The Existential Problem of Evil and The Brothers Karamazov

>> Philosophers sometimes distinguish between different problems of evil. So, the problem of evil. How is it that the existence of all of this suffering we find ourselves confronted with is compatible with the existence of an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing God? If God is all-good, wouldn’t He want to prevent

So much of this horrific suffering? And if He’s all-powerful and all-knowing, wouldn’t he have the power and know how to do so? And so why do we find ourselves confronted with all this suffering? Now, this is a kind of theoretical problem. But it’s also, there’s also an existential problem that we face

When we encounter terrible evil in our own lives and in the lives of others. It can induce a kind of vertigo. It can make it very difficult to believe that there is a God of the kind described by traditional Christianity. And so you’ve done some really interesting thinking

And writing about this existential problem of evil. As it’s treated in the writings of Theodosius Dobzhansky and his beautiful character, Father Zosima. And so, I wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you think about the practical problem of evil, and what you think Dobzhansky’s solution

Or reply to this problem is. And then whether you think it works, whether you find it persuasive. Yeah, the practical problem is sometimes we find ourselves quite rightly feeling a revulsion against certain kinds of really horrific evil that certainly others in the world experience, and maybe we, ourselves, have been touched by

At some point in our lives. And it induces in us a profound sense of that the things ought not to be this way. And we don’t want to align ourselves with any grand scheme of things such that this is a part of what’s being planned. But, of course, as theists the problem is

God has permitted a world, for us to exist in a world where precisely such horrible things have happened. And so then, for some individuals, when they experience this kind of intense suffering, they find themselves just psychologically withdrawing from God. It’s, and it’s because, perhaps out of an identification with the sufferer.

They feel they don’t want to simply say that, “Well God is wholly just and God is perfectly good, and he will bring good out of horrific evil.” They worry that this seems to say that they should not properly grieve the suffering that human individuals experience. Many religious individuals sometimes report,

Not so much theoretically ceasing to believe that God exists when they encounter evil, but just God feeling distant, and feeling the inability to draw near to God and to love God, to trust God given his willing permission of these kinds of suffering. And that’s the way that Dobzhansky frames the problem of evil

In “The Brothers Karamazov,” which I think is just a terrific novel in many ways. You have three sons of, that are all interesting characters. But one of them goes off. It’s set in Russia of course. One of them goes off and is educated in the West

And becomes a, sort of Enlightenment, atheist-type figure. And he frames the problem of evil this way. You know, he says, “I don’t want to, even if it’s true “that God will bring great good “and cause an ultimate harmony of all things “in the eschaton. “I don’t want to participate in that.

“I, and, you know, I want to declare now I want to have no part of that.” And it seems to be a kind of moral righteousness stand of saying, you know, maybe God could cause me to acquiesce in it, but I don’t want God to do that.

I don’t want Him to change my mind about this. I want to just stand apart and stand with the suffering victim, so. >> He puts it in terms of the suffering of a young child and says >> Yes. >> if all of this requires the torture

Of this one innocent child, then I don’t want a part of it. >> Yes, exactly. So then there’s this other character that, and Dostoevsky very much wrote, he wrote it in stages. It was published in serial form, as many 19th century novels were. And we have some of his correspondence.

And he very much wanted the novel to offer response to the problem of evil, and he feared that he did a better job of framing the problem of evil than he did in giving a powerful Christian response to it. In fact in, as you know,

In a lot of anthologies devoted to the problem of evil, you often get an excerpt of just Ivan, the brother, the atheist, his statement of the problem of evil. And it’s very painful to read, his recounting of just some horrific atrocities that occurred in and around that time.

So, but, this character, Father Zosima, is a sort of, he’s, we’re introduced to him as this saintly monk that people come to, and they just feel spiritual comfort often just in his presence even when he doesn’t speak. He’s this powerful saintly figure. >> He’s a person of overwhelming love,

And that’s the thing >> Tim: Yes. >> that most strikes you about him. >> Right. So really a model of Christian virtue, a very Christ-like figure. But he, at one point, he recounts the story of his life, and he indicates that, actually, early on, he was a violently angry young man

And participated in dueling and such. And over the course of his life, he embraced the Christian faith and was slowly transformed. And all the, he functions, I think, in Dostoevsky’s hands as a kind of witness to, because he encounters people, people come to him who are suffering horribly. So he’s not sheltered from,

He’s aware of the intense suffering of many individuals. And he just speaks with great confidence that it is possible to be reconciled to that without diminishing it and while still identifying with the victim of suffering. And he doesn’t tell us how. He just says it is possible to come to see things

In this way. So he’s, I take it what Dostoevsky’s doing, he’s saying he’s a kind of witness. If you get to a point of spiritual development that an individual like Father Zosima has, it’s possible to have a integration of your deep, profoundest moral convictions about the wrongness of horrific suffering

And complete trust in the deep love of God. And so he, and we’re supposed to, what we the readers are invited to take away is listen to the testimony of some individuals like that. It’s true there aren’t that many of us that attain that level of saintliness in our lives,

But there are some, and we should listen to them. Because these are far from being individuals who are morally calloused. They’re not dismissive of suffering. They have great sensitivity to suffering, and yet they also have profound intimacy with God. And they can experience it as a moral committedness

And trust in the love of God. So I just think Dostoevsky’s solution is there are certain saints that are witnesses to us that it is possible >> So. >> to reconcile that. And then it’s an invitation for us to try to follow that path and to experience that for ourselves.

