Friday, February 20, 2015

Professor van Der Ven and Theodicy (PhD Edit)


Professor van der Ven and Theodicy

2015 Note

I have been meaning to share this information for years…

Describing the Research

Professor van der Ven’s theodicy research project was conducted in a Roman Catholic context through parishes in Tilburg and Nijmegen in the Netherlands.[1]  A key factor is that most people attending the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands are above fifty years old.[2]  There were 158 respondents[3] within the study and more than two thirds were over fifty years of age.[4]  This means that the views of younger people, which may be more reflective of societal trends, may not be well reflected in the study.[5]  Additionally, van der Ven writes that ratio of women to men in the survey is 76% to 24%.[6]  This is a rather disproportional sample as women are making up more than 75% of the respondents.[7]  The educational level of the respondents varied with 40% having completed lower secondary school in the Netherlands,[8] and 32.5% having achieved a post-secondary school diploma,[9] demonstrating that the educational background of these people appears typical for the Netherlands.[10]  The occupations of the respondents were varied although over 50% of persons surveyed were business owners or professionals.[11]  Professor van der Ven found that 98% of respondents favoured left wing to centre political parties, with 70% supporting a centrist party.[12]

A Summary of the Survey Results

Professor van der Ven’s empirical results showed that the respondents did not differentiate between theodicy and cosmodicy.[13]  The first conclusion van der Ven arrives at from the survey findings is that Christian and secular worldviews overlapped to the point that there was no major difference in how the respondents looked at theodicy or cosmodicy.[14]  There is a coordination of religious and scientific views, and one is not viewed as superior or containing more truth than the other.[15]  These findings should not be too surprising since van der Ven’s core concepts remain the same between theodicy and cosmodicy, other than exchanging God for nature as the cause of all things.[16]  There were some key conclusions van der Ven establishes from the survey that I will summarize.[17]  The greater level of education of some respondents did not conclusively lead to a decrease of acceptance of traditional symbols.[18]  Yes, apathy and retaliation were viewed negatively,[19] but the teaching symbols, such as therapeutic, were not viewed differently by people with different educational levels.[20]  The immanence symbols such as compassion, which represent God’s solidarity with humanity, were less valued by those with greater levels of education.[21]  A conclusion could be made that although highly educated people tend not to appreciate transcendent theodicy models that present God as distancing himself from humanity and judging it,[22] they also do not assume that God immanently will assist sufferers.[23] 

Somewhat surprisingly the test showed that a right-wing or centrist political orientation did not lead to traditional theodicy symbols reflecting God’s transcendence,[24] and left-wing political leanings did not lead to acceptance of less traditional perspectives.[25] 

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES (1993) Practical Theology, Translated by Barbara Schultz, AC Kampen, Netherlands, Kok Pharos Publishing House.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES (1998) God Reinvented?, Leiden, Brill.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES (2005) ‘Theodicy Items and Scheme’, in a personal email from Johannes van der Ven, Nijmegen, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES (2006a) ‘Dates of Nijmegen authors’, in a personal email from Johannes van der Ven, Nijmegen, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES (2006b) ‘Symbols versus Models’, in a personal email from Johannes van der Ven, Nijmegen, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES, PAUL VERMEER, AND ERIC VOSSEN (1996) ‘Learning Theodicy’, in Journal of Empirical Theology, Volume 9, pp. 67-85. Kampen, The Netherlands, Journal of Empirical Theology.

VAN DER VEN, JOHANNES AND ERIC VOSSEN (1996) Suffering: Why for God’s Sake? Grand Rapids, Eerdmans.   

[1] van der Ven (1998: 220).
[2] van der Ven (1993: 185).
[3] In contrast I managed to survey 213 for this project.
[4] van der Ven (1993: 185).
[5] This sample may be somewhat limited as young persons were not well presented, although it is has validity, as in statistical integrity. 
[6] van der Ven (1998: 220).
[7] van der Ven (1998: 220).  My sample has 61% male and 39% female.
[8] van der Ven (1998: 220-221).
[9] van der Ven (1998: 220-221).
[10] van der Ven (1998: 220-221).
[11] van der Ven (1993: 187).
[12] van der Ven (1993: 187).
[13] van der Ven (1998: 222).
[14] van der Ven (1998: 222).
[15] van der Ven (1998: 222).
[16] van der Ven (1993: 174).
[17] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[18] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[19] van der Ven (1993: 211).  A difficulty with a retaliation symbol could equate to a difficulty with traditional, Augustinian, and Reformed views of God that punishes sin and sinners. 
[20] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[21] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[22] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[23] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[24] van der Ven (1993: 211).
[25] van der Ven (1993: 211).

Related posts

van Der Ven resurrection and theodicy

van Der Ven theodicy and cosmodicy

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Corporate Cognitive Dissonance


A major corporation intentionally on two twin sites takes a key which on site employees are supposed to document and report as missing.

Two officers on the larger site are warned in advance a day earlier by the contracted company manager, that does not work for the corporation, that this could occur on site.

The two officers are also warned via a fellow contracted company officer, on the smaller site, that this took place on the smaller site the same day of the warning from the manager.

The problem in regard to the key is found on the larger site by the writer of this post working with his associate and is documented accordingly.

The corporation's tactics are not appreciated by the officers involved at the main site, or by other officers when alerted.

If more professionalism is needed by officers, then what is required for a professional career should be brought into the industry in recruitment and hiring process by the corporation and contracted company.


It is cognitive dissonance not do so a significant amount of time and then complain when industry results are mixed...

Philosopher George A. Graham explains cognitive dissonance as the mental discomfort that arises from conflicting beliefs or attitudes held simultaneously, meaning at the very same time. The concept came from a book from Leon Festinger in 1957. Graham (1996: 127).

Blackburn mentions that Festinger was an American psychologist, the book was 'Theory of Cognitive Dissonance'. Festinger suggested that cognitive dissonance had 'motivational characteristics' meaning that when it occurs the amount of dissonance depends on the relative intensities with the dissonant elements. Graham (1996: 127).

It may take place in two major areas, as in self-deception and weakness of the will. Graham (1996: 127). A key point raised by Graham is that one may become weak-willed when dissonance arises from the expected and reasonably understood results and consequences of doing what is right. Graham (1996: 128).

Blackburn writes that Festinger's research and concepts led to ideas that a person's known wrong concepts may lead to reformation and strategies of belief that are surprising. Blackburn (1996: 67).

BLACKBURN, SIMON (1996) Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

GRAHAM A, GEORGE (1996) ‘Cognitive Dissonance’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Bruges: Facebook-Travel+Leisure