Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 16, 1952, Fr. Robert Spitzer is a Catholic Priest in the Jesuit order, and is currently the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith (www.magisreasonfaith.org) and the Spitzer Center for Catholic Organizations (www.spitzercenter.org). He is also the Chief Educational Officer for the Ethics and Performance Institute (www.learnepi.com). The Magis Center produces documentaries, books, high school curricula, college courses, adult-education curricula, and new media materials to show the close connection between faith and reason in contemporary astrophysics, philosophy, and historical study of the New Testament. The Spitzer Center produces facilitated curricula to strengthen culture, faith, and spirit in Catholic organizations for the new evangelization. EPI (Ethics and Performance Institute) produces web-based education to corporations on personal efficacy, organizational culture, leadership, and ethics.
He was President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009. During that time, he significantly increased the programs and curricula in faith, ethics, service, and leadership, and led the efforts to build 20 new facilities, increased the student population by 75%, and raised more than $200 million for scholarships and capital projects.
He has made multiple media appearances including: Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra on God and modern physics), the Today Show (debating on the topic of active euthanasia), The Hugh Hewitt Show, as well as dozens of nationally syndicated religious radio programs.
He has published five books: New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy (Eerdmans, 2010) for which he won the Catholic Press Associations Award for best book in faith and science; Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues (Ignatius Press, September, 2011); Healing the Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom and the Life Issues (Ignatius Press, 2000); Spirit of Leadership: Optimizing Creativity and Change in Organizations (Executive Excellence, 2000); and Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People (Ignatius Press, 2007). He is currently writing three new books: The Grand Designer: The Evidence for Creation in Modern Physics (with James Sinclair and Bruce Gordon); Personal Happiness; and Jesus-Emmanuel: A Philosopher Examines the Evidence for Jesus. Fr. Spitzer has also published many scholarly articles in journals such as: International Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy in Science, the Business and Professional Ethics Journal, and the Journal of Ultimate Reality and Meaning.
He has also written an online Encyclopedia of Reason and Faith which responds to questions about the evidence for God, Creation, and the transmateriality of human consciousness and questions concerning the historicity of Jesus. He has given hundreds of presentations to universities, learned societies, professional societies, corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies both nationally and internationally (including members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet in London, officials of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland, government officials in El Salvador, as well as international universities, corporations, and Catholic organizations).
Fr. Spitzer has had a rewarding career in teaching. He was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University where he won the Edward T. Bunn Award for most outstanding professor at the University (1989). He was Associate Professor of Philosophy and visiting Professor of Business at Seattle University where he won the award for most outstanding professor in the College of Arts and Sciences (1997) and held the The Frank Shrontz Chair of Professional Ethics (1997-98). While President of Gonzaga University he held the John Aram Chair of Business Ethics (1999-2000) and was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Desmet Medal (2009). He has won numerous other awards from the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Catholic Leadership Institute, the Loyola Institute, and other professional societies.
His academic specialties are (1) Philosophy of Science, particularly space-time theory and transcendent implications of contemporary big bang cosmology, (2) metaphysics, particularly the theory of time and philosophy of God, and (3) organizational ethics and its relationship to personal and cultural transformation. He has also studied leadership, historical exegesis of the New Testament, the life issues, and philosophy of culture.
He founded seven major national institutes: Magis Center of Reason and Faith in Irvine, CA; Ethics and Performance Institute in Coeur d’Alene, ID; Spitzer Center for Catholic Organizations in Ann Arbor, MI; Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education bringing together 24 Jesuit Universities throughout the United States; Healing the Culture in Seattle, WA; University Faculty for Life at Georgetown University; and Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Georgetown University.
He has been a member of several Boards of Directors and Trustees, including: Gonzaga University, Seattle University, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), The Spokane Chamber of Commerce, The Inland Northwest Blood Center, NEXT IT, as well as an officer on the Boards of the Institutes he founded.
He has produced seven television series for EWTN: Healing the Culture, The Spirit of Catholic Leadership, Suffering and the Love of God, Finding God through Faith and Reason, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, Jesus-Emmanuel, and The Heavens Proclaim the Glory of God.
His educational background includes:
Ph.D. Catholic University of America, 1984-88. Philosophy Summa cum Laude. Dissertation: A Study of Objectively Real Time. Director: Paul Weiss.
Th.M. Weston School (Cambridge), 1983-84. Theology (Scripture). Summa cum Laude. Thesis: The Depth Grammar of “Pneuma” and “En Christo” in I Cor. 12.
M.Div. Gregorian University (Rome), 1980-83. Theology. Summa cum Laude. Thesis: Early Christological Hymns.
M.A. St. Louis University, 1976-78. Philosophy. (Research) Magna cum Laude Thesis: The Metaphysical Proof of God’s Existence in the De Ente Et Essentia of St. Thomas Aquinas.
B.B.A. Gonzaga University, 1970-74. Public Accounting and Finance Magna Cum Laude.
High School Punahou High School (Honolulu, Hawaii), 1970 National Honors Society.
Fr. Spitzer entered the Jesuits August 17, 1974, took first vows August 21, 1976, was ordained a priest on June 11, 1983, and took final vows April 4, 1992.
Cosmic Origins explains what we know about the beginning and nature of the universe, as well as its transcendent implications in clear, easy-to-understand terms. The 49-minute film weaves together a compelling narrative from academics and credentialed scientists pointing toward a very Catholic understanding of how the universe came to exist.