Religious Studies 25 (1):1-13 (1989)

James Wetzel
Villanova University
Theodicy begins with the recognition that the world is not obviously under the care of a loving God with limitless power and wisdom. If it were, why would the world be burdened with its considerable amount and variety of evil? Theodicists are those who attempt to answer this question by suggesting a possible rationale for the appearance of evil in a theocentric universe. In the past theodicists have taken up the cause of theodicy in the service of piety, so that God might be defended against libel from humans, particularly the accusation that God's reign lacks justice. Contemporary practitioners, who live in a world where the existence of God can no longer be presumed, tend to favour theodicy as an exercise in securing the rationality of religious belief. Their hope is that one crucial theoretical obstacle to responsible belief in God will have been eliminated, once the idea of God has been reconciled with the reality of evil. What has commonly united theodicists, at least since the Enlightenment, is that they must answer to a non–believing antagonist. Until relatively recently, theodicy has been a debate between apologists for theistic faith and their cultured detractors
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500019685
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