Tag Archives: evil

The Christian Easy Button and Evil (114)

In this episode John, Gregg, and Charlie continue their discussion from the previous episode on the problem of evil.

John notes his frustration that hard topics like evil are sometimes brushed away or avoided by appealing to God’s mysteriousness or our inability as humans to understand God’s ways.

Gregg counters this idea strongly.  In his view a key aspect of what is required to live authentically–to have genuine relationship with God or with oneself–is having gone through the process of asking the question about / investigating the problem of evil.
Gregg explains that just as we in the West are an information-saturated culture, so too we are a culture where the problem of evil is presented in so many ways that no one can remain unaware of it.
Continue reading

Do People Grapple with the Problem of Evil? (113)

In this episode John and Gregg are again joined by John’s good friend Charlie, now from Portland OR.  During this meeting

Following their previous discussion Gregg expresses his excitement about how Charlie experienced more self-awareness, a greater sense of connection with others, and a greater sense of connection with God through his time in San Francisco (where he was involved with Storyline, counseling and Bible study actually).

Gregg explains that he sees the three components as, at least in part, representing the three main orientations that are promoted in the Biblical text: understanding what / who God is, what / who we are as human beings, and how the two are best to relate to each other.  In Gregg’s view, the result of cultivating these understandings is that people are better able to develop right relationship with God, with oneself, and with others.

Charlie notes how his focus was on his own personal story, and how this particular time in his life was unusually conducive to the connections that he was seeking.  John suggests that one way of doing this would be having people on the podcast to tell their personal, “untangling” stories.
Continue reading

99: Is Christianity Easy?

In this episode John and Gregg discuss the idea that being a Christian should be “easy,” a notion with which Gregg largely disagrees.

As part of doing his own work John has been making slow progress in his reading of a Chronological Daily Bible, with commentary by F. LaGard Smith.  John has been in Genesis and comes across a section where Smith inserts a section observing that the book of Job possibly happened at the same time.  Gregg references Dillard and Longman’s Introduction to the Old Testament to offer some information on Job, including considerations of its genre.

John questions Smith’s conclusion about the reason for Job’s adversity.

Job’s life will become the basis for a literary masterpiece dealing with suffering and the issue of its causes.  Little does this humble man know how his very personal adversity will be a source of comfort to multitudes of fellow-suffers for centuries to come. That fact alone might well have something to do with why he is called upon to experience such adversity. (page 22)

So John wonders, does God really bring suffering? Or, at what point does suffering amount to “evil”?

Continue reading

79: Beneficial Disagreement

In this episode John wonders why Gregg was so pleased when, during the last episode, Tommi disagreed with Gregg’s perspective.

Gregg explains that he is excited and positive about several things. First, that listeners such as Tommi are listening attentively to our episodes, grasping what is being said, formulating their own views on the subject, and being willing to engage with us about the differences. Further, Gregg is becoming further aware of his own perspective on Christianity, even that much of what he and John are doing through this podcast (and in particular, challenging what “counts” as information sources about God, about humanity, and about the relationship between the two) Gregg would now consider to be his vocation.

Gregg summarizes how his spiritual journey (of being a Christian for 7 or 8 years, then as an agnostic for 7 years, and finally as a Christian again for the past 15+ years) was very painful yet also very beneficial. John guesses that this a rare trajectory. Gregg explains that even as his current views about Christianity have been formed by this difficult process, so too Gregg believes that the integration of Christian beliefs and human existence that he is presenting will be mostly unfamiliar (and so challenging) to others. And so perhaps the best sign that listeners are really engaging with this material is that they are having some of the same reactions that Gregg had himself, when he was first grappling with these ideas!
Continue reading