>> So is it that you can imagine someone in the grip of an existential crisis, finding themselves repulsed maybe by God because of horrific suffering and experience through a witness. And you can imagine trying to come in and give the person an argument, you know, a philosophical argument, >> Yes.

>> which maybe in some cases might help, but in many cases maybe would feel cold and lifeless and unduly abstract. Is Dobzhansky in effect saying I’m not gonna give you an argument? I’m gonna give you a picture. This is what it looks like to be full of love,

Wholly trusting in God and his goodness, wholly in solidarity with the suffering This is what it looks like. It can be done. Contemplate this, and it will bring healing to you? I mean is this an effect? >> Yes, I think that’s it. I think he should perhaps add what he no doubt believes

That some human individuals in this life may have experienced such profound suffering, say, seeing the, he recounts the story of a mother seeing her child being deliberately killed savagely right before her eyes. You know, that’s, it’s the people who experience wartime atrocities can become so psychologically damaged, it may be impossible,

Absent a miraculous divine intervention in this life for those individuals to experience the kind of peace and wholeness that a character like Father Zosima experiences. And I think we just have to recognize that. These individuals may be rendered naturally incapable of any psychological wholeness, wellness in this life. But God is capable of,

Jesus is the great physician, and we are promised that individuals who cling to God will, even if they’re not capable of experiencing that wholeness, that overcoming of deep woundedness, God can bring that about. And it’s hard to imagine sometimes how that could be. But I think as Christians,

We also have to bear in mind that the God we worship is a god who suffered greatly on our behalf. And a kind of brief loss for Marilyn Adams has interestingly speculated that one way in which people who’ve experience horrific suffering might actually come to, in a way,

Have that suffering take on redemptive value for them, even though it remains an evil thing, what they experience, but it can come to have redemptive significance if God enables them in a kind of mystical way to yoke their suffering, see their suffering as a means of identification with the suffering of Christ

On our behalf, right. The inner life of God who grieves over his suffering and sinful children and longs to have them return to them and experience profound suffering and alienation in the second person of the Trinity, incarnated and crucified. That could be, for some individuals in this life, they might say,

Well, I, you know, I can’t make that identification. It still, it doesn’t help me to, but God could cause them to have insight into the character of God that it could somehow take on redemptive significance for them. And I find that a helpful suggestion as just a,

A possible intimation of a way that that could be done. And no doubt, it requires supernatural activity on the part of God, but we’re already >> Tom: We’re already committed. >> committed to that, yeah.

#Existential #Problem #Evil #Brothers #Karamazov

Why would God allow Evil and Suffering?

Forgive these questions; in a perfect world I wouldn’t have to ask them. But if God is all good and all-powerful and all-knowing, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people? [Craig] This is I think the principle argument

For the atheistic side that my opponents in the debates will sometimes bring up, and I think that there’s a couple of ways to respond to this. First we need to understand what the atheist is claiming here. Is he arguing that God and

Suffering are logically incompatible with each other? If he is, then he needs to show that there’s some sort of implicit contradiction there, because there’s no explicit contradiction, and I would say that no atheist has ever been able to sustain that burden of proof to show that there are necessarily true

Assumptions that would reveal some kind of a contradiction between God and the suffering and evil in the world. In fact, I think we can prove that they are compatible by just adding a third proposition, and that would be that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the

World. As long as that’s even possible, it shows that God and evil are logically compatible. So that logical version of the argument doesn’t work. Now very quickly, there’s a probabilistic version of the argument which says alright God and evil are logically compatible but nevertheless it’s highly improbable that

God exists given the evil and suffering in the world. And I think there’s a number of moves that the theist can make in response to that argument to show that it’s not improbable that God exists given the suffering in the world.

[Questioner] I happen to believe, and I’m trying to be as objective as I can throughout the debate, that the reasons why there is suffering and pain are entirely obvious and in fact they’re inevitable if there is a loving God. But how would you explain

Them? Why then does God have to allow discomfort, suffering, pain, terrible pain? [Craig] Well I would say Michael that there isn’t any single reason. Rather there’s a multitude of reasons that would be in play here. One would be that God wants to create a world of free creatures who can become responsible

Moral agents and mature persons, and that will require a world that operates according to certain natural laws where the fire that warms you can also burn you; the water that sustains you can drown you, and it would require the ability of these creatures to do morally evil acts. And so

Creating that sort of an arena I think is going to allow the possibility of natural suffering and moral evil to occur, but that God permits these with the overall goal in mind of bringing people freely into a knowledge of himself and

To eternal salvation. And the goal of human life is not happiness in this life; we are not God’s pets. His goal is not to create a nice terrarium here for his human pets. Rather, it is to bring persons into communion with himself forever

Freely, and in order to do that, it’s not at all implausible that a world suffused with natural and moral evil would be the correlative of that.

