Prospectus: OT Theodicy in Today’s Culture

It’s easy to see the world as a bad place in today’s culture. So many horrible things happen to good people and why? Well no one quite knows the answer, but the Old Testament tries to shed some light and hope during terrible times. For our paper and project, we (Mary, Taylor, Matt, Kristina, and myself) are planning to take some of the horrible events in today’s culture and try to relate them to the times of the Old Testament, or try to use some of the passages to maybe help people who are struggling to find the reasons for some events.

In our culture, there are many terrible events that occur daily and no one quite knows the explanation to some. One of these tragic events are school shootings. Why would teenagers feel the need to bring a gun to school and injure, or maybe kill, some of their own classmates. It could be for personal reasons, but for the parents of the injured students, they probably can’t find a reason. These are the people who can turn to the Old Testament and try to find some passages of hope. We all know of the Columbine school shooting, one that was tragic and felt across the nation. We are thinking about focusing on one particular girl, one who said yes when she was asked if she believed in Jesus. When she did, she was shot on the spot. We are planning on using some of these school shooting examples in our paper and a clip of a school shooting from One Tree Hill in our multimedia project, which will most likely be a video or slide show of clips or pictures of school shootings or why bad things happen to good people. There is also a clip from the TV show Scrubs in which it shows a particular case where a bad thing happened to a little girl. But it happened for a reason.

In tying in these school shootings with the Old Testament, we are planning on retelling the original sin story of Adam and Eve, showing where our sin came from and how people sin today. There are also examples of how characters in the Old Testament killed their own family members or went out to steal something from them, another form of sin. Cain murdered Able and Jacob stole the birth rite and Isaac’s blessing from Esau. Why would they do such horrible things? Well, we know that these stories have reasons and consequences for what happened. In the case of Jacob and Esau, Jacob then had the right and everything turned out for the better. Just think, maybe if he hadn’t of done that would there be the twelve tribes of Israel? Also, Abraham was planning on doing a terrible thing, killing his only son Isaac because the Lord had told him to. But as we know, Isaac was not killed and Abraham’s relationship with the Lord grew significantly that day: a good outcome to an almost terrible event.

There are bad things that happen to good people. We all know some ways in which this has happened. In order to give some perspective or reasons for this topic, we are planning on using many of the passages we recently talked about in Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and the Psalms. We are also planning on using an article from the NY Times about an Amish school that was a victim of school shootings. We are also planning on using a psychological study about the events that occurred at the Columbine school shooting.

We are planning on using a clip from this episode of Scrubs:

(mostly from 2:10-5:30)


About bethanyschuler

She is a sophomore at UK and majoring in kinesiology and pre-physical therapy. She loves to play volleyball and also loves to hang out with her family and friends!
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4 Responses to Prospectus: OT Theodicy in Today’s Culture

  1. Susan Donoho says:

    It’s hard to understand why bad things happen to people who have done no harm.
    I see that you’re using the Columbine shooting as a focal point.
    These are great books that tell the stories of young martyrs in Columbine and the people around them:
    “Rachel Smiles” by Darrell Scott
    and “She Said Yes” by Misty Bernall

    I’ve never seen that episode of Scrubs but that’s a great clip that brings everything together in an easy-to-understand way.

    A potential problem: It’ll be interesting to see how you explain ‘the bad.’ It seems as if ‘the bad’ you’ll be discussing are people and people have free will.

    Good luck you guys! Can’t wait to learn more during your in-class presentation.

  2. Pam says:

    I love the breadth of your content in your prospectus. I will bring up one idea only because it was so influential in how I wrote my research paper. My topic was the Garden of Eden and original sin. I was shocked (and dismayed) upon learning how biased my interpretation of the Old Testament readings were. The whole idea of original sin as far as the Old Testament is concerned is a Christian concept. There are stories or more ancient original sin scenarios, but I regress. Man’s nature being broken as a result of the the act of disobedience in the Garden comes from Augustine. He believed man was doomed without God’s intervention. The Hebrew interpretation of the concept is “evil inclination.” This is something that is capable of being remedied by man without God’s intervention.

    I really like your prospectus and think the presentation will be captivating. You cover issues that are emotional. I just bring up the above comments because I was so shocked as how steeped in Christianity my interpretations of the Old Testament were. My interpretations were totally biased and I had know idea.

    Best of luck!

  3. spgi222 says:

    I think this is a great direction to take a paper, and i am quite interested in how you connect some of these topics such as school shootings to the Old Testament. One thing I touched on in my research paper that I think would help in your research is the differing natures we see in the characters throughout the Old Testament and how their reactions to and interactions with God differed. One example would be how when Abraham was directed by God to kill his son, he obeyed, while when God told Moses that he would lead his people out of Egypt, Moses did not want the responsibility.

  4. Ashley Lee says:

    I think this is a good start. The question of why do bad things happen to good people is one that has been asked of many people for centuries. To say that everything happens for a reason comes up short in our limited sight of possibilities. We can only see so much, but people have used our limited ignorance as faith for reasoning that everything happens for a reason. We just cant always see what the reason is because we have limitations to our knowledge and experiences.

    I like all the use of modern clips and analogies for specific cases where people would look at a situation and say “why would that happen if God really was good?” I didn’t see a whole lot of references to the bible though. How do you plan on tying in theodicy in the OT to your paper?

    Great start. You all are asking some hard questions, that dont have easy clear answers.

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