Why does a good and all-powerful God allow us to experience such pain and suffering? This question, so often asked, has been approached in a variety of ways. In this illuminating and powerful book, Hauerwas explores why we seek explanations for suffering and evil so desperately in today’s world. He draws on true cases of ill and dying children to illustrate and clarify his discussion of the theological issues. Modern medicine, he claims, has too often become a noisy way to hide the gaping silences created by the experiences of childhood illness and death. He discovers for us a God who “can give a voice to that pain in a manner that at least gives us a way to go on.”
Offering no easy answers or false comforts, Naming the Silences is a provocative and sensitive exploration of pressing issues that concern us all.
This book is also part of the Theology and Doctrine Collection (16 Vols.)
“Apparently it never occurred to the early Christians to question their belief in God or even God’s goodness because they were unjustly suffering for their beliefs. Rather, their faith gave them direction in the face of persecution and general misfortune. Suffering was not a metaphysical problem needing a solution but a practical challenge requiring a response.” (Page 51)
“Rather, I am trying to remind us that theodicy is basically a parasitic endeavor that draws its life from more positive modes of life.” (Page 39)
“My point is not to deny the reality of suffering—in particular, suffering that bears the mark of evil (that is, suffering which seems ‘caused’ by a power for no reason)—but rather to suggest that there is no such thing as suffering that challenges belief in the existence of God as such.” (Page 68)
“I am convinced, however, that it is only as we are able to locate our lives in relation to those lives which manifest God’s glory that we are graced with the resources necessary to live with our silences.” (Page xii)
“ atheism is essentially parasitic.’2 Without the theist, atheism is irrelevant.” (Page 40)
This valuable book deserves to be widely read and appreciated.
—James F. Childress, University of Virginia
Hauerwas’ book is a theological classic.
—Duncan Forrester, University of Edinburgh
Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. Prior to that, he was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. In 2001, he was named “America’s Best Theologian” by TIME Magazine. Hauerwas is the author of numerous books, including Unsettling Arguments, Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir, Christian Existence Today, and Living Gently in a Violent World.