#God #Evil #Suffering

Why Suffering/evil poses a Problem for Atheists

Because I think there’s a real problem  here and the problem isn’t what you’ve said   it’s can suffering and evil pose a problem to the  atheist as well? Because I think this is the real   problem, the problem is for the atheist. Can you  perhaps explain why it’s a problem, the problem  

Of evil and suffering. I think so too and  I think it’s very important to turn the tables   when we’re speaking about this issue too  because thinking about suffering like I said   I think it’s something that all people all  around the world throughout history have been  

Thinking about, theists, polytheists, monotheists,  deists, these people are thinking about suffering,   suffering is a part of this world so but i  really think that it’s a big problem for the   atheists from for three specific reasons. The first  thing is when you speak about the problem of evil  

You’re actually speaking about an objective  standard for what is good and bad and evil   and not even and i will speak about that the  second thing is that when people are suffering   uh it’s really something that goes through their  nervous system that you can feel pain is something  

That goes through your nervous system and  the nervous system is incredibly designed   and it really points to a designer. So it’s  really an evidence for for God’s existence   and the last thing is how to cope with  suffering and evil in the world as an atheist. So  

Let us speak about the first thing when we speak  about the problem of evil let me say because   this is … I’ve seen Stephen Fry he’s a  very famous British comedian and and so on he’s an  

Atheist he says he’s an atheist and he was going  on about how evil suffering was he used the word   evil repeatedly and many people found this  very very ironic and contradictory just   this is a real problem so real atheists are  really saying it’s evil and you can see Stephen  

Fry going on and on about this on youtube so why  is that a problem for atheism i think that most   most general atheists they have a sense inside of  themselves it’s a part of the Fitrah, the natural   instinct that there are some objective moral  goods and evils that they think that this and  

This and that are objectively good it’s not just  my opinion and the opinion in my culture this is   good to help children that are starving it is a  good thing to do it’s not just my opinion that  

It’s good it’s a good thing to do and holocaust  and so on they are evil things it’s not just   my opinion that it’s evil it’s evil but if  you’re an atheist you don’t you can’t have these   objective moral standards because everything just  goes down to personal beliefs or feelings  

And we can see that atheists that really take the  atheism to this extent like you can see Alexander   Rosenberg he’s a professor of philosophy as a  book that is called Atheist Guide to Reality   and when he speaks about these issues he  said there are no such thing as good, bad,  

Evil, and so on it’s just you should do  good things because it makes you feel good   but there are no objective moral standards for  good and evil in ethics atheistic worldview you  

Can even see like i don’t know if you read the  books of Noah Harari: Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind, and Homo Deus, deals   they’re quite interesting books when he’s  speaking about these things because he’s a  

Real darwinistic atheist and he takes all these  things to it’s he’s a real nihilist so when he   speaking about human rights he said there is  no such thing as human rights because human   rights are based on the belief that humans  are created equal from a creator this is the  

Declaration of the Independence of the United  States people are not created in his view there   have evolved evolved and they are not equal  they are different people are different so   how can you speak about human rights this is a  metaphysical concept it’s like we don’t have any  

Rights we’re animals we’re evolved animals so  when atheists usually speak about these things   i think they kind of go back to their Fitrah,  their natural instinct, that there are some   objective moral good and evil they’re using  religious language yeah they’re illegitimately   borrowing some religious language of good  and evil as metaphysical objective concepts  

Whereas in fact truly as their own philosophers  have said there is no good or evil for atheists so   actually it’s it’s a bit of a um a tricky argument  because they’re borrowing religious language and   saying oh but we’re not we don’t believe in  religion they can’t really do that consistently  

Yeah and the the second thing is the nervous  system uh why do people suffer why do you feel   pain when i do like this because i have a nervous  system if i would not have a nervous system  

I will not feel pain when i do this and this and  that and i’m not a doctor so i can’t speak about   how the whole nervous system is built up and so on  but you can just go into youtube and write a human  

Nervous system and you can when you see these  things it’s just Allahu Akbar like Subhanallah   how just in a microsecond when you do like this  you can feel straight away in a microsecond pain  

And if we would not feel pain we can lose our legs  so we don’t know which is that someone cuts off   our legs and we don’t know what’s happening with  us so it’s really a signal for us that there’s  

Something wrong here there’s something wrong in  your body here you can feel pain here okay you   should go to the doctor you should look it up  and so on and this is pure design and the sign  

Points to a designer so the whole thing the whole  concept of suffering goes back to an incredibly   designed nervous system and the third thing that  i think it does not really disprove atheism but   it’s if you really think  about the atheist worldview  

And you can see that they are suffering  or people around them are suffering   how can they find like uh consolidation  or how can they find some kind of comfort   i used to have a neighbor in sweden who was an  atheist on a countryside when he was feeling pain  

He was old and he had chronic pains or something  like that and he used to find comfort in saying   well it would all go away in the crematorium when  i die and will cover that all of my pains will go  

Away this was his way to find the hope that he  will lose pain and he’s yeah in his worldview   it’s right how can they find something if we look  at the hadith that i mentioned the ayat of Allah  

And hadith of the prophet upon whom be peace and you suffer you  can really feel like ok okay i can take this   because it will take away my sins and i’ll have a  reward in the next life and so on and so on so you  

