If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle. —Dave Barry
I’ve been memed with a question about God’s goodness in the face of evil and suffering. I thought I would answer with this snippet from The Family Circus:
I only recently learned that this topic is known by theologians as “theodicy.” This is not to be confused with “The Odyssey,” a story about some guys that get lost in a boat, “Theo Dicey,” a bookie in Queens, or theodolite, “a surveyor’s instrument for measuring angles.”
Answering this question is akin to trying to give an unbiased answer to the question, “Am I handsome?” I lack a certain objectivity. Perhaps the Mars Lander will help us. When people ask me questions that make me uncomfortable I tend to crack jokes. This has caused some trouble in my marriage. Even so, rather than giving a straight answer to the question I thought I would quote from the two greatest theologians that America has ever produced, Emily Dickinson and Dave Barry.
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—
The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—
The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllables from Sound—
Now on to Dave Barry:
- The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.
- Karate is a form of martial arts in which people who have had years and years of training can, using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.
[OK, those first two didn't necessarily address theodicy. But these do.]
- If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
- How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter ? [Actually, by Woody Allen.]
- According to Rob (my son), I understand the universe about as well as a barnacle understands a nuclear aircraft carrier.
- Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason. [Actually by Martin Luther]
- People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
- Black holes are where God divided by zero
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you’d prefer a more scholarly assessment of theodicy consider this article at Wikipedia.