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Beliefs About Suffering

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the questions: what beliefs about suffering are found in high and low level participation in popular religiosity, and what is the social location of these beliefs. It starts with the relation between suffering and God expounded in some official Catholic teachings. The chapter then indicates to what extent this exposition is influenced by theological streams which gave rise to different approaches to theodicy: two theoretical approaches developing a speculative dialectics between divine apatheia (non-suffering) and sympatheia (co-suffering) with human suffering, and one practical approach (theodicy of 'suffering unto God) which tries to go beyond this dialectics. It talks about Augustinian theodicy, and presents a list of beliefs about suffering and formulates expectations about these beliefs. The chapter presents the empirical domain of beliefs about suffering in high and low level popular religious participation.

Keywords: apatheia (non-suffering); Augustinian theodicy; human suffering; popular religiosity; religious beliefs; sympatheia (co-suffering)



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