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On the Question of Suffering

Two authors with new books arrive at different points on the belief spectrum.

The same week the New York Times magazine featured Mark Oppenheimer's skeptical commentary on Antony Flew's late-in-life journey from atheism to theism (which CT editor in chief David Neff responded to here), another NYT columnist, Stanley Fish, offered a thoughtful and generous survey of two recent books that add to the ever-continuing discussion of God, his attributes, and the presence of evil. In his review, Fish displays a keen understanding of classic Christian writers, from Milton to Epicurus to St. Paul, and opens a larger discussion on evil and the meaning of suffering–a discussion worth having by believers and nonbelievers alike.

The first book Fish surveys is from Bart D. Ehrman, who, since his young adulthood, has moved from theism to agnosticism, partially due to an inability to get past the terrific amount of seemingly meaningless suffering in the world. His new book is titled God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer. The other ...

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