Can feel comfort that God will reward us for all  of these things but as an atheist what if you have   chronic so you feel chronic pain chronic diseases  suffering the only thing that will take it away   is death and it’s like okay after death  what’s there it’s nothing so i think that  

This is really it’s really depressing if you  really think about what atheism means it’s   depressing because okay you strive today you study  and you work you gain money and you gain fame but   at the moment that you die everything inc in  accordance to your worldview finish nothing there  

And how can you you can see that people are  suffering people oppressing others you could see   that Hitler it took over like almost the whole  of Europe he killed people by the millions and   when the Russians came close killed himself  and he’s finished we as muslims believe that  

He will be responsible allah azzawajal will have  him responsible for his needs and his actions   at the same time all of these people that died  and so on and people that die and wars and so on   uh Allah azza will make justice in  the next life so when you believe  

In that it really gives you comfort  and it makes you cope with the hard   hardships of life and the sufferings of life but  i can’t really see how an atheist can feel that   it’s very hard for me so i think that the problem  of suffering is really a problem for the atheist  

Yeah and yeah this is the great great irony  actually that this problem actually uh rebounds   back on them with incredible force uh for the  three reasons uh that you mentioned they can’t   complain about evil evil doesn’t exist  for them and then and in their and their  

Exquisitely designed nervous system bears  testimony to a designer anyway and anyway   atheism is his hopeless nihilistic literally god  forsaken ideology which offers no consolation or   hope to humanity so it really rebounds back  on atheism very painfully for them I think.

#Sufferingevil #poses #Problem #Atheists

Suffering and Evil: The Probability Version

In part one, we looked at the logical version of the problem of suffering and evil.This argument attempts to show that since suffering and evil exist, it is logically impossible for God to exist, and we explained why even atheist philosophers admit that this argument fails. But wait. It may still be argued

That while it’s logically possible that God and suffering both exist, is far from likely. There’s just so much pointless suffering, it seems improbable that God could have good reasons for permitting it. This is the probability version of the problem. Suffering provides empirical evidence

That God’s existence is not impossible, just highly unlikely. Is this a good argument? Consider three points. First, we are not in a position to say with any confidence that God probably lacks reasons for allowing the suffering in the world. The problem is that we’re limited in space and time, and in

Intelligence and insight. God, on the other hand, sees every detail of history from beginning to end, and orders it through people’s free decisions and actions in order to achieve his purposes. God may have to allow a great deal of suffering along the way. Suffering which appears pointless within our limited scope of

Understanding may be seen to have been justly permitted by God within his wider framework. Sometimes what we experience makes no sense until we gain a wider perspective and see the big picture designed by the Creator. Here’s the second point. Relative to the full scope of the evidence, God’s

Existence may well be probable. You see, probabilities are always relative to background information. For example, if we consider only how much this man weighs, we would say it’s highly improbable that he’s a world-class athlete. But when we’re willing to consider new information, that he’s a professional sumo wrestler and

The world champion, we quickly revise our view. In the same way, when the atheist claims that God’s existence is improbable, we should ask, improbable relative to what background information? If we consider only the suffering in the world, then God’s existence may very well appear to be improbable, but if we’re

Willing to look at the full scope of background information to take into account the powerful arguments for God’s existence, we may come to a very different conclusion. The third point is Christianity entails doctrines that increase the probability of the coexistence of God and suffering.

Consider four of these. First, the chief purpose of life is not happiness. People often assume that if God exists, his role is to create a comfortable environment for his human pets. They think the ultimate goal of our lives on earth is happiness, and therefore, God is obligated to keep us happy.

However, Christianity presents a radically different view, that the purpose of life is to know God. This alone brings true, lasting fulfillment. Suffering can bring about a deeper, more intimate knowledge of God either on the part of the one who’s suffering or those around him. The whole point of human history is

That God, having given us free will, is drawing as many people as he can into his unending Kingdom. Suffering is one of the ways God can draw people freely to himself. In fact, countries that have endured the most hardship often show the

Highest growth rate for Christianity. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Second, mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and His purpose. Terrible human evils are testimony to

Man’s depravity, a consequence of his alienation from God. The Christian isn’t surprised at moral evil in the world; on the contrary, he expects it. The third doctrine states that God’s purpose is not restricted to this life, but spills over beyond the grave into eternal life. This world is just the

Beginning, the entry way to an unimaginable, never-ending life beyond death’s door. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, underwent afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, hunger; yet he wrote, we do not lose heart, for this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for

An eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. Paul understood

That life on earth, and whatever suffering it holds for each of us, is temporary. Our pain will not endure forever, but our lives with God will. Paul was not belittling the plight of those who suffer horribly in this life. Indeed,

He was one of them; but he saw that those sufferings will be overwhelmed forever by the ocean of joy that God will give to those who will freely receive it. And the fourth doctrine is this: the knowledge of God is an incomparable good. Knowing God

Is the ultimate fulfillment of human existence, an infinite good. Thus, the person who knows God, no matter how much he has suffered, can still say God is good to me. So if Christianity is true, it’s not at all improbable that suffering and evil should exist. In summary, for all these

