The Comedy of Theodicy

That Mitchell and Webb LookThat Mitchell and Webb Look is a favorite of mine. I don’t think there has ever been better sketch comedy. What’s more, their social satire is very incisive.

I noticed this last night when I happened upon their version of the Abraham and Isaac story from Genesis. What I think I missed the first time I saw it is how it spoofs what is one of the most sophisticated apologia for Christianity. In the skit, God says, “You would say… If you thought I was asking you to do something that was, you know, wrong.” To which Abraham replies, “If I thought it was wrong? Like I’d know! Like I have any chance of forming an independent basis of right and wrong outside the instructions of some supervisory being.”

This is a straight lampoon of the standard theodicy: we don’t have to explain the existence of evil because anything that God does is by definition good. This is just a more involved version of, “God works in mysterious ways.” The reasonable rebuttal to this is that if God’s ways are so inscrutable, why is he worth worshiping. Indeed, this gets to the contraction of Christian faith: we should worship God because he is the only basis for morality but then we don’t hold him to any moral standard that we can understand.

Of course, aside from the question of evil, this skit is funny as hell:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “The Comedy of Theodicy

  1. The ‘comedy of Theodicy’ may be reopening soon as a tragedy for humanity. The question is could two thousand years of scholastic exegesis, tradition and the faith of 2 billion ‘Christians’ be wholly in error? . . . And this is no longer a rhetorical question for mud slinging between atheist and religious, we are on the threshold of finding out!

    The first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the moral teachings of Christ is published on the web. Radically different from anything else we know of from history, this new teaching is predicated upon a precise, predefined, and predictable experience and called ‘the first Resurrection’ in the sense that the Resurrection of Jesus was intended to demonstrate Gods’ willingness to reveal Himself and intervene directly into the natural world for those obedient to His will, paving the way for access, by faith, to the power of divine transcendence and ultimate proof!

    Thus ‘faith’ becomes an act of trust in action, to search and discover this direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power that confirms divine will, law, command and covenant, which at the same time, realigns our moral compass with the Divine, "correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries." So like it or no, a new religious teaching, testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria of evidence based causation and definitive proof now exists. Nothing short of an intellectual, moral and religious revolution is getting under way. To test or not to test, that is the question? More info at,

  2. @robert landbeck – We always welcome comments, but this is bordering on logorrhea. I’ll comment on what I got from it. "Faith" is always an act of trust. I don’t believe there can be religion that is testable by modern scientific standards. I do, however, believe that mysticism can live in complete harmony with science. In fact, I think of myself as a rational mystic. But that mysticism leads to human values not eternal bliss.

    I checked out the links: very vague stuff. And in the end, sounding kind of like Christianity with some feel good New Age stuff thrown on top. But no seeking is wasted.

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