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Publisher's Summary

In times of questioning and despair, people often quote the Bible to provide answers. Surprisingly, though, the Bible does not have one answer but many "answers" that often contradict one another. Consider these competing explanations for suffering put forth by various biblical writers: The prophets: suffering is a punishment for sin.
The book of Job, which offers two different answers: suffering is a test, and you will be rewarded later for passing it; and suffering is beyond comprehension, since we are just human beings, and God, after all, is God.
Ecclesiastes: suffering is the nature of things, so just accept it.
All apocalyptic texts in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament: God will eventually make right all that is wrong with the world.
For renowned Bible scholar Bart Ehrman, the question of why there is so much suffering in the world is more than a haunting thought. Ehrman's inability to reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of real life led the former pastor of the Princeton Baptist Church to reject Christianity.
In God's Problem, Ehrman discusses his personal anguish upon discovering the Bible's contradictory explanations for suffering and invites all people of faith - or no faith - to confront their deepest questions about how God engages the world and each of us.
©2008 Bart D. Ehrman (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kaeli on 05-03-08

Despite "Suffer the little children"

Ehrman's latest book puts forth the Scriptural answers for why there is suffering, in addition to historical and modern interpretations of these answers, and explains how these answers fall short. Each section examines a different suggestion for the problem of suffering and looks at New and Old Testement answers to them. Included are the ideas of suffering because of God-given Free Will, suffering as a test of faith, suffering as punishment, suffering to teach lessons, and suffering as an Apocolyptic sign-and of course that we cannot know God's reason for "allowing" suffering. He even includes the parent analogy-that God is like a parent who must punish His children. Though it is not as Scriptually founded as many of the other arguments, it is a common modern argument (right up there with Free Will).
A good protion of this book is set aside as Ehrman's own memoir of how he became (as he calls it) Dead Again-deciding that he no longer believes the tennets of his Born-Again faith and becoming an agnostic. This book is an excellent analysis of what many believers and non-believers grapple with, and many eventually come to the same conclusions he does-that the Bible does not explain in any real and satisfying way how an all-loving and all-powerful God can allow so many people to die of starvation, malaria, cruelty, etc-and he provides devistating statistics. It may also be useful for people trying to understand the position many take in not being able to believe in God-despite this, Ehrman is NOT an atheist, nor is he trying to convert anything. He presents the literary/Biblical criticism of Scripture,tries to understand it, and applies classic philosophy to the arguements he's heard. This book never came close to making me question my own faith, but it has lead me to think more closely about some of the more painful aspects of divinity.

Good narration that matches the tone of the author's meaning.

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31 of 37 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By GARY on 02-12-13

A Great Original View of God, "A Must Read"

What made the experience of listening to God's Problem the most enjoyable?

This is the third book I have read from Mr. Ehrman, he really has a world class bible background. It is so clear he has spent his whole life thinking of this topic. It is well thought through and recored very well. This book really does a great job in asking the question "Why does God allow so much suffering in the world", not just present day but as it seems, our entire past! He uses common sence in his presentation, he is more middle of the road then Richard Dawkins, not that I don't love his work, just a very differant style.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By R. Roberts on 07-18-15

Makes sense out of Biblical nonsense

Such a breath of fresh air after growing up with all the confused explanations of suffering given my by Christian mentors.

The second and third chapters found my mind wandering a bit but the rest of the book hit the nail on the head.

Although I would always prefer to hear the author himself (Ehrman narrates some of his other books) this was a very good performance.

The author crystallises the main reasons for suffering given by different Biblical authors and then after years of deep thought shares his personal views on each one.

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