Why do bad things happen in the world

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The question Why do bad thing happen in the world? is a Big Question


Notes

Geertz discusses the "problem of suffering" as one of the reasons behind the development of Religion. According to Geertz, suffering leads to existential angst which religion arises to allay.[1] Interestingly, Geertz shades into a discussion of Evil as an answer to the "problem of suffering" or, as I would say, the question of why bad things happen in the world. According to Geertz, evil is part of a complex of symbols that allows for the recovery of sensibility, [moral] order, and comprehensibility.

Thus the problem of evil, or perhaps one should say the problem about evil, is in essence the same sort of problem of or about bafflement and the problem of or about suffering. The strange opacity of certain empirical events, the dumb senselessness of intense or inexorable pain, and the enigmatic unaccountability of gross iniquity all raise the uncomfortable suspicion that perhaps the world, and hence man's life in the world, has no genuine order at all - no empirical regularity, no emotional form, no moral coherence. And the religious response to this suspicion is in each case the same: the formulation, by means of symbols, of an image of such a genuine order of the world which will account for, and even celebrate, the perceived ambiguities, puzzles, and paradoxes in human experience. [2]

Footnotes

  1. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004.
  2. Geertz, Clifford. “Religion as a Cultural System.” In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, edited by Michael Banton, 1–44. Oxon: Routledge, 2004. p.23.