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Where is God in Suffering?

Brendan Purcell (about)

The author explores stories of historical figures and characters in literature whose unyielding faith in the face of great personal suffering provides solace for people today.

Paperback; 157 pages; 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56548-621-8

About this Book

In Where is God in Suffering? philosopher Brendan Purcell considers ways in which we can meaningfully reconcile our faith in God with a world that often appears to be plagued by great tragedy. In this deeply personal and impassioned book, the author explores stories of historical figures and characters in literature whose unyielding faith in the face of great personal suffering provides solace for people today.

From Viktor Frankl and Etty Hillesum, both of whom endured the untold torments of concentration camps, to the terminally ill teenager Chiara Luce Badano, whose trust in God never wavered, Where is God in Suffering? provides an impassioned rejoinder to commentators such as Stephen Fry and Peter Singer who doubt or deny the existence of God. Also included are touching accounts of the lives of friends whom the author has known over the years, and whose great stoicism and faith in adversity will provide inspiration to all those who share in their story.

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Where is God in Suffering?

Some Related Comments:

This is a gem of a book and the different chapters answer different needs. For much of my priestly life, religious formation or education said little about God, about his nature and why we believe in Him. The resurgence of atheism should jolt us out of our silence and indifference as many youngsters, and the not so young, will be tempted to follow Fry and Singer into unbelief. All those interested in how and why we believe, all priests and all those in religious formation will find ‘Where is God in suffering?’ thought-provoking, reassuring and well worth the effort it requires.”

Cardinal Pell,
Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and former archbishop of Sydney, Australia

"Purcell’s experience has a blend of qualities that inform the way this book is written and the way it moves us… For me the standout quality of the book is the seriousness with which Purcell listens to others – rather than giving us a ‘theory’ of suffering, the book is all about, ‘listening to the voices of suffering.’… Though Where is God in suffering? was sparked off by Stephen Fry’s abstract arguments against the existence of God because there is suffering in life, the heart of the book is not so much Purcell’s answers to these abstract arguments, as what he has learned by listening, listening long and hard, to the voices of people who have suffered, to learn from them… Time and again throughout this luminous book, Brendan Purcell gives us further glimpses into the way this spirituality of seeing our suffering in the light of Jesus’ suffering on the Cross, especially in the Cry, and gives us illuminating equivalent experiences of suffering from Etty Hillesum and others… Where is God in suffering? brings together voices with faith, and voices without, who have really suffered even unto death, who have precious things to say to us about how to live with and through suffering and death. I’d say the most valuable thing this book has helped me to learn is ‘how to hear the voice of God in suffering’."

Joseph McCarroll, Ph.D.,
From Amazon Review

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“As I read this new book by Irish priest and philosopher Brendan Purcell I found myself on an illuminating journey and was wowed by the depth and sheer beauty of this work on God in suffering."

Uli Yeomans,
New City Magazine, March 2017

Click here to see the full review

Author Info

Brendan Purcell is now Adjunct Professor in Philosophy at Notre Dame University, Sydney. He was ordained a priest of Dublin diocese in 1967 and is the author of From Big Bang to Big Mystery: Human Origins in the Light of Creation and Evolution (New City Press, 2011). Fr. Brendan also serves as Assistant Priest at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

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