Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Problem of Evil - event at Uni. Melb.
This coming Tuesday, 15 September, I will be one of four speakers at a session to take place at the University of Melbourne on the Problem of Evil - the difficulty of reconciling the existence of evil in the world (or perhaps the kind of evil, with its actual extent and intensity, origin, effects, etc.) with the supposed existence of the orthodox Abrahamic God, a being that is said to be all-good (in a sense that has something to do with lovingness or benevolence), providential, all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. Such a being would appear to have every reason to wish to prevent or eliminate evil, as well as having the power to do so. So, whence the evil? Obviously lots of theologians and philosophers of religion have attempted to provide answers over the years.
It will be held at 1:00pm - 2:00pm in the Copland Theatre, Economics & Commerce, on the main University of Melbourne campus. For those who want more, there's an informal follow-up session afterwards in Union House with some light refreshments + QNA, until 3:00pm.
The other participants are Rev. Dr Peter Adam (Principal of Ridley Theological College), Barney Zwartz (Religion Editor for The Age), and Lyn Allison (a high-profile former Senator for the Australian Democrats). The MC is Catherine McDonald, the co-founder & convener of Melbourne’s Philosophy Cafe. The event is hosted by the University of Melbourne Secular Society.
Do come along if interested. This is intended to be a cozy discussion rather than a debate, and - who knows? - the two theologians may even agree with the two ungodly types (Lyn Allison and myself) that the Problem of Evil is a real difficulty for traditional theists. A lot of theologians seem to think that these days, though they may also have different views as to what the main line of tradition is. Perhaps we'll see some Karen Armstrong style insistence that no one really believes (or should believe) in that sort of God anyway. Then again, maybe we'll get some spirited attempts to justify the ways of God to Man. And maybe Lyn Allison will have surprising views - I don't know exactly what position she takes on this topic.
However it plays out, the event is certain to be illuminating ... and with any luck, entertaining.