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The Hardest Problem

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399802727

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 17th August 2023

Genre: Humanities / Religion & Beliefs / Christianity

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How can a supposedly all-powerful and all-loving God permit evil and suffering on a grand scale?

The question has assailed people across cultures at least as far back as the biblical Book of Job. To sceptics, it forms clinching evidence that all talk of providence is childish — or even a dangerous delusion. Writing clearly and concisely but avoiding simplistic answers, Rupert Shortt argues that belief in a divine Creator is intellectually robust, despite apparent signs to the contrary. Having cleared the ground, he goes on to show how a Christian understanding, in particular, points the way forward through terrain where raw feeling, intellectual inquiry and the toughest trials of the spirit often overlap.

The Hardest Problem takes its place alongside the work of C. S. Lewis as an essential guide to one of life’s deepest dilemmas for a new generation of readers.

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'Wise, informed and immensely thoughtful'
Alister McGrath
Julia Neuberger
'One of the most cogent writers of our day'
Peter Sedgwick
'Deep theological knowledge and spiritual discernment'
John Barton
A stunning challenge to the casual atheism of our age
Angela Tilby
His arguments are powerful
Bishop Erik Varden
The book succeeds in presenting a reasoned case for holding fast to the reality of God, as Christianity understands it, and not shirking from the troubling existence of suffering.
Mark Vernon
Rupert Shortt is clear and incisive in this new work of theodicy
Iain McGilchrist
intelligent and lucid
Melanie McDonagh
a profoundly helpful book
Timothy Radcliffe
Unlike most participants in this lively debate, Rupert Shortt hasn't decided the answer before asking the question . . . After all, evil and suffering are not a problem to be fixed but a mystery to be entered.
Sam Wells
Shortt has an admirable gift for making the obscure lucid, for chasing away confusions, and for saying a great deal in a small space without sacrifice of substance or profundity
David Bentley Hart
Rupert Shortt gets to grips with this philosophical, theological, pastoral and human conundrum incisively but sensitively
Fr Alban McCoy
The Hardest Problem contains hard thought, emotional honesty and keen awareness of the issues.
This is an immensely attractive exposition of Christian faith, accessible to a wide readership, and ideal for discussion groups on these topics.
Church Times