Reasons, the probability version of the problem of evil is no more successful than the logical version. As a purely intellectual problem, then, the problem of evil does not disprove God’s existence. But even if those intellectual arguments fail, the emotional problem of suffering and evil

Remains very powerful. If you have suffered deeply, or if you’ve watched someone you love go to intense pain, you may be thinking, so what is God exists? Why would I want to respond to him or worship him? I feel cold and empty, and

Want nothing to do with him. You’re not alone. God knows your name; he knows who you are and what you’re going through. God promises to be with you through your suffering. He can give you the strength to endure. Jesus Christ also suffered;

Although he was innocent, he was tortured and sentenced to death.His suffering had a purpose: to provide you and me the life-giving connection to God. Not only does God exist, but he loves you. He seeks after you, he offers you hope, and in time, he will make all things new.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

#Suffering #Evil #Probability #Version

Why Doesn’t God Stop Evil?

You see what the atheist has to say, he’s got to be able to prove that it is impossible or improbable for God to have a morally sufficient reason for permitting these facts of suffering, and that’s a burden of proof which is so

Heavy that no atheist has ever been able to sustain it. [Moderator] Explain that, because the question I was going to ask you is let’s talk about this subject of faith, which is where I was going, so you jumped right where I was headed. When they say

That, okay, explain that idea that you just entered into. [Craig] Take someone’s little daughter dying of leukemia, or getting run over by an automobile. We don’t see why that happened, and we wonder why wouldn’t a sovereign God intervene to stop it? And what the atheist has to say is that it’s either

Impossible or it’s highly improbable that God could have a morally justifying reason for allowing that to occur, but there’s no way given our finitude, our limits in space and time, for being able to make that kind of a claim with any justification. God’s morally sufficient reason for allowing your daughter’s

Death might not emerge until 300 years from now, maybe in another country. Every event that occurs sends a ripple effect through history so that the consequences of any event are simply incalculable and incomprehensible for finite, local persons. So the atheist is making a claim here which is just completely unsustainable;

There’s no way for him to show that it’s improbable or impossible that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing this evil to occur, and therefore his argument really has no intellectual credibility. It’s a purely emotional argument. [Moderator] And it’s a compelling one, isn’t it?

[Craig] Emotionally compelling, but not intellectually compelling. [Moderator] Correct, and so when somebody says in that moment, in immense pain, I don’t care what good he can bring out of this, [yes] I reject him. And we hear that a lot, [sure] C.S. Lewis drifted towards saying that in his Grief Observed, and

God, when God hears us say those kind of things, okay, his response is one of understanding. Scripture says he too has been tempted in every way, even as we were. [yes] And so God doesn’t shut us off when we

Say that. [Craig] No no, no I think that’s absolutely right. Look at the Psalms, how the psalmist expresses anger toward God, and God where are you, why are you allowing this, why am I going through this? I think the lesson of

The Psalms is come to God with your hurt and your pain and your anger and don’t try to stifle it and suppress it. Let it out and he’ll listen to you. [Moderator] He’ll listen, and if you’ll let him, if you’ll listen to him, as Christopher Hitchens

Acknowledged he gives the only consistent logically constructed plausible answer that frankly even Hitchens acknowledged; you know what? Christianity alone solves this problem. [Craig] Yeah, I remember Bertrand Russell, the great atheist philosopher, once said that no one can sit at the bedside of a dying

Child and believe in God, but when Jan and I were in Paris we met a young minister who was trained and now worked in counseling dying children. And I thought to myself: counseling dying children, what would Russell have said to those children? What could he say? Too bad?

Tough luck? That’s all the naturalist has got to say. As you say it’s theism, it’s belief in God, that provides a hope and a reason for the suffering that its redeemed, whereas in atheism we’re locked in a world that is filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering, and there is no hope of escape.

#Doesnt #God #Stop #Evil

Does the Problem of Evil Make God Unlikely?

[Anderson] Evil and suffering is a big one,  and I’d be interested in your perspectives on   that. You hear people say that particularly the  Abrahamic God, who’s all-powerful and all-knowing   and all good, and you’ve just made a reference  to that yourself, the locus of all good things,

[yes] now there’s the atheistic argument from  evil. And it basically runs that if there   is such a God, and look I don’t want to sound  unsympathetic about this; it’s a big challenge   evil is a big problem, just as I described exists,  then, there’d be no evil or or suffering. But  

There is a lot of evil and suffering in the world,  therefore there can’t be a God, or certainly not   a Christian God. So where do philosophers in  general come out on that question of suffering, and where do you land? [Craig] Well historically  for centuries atheistic philosophers have defended  

The view that the existence of the suffering and  evil in the world is logically incompatible with   the existence of God. And now on the contemporary  scene, this has really changed; virtually no one   defends the logical version of the problem of  evil anymore, and the reason is that it lays upon  

The shoulders of the atheist a burden of proof  that is so heavy that no one has been able to   sustain it. The atheist would have to  prove that there is no logically possible   reason that God could have for permitting  the evil and suffering in the world,  

