Why Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology—Anthony Pinn—Theodicy has to do with suffering under a loving and benevolent God. It is a difficult subject because it challenges why bad things sometimes happen to good people. This book will not make it any better, but you will see that someone is at least trying to explain it in a religious context.
As Harvard University’s Humanist Chaplaincy “Humanist of the Year" in 2006, Pinn provides a clear look at the idea of an omnibenevolent god who allows the people he cares about so much to suffer showing the inconsistency of the two positions. Pinn, who also received the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism, reveals the problem of theodicy and its inconsistency with the idea of an all-loving god.
Specifically, Pinn makes it evident that black theologians have “no evidence to support the notion that God is working on behalf of the oppressed, and any theological position that claims such is based on redemptive suffering theodicies that perpetuate African American suffering.” In addition, the book also makes it evident that there is no virtue in redemptive suffering for African Americans or any American for that matter.manist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism, reveals the problem of theodicy and its inconsistency with the idea of an all-loving god.
The book also challenges the notion of God’s omnibenevolence by positing the idea that if suffering has no meaning then God is either a monster or a myth. The book also takes up the position that bad things happen to good people, a position even debated by Christian theologians. Pinn distinguishes between natural sufferings brought on by nature as meaningless as far as morality is concerned. On the other hand, human inflicted suffering such as slavery is entirely immoral and attached to those who inflict it rather than those who must endure it.
Although written almost two decades ago, “Why Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology” is as relevant today as it was in 1995. Pinn also eviscerates the idea of a “divine plan” where God’s children must be tested, which is a circular argument at best if the omniscient teacher already knows the answers.
Even though I went back to review a book I read in 1996, overall, “Why Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology” is well worth the read. It is well written, carefully researched and interesting, a combination few writers attain. Theodicy is a pain in the ass for Christian religionist and after reading Pinn’s argument you will understand why if you haven’t already done so. It is an especially good read for open-minded black theologians (if there is such a thing) to reevaluate their positions regarding “black liberation theology and its boundaries.