Saturday, November 19, 2005
Underwhelmed: On God and the Tsunami
I just finished reading David Bentley Hart's new book on the so-called "problem of evil," The Doors of the Sea: Where was God in the Tsunami? Hart has quickly become one of my favorite younger theologians since I discovered him in the pages of First Things not long ago. He combines erudition and panache in searing critique of the decadence of Western culture. This book was rather disappointing, however. He frames the issues brilliantly, but in the end his argument seems to be little more than a rehash of the freewill defense, with a bit of name-calling against "Calvinists" thrown in for good measure. He really doesn't say anything he didn't say in his FT piece, "Tsunami and Theodicy" back in March, which is disappointing, as a book-length treatment ought to provide more than superficial engagement with other points of view. For Hart in much better form, read him explain why there really is no "culture war" going on right now in "Freedom and Decency."