Doctrine of theodicy in a scientific age: examining the evolutionary theology of John Haught and the Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi
Modern evolutionary science has brought a sharp focus to bear on the problem of evil, and especially of natural evil and suffering in the natural world. Moreover, I believe that contemporary theodicy may benefit from engagement with the East Asian religion, Daoism. Therefore, I will comparatively examine the work of the evolutionary theodicy of Haught and the Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi. I will not cover all of the thought of Haught and Zhuangzi, but instead I will focus on their ideas concerning the problem of evil, and develop them in harmony with evolutionary science. In order to do this comparative study, I will suggest the necessity of a new methodology, and propose five steps for the comparative work between religion and science and between Christianity and Daoism: description, comparison, generalisation, differentiation and supplementation. Based on this methodology, I will generalise the ideas of Haught and Zhuangzi on evil into seven different theodicies (the natural state defence, the free action defence, the suffering God defence, the hidden God defence, the harmony defence, the progress defence, and the final fulfilment defence). I will then supplement the evolutionary theodicy of Haught with the Daoist ideas of Zhuangzi on the basis of their differences. The main aim of this study is to develop Christian theodicies to inform both the West and the East in a scientific age by comparing the evolutionary theology of Haught and the Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi. I will suggest that Western evolutionary theodicies would benefit from engagement with the Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi, and that the evolutionary theodicy of John Haught might be of benefit in an Asian Christian context. I also expect that the Daoist philosophy of Zhuangzi can be seen in a new light through conversation with the evolutionary theology of Haught and evolutionary science generally. I hope that this thesis can be a catalyst for comparative study between religion and science and between Christianity and Daoism.