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Therapeutic Theodicy? Suffering, Struggle, and the Shift from the God’s-Eye View

Department of Philosophy, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
Religions 2018, 9(4), 99;
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theodicy)
PDF [209 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


From a theoretical standpoint, the problem of human suffering can be understood as one formulation of the classical problem of evil, which calls into question the compatibility of the existence of a perfect God with the extent to which human beings suffer. Philosophical responses to this problem have traditionally been posed in the form of theodicies, or justifications of the divine. In this article, I argue that the theodical approach in analytic philosophy of religion exhibits both morally and epistemically harmful tendencies and that philosophers would do better to shift their perspective from the hypothetical “God’s-eye view” to the standpoint of those who actually suffer. By focusing less on defending the epistemic rationality of religious belief and more on the therapeutic effectiveness of particular imaginings of God with respect to suffering, we can recover, (re)construct, and/or (re)appropriate more virtuous approaches to the individual and collective struggle with the life of faith in the face of suffering. View Full-Text
Keywords: anti-theodicy; theodicy; suffering; epistemic injustice; problem of evil anti-theodicy; theodicy; suffering; epistemic injustice; problem of evil
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Griffioen, A.L. Therapeutic Theodicy? Suffering, Struggle, and the Shift from the God’s-Eye View. Religions 2018, 9, 99.

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