Identify key ideas associated with the problem of suffering. Examine two solutions to the problem.

  • Created by: TBird
  • Created on: 03-12-12 13:12

The problem of evil and suffering is one of the hardest challenges for any religion or believer to face.  It questions the god of classical theism who is popularly portrayed as the all loving and powerful creator. 

The key ideas of suffering include the questioning of god’s omnipotence and omniscience , as well as natural and moral evil. If god was all powerful he would be able to stop the suffering and allow humanity and the world to live in peace and harmony, this throws up the question of whether god in fact is not all loving and thus decides not to relieve the pain. Alternatively it is possible for god to be omnibenevolent and yet incapable of reliving suffering. 

If we accept that evil and suffering do exist it is a logical step to argue that the common characteristics which are attributed to god are false and that he cannot be both all- powerful and all-loving , as Augustine said ‘Either God cannot abolish evil or he will not : if he cannot then he is not all-powerful, if he will not, then he is not all good’.

Evil can theoretically be separated into two categories, moral and natural evil. Moral evil is the evil derived from an individuals decisions and choices, for example 9/11. Moral evil raises the question of why god created human beings who could freely choose evil as well as good. Whereas natural evil is derived from the earths natural and fundamentally scientific events, this is much harder to explain because earthquakes and tsunamis generally happen independent of human actions and sins , thus must be attributed to something much different, many people argue that these natural events are god’s way of punishing his creation, which does not seem to fit in with his…


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