I was recently contacted by a conservative Christian theologian who was interested in doing a public back and forth with me, not necessarily a debate but an exchange of ideas on the issue of theodicy – how to explain evil in a world over which God is sovereign.

What puzzled me was his explanation for suggesting the event.  He said he had followed my work for years and had read my books, but was surprised recently to find out that the reason I no longer believed in God not “for historical reasons” but because of the problem of suffering.

I have to say, I found this comment to be completely mystifying.  I still do.

Not for the rather obvious reason that, contrary to what he said, he clearly had *not* been following me for many years or read my books.  A constant theme of my work (blog, books, interviews) is that I became an agnostic because of the problem of suffering.  One of my books, God’s Problem, is devoted specifically to the issue, and it shows up just about anywhere you can find me.  I suppose that rather than reading my work he has heard about it from others.  That’s fine, but you would think he wouldn’t have to lie about it.  Or maybe he just can’t read and listen?  More likely, I suppose, he was just being polite.

But, as I say, that’s not what really did and does mystify me about his comment.  This person is a professor in an accredited Christian university.  That must certainly mean he has a PhD in theology.  With that as my assumption, I have to ask:  how can

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