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Richard Beck on Universalism and Theodicy

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  • Richard Beck on Universalism and Theodicy

    Richard Beck's views on universalism with respect to the problem of evil interest me a lot. One aspect of theodicy that's breaking my heart is religious confusion, particularly the kind my family and loved ones are going through now. My sister, for instance, is a very gentle soul, a hard worker, loving wife, etc., but her Christianity has been largely informed by charlatans like Joyce Meyers and "purpose-drivenists." This is partly because she was raised poorly and has a dulled discernment (our mom's a theological dunce and our dad died early and was raised by JWs--that's a whole other story) but also because I'm afraid she doesn't have the intellectual and psychological capacity to construct a more nuanced and workable spiritual worldview that helps her process reality better. Some people just don't, and it's not their fault, IMHO.

    As a result, she's an example of theodicy to me at this present moment, as I feel powerless because I can't help her and don't see a future theological reformation in her future. Such would be a virtual miracle, though I pray and hope it comes because I love her and want her to be less the ball of wound-up anxieties and false hopes she currently is.

    This disturbs and depresses me as much as any starving African child. Somehow I find comfort in seeing Christians like Richard Beck wrestle with the same depression and talk about how universalism takes some of the sting out of theodicy for them in some small measure.

    Here's an example of his thought process:

    http://evangelicaluniversalist.com/f...hp?f=74&t=2991

  • #2
    In this particular case, what do you see as the negative impacts on her life from her approach to religion in general? Do you see it as something that has distorted her life as a whole?

    (Tangent:
    My view is annihilationism; I think it is easier to demonstrate from scripture than universalism. (Universalism sounds nice but honestly just doesn't seem easy to justify from the biblical evidence without a cut and paste approach, which hasn't stopped people from trying.) I don't think it's justifiable to adopt such a view on emotional/philosophical grounds, however, I do think it's fair game to point out that such an approach takes much of the "sting" out of the issue from a theodicy perspective and allows for clearer thinking without the 1,000 pound gorilla of people eternally suffering in hell. But there have already been so many threads on that here and I don't want to turn this into another one.)
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by whag View Post
      Richard Beck's views on universalism with respect to the problem of evil interest me a lot. One aspect of theodicy that's breaking my heart is religious confusion, particularly the kind my family and loved ones are going through now. My sister, for instance, is a very gentle soul, a hard worker, loving wife, etc., but her Christianity has been largely informed by charlatans like Joyce Meyers and "purpose-drivenists." This is partly because she was raised poorly and has a dulled discernment (our mom's a theological dunce and our dad died early and was raised by JWs--that's a whole other story) but also because I'm afraid she doesn't have the intellectual and psychological capacity to construct a more nuanced and workable spiritual worldview that helps her process reality better. Some people just don't, and it's not their fault, IMHO.

      As a result, she's an example of theodicy to me at this present moment, as I feel powerless because I can't help her and don't see a future theological reformation in her future. Such would be a virtual miracle, though I pray and hope it comes because I love her and want her to be less the ball of wound-up anxieties and false hopes she currently is.

      This disturbs and depresses me as much as any starving African child. Somehow I find comfort in seeing Christians like Richard Beck wrestle with the same depression and talk about how universalism takes some of the sting out of theodicy for them in some small measure.

      Here's an example of his thought process:

      http://evangelicaluniversalist.com/f...hp?f=74&t=2991
      My mom is in a similar place (though for deep seated emotional reasons more than intelligence). I share your pain . I think this is why Paul was so fiery against the Hyemeneus and Philetus' of his day. "Shipwrecking the faith" or others can do real, terrible damage.

      For someone like your sister, I'm not sure if there's a cure in addition to the vaccine though- other than fervent prayer. I personally think that God will pity her in her ignorance, though. Joyce Meyer is the one who will answer for it on Judgment Day.
      O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Immortal Father, Heavenly, Holy, Blessed Jesus Christ! Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening, we praise God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For meet it is at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise. O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world doth glorify Thee.

      A neat video of dead languages!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
        In this particular case, what do you see as the negative impacts on her life from her approach to religion in general? Do you see it as something that has distorted her life as a whole?
        "Distorted her whole life" might be a stretch, as I have a relationship with her and her husband that's satisfying and genuine, which would be difficult to maintain if that distortion was extremely pronounced. That being said, I can see that her husband, an extremely sweet and commendable human being, isn't fulfilled by the Christianity they both practice, which is evidenced by their dependence on cigarette smoking (both of them) and dependence on anti-depressant pharmaceuticals (him). Also, I'm noticing that my sister is slipping into a paranoia with respect to UFO experience and gravitation toward conspiracy belief. I believe this is a mental condition that has nothing to do with Meyer/purpose-drivenists, per se, but definitely relates to theodicy as with respect to mental deterioration.

        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
        (Tangent:
        My view is annihilationism; I think it is easier to demonstrate from scripture than universalism. (Universalism sounds nice but honestly just doesn't seem easy to justify from the biblical evidence without a cut and paste approach, which hasn't stopped people from trying.) I don't think it's justifiable to adopt such a view on emotional/philosophical grounds, however, I do think it's fair game to point out that such an approach takes much of the "sting" out of the issue from a theodicy perspective and allows for clearer thinking without the 1,000 pound gorilla of people eternally suffering in hell. But there have already been so many threads on that here and I don't want to turn this into another one.)
        I appreciate the tangent (as I share your interest in soteriology), but the context of Beck's post isn't so much soteriology as theodicy. Theodicy concerns me more at this moment than soteriology.
        Last edited by whag; 12-12-2014, 04:52 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
          My mom is in a similar place (though for deep seated emotional reasons more than intelligence). I share your pain . I think this is why Paul was so fiery against the Hyemeneus and Philetus' of his day. "Shipwrecking the faith" or others can do real, terrible damage.