And no one can prove such a thing. So those who  do defend the problem of evil today have retreated   from the logical version of the problem to the  so-called probabilistic version of the problem,   where the claim is that given the evil and  suffering in the world, it’s improbable that  

God exists, if not impossible. And the difficulty  with this version of the problem is that it makes   probability judgments that are simply beyond  our ability. There is no basis for thinking   that if God has morally sufficient reasons for  permitting the evil and suffering in the world  

That these should be evident to me. For example,  every event that occurs in human history sends a   ripple effect through history, such that God’s  morally sufficient reasons for permitting it   might not emerge until centuries from now, perhaps  in another country. An illustration of this would  

Be the so-called butterfly effect in contemporary  physics. It’s been shown that the fluttering of   a butterfly’s wings on a twig in West Africa can  set in motion forces that will eventually produce   a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean, and yet no  one watching that little butterfly on the branch  

Could possibly predict such an outcome. These  kinds of probability judgments are just beyond   our capacity. And similarly, when we see some  instance of suffering and evil in the world,   we are simply not in a position to say with any  sort of confidence God probably doesn’t have  

A morally sufficient reason for permitting that to  occur. A second point that needs to be made here   is that when one’s talking about probabilities,  then you’ve also got to consider on the other   side of the scale, what is the probability  that God does exist? And here I would offer  

A multiple considerations that I think make  it quite probable that there is in fact a   transcendent creator and designer of the universe,  despite any improbability that the suffering in   the world might throw upon the existence of  God. [Anderson] Interestingly, I’ve never  

Forgotten the story, a true story, about a young  university student in Scotland not long after well   probably I suspect during the Depression years,  things were grim, and he knocked on the door,   of a small cottage that was opened, there was  a returned serviceman from the first World War,  

And when he realized the young man wanted to  talk to him about God he said go away, he said   I was in the trenches in France and  I stopped believing in God when I saw   all that evil. And the young man said to him  I respect that that must have been terrible,  

And I certainly won’t pester you, but  can I just make the observation that   I wonder if I’d been there I might  not have stopped believing in man   rather than stop believing in God. And the old  man looked at him, tears welled up near his eyes,  

And he said you better come in; we need to talk  about this. It’s an interesting take on evil. I   sometimes think that one of our problems is we’re  not self-reflective enough. [Craig] Yes one of the   major developments in philosophy with respect to  this problem is the so-called free will defense,  

In which philosophers I think have been able to  show that it’s neither improbable nor impossible   that every world that God would create that  would involve this much good, this much moral   goodness, would also involve this much moral  evil freely perpetrated by human free agents,  

So that ultimately the blame lies  at man’s threshold and not at God’s. oh

#Problem #Evil #God

Does God exist? What about evil? Peter Kreeft responds.

>> Peter Kreeft: Let’s admit that pain is evidence against God. The God presented in the Bible is called a hidden God. He’s not like the noonday sun. You can’t avoid the noonday sun. You don’t have to search for the noonday sun in order to find it.

But God wanted us to search for him so he hid. Pascal says “God gives you just enough light so that if you want to find Him, you can, and if you don’t want to find Him you won’t.” So finding Him doesn’t depend on your IQ. It depends on your will.

In other words, He respects your freedom. He’s like Romeo. When he proposes to Juliet he doesn’t bring along a battery of logicians to convince her that she’s a fool if she doesn’t follow the syllogisms. [laughter] So God allows evidence against Him. and He gives you evidence for Him.

As one ancient skeptic said: “If there is no God why is there so much good? And if there is a God why is there so much evil?” Well, I don’t know how the atheist would explain all the good… But he has to, if goodness is an argument for God and he believes that

The evidence, good, doesn’t lead to the conclusion, no God, he has to show how. Similarly, the believer in God has to show how the evidence against God, namely, evil, doesn’t lead to the atheist conclusion. That doesn’t mean that even if my talk is totally successful, I will have proved the existence of God.

It’s defense not offensive argument that I’m going to give you. For more information about The Veritas Forum including additional recordings and a calendar of upcoming events, please visit our website at

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Philosophy: Problem of Evil Part 3

Hi, my name is Greg Ganssle and I’m a part-time lecturer[br]in the Department of Philosophy at Yale University, and a Senior Fellow at the Rivendell Institute. And today we’re talking about the philosophical problem of evil. In previous discussions,[br]we’ve seen the charge of contradiction or the deductive logical problem of evil discussed.

And this is the claim that[br]there is a contradiction in asserting that God[br]exists, God is wholly good, all-powerful, and all-knowing,[br]and that evil exists. The solution to this charge[br]of contradiction, we found, was in the idea that God might have[br]a good reason to allow evil.

