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  • Hodder & Stoughton

The Hardest Problem: God, Evil and Suffering

Rupert Shortt

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The former religion editor of the TLS Rupert Shortt writes an accessible contemporary reflection on the perennial question of human suffering.

To many, the problem of evil and suffering constitutes by far the most serious objection to mainstream religious belief. For all its starkness and salience, though, the dilemma is also widely misinterpreted. That visceral feelings often dominate discussion is understandable on one level. But this can displace the clearer-headed thinking needed to shed greater light on the subject.

In this brief but broad-ranging book, Rupert Shortt shows that belief in a divine Creator is much more coherent intellectually than many sceptics suppose. Basic misconceptions about core aspects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam can in turn spawn still greater caricatures of subjects including divine power. Having cleared the ground, Shortt goes on to discuss the nature of evil from a classical Abrahamic standpoint and how Christian resources in particular offer guidance in an area where raw emotion, conceptual thought and the deepest trials of the spirit overlap. If the dilemma has no clear solution, that need not discredit sensitive and creative ways of grappling with it.

The Hardest Problem is an accessible contemporary reflection on the perennial question of human suffering.

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Rupert Shortt

Rupert Shortt is religion editor of The Times Literary Supplement and a former Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. He writes for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard. His books include Benedict XVI (2005), Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack (2012), Rowan's Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop (2014) and God Is No Thing: Coherent Christianity (2016).

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