Good and Evil

Good and evil

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  • Created on: 16-05-11 18:07

Why is there evil in the world?

Moral evil - wrong which happens due to human wickedness e.g. murder, abuse

Natural evil - events which cause suffering that are beyond human control e.g. infant mortality, natural disasters

Christians believe that God is omnibenevolent and omnipotent, so why does he allow these things, especially natural evil, to happen?

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The Devil

Some Christians believe that the Devil is the cause of evil in the world.

They say he is the opposite of God, therefore the opposite of what is good. He tries to tempt people away from God and into sin. They know God will not do this to them "Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil."

Adam and Eve, Job and Jesus were all tempted by the Devil in the Bible. Adam and Eve gave in, but Job and Jesus did not give up their faith. "Worship the Lord your God and serve him only."

Other Christians believe the Devil is not a real being, rather a poetic way of explaining why human nature means we are often tempted to do what we know is wrong.

Responses: IF God is omnipotent, why does he allow the Devil to exist?

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Christian responses to evil

Some Christians think the problem of evil goes back to Adam and Eve and The Fall. They believe we are born with sin because of this Original Sin and it stays with us until baptism.

Others say evil and suffering are a test to make us more mature. Or perhaps the existence of suffering helps us recognise the good times and without the choice between right and wrong, we would be like robots.

Christians often say that suffering teaches us lessons - we would not be able to be good without being faced with difficulties.

Responses: If God created Adam and Eve perfect, why did they rebel? Sometimes tiny babies suffer who have no chance of learning from it - where is the lesson is this?

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Coping with suffering

Many Christians believe that they must trust in God to cope with suffering. They use prayer and hope God will care for them as he is omnibenevolent

God is supposed to have suffered when Jesus died on the cross. People sometimes say they feel closer to God after a bad experience, because they recognise their dependence on him.

They believe that God does not make mistakes, so sometimes people cannot be saved because he has decided it is their time.

Responses: sometimes prayer cannot save someone. Is this because God has a plan or because he does not actually care?

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Sources of Guidance

Conscience - Many people believe they have an instinct which tells them what is right and wrong, because they feel guilt after doing the wrong thing. Christians believe this is the way God speaks to them, through a little voice in their heads. Others think it is just how we were brought up. Nature vs Nurture

Bible - Christians use the teachings to apply to their lives. These are often genereal rules like "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you." which means they are applicable. 

Jesus - Some Christians try to follow the example of Christ and do as they believe he would. Others follow what he taught in his parables and what he said at the Sermon on the Mount.

Responses: How do we always know that our conscience is correct? The Bible is old and can have outdated views, can we still apply it to our own lives? 

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Moral codes

Christians are ethical monotheists - they believe in one God as the source of all that is good.

Christians are encouraged to follow a moral code because they believe they will be rewarded in the afterlife if they do right, and suffer in hell if they do wrong.

Others now think that descriptions of hell are poetic ways of imagining life without God.

Responses: The modern world encourages people to look after themselves and achieve their dreams as they can. Is it still relevant to believe in following a moral code.

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