’t know why God permits evil; we do know, however, that he was prepared to suffer on our behalf, to accept suffering of which we can form no conception

Christ endured a suffering beyond all understanding: he bore the punishment for the sins of the whole world. None of us can comprehend that suffering. Though he was innocent, he voluntarily underwent incomprehensible suffering for us. Why? Because he loves us so much. How can we reject him who gave up everything for us?

When we comprehend his sacrifice and his love for us, this puts the problem of evil in an entirely different perspective. For now we see clearly that the true problem of evil is the problem of our evil. Filled with sin and morally guilty before God, the question we face is not how God can justify himself to us, but how we can be justified before him.

J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2003), 536-537, 550-551.

A Horrible Truth Begs the Question, Should the Black Community [as a whole] Reject Liberalism and Go Back To Their Conservative (independent/entrepreneurial) Roots

From Larry Elder:

“Blacks are under attack,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, irresponsibly turning the Florida shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, at the hands of Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman into a barometer of black-white “race-relations.”

President Barack Obama, three years past his inauguration as American’s first black president, weighed in, too. As when he accused the Cambridge police of “acting stupidly,” Obama injected race, but this time a little less directly: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

The implication, of course, is that race undoubtedly played a role in the death of Trayvon Martin. A special prosecutor as well as a Florida grand jury will examine the case, re-interview all the witnesses and go over all the evidence.  Zimmerman may well be charged with murder, and a racially motivated one at that. Or the prosecutor may find the evidence insufficient to convince a jury that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.

No matter whether Zimmerman is charged or convicted, a tragedy occurred. But is Jesse Jackson right, that the death of Trayvon Martin suggests “blacks are under attack,” presumably by racist non-blacks?

True, black men, especially young ones, stand a much greater chance of being murdered than white males. But almost all murders involve a victim and a killer of the same race. Yes, instances of black-white murder — as, for example, when James Byrd, a black man of Jasper, Texas, was dragged to his death by three white men — do exist.  But nationally, according to the Department of Justice, 53 percent of known homicide suspects in 2010 were identified as black — although blacks comprise only 13 percent of the population. And in murders involving a single black victim and a single offender, 90 percent of the time it is a black perpetrator who murders the black victim. Similarly, 83 percent of whites are murdered by other whites.

What happened in Sanford, Fla. — a white person killing a black person — is extremely infrequent, occurring in 8 percent of black homicides. In saying “blacks are under attack,” Jackson paints a picture of whites targeting and hunting down black males.

Look at the 2010 stats for New York City. While blacks comprise about 25 percent of the city’s population, blacks accounted for two-thirds of murder victims. For black homicide suspects arrested, 85 percent of their victims were also black.

The leading causes of death for all young men ages 15 to 29, according to a 2006 Kaiser Family Foundation study, regardless of race or ethnicity, are unintentional injury (e.g., car accident, firearm or drowning), suicide and homicide. Not for young black men. The number one cause of death in this demographic is murder. The homicide death rate for young (age 15 to 24) African American men (85 per 100,000 persons) is three times the rate for young Hispanic men (30 per 100,000 population), the population group with the next highest homicide mortality rate. The rates for young Asian and young white males are 9.8 and 5.0 per 100,000, respectively.

In one recent Chicago weekend, 49 people were shot, 10 fatally, including a 6-year-old black girl. Did President Obama issue a statement? Black-on-black crime, like black-on-white crime, does not fit the liberal media’s narrative of the continuing problem of white racism.

How selective is the outrage about interracial crime — when the bad guy is black?

Ken Tillery, in 2002, walked down a Jasper, Texas, road. Three men offered him a ride. But the men kidnapped Tillery, driving him to a remote location. John Perazzo of FrontPageMagazine.com describes what happened: “When the terrified Tillery jumped out of the vehicle and tried to flee, the kidnappers caught up with him, beat him and finally ran over him — dragging [emphasis added] him to his death beneath their car’s undercarriage.”

Same town, a few years after the James Byrd murder, a black-white murder in the same fashion  — by dragging a man to his death — but no story! Why? Well, Tillery was white, and the three suspects were all black. The irony alone would, one would think, guarantee lots of coverage. But how much coverage did the case get? An online search of 557 newspapers found that 22 covered the story.

In a scene from “Menace II Society,” a movie about the struggles of inner-city black youth, a tough black high school teacher advises two black male students: “Being a black man in American isn’t easy. The hunt is on — and you’re the prey.” We hear a police siren in the background as the teacher gives his admonition — just in case the identity of the hunter is unclear. But reality tells a very different story, one that even Jesse Jackson once acknowledged. 

In 1994, in an unguarded moment while discussing urban crime, Jackson told an interviewer he’s relieved when the footsteps on the street behind him belong to white — rather than black — feet.

The Telegraph & Mail Online:

…The 17 year old [Shawn Tyson], who shot the men [James Cooper and James Kouzaris] as they begged for their lives, will die in prison.

His conviction of first degree murder carries an mandatory life sentence without the chance of parole.

The powerfully built teen even looked bored as emotional DVD presentations about the dead men prepared by their grieving parents were shown in court.

Tyson, who has the word ‘Savage’ tattooed across his chest didn’t show a flicker of emotion, slumping in his seat as he was forced to watch a montage of photos showing the victims from early childhood to young men.

Two close friends of the dead men who had attended the eight day trial in Sarasota, Florida. had also delivered highly emotional impact statements to the court prior to the sentencing.

Paul Davies and Joe Hallett spoke of the “living hell” they and others who knew the men had suffered since the murders.

During the eight day trial they had been shown graphic crime scene and autopsy photos shown in court.

Later speaking after Tyson was jailed Davies and Hallett lashed out at Mr Obama saying the deaths of their friends was “not worthy of ten minutes of his time.”

Davies said:”We would like to publicly express our dissatisfaction at the lack of any public or private message of support or condolence from any American governing body or indeed, President Obama himself.

“Mr Kouzaris has written to President Obama on three separate occasions and is yet to even receive the courtesy of a reply.

“It would perhaps appear that Mr Obama sees no political value in facilitating such a request or that the lives of two British tourists are not worthy of ten minutes of his time.”

The rebuke follows Mr Obama’s personal intervention into the shooting in Florida of a young black teenager by a white-Hispanic neighbourhood watch captain.

The death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin has sparked nationwide protests with his supporters claiming he was victim of a racist attack….

According to the stats given by Larry Elder, Obama’s fictitious son has more of a chance looking like Shawn Tyson than Trayvon Martin.

Some GREAT[!] Audio from Todays Supreme Court Justices, Kennedy & Roberts (Updated with Sotomayor and Scalia)

Keep in mind that Kennedy is the “swing” vote, and it seems he is leaning towards the conservative side.

Justice Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, appeared skeptical of solicitor general Verrilli’s claims that the individual mandate is not based upon the idea that the government can force people into commerce and that there is no limit on its power to do so. I would be hopeful that she would apply the law/Constitution properly. She could have been trying to allow the Obama admin lawyer a forum to restate his case, better than when questioned by the other Justices. We will see.