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Title

Dr. Ronald Davidson Engages with the Question: How Would You Respond to a Student Who Says "There Is so Much Evil in the World, God Cannot Exist?"

Document Type

Video

Interview Date

5-25-2012

Abstract

Dr. Ronald Davidson discusses the many suppositions that cause people to believe that God cannot co-exist with evil. He speaks in depth on the supposition that God is rational and the effect of this supposition on people’s doubt that God and evil can simultaneously exist. As someone who is not a theist, he then speaks about his personal belief that “happenstance” is often mislabeled as evil and points out the difference between evil and distress. He breaks the question into pieces and addresses both the question of the existence of evil and the question of the existence of God.

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Comments

Playing Time for three videos: 4:02 minutes, 4:43 minutes, 3:19 minutes = 12:04 minutes

About the Interviewee: Dr. Ronald Davidson was trained in Sanskrit and Chinese Buddhist studies at the University of California Berkeley under Drs. Padmanabh Jaini, Lewis Lancaster, and Michel Strickmann. For seventeen years before and during his graduate career, Dr. Davidson studied with Tibetans. He has taught at Fairfield University since 1990, and has previously taught at Santa Clara University and at the Institute of Buddhist Studies (Graduate Theological Union) in California. His primary area of expertise is the history of tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet, especially in the relationship of religious history to social history during the medieval period, from 500-1200 CE. He is the author of several books on these topics such as Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture and Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis: Studies in Its Formative Period, 900-1400.

About the Interviewer: Dr. Alfred Benney is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and taught courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include “how people learn”; “the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning”; and “myth as explanatory narrative”. He has published work on teaching with technology.

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