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PHI101_71013_Lecture21_Nov24

PHI101_71013_Lecture21_Nov24 - PHI101(71013...

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PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas Manninen November 24, 2009 
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Quite possibly, this is the most difficult problem for a theist to overcome. u Simply put, this argument concludes that there is an inherent paradox, if not an outright contradiction with theism and the evidence, u In other words, the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God seems incompatible with what looks to be unnecessary suffering in the world.
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On an orthodox theist view, God is: 1 all powerful (omnipotent) 2 all knowing (omniscient) 3 perfectly good (omnibenevolent) u These three properties make up the cornerstone of the Western conception of God. u None can be compromised without the loss of the classical Abrahamic (i.e. Judeo- Christian-Islamic) conception of God.
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“Evil” can be defined as: something morally wrong or bad (immoral) something harmful or injurious something characterized by or accompanied with misfortune or suffering. u For the purposes of the problem of evil, we can regard it as serious unjustified harm inflicted on sentient beings.
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Moral evil : this “includes all those bad things for which humans are morally responsible” (221). u Natural evil : “all those terrible events that nature itself does, such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, natural diseases, which brings suffering to humans and animals” (221)
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1. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. 2. God is a morally perfect being. 3. There exists evil in the world. The charge: these three statements are inconsistent.
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If God is a perfect being, why does he allow evil to exist? u In other words, why didn’t God create the world so that there were no evil? If God didn’t know there would be evil in the world, God would not be omniscient. If God could not create a world without evil, then God would not be omnipotent. If God created this world knowing there would be evil in it, God would not be benevolent.
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Is it necessary to have evil in the world? u We do not take it as evidence against God’s omnipotence that God cannot make 2+2=5; omnipotence is restricted only to what is logically possible. u Thus, it may be the case that some amount of evil is necessary. u But why think so?
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God is taken to have created the best of all possible worlds (Leibniz). u That is, if the world were created in a different way, there would be less good in it. E.g. imagine a world in which humans lived to 1,000 years of age. u God, being omnipotent and omnibenevolent, created the best of all possible worlds.
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One can argue that good and evil are necessary complements: you cannot have one without the other. u Imagine a world in which only good things existed. u Without evil, one would lose the contrast in having only good things in the world. u Over time, the less good things would be deemed evil.
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