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The premise of this book is that Richard, young acquaintance of Yancey's, lost his faith in the process of completing a degree at a Christian college-- prompting Yancey to embark on a two-week silent retreat in which he reads the Bible from cover to cover, attempting to find a response to Richard's questions.
What results is a fairly traditional set of theodicies (attempts to explain the apparent co-existence of God and of evil). There are many such theodices floating around. In Disappointment With God, Yancey posits three of them:
1. If God were more inclined to intervence in the world and to perform miracles, we would actually be less inclined toward faith-- we would gripe and be dissatisfied, as were the ancient Hebrews wandering in the desert with their pillar-of-fire God.
2. Things may SEEM to be going horribly for us, but God has a greater plan, just as was the case for Job. Everything will eventually work out for the best.
3. It may seem possible to explain the events of the world without God, but such a view is reductionistic, somewhat like characterizing a symphony in terms of its sound waves. (This discussion moves somewhat away from the Problem of Pain)
That these (or any) theodices are problematic has been discussed at length elsewhere, and there is no space to do so here. To Yancey's credit, he at least writes with empathy and with a reluctance to blame either the victim, or anyone else, for the existence of pain. I also sense that he is opening these questions to a community for whom they are taboo.
However, I dare say that Yancey ultimately fails to answer Richard's questions. His explanations for the Problem of Pain lead us to some rather terrible conclusions, in short, that for God, the end justifies the means and also the idea that to have faith un-bolstered by miracles is "worth" the sacrifice of human lives.
For a more interesting consideration of "God's point of view", I would recommend "God: A Biography" by Jack Miles.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Disappointment with God?
The book is honest and tries to deal with this very hard question truthfully. It's given me some answers and I'm satisfied with them.
What other book might you compare Disappointment with God to and why?
I haven't read any other books on this topic but what I liked about it is that Yancey did not try to 'convince' people about the reality of God, but dealt with this question honestly, giving his own 'doubtful' experience.
What does Jay Charles bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He is a good reader but I guess his accent is difficult for me sometimes.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
Good book overall. I was inspired by it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful