Evil and Suffering

Evil and Suffering revision cards.

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  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 14-01-12 18:49

Evil and Suffering.

Moral evil - Evil that is caused by human actions, e.g. ****, murder

Natural evil - Evil that is caused by the breakdown of the natural world, e.g.earthquak

Attributes to God

1) Omnipotent - all powerful

2) Omniscient - all knowing

3) Omnibenevolent - all loving

Does Evil Exist?

There is no evil.

Monists-the universe is a single, harmonious unity that is good - eviil is a mere illusion in our minds. Mary Anne Baker - 'what we feel are false feelings'

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Does Evil Exist cont.

There is no God.

  • Atheists - evil is convincing evidence that God does not exist because a loving God would not have created a universe full of evil and suffering.
  • David Hume - felt it was impossible to deny the existance of E + S since the effects are felt so widely.

Our view of evil is distored.

  • Hindus and Buddhists - evil is an illusion brought about by human greed and selfishness.
  • Suffering is not from God, nor is God responsible for it.
  • Evil and suffering is overcome by a person achieving god karma.

The reality of evil.

  • Monotheistic religions - evil is not an illusion of the human mind.
  • Evil is utterly bad and entirely real.
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Other responses : does evil exist?

Aquinas - Gods existance in the face of evil is logically impossible. However, Gods goodness is different from ours and he allows E + S because he has a divine master plan.

Swineburne - God is like a parent who allows a child freedom to grow up.

David Hume - the problem of evil is 'the rock of atheism'

Evil presents 4 distinctive problems:

  • Theological problem - challanges Gods nature
  • Philosophical Problem - requires the believer to accept conflicting claims
  • Diverse problem - Evil comes in many forms that demand different explanations
  • Challanging problem - the existance of evil and suffering is an objective reality
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Inconsistant Triad

The Inconsistant Triad


J.L Mackie observed that these three proposistions constitute an 'Iconsistant Triad' - the conjuction of any 2 entails the negation of the 3rd.

So either God lacks omnipotence, or he lacks goodness, or evil does not exist, or God does not exist!

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Does evil have a purpose?

Does evil have a purpose?

Test - Gos uses evil and suffering in order to test human qualities and give humans the oppitunity to show love, courage and other noble traits.

Punishment - Christian and muslim - ' the lord will send down on you curses, confusion and rebuke...until you are destroyed...because of the evil you have done in forsaking him!'

Inevitable - Gos is not responsible for E + S. The worls with all its imperfections is the best possible world. Without evil there would be no good.

Allows God's love to be displayed - Christian - God becomes incarnate and makes himself vulnerable to evil and suffering though Jesus Christ.

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  • Theodicy comes from the Greek word 'theos' meaning 'God' and 'dike' meaning righteous
  • Theodicy means 'In defence of a righteous God' - an attempt to justify the existance of God in the face of evil and suffering.
  • This term was first coined by Gottfried Liebniz

A theodicy has to obey 3 rules

  • It does not deny the existance of evil
  • It does not qualify the nature of God
  • It does not advocate giving up faith when faced with evil and suffering

Classical Theodicies - Augustine and Irenaeus

Modern approaches - Process Theodicy and the Free Will Defence

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