Philosophy professor ponders problems of evil

by: RILEY GOLDEN/Editorial Assistant 

Benjamin Kyle Keltz took an odd road to the classroom that started in West Texas with military service and a degree in finance.

“I claim Lubbock, but it’s kind of a long story—I was born in Lockney,” Keltz said. “I’ve lived in Lockney, Plainview, Floydada, Ransom Canyon, and Lubbock. But I went to high school at Roosevelt High School, so I claim Lubbock.”

Keltz, who teaches two Introduction to Philosophy courses at South Plains College, graduated from Roosevelt High School and then enlisted in the United States Army for four and a half years. When he came back, Keltz went to Texas Tech University, where he earned a degree in finance. While attending Texas Tech, Keltz was deployed a couple times, serving as a “mortar man” in the Infantry of the U.S. Army.

“I went to Afghanistan right after September 11 for, like, three and a half months,” Keltz recalls. “I was in the invasion in 2009, for like three months when it kicked off, then three months after that.”

Keltz got deployed to Iraq twice while he was going to Tech because he was in the National Guard.

After Keltz earned a degree in finance, he worked as a petroleum landman for a short time.

“The company I worked for was a consulting kind of thing,” Keltz said. “They hired us, and they would tell us, ‘We’re thinking about drilling somewhere,’ and I would go to the county and go to the courthouse and research all the mineral rights from when it was handed over from the state of Texas to the current mineral owner. And then I had to call them and ask them if they were interested in an oil and gas lease, and then negotiate the terms, and have them sign it.”

Keltz says that he always wanted a degree in philosophy, but his dad was a banker and talked him into getting his degree in finance.

“Since I got the degree in finance, I got a master’s degree in Christian Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary, in Matthews, North Carolina,” said Keltz, “and that’s where I’m getting my PhD from right now. I’m getting a PhD in Philosophy of Religion.”

Benjamin Kyle Keltz influences his students through his philosophy classes at SPC. DOM PUENTE/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Keltz went into detail about a theory of philosophy that he studies for his doctoral degree.

“Now, Christian Apologetics is using history, science, and philosophy to defend the truth of Christianity,” Keltz explained. “Philosophy of Religion just looks at all the claims of different philosophies and it tries to make sense out of it all.”

Keltz says he is very curious about God, so much so that he specializes in proving His logic.

“What I specialize in is called the Problem of Evil,” Keltz said. “That’s what I usually study and write about, which is the question: If God is, like the theistic god, is all good and all powerful and all knowing, then how can there be evil in the world? Because usually you’d think with the combination of those three, there wouldn’t be any such thing as evil.”

Keltz is going to write his dissertation on the Problem of Evil, but he says his answer has only lead to another question called the Problem of Animal Suffering.

“You know, science says that for millions of years, you know with evolution and all that stuff, there’s been animals dying and suffering,” Keltz says, “and that adds to the Problem of Evil, because Theism says that human beings are the reason why everything exists. But what the problem asks is: why would God allow so much suffering to happen over so many millions of years, just to make people? And that’s what I’m studying, so I’m kind of applying old ideas to a new problem.”

Keltz got married and his wife’s job moved them to Arizona. Because of the lack of oil there, Keltz took a job as a financial analyst for the state of Arizona. Keltz said that his wife was making more, so when they had their first child, it was better for him to quit his job instead of her.

His wife’s job brought them back to Lubbock, and Keltz says he was lucky enough to get the teaching job at SPC because teaching experience is required for his PhD.

“It’s great to learn other people’s perspectives,” says Keltz, “because you not only learn about them, and you can understand where people are coming from. But it also forces you to learn a lot about yourself, because you start to question why do I believe what I believe and all that stuff.”


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