Life is at once wonderful and appalling, beautiful and horrific. Although we can all give meaning to our lives by trying to live well, is there some given meaning to be discovered? Science cannot answer this question, and philosophical arguments leave the issue open. The monotheistic religions claim that the meaning has been revealed to us, and Christians see this is above all in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Described by Rowan Williams as 'that rarity, a Christian public intellectual', Richard Harries considers the Christian claim in the context of an in-depth discussion of the nature of evil and how this is to be reconciled with a just and loving God. Drawing on a wide range of modern literature, he argues that belief in the resurrection and hope in the face of death is fundamental to faith, and suggests that while there is no final intellectual answer to the problem of evil, we must all, believer and nonbeliever alike, protest against the world and seek to change it, rather than accept it as it is.
RICHARD HARRIES was Bishop of Oxford from 1987-2006 and is now an Honorary Professor of Theology at King's College. He is the author of more than 20 books, many of them on ethical issues, and is a frequent broadcaster. He chaired the Church of England's Board for Social Responsibility and the Ethics and Law Committee of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (the HFEA). He was made a Life Peer on his retirement (Lord Harries of Pentregarth) and continues to contribute in the House of Lords.
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