Why Bad Things Happen to Good People: Polytheism as a Response to Questions of Human Suffering
Dr. Tom Howe
Dr. Amy Schreier
Dr. Ian Oliver
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
This thesis argues that there are some interpretations of Christian traditions which are not adequate in response to questions of human experience, particularly suffering, which results in a crisis of faith. Questions of purpose or greater meaning of suffering people face are often answered by their relationship to the divine. Through the process of critiquing the American Prosperity Gospel, Karl Barth’s Universal Predestination of Grace, and biblical narratives, I argue that there are some authoritarian monotheistic conceptions of divinity which do not adequately respond to questions of human suffering. As a way of providing an imaginative approach to divinity, I then explore a polytheistic understanding of divinity based on the ancient Greek pantheon. Through the examination of myths, I offer that a polytheistic understanding of divinity might be helpful for people who find monotheistic divinity limiting to respond to questions of faith. I explore the possibility of a divinity which exemplifies human behavior and displays a range of human experiences. Recognizing that a divinity could be fallible also relieves the pressure of measuring up to heavenly standards which could be liberating for some people. This is an exploratory thesis which looks to question commonly held beliefs and push for adequate answers when some understandings of the oppressive, restricted monotheistic divinity does not allow for inclusive or creative answers to suffering.
Date of Award
© Mikaela L. Taylor
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Taylor, Mikaela L., "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People: Polytheism as a Response to Questions of Human Suffering" (2023). Regis University Student Publications (comprehensive collection). 1067.