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Ed Ucation for Coping With Suffering

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

Every human being will sooner or later suffer some sort of evil predicament. Suffering, therefore, is an integral part of life; it's a reality which cannot be denied. As a consequence, everybody sooner or later also has to cope with suffering by attributing some sort of meaning to his evil predicament. Given this fact, the question is raised whether an educational programme can contribute to a person's ability to cope with suffering from a religious perspective. Is religious coping something that can be learned? As empirical research on the effects of an experimental theodicy course shows, this is indeed the case, but only to a limited extent. That is to say, by learning some specific theological concepts an individual becomes able to pass a theodicy judgment, which is identified as a cognitive operation pivotal in religious coping. In this respect, learning religious coping is limited in a cognitive sense to learning specific theological concepts prerequisite to theodicy judgment.


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