A good God can allow evil if[br]He has a good reason to do so. It’s from this point that[br]the second major argument in the philosophical[br]problem of evil begins. This is the evidential argument. Rather than “the charge of contradiction,” I like to call this “the unicorn[br]objection.” Just like a unicorn might exist

But they’re awfully hard to find, this argument starts with[br]the idea that maybe God has a reason to allow the evil we witness, but it sure seems like there[br]is no reason out there. So let me see if I can make[br]this a little more rigorous. I’m following an important[br]paper that was published

By philosopher William Rowe in 1979. This argument goes something like this[br](and I’m going to simplify). Premise one: There are unjustified evils in the world. Premise two: If God exists, there will be no unjustified evils in the world. Conclusion: Therefore, God does not exist. Let me clarify a few things

Before I try to give a bit of an answer. So, what is an unjustified evil? An unjustified evil is an evil where there is no good reason to allow it. No good being would allow this evil if he could prevent it. The argument is that there are

Cases of evil like this in the world, and if there are, then God does not exist. Now, notice the way I set up the argument, it’s actually a valid deductive argument. So why would we call this[br]an evidential argument? The answer is the first premise, “There are unjustified[br]evils,” can only be supported

With an evidential case. We cannot argue that, beyond[br]the shadow of a doubt, there are unjustified evils. We have to weigh the[br]evidence, pro and con, for the claim that there[br]are unjustified evils. So let’s begin to do that. Well, William Rowe in his[br]article tells a story of a deer

Who’s caught in a forest[br]fire and suffers horribly for four or five days before she dies. And he points out that in the[br]case of suffering like this, we cannot see any reason that[br]God might have to allow it. It looks like an unjustified evil. And we can go through and look at some

Of the standard reasons God[br]might have to allow evils and show that they don’t[br]seem to apply in this case. For example, human free[br]will seems to be irrelevant especially if the fire[br]was caused by lightning. Secondly, the fact that it’s a good thing to have a regular cause and effect world

Doesn’t seem to apply,[br]because God could always end the deer’s misery without[br]really interfering with the regularities of the world. So here’s a case that looks[br]like an unjustified evil. How is a theist going to respond? Well, another philosopher named Steven Wykstra begin this way. He said, “We’re looking for a reason

That God could have to allow this evil,” or “We’re looking for what we could call a justifying reason.” And William Rowe’s argument[br]goes something like this. First: It doesn’t seem like[br]there’s a justifying reason. Secondly: Therefore, probably there is no justifying reason. And that’s the kind of reasoning that’s supporting premise one.

The evidence we bring[br]to bear to premise one is that, as much as we think[br]about it, we cannot discern a justifying reason, so it[br]seems like there is none. Then we conclude not[br]that there definitely is no justifying reason, but[br]that it’s likely, or probably there is no justifying reason.

And then our conclusion becomes[br]”Probably, there is no God.” Now what Steve Wykstra does with this is he thinks hard about this inference from “It seems like there[br]is no justifying reason” to “Probably, there is no justifying[br]reason.” I’m oversimplifying his case quite a bit, but it’s as if he’s making this claim.

Sometimes inferences of that kind are very strong and[br]sometimes they’re very weak. So here’s some examples. Look around the room. It seems like there are no[br]live elephants in the room. Therefore, probably there are[br]no live elephants in the room. That seems to be a[br]pretty strong inference. What about this one? Look around the room again.

It seems like there are no[br]carbon-14 atoms in the room. Therefore, probably there are[br]no carbon-14 atoms in the room. Well that doesn’t seem like[br]a very strong inference, even if you look around the room twice. What is the difference? The difference can be captured[br]in the sentences of the form “If there were a ____,

We would probably know it.” Now we’ll take the first case. “If there were a live elephant in the[br]room, we would probably know it.” That is true. You look around the room, and a live elephant is something[br]you’re going to notice. If the room is small[br]enough, there aren’t a lot

Of large objects a live[br]elephant could hide behind. So it’s a very strong inference. But think about the carbon-14 atom. “If there were a carbon-14 atom in the[br]room, we would probably know it.” That turns out to be false. You cannot detect tacarbon-14 atom simply by glancing around the room.

So sometimes these inferences are strong and sometimes they’re weak. Now let’s go back to Rowe’s argument. What is it with which[br]he fills in the blank? A justifying reason. A reason God could have[br]to allow this evil. So we look at a particular case of evil. And we asked the question “If there were

A justifying reason,[br]would we probably know it?” If the answer to that question is “Yes,” then Rowe’s argument is strong. If the answer is “No,” then it’s weak. Let me tell you why I think it’s weak. First of all, if God[br]exists, we would expect

That many of His reasons for[br]doing things are going to be stuff that we cannot figure out. Secondly, we can figure[br]out reasons God might have for lots of the evils in the world: things due to free will, due to cause-and-effect universe. There are lots of evils that we encounter

Where we can figure out what[br]a justifying reason might be. Third thing: every philosopher recognizes that we’re not going to[br]be able to figure out God’s reasons in every case. So we all accept the idea[br]that there are many cases we can figure out and there are many cases we shouldn’t be able to figure out.

The question is, are there[br]too many cases of that kind? And this is where the disagreement is. I think, if you have other[br]reasons to think God exists, then you’re in good grounds for saying that this argument is not strong, because the number of cases we cannot figure out is[br]not necessarily so great

To render existence of God unlikely. This is one of those cases where both the theist and the atheist can say that the other side can be perfectly rational[br]in their beliefs. It’s a matter of assessing[br]the evidence differently. In fact, in Rowe’s article[br]where he first put forward this argument, he makes this point.

