Theology Questions With Sample Answers

1-Define the part of theology that is technically known as theodicy. Pick an example of extraordinary evil in the world and present it briefly. Use your example to explain the relevance of the problem of theodicy. Why is theodicy said to be more central to monotheistic religions than to other forms of religion? 

            Theodicy, as coined by Leibniz, refers to man’s attempt to defend or justify the God in relation to the existence of evil in the word by answering pertinent questions with regard to this problem. The problem involves God being all powerful and good, creating the whole universe while evil still exists in the world. In essence, the problem begins with an assumption that God being all powerful, it would be in his plan to eliminate all forms of evil(Livingston 12). Many grapple with this problem, as they end up coming to a conclusion that seems to suggest that if God is all knowing and powerful, then it seems as though his power is limited as there are occasion when His ,much-needed intervention is missing. Others contend that by virtue of the sheer might that God wields, the only logical explanation that can be provided for evil in the word is that God is most probably on a mean streak. It was from this problem that it was concluded that theodicy is, in fact, a science that treats the question of God, by exercising one’s ability to reason. The science bit is considered because there is the systematic arrangement of contents about man’s knowledge of God while demonstrating each of all the propositions held using a strict outlook of what the world is. Theodicy also appeals to various aspects of nature found in the world with as the origin of its proof wit theology consequently drawing its inspiration from supernatural revelation through feeling, perception, and the furnishing of inner perception.

 

Theodicy’s most important task is to prove that God actually does exist as it presupposes that it is possible to have knowledge of the suprasensible and that one can transcend the immediate and pure limits of experience. General metaphysics and soteriology are also used to furnish this justification. Metaphysical principles such as individuals accept the existence of God without knowledge of why point to natural impulse as the only logical meaning(Livingston 23). Critics of theodicy use an argument that seems to suggest that if God has interacted with the world, why does it still have many cases, day in day out, of unimaginable pain and suffering? Take for example the case of a the Moro Gulf 1976 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Philipines, and in particular the islands of Sulu and Mindanao where the casualties reported numbered 8,000. A surprising fact is that 92% of the population in the Philipines is Christian, but still, this did not stop the calamity from occurring. It is a difficult fact to wrap one’s head around especially if this is being explained to a critic of theodicy.  It will be hard for a person who lost loved ones in this terrible disaster to accept the position of theodicy, that God is all knowing, powerful and good, especially when a majority of those who perished revered Him as the only true living God.

Theodicy is central issue that plagues monotheists because at the epicenter of their belief is the existence of only one divine being. It is because of this reason that the question of the existence of evil, pain, and suffering always seems to deeply trouble a monotheist. For a polytheist, things are quite different. They always have a god or a force to blame whenever disaster strikes as they are aware that there are many plays in this game they call existence. It is important to acknowledge that this debacle of evil is not an issue to individuals that in essence posit the very existence of unseen deities in the supernatural realm that transcend all knowable senses and are beyond matter, space, time and space(Livingston 56). An issue only arises when one claims that there  is one God  who is omniscient, omnipotent and not forgetting, perfect. It was for this reason that polytheistic practices had a prima facie to Pagans in the ancient times as it was easier for them to point a finger to a particular god when struck by an unfortunate occurrence.

 


2- What role does salvation play in religion, both for the individual and the whole community? Give an example of how an individual can perceive salvation and explain the ways he/she follows in order to attain it (for example, you can explain how a Buddhist perceives Nirvana and seeks to achieve it by following the way of meditation

Salvation in almost all the known religions refers to the deliverance that mankind will undergo from all fundamentally disabling and negative conditions that are experienced on earth. Included in this list is death, finitude, suffering, and evil(Livingston 12). Furthermore, there are those religions that refer to salvation as the rising, to a higher realm, of the natural word and all that is in it.  Causes of salvation can vary from free will, the grace of a deity and an individual’s personal effort through means of asceticism or prayer. In monotheistic religions such as Christianity, the widely accepted view is that it is sin that creates the barrier that does exist between man and God. In pantheistic religions, however, the problem becomes epistemological when the suggestion made seems to suggest that the human self-perceives an ultimate reality that is impersonal Salvation thus refers to  the liberation from ones ignorance.

Salvation plays an important to an individual and the community as a whole as it offers them a chance for redemption. It is this offer that appeals to most of the die-hard adherents of religion as they now have a chance at entering the eternal paradise that they hope to go to after death and escaping any form of eternal damnation(Livingston 78). In a large majority of the religion that exist, the afterlife and what happens to someone once they die often preoccupies the teachings that are derived from its doctrine. It is the hope of many that after they die and leave behind all the evils, pain and suffering of the world, the transition will be smooth ascending to a new peaceful realm that assures them of tranquility. Having experienced all the evil and suffering that can befall one, religious people hope for a new life devoid of all they had witnessed before in their past life. It is from this perspective that religion becomes important to an individual as they now have a chance for a better experience after passing away. For the purpose of this question , the perception of salvation according to Buddhism will be the looked into with particular focus on Nirvana can how it can be achieved through meditation.

The origins of Buddhism are firmly grounded in an attempt to address the wanton suffering that was present in the world. One of the tenets of this religious doctrine is the existence of salvation which was evident in the teachings of Buddha. In early Buddhism, this salvation was referred to as nirvana that was meant to extinguish all forms of karma present. Nirvana is the end of one’s rebirth and is not a state or a place. Salvation in Buddhism is attained when an individual their true nature inherently as mere human beings. A common practice to enable one reach nirvana is meditation. Through meditation, one is able to reach the “Buddha nature” which is the liberation from all forms of bondage. It occurs through a process of transformation in the awakening and the consciousness of an individual to the true nature that we all have. Meditation the becomes the vehicle that is to transport a Buddhist to nirvana where they will experience a transcendence that brings peace together with it.

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