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clifhostetler

Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

God's Problem CD

God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer - Bart D. Ehrman, L.J. Ganser This book is part personal spiritual memoir and part biblical analysis. It comes across as a rambling lecture by a bible professor who likes to tell stores about himself and expound on world history in addition to discussing the biblical subject at hand. The combination kept my interest while providing an educational experience.

Mr. Ehrman provides a thorough review of Biblical views of evil and suffering that includes both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament. He uses easy to understand language, and when academic and theological terms are used they are clearly defined. His analysis of the book of Job I found to be particularly well done. Mr. Ehrman can now evaluate the book of Job without trying to defend God's actions, now that he has publicly announced that he's an agnostic.

Yes it's true! He states early in the book that he now considers himself to be an agnostic. And that is after starting out as an evangelical fundamentalist and attending the conservative bastions of Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. Wow, what a roller coaster ride that must have been!

I am sympathetic with his spiritual journey except that the beginning and ending points are less extreme in my own case. However, I wish Mr. Ehrman had mentioned some of the alternative concepts of God that he apparently passed over on his journey from being fundamentalist to becoming agnostic. Ehrman is sufficiently well informed to know that there are images of God that don't require God to be a divine and cosmic baby sitter. Ehrman has concluded that since there is suffering in the world, God can't possibly be anything that is humanly imaginable. Does this include a God who simply doesn't intervene in the physical universe? Does that include a God who is the "ground of being?" Perhaps Ehrman didn't want to hurt his book sales by trying to discuss difficult to understand concepts of God. He wanted to make sure he got his share of the "No-God" genre by staking out a position somewhere between Richard Dawkins and Billy Graham.