Is the Problem of Evil a barrier to belief?

  • A religiously ambiguous universe may be compatible with our concept of God – so much so that some say that God has so made the world that he cannot be conclusively proved.
  • The problem of evil is different, it needs to be answered, if the world and a theistic belief are to be reconciled. The problem of evil only exists for those who believe in God. This is a God who is held to both unlimited in power and in benevolence/love.

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3 thoughts on “Is the Problem of Evil a barrier to belief?

  1. I think the problem of evil is a serious emotional problem but weak as intellectual problem. Whether in deductive(DE) or inductive(IE) form, it is a failure because it assumes things that are not necessarily true.

    Example: DE assumes that if a being G is able(and knows how) to bring about not-E, willing to bring about not-E and desiring not-E, then not-E would be the case[viz., G would act according to its ability, will and desire]. This is not necessarily true, because it is possible, not necessarily true, that G has morally justifying reason(s) to permit E(forever or for a given period).

    If it possibly true that a being that is able, desiring and will to bring about not-E to have morally justifying reason(s) to permit E, then IE also assuming that some evil are seemly[as far as we know] pointless is false.

    Another often assumed notion, in DE, is that if omnipotent being G cannot do X, then G is impotent, which is not necessarily true. G could be able,have maximal possible power a being could have, to do X but not capable to do X. Thus G doing or not doing X does not necessarily reflects its power. Example I am able to torture my 15 months daughter, but no capable to do it, because of my love for her. That I cannot torture my daughter has nothing to do with my power’s ability, but moral incapability.

    I would accept that problem from evil is a brain taser which is weak as intellectual problem, for those who do not take for granted the assumptions, but very strong emotionally.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    1. Thanks David. I did not follow your first response. It does not matter whether one buy or not the ideal that omnicompetent God possibly has sufficiently moral justifying reason to permit blood of tortured children, etc because the question is not, is it true that God has such reason but is it possible God has such reason.

      It seems that even the person who does not buy this would have to admit, putting her emotions aside, that it is possible. If it is possible, not necessarily true, then DE and IE are a failure as cases against existence of omnicompetent God.

      With the latter, wrestle with the idea of what we mean by B can do X, and you will see this is not a linguistic side-step but critical thinking which show a difference between B is able to do X, and B is capable of do X.

      B can be able to but not capable of doing X. Example I am able to cheat my wife but not capable because I dearly love my wife and also strongly believe it is immoral etc.

      B can be capable of but not able to do X. Example Adam, a mean father, is capable to physically torture her daughter, but not able because Adam is badly handicapped.

      This critical thinking of what we mean by B can do X, shows that God could not elimate evil not because he is not able, have power to do so, but not capable, having moral reason not to elimate evil.

      This is not a theodice, but a defense to question the assumptions in the premises of both De and IE. what is your thoughts?

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