Thoughts About Theodicies

Thinking back to our class discussion regarding the personal religious experiences of each individual, one of the themes that we seemed to continuously stumble upon was the notion of a tragedy being the deterring factor in someone’s relationship within their religion. One of the theories that McGuire discussed in chapter 2 is the concept of theodicies or explanations that are given for these sorts of experiences. Looking at this from my own experiences I can remember hearing people say, most often when a loved one died, that it was just their time and that God had more important things for them to do, or that they had finished everything they had to do in this life, and I would remember thinking whether there was truth to this, or whether it was a justification and a way of coping. Now I look back and realize that someone’s belief in a religion, or belief in a higher power, as well as religious teachings themselves, instill in people that there is a purpose, even when it seems to come at the wrong time, or out of order as most people would feel. Looking at the other side of this story are those whose beliefs don’t carry the idea of a purpose and don’t see an explanation in a disorganized system, those who feel that their higher power wouldn’t allow tragedies, therefore there must not be one. Coming from someone who has grown up in a religious household, I was always taught the greater purposes, but as I got older, I grew to understand where the other half was coming from, and although I haven’t abandoned my religion, I find myself questioning these things as well as found it really interesting, but also relieving that others also identify this way.