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The Problem of Evil
3B Philosophy of Religion…read more

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What is Evil?
Moral Evil: Suffering caused by intentional human action e.g. murder, rape
Natural Evil: Related to natural phenomenon e.g. earthquakes, floods
Natural evil can pose more of a problem for religion since moral evil is caused by free will and moral autonomy
of humans however natural evil was created by God ex-nihilo suggesting God may not be benevolent
The logical problems prove Gods existence is impossible where as the evidential problems prove God's
existence is improbable
There is not always a clear distinction between the evils
Richard Swimburne: `Death is not a form of evil as it is taking back a gift'…read more

Slide 3

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Logical Problems
· `Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is
Epicurus: impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is
malevolent. Is he both able and willing?'
· The Inconsistent Triad
· `Either God cannot abolish evil or he will not: If he
Augustine: cannot then he is not all-powerful; if he ill not then he
is not all-good'
· Evil is not by chance it is the will of God, how can God
David Hume: be powerful and loving? Would this world be what you
expect from God?
Hume: · `The problem of evil is the rock of atheism'
· Omnipotence and omnibenevolence don't work with
John Stuart Mill: evil and to attempt to solve this problem by defending
God is immoral
Marcion: · Why would God allow suffering if he has the three
conditions of divine greatness?
Aquinas: · Human action is completely different to acts of God so
cannot be put under the same problem…read more

Slide 4

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Evidential Problems
Based on physical evidence of evil
William Rowe:
· 5 year old girl is raped and beaten before being murdered on new years eve by her mothers
· Rowe says that the girl could of just died she didn't have to be raped as it is pointless, needless
suffering of plenitude and intensity
· Animal suffering also questions the purpose to suffering since they do not have a soul or an afterlife
· Example: Fawn trapped in a forest fire so burns until it dies a few days after due to its' injuries
· `Intense human and animal suffering... that occurs on a daily basis... is in great plenitude in our
· The Brothers Karamazov gives an example of a child accidently hurting the paw of the generals
favourite dog so he is forced to strip and be torn apart by a pack of hounds
· This raises the question should we forgive God for allowing this to happen, is suffering justified by
the target of peace and harmony in heaven?…read more

Slide 5

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Responses to the Problem of Evil
Deny the Deny that God
existence of evil exists
To reconcile
belief in God
Belief in the
with the
existence of God
existence of evil
but don't believe
by looking for
in his worship
justification…read more

Slide 6

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The Free Will Defence
Evil is a result of human free will
Free will is essential for humanity
If God intervened it would undermine free will
Free will explains death, death limits our chances and makes our
decisions meaningful
If we were immortal we could always rectify wrong choices…read more

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