For centuries, people have asked, ‘If God is all good and all powerful, why do people suffer?’ ‘Why is there so much “evil” in the universe?’ And for as long as these questions have been asked, philosophers and theologians from the world’s major religions have tried to reconcile the goodness of God with the problem of evil. In the twenty-first century, after major historical events like the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, and globalisation, the same questions are being asked but the philosophical, religious, and spiritual premises underlying the discussion seem infinitely more complex.

In this regard, the Muslim Students’ Association and the University of St. Michael’s College Campus Ministry at the University of Toronto will host a symposium entitled “The Goodness of God and the Problem of Evil: Christian and Muslim perspectives on theodicy”. The term ‘theodicy’ – coined by the seventeenth-century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz – refers to the defence of the belief in a good, omnipotent God in the face of human suffering. How can a benevolent and all-powerful God allow suffering to exist? Two established scholars will address this question from two unique but related points of view.

Professor Michael Vertin will proffer a Christian point of view. M. Vertin obtained graduate degrees in philosophy and religion from the University of Toronto and graduate theological degrees from the Catholic University of America. He is Professor Emeritus of the departments of philosophy and the study of religion at U of T. He is also Associate Director of the Lonergan Research Institute at Regis College, University of Toronto. Professor Vertin is interested in a scientific understanding of theological issues. He is a well known scholar of the late philosopher, theologian, and priest, Bernard Lonergan.

Professor Yahya Michot will proffer an Islamic point of view. Y. Michot is an accomplished scholar in the field of Islamic classical thought. From 1998 to 2008, he taught Islamic theology at the University of Oxford. He is now Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and editor of the illustrious journal The Muslim World. Professor Michot has devoted a good part of his academic career to studying the works of ibn Taymiyya and Avicenna, two of the most powerful and influential thinkers in Islamic history. He is an active proponent of Christian-Muslim dialogue, and has strived to promote a deeper, intellectual understanding between the two faiths.

Professors Michael Vertin and Yahya Michot will come together to discuss the goodness of God and the problem of evil as understood by the world’s two largest religions in what should prove to be an enriching and edifying experience.

Date & Time: Friday January 30th, 2009, 6pm to 9pm
Location: B150 Auditorium @ the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building (144 College Ave., north-west corner of College & University)

$10 admission fee
$5 for UofT students/faculty members
* refreshments will be served *

For more info or to reserve tickets:
email: [email protected]
msa office: 416-946-7788
campus ministry: 416-926-1300 Ext.3437

Presented by the Muslim Students’ Association & the University of St.Michael’s College Campus Ministry

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