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September 14 , 2010

Suffering and the Search for Meaning

Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain


Suffering is a philosophical problem, but it is much more. It is deeply personal. Why is this happening to me? How can I respond to friends and family in pain and loss, and to people in my care? Richard Rice guides readers through the seven most significant theodicies—approaches that have been used to make sense of suffering in light of God's justice or control. He considers the strengths and weaknesses of each option, while always guiding us toward greater understanding and compassion. Rice goes further by offering guidelines for constructing a personal framework for dealing practically with suffering, one that draws from philosophy, ethics, theology and real-world experience. Intending for each of us to find a response to our suffering that is both intellectually satisfying and personally authentic, Rice provides the resources for meeting this challenge. He weaves together the theoretical side of the theodicies with personal stories of people who have experienced great suffering. While no framework can perfectly account for the problem of pain, we are left with the overarching insight that suffering never has the final word.

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