Bonhoeffer’s Solution to The Problem of Pain

BonhoefferDietrich Bonhoeffer saw and experienced the unmistakable face of pain and suffering during the reign of Nazism in Germany. During his time at Berlin-Tegel Bonhoeffer exchanged letters and wrote notes that are now known as Letters and Papers from Prison. It is in these letters and notes Bonhoeffer explored the problem of pain and suffering. His address of human suffering does not flow from a philosophical armchair reflection as a passive observer but rather that of a deeply moved spectator. It is for that reason we do not find any  classical defenses such as of John Hick’s Soul-making theodicy and Alvin Plantinga’s freewill-defense in his writings.

Bonhoeffer’s solution to the problem of pain and suffering, to which I concisely introduced, was crafted  during his solitary confinement ward at Berlin-Tegel Military Detention Center where Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for his participation in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler. Tegel was the place where he spent his last eighteen months. He was executed on April 9th 1945.

What can Christianity offer in times of prevailing evil? God, in Christianity, according Bonhoeffer, is not deus ex machine, a being that mechanical appears to solve our insoluble problems. He is not a being that we evoke as an explanation of unexplainable due to our epistemic limitation. He is not a being that we call upon to offer us strength in are powerless and weakness moments. No. If Christian God was such a being, then He is no longer needed in the world that is “coming of age”. We are beginning to finally solve our problems. Such a God is “pushed further away and thus is ever on the retreat” (Bonhoeffer 2010: 408-9) [Read more…]

Cosmological Dialogue Concerning God’s Existence

Picasso The Guitarist
Jane: Leibniz stated that “[w]hatever is not from something else is from itself, or from its own essence.”1 Would you agree with the axiom that everything that exists has an explanation of its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause?

John: Yes. Given the Principle of Sufficient Reason, I would agree with that axiom.

Jane: Would you also agree that if the cosmos has an explanation of its existence, then that explanation is in an external cause?

John: No. I side with Peter Atkins on this one. Are you familiar with his Cosmic Bootstrap?

Jane: Cosmic boostrap! NoI am not. Please, enlighten me with his view.

John: Atkins hold that “[s]pace-time generates its own dust in the process of its own self-assembly.”2 The cosmos caused itself.

Jane: How is that possible?

[Read more…]