"Like small bumps on the neck...": The problem of evil as something ordinary
Religions, myths, rituals and theologies are understood by many scholars somehow to possess or transmit essential truths or values that magically transcend their particular setting. In a word, "things religious" are presumed from the outset to be extraordinary, thus requiring special interpretive methods for their study. This essay attempts to reverse this penchant in modern scholarship on religion by presuming instead that those observable activities we name as "religion" are an ordinary component of social formations and, as such, can be sufficiently studied by drawing on the methods commonly used throughout the human sciences. Using "the problem of evil" as a test case, the essay argues that seemingly privileged or unique discourses on evil are but ordinary efforts at establishing cognitive intelligibility and overt political justification.
McCutcheon, Russell T. "'Like Small Bumps on the Neck…': The Problem of Evil as Something Ordinary." Journal of Mundane Behavior 1 (2000).
Journal of Mundane Behavior