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Midterm The midterm exam was handed back in The discussion section last Friday. discussion Mean: 73 Range: 22 - 97 Properties of the Traditional Theistic God The Theistic God is one with the The following three properties: following X is omnipotent =def. is omnipotent that is possible. that X can do anything X is omniscient =def. is omniscient there is nothing that is true that X does not know. true good. X is perfectly X is omnibenevolent =def. is omnibenevolent 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 How might you deny premise 2? There is no suffering. All suffering is deserved. All suffering is necessary. How might you deny premise 1? The Free Will Defense God grants human beings free will because the world is God better overall with free beings in it than it is without them. better
Why? Because good acts performed freely are better than good Because acts not performed freely. acts But having free will means that even God cannot force But us not to cause unnecessary and undeserved suffering. us
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 story about Hell is true and The God sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her. believe 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 those who don’t believe in Him/Her to Hell? those The Mysterian Reply One might reply, and many have replied, both One to the argument from evil and the divine evil argument in the following manner: argument “I don’t know how or why God allows unnecessary don’t and undeserved suffering and how or why God punishes people by banishing them to Hell, but God is mysterious and unfathomable and we can be sure that whatever God does is morally good, even if we can’t comprehend how it could be.” even This reply is a mysterian reply because This mysterian according to it, the goodness of God’s ways are mysterious and incomprehensible to us. are The Mysterian Reply If one is willing to maintain that the goodness If of God is incomprehensible to us then one can’t be too sure about anything in the afterlife. afterlife. If God’s goodness is so incomprehensible to us, then, for all If we know, it could be consistent with God’s goodness for God to send us all to Hell no matter how good and perfect we all are on Earth. we If God’s goodness is so incomprehensible to us, then, for all If we know, it could be consistent with God’s goodness for God to send us all to Hell even if God promised us not to. God If God’s goodness is so incomprehensible to us, then, for all If we know, it could be consistent with God’s goodness for the goodness and bliss of Heaven to consist in eternal agony. goodness ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/12/2010 for the course PHIL 100 taught by Professor Jeremy during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).
- Spring '08