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Midterm The midterm exam will be handed back The in discussion section on Friday. in Reading for next time David Lewis “Divine Evil”. Properties of the Traditional Theistic God The Theistic God is one with the The following three properties: following Omnipotent Omniscient Omnibenevolent Most contemporary monotheisms affirm Most the existence of a theistic God with those three properties. those Properties of the Traditional Theistic God Definitions: X is omnipotent =def. is omnipotent X can do anything that is possible. that X is omniscient =def. is omniscient there is nothing that is true that X does not know. true X is perfectly X is omnibenevolent =def. is omnibenevolent good. The Argument From Evil
The Argument From Evil 1. If there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and If omnibenevolent God, then there is no unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world. the 2. It is not the case that there is no It unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world. the 3. Therefore, it is not the case that there is an Therefore, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God. omnibenevolent 1,2 MT The Argument From Evil Justification for premise 1: If God is omnibenevolent, then, since God’s being If omnibenevolent means God is perfectly good and a perfectly good being would prevent any and all unnecessary and undeserved suffering of which it is aware and can prevent, God will prevent all unnecessary and undeserved suffering of which God is aware and can prevent. suffering But if God exists and is omniscient, it is impossible that there But be any unnecessary and undeserved suffering of which God is unaware. is And if God exists and is omnipotent, it is impossible that And there be any unnecessary and undeserved suffering that God cannot prevent. God So if God exists and is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and So omnipotent, then there is no unnecessary and undeserved suffering. suffering. The Argument From Evil Justification for premise 2: There are many examples of unnecessary There and undeserved suffering in the world: and Innocent children killed by suicide bombers in Innocent Iraq Iraq Innocent children killed in the holocaust Innocent children killed by tsunamis, Innocent earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. earthquakes, Innocent baby fawns burned alive by forest Innocent fires caused by lightning strikes. fires The Argument From Evil How might you deny premise 2? There is no suffering. It is patently false that there is no suffering. All suffering is deserved. Perhaps all this-worldly suffering is punishment for some other- worldly crimes. But what reason is there for thinking that this is true other than a But desire to avoid the conclusion of the Argument from evil? desire All suffering is necessary. Perhaps all this-worldly suffering is necessary for the existence Perhaps of something much better than the suffering that is necessary for it. for Perhaps there are second order goods that suffering makes Perhaps possible. possible. But there are also second order bads that suffering makes But possible. possible. Are the second order goods sufficiently better than the bads to Are warrant God’s allowing them to exist? warrant Even if some suffering is necessary for the second order goods, is Even all of what exists really necessary for it? all The Argument From Evil How might you deny premise 1? The Free Will Defense God grants human beings free will because the God world is better overall with free beings in it than it is without them. is Why? Because good acts Because performed freely are better than good acts not performed freely. good But having free will means that even God cannot But force us not to cause unnecessary and undeserved suffering. undeserved For if God forced us not to cause unnecessary and For undeserved suffering, then we would not truly have free will. will. The Argument From Evil Evaluating the Free Will Defense Is the Free Will Defense Plausible? Is the existence of free will so good that its Is existence outweighs all of the horrible unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world? world? Even if we grant that God gives us free will and Even that explains why there is all the unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world that we cause, what about all the unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world not caused by human not beings? beings? The Devil?! The Argument From Evil What if both premises of the argument from What evil are true? evil Then you must accept the conclusion. But accepting the conclusion doesn’t require But necessarily giving up on the existence of God. necessarily You might still believe in God, you would just have You to deny that God has all three “omni-” properties that most theists hold that God has. that Which to give up? Divine Evil A punishment is excessive if it is drastically punishment excessive more severe/horrible/painful/ etc. than the transgression for which it is a punishment. transgression It seems plausible that a person can act It wrongly (even horribly wrongly) for inflicting excessive punishment on someone else, even if the one so punished did act wrongly and, thus, did deserve some punishment. and, Divine Evil Not only do theists maintain that God is Not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, but also, many maintain that God has created both a Heaven and a Hell. both people for all eternity after they die as a reward for their good behavior. reward people for all eternity after they die as a punishment for their bad behavior. punishment Heaven is a paradise to which God sends Heaven Hell is a horrible place to which God sends Hell Divine Evil According to the standard story According about Hell: about
(1) (2) (3) God determines who goes to Hell, iif God sends someone to Hell, that f person remains in Hell for eternity, and person iin Hell, one experiences unending agony n and torment (on the order of burning alive). alive). Divine Evil
Divine Evil Argument 1. If the standard story about Hell is true and If God sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her, then God, far from being omnibenevolent, is a horribly evil monster. omnibenevolent, 2. The standard about Hell is true and God The sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her. Him/Her. 3. Therefore, God, far from being Therefore, omnibenevolent, is a horribly evil monster. omnibenevolent, 1,2 MP Divine Evil The Divine Evil Argument is offered ad hominem The ad against someone who believes both the second premise of the argument and that God exists and is omnibenevolent. omnibenevolent. It is offered to show that there is an inconsistency in It thinking that God is all good and that God would send people to Hell, according to the standard story about Hell, for not believing in Him/Her. Hell, So what is the justification for premise 2?
Whatever reason someone might have for thinking that Whatever it is true. it Since the argument is offered ad hominem we don’t Since ad have to concern ourselves with a justification for premise 2 because we are only offering the argument to people who already accept premise 2. to Divine Evil Justification for premise 1: Infinite agony as a punishment for failing to believe Infinite something seems to be an instance of ridiculously horrible excessive punishment. horrible It is so ridiculously horrible, it seems, that anyone It who would inflict it on someone for merely failing to believe something, would have to be a horribly horribly evil being. horribly So, it seems, if the standard story about Hell is So, true and God sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her, then God is truly a horribly evil monster. monster. Divine Evil Could we run the Divine Evil Argument even if Could God only sent people to Hell for seemingly more serious sins? more another interesting, perhaps disturbing, question. question. After presenting the Divine Evil, Lewis asks After How should non-believers view their friends How and acquaintances who believe the standard story about Hell and believe that God sends who don’t believe in Him/Her to Hell? who The Mysterian Reply ...
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- Spring '08
- Philosophy, Omnipotence, David Lewis, Divine Evil