Reposting from biologos Facebook page, theodicy

Maybe someone has a response to this question. After reading Charles Taylor’s book A Secular Age I have started looking into the topic of theodicy. Per Charles Taylor’s research from approximately 1500 to present theodicy in the past was not as pressing an issue as it is currently. Given that premise, what current factors are contributing to the urgency and elevated importance on the issue of theodicy ?

Welcome to the forum. I’m not sure what you mean by a pressing issue. Pressing for who? People trying to do Christian apologetics and convince non-believers of something? Christians trying to have rational faith? Christians who accept the evolutionary model and the idea of death, disease, suffering, and other “natural evil” as a part of creation before human sin?

Thank you for providing me with the term, “natural evil.” I don’t think it’s going to satisfy the AIG crowd, but it puts a term to something I have recognized but haven’t been able to put my finger on.


Education and religious liberty.

People don’t have to pretend belief in order avoid being attacked by rabid theists or those just using theism as an excuse to murder and rob other people. And because of greater education more people are aware of the basic problem which theodicy addresses.

That is the only “current factor” “contributing to the urgency and elevated importance on the issue of theodicy” which I can see.

So frankly, among the educated I see VERY little reason to accept your premise since the plain fact is that the argument known as “the problem of evil” was made by Epicurus in the 4th century BC.

But of course there were times when people didn’t know about that such as medieval Europe after the conquest of barbarians when the teachings of the Greeks were lost to them. Even in 1800 the literacy of the world was only 12% and that has increased to 86% by 2016.

I’ve been reading about the “just world hypothesis,” which implies that all things happen as a result of good or bad deeds. Sometimes, that’s more common in fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists, from what I read. It is hard for them to believe that bad things just occur. I’m not sure of all the implications, but I do think such a view can change over time. For example, when they were younger, some of my kids would automatically assume a missing toy was stolen, when it just got lost by entropy (which is a pretty strong force :)) Now, at 13 and 11, that’s not an automatic assumption.

It is an automatic tendency of mine (perhaps to control things) to believe that what happens to me, happens because of my behavior–at least, in times of significant uncertainty, I think it happens. I think that’s a natural human tendency.

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A simple Google search turns up numerous research papers and books for 2021 across all groups you mentioned in your questions. One of which was published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies titled Progess on the Problem of Evil with a proposed Moral Progress Approach. Dr. Taylor in his book A Secular Age raises the issue of a preoccupation with theodicy in the current age that was unknown in comparison to previous ages.
Hence my question for the opinion of others as to what factors others see as being behind the quest.

Thank you. Your comment on controlling things was insightful.

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So Dr. Taylor’s take as referenced in his book A Secular Age is false?

Welcome to the Forum, thanks for bringing your question here. I hope that the people are nice to you. AHEM. :rofl: Be nice y’all, I sent him here. because this place is at least better than the conversations that take place in Facebook comments.


I certainly think Taylor is wrong. I think there was no more belief in 1500 and no less belief in 2000. The so called failing of religion and Christianity is a complaint sees quite frequently in Christian history with very little truth to it. What we see instead are periodic eras of disillusionment and rebirth as Christianity stale with justifications that just don’t work any more find new life and faith in the Biblical teachings. People seem to have this recurring disease where they replace their faith in God with a faith in the false premises of arguments. And they only need such arguments in the first place in order to turn Christianity into tool of power to force it (and what they have made it mean) on other people.

I reject all such arguments as nonsense. And I see secular rule as the champion of religious liberty. The only end I see this secularization bringing is an end to the belief in God and Christianity for all the wrong reasons. After all this has been going on for centuries and instead of Christianity being swallowed by indifference, what we have seen is a recurring rebirth of Christianity.

How do I know this? Because it is my own life. I was not raised Christian, but by non-believers who made me only too well aware of all that was wrong with the Christian establishment – so much so that I can criticize Christianity better than most atheists. But if atheists think that Christianity ends with their rejection of it, they are just as delusional as Christians who think they can be assured that their children will follow as they have indoctrinated them. LOL

Furthermore, I have no part in stale rationalizations of old Christianity. There is life to be found in Christianity apart from this use of Christianity as a tool of power and gain.

Thanks, Randy. I had not heard of this before, even in my fundi church.
What I think would not satisfy the AIG folks about “natural evil” (as I understood Christy’s use of it) is their denial that any kind of death (natural evil) existed before the fall, and this makes any natural biological processes, as we know them now, impossible. “Therefore evolution can’t be the explanation for the origins of life.”
But it is entirely possible I misunderstood what Christy meant by “natural evil”. I’ll reread.

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I’ve been absent-minded enough for long enough that I haven’t particularly worried about that happening, just about “Where did I leave __ this time, I need it soon?”

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