          For someone like your sister, I'm not sure if there's a cure in addition to the vaccine though- other than fervent prayer. I personally think that God will pity her in her ignorance, though. Joyce Meyer is the one who will answer for it on Judgment Day.
          Inasmuch as universalism is true, the concept of "Judgment Day" doesn't fill me with any discernible hope for justice. Anyone who does what Joyce Meyer does I view as someone in need of divine counseling rather than torture or even ultimate obliteration.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by whag View Post
            Richard Beck's views on universalism with respect to the problem of evil interest me a lot. One aspect of theodicy that's breaking my heart is religious confusion, particularly the kind my family and loved ones are going through now. My sister, for instance, is a very gentle soul, a hard worker, loving wife, etc., but her Christianity has been largely informed by charlatans like Joyce Meyers and "purpose-drivenists." This is partly because she was raised poorly and has a dulled discernment (our mom's a theological dunce and our dad died early and was raised by JWs--that's a whole other story) but also because I'm afraid she doesn't have the intellectual and psychological capacity to construct a more nuanced and workable spiritual worldview that helps her process reality better. Some people just don't, and it's not their fault, IMHO.

            As a result, she's an example of theodicy to me at this present moment, as I feel powerless because I can't help her and don't see a future theological reformation in her future. Such would be a virtual miracle, though I pray and hope it comes because I love her and want her to be less the ball of wound-up anxieties and false hopes she currently is.

            This disturbs and depresses me as much as any starving African child. Somehow I find comfort in seeing Christians like Richard Beck wrestle with the same depression and talk about how universalism takes some of the sting out of theodicy for them in some small measure.
            While I disagree with universalism, I believe that we are judged by our capacity and by what we have been taught. Teachers, after all, will be judged more severely (James 3:1).
            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
            sigpic
            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              While I disagree with universalism, I believe that we are judged by our capacity and by what we have been taught.

              Teachers, after all, will be judged more severely (James 3:1).
              Moreover, there are no teachers who weren't themselves taught. The world is rampant with people who think they're decent teachers.

              Rather than emphasize strictness of judgment, the verse should say "Not many of you should become teachers because you'd really really suck at it."

              Comment


              • #8
                But then, such is human arrogance that nobody ever thinks they'll be the one to suck.
                O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Immortal Father, Heavenly, Holy, Blessed Jesus Christ! Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening, we praise God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For meet it is at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise. O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world doth glorify Thee.

                A neat video of dead languages!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by whag View Post
                  Moreover, there are no teachers who weren't themselves taught. The world is rampant with people who think they're decent teachers.
                  Actually, no. Many people think they can pick up the text and teach from it themselves without having been taught. And it's not that they think they're decent teachers, but they think they're correct and that therefore people should listen to what they have to say.
                  Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                  Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                  sigpic
                  I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    Actually, no. Many people think they can pick up the text and teach from it themselves without having been taught.
                    While some are taught and are horrible at conveying the subject they're supposedly expert in. Degrees mean nothing, for the most part.


                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    And it's not that they think they're decent teachers, but they think they're correct and that therefore people should listen to what they have to say.
                    I've yet to meet the person who thinks she's correct and should be listened to and doesn't think she's a decent teacher.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
                      But then, such is human arrogance that nobody ever thinks they'll be the one to suck.
                      In the middle of getting my BA in English, I decided I wouldn't be a good professor. Thankfully, I found another career to apply my degree to (toward which to apply my degree?).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whag View Post
                        While some are taught and are horrible at conveying the subject they're supposedly expert in. Degrees mean nothing, for the most part.
                        Degrees mean, nominally, that one can learn.
                        I've yet to meet the person who thinks she's correct and should be listened to and doesn't think she's a decent teacher.
                        I suppose, but I see people assert that they should be listened to because they're correct far more often than people assert that they should be listened to because they're decent teachers. I'm fairly certain that teaching is not one of my skills.
                        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                        sigpic
                        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          Degrees mean, nominally, that one can learn.
                          No, they don't, IMHO. I've met uneducated people who absorb and process information far better than degreed people.

                          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          I suppose, but I see people assert that they should be listened to because they're correct far more often than people assert that they should be listened to because they're decent teachers. I'm fairly certain that teaching is not one of my skills.
                          Same here. I've had some great teachers, and I know I don't have that level of talent. Not enough people acknowledge that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whag View Post
                            "Distorted her whole life" might be a stretch, as I have a relationship with her and her husband that's satisfying and genuine, which would be difficult to maintain if that distortion was extremely pronounced. That being said, I can see that her husband, an extremely sweet and commendable human being, isn't fulfilled by the Christianity they both practice, which is evidenced by their dependence on cigarette smoking (both of them) and dependence on anti-depressant pharmaceuticals (him). Also, I'm noticing that my sister is slipping into a paranoia with respect to UFO experience and gravitation toward conspiracy belief. I believe this is a mental condition that has nothing to do with Meyer/purpose-drivenists, per se, but definitely relates to theodicy as with respect to mental deterioration.
                            I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how this ties into the concept of theodicy (probably because I've always approached that issue from a different angle). Can you elaborate on the connection you're making?
                            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by whag View Post
                              In the middle of getting my BA in English, I decided I wouldn't be a good professor. Thankfully, I found another career to apply my degree to (toward which to apply my degree?).
                              I know the feeling. I think I'm too much of a pedantic micromanager to make a good teacher. I'd rather write.
                              O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Immortal Father, Heavenly, Holy, Blessed Jesus Christ! Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening, we praise God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For meet it is at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise. O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world doth glorify Thee.

                              A neat video of dead languages!

                              Comment

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