He says he thinks it’s[br]perfectly reasonable for a theist to continue to believe in God even in spite of this argument. So we’ve looked at the[br]evidential argument from evil, simply one version of it by William Rowe. And I’ve explained how[br]a theist can respond, to see whether it’s still[br]reasonable to believe in God.

Of course, many philosophers have launched different versions of this argument which are more complicated and perhaps more difficult to answer. Subtitles by the community

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Philosophy: Problem of Evil Part 2

Hi, my name is Greg Ganssle, and I’m a Senior Fellow[br]at the Rivendell Institute at Yale University. We’re discussing the[br]philosophical problem of evil. So in the last lecture, we looked at the philosophical problem of evil and we said that atheists[br]want to deny premise one, that is, “God exists and is omniscient

Omnipotent, and wholly good”, while theists want to investigate the additional premises more carefully. So let us check to see. Are these premises true? So let’s look at premise three first: “There are no limits to what an omnipotent, omniscient being can do.” Is this true? Well, let’s think about it.

You’ve probably heard this question: “Can God make a rock so big[br]that even He can’t move it?” What about this: “Can God make a class so boring[br]that even He falls asleep?” These are the kinds of questions some people think are[br]going to be unanswerable. But they boil down to,[br]especially the rock question

Boils down to, “Can God[br]make contradictions true?” You see, a rock so big[br]that an all-powerful being cannot move it is a contradiction. So the question is, can God[br]make a contradiction true? So let’s answer the question[br]”Yes” and let’s answer the question “No” and see what happens. “Yes”: If God can make contradictions true,

Then he can make a rock so[br]big that he cannot move it. But then, he can also move[br]it, because he can make the contradiction true that[br]he cannot move the rock and he also can move the rock. So this is not a problem. But what if God cannot do contradiction?

Then we will have to say that God cannot make this kind of a rock. It’s not something that,[br]as an all-powerful being, He can accomplish. Now traditionally, most[br]theologians and philosophers have understood God’s power such that He cannot do contradictions. And it’s very important for[br]the atheist to hold this view.

Because the atheist[br]wants to have an argument that God does not exist, such[br]as John Mackie’s argument. So suppose Mackie has[br]a successful argument: There’s a contradiction in believing that God exists and that evil exists. The theist can simply[br]say, “Well, if God can do contradictions, he can make[br]that contradiction true. There is no contradiction that challenges

The existence of God.” So in order to have any[br]argument against the existence of God at all, we have to[br]assume that God’s power does not extend to being able[br]to make contradictions true. So we are going to say that premise three as it stands is false.

There are some limits to what[br]an all-powerful being can do. There are logical limits. God cannot draw a square circle. God cannot make a rock[br]so big He cannot move it. These are contradictions. So we need to rewrite premise three. We’ll call it “Three*”: There are no non-logical limits

To what an omnipotent,[br]omniscient being can do. This has a chance of being true. So we’ve revised premise three;[br]let’s look at premise four. Premise four: “A good being always eliminates evil as far as it can.” This too turns out to be false. Often, a good parent[br]allows evil and suffering

Into her child’s life even[br]if she could eliminate it. In our family, we had a very[br]strict rule that the children were not allowed to eat[br]candy before breakfast, and sometimes this caused distress. But we knew we had a good reason to allow this kind of suffering. It didn’t make us bad parents.

So we have to revise premise[br]four as well. Four*: A good being always eliminates[br]evil as far as it can unless it has a good reason to allow it. This has a chance of being true. So the theist says, “We need[br]to revise those two premises. Let’s plug them back into our argument

And see if we can still[br]get a contradiction.” Premise one remains the same. Premise two remains the same. Evil exists. Premise three*. “There are no non-logical limits to what an omnipotent being can do.” Premise four*. “A good being always eliminates[br]evil as far as it can, unless it has a good reason to allow it.”

>From these four, we can[br]go through the steps. Statement five is actually going to be statement five* now: God can eliminate all the evil that it’s logically possible to[br]eliminate. Statement six becomes statement six*: God will eliminate all[br]the evil He can eliminate because He is good, unless He[br]has a good reason to allow it.

>From statement five* and statement six*, we get statement seven*: God eliminates all the evil[br]He logically can eliminate, unless He has a good reason to allow it. Statement eight*: There[br]is evil and there is no evil, unless God has a good reason to allow it. And this is not a contradiction.

So what the theists have recognized is that if it’s possible that[br]God has a good reason to allow evil, there is no contradiction in claiming that God[br]exists, God is wholly good, all-powerful, all-knowing,[br]and yet evil exists. Could it be that God has a[br]good reason to allow evil,

But we don’t have to[br]know what His reasons are for any particular evil? There are some things that[br]have come up as suggestions for why God might allow some[br]of the evils we encounter. First, human freedom. Many philosophers believe[br]that if God allows us to be free in a significant[br]way, then He cannot determine

That we always choose what’s right. That would be a contradiction: a determined action that’s free. Secondly, many people[br]think that the regularities in the universe require the possibility of natural evils such as[br]drownings and burnings. It’s the very same properties[br]of water that make it biologically useful that make[br]it possible for us to drown.

If we’re going to have a regular[br]cause and effect universe, we need to have a stable world. These might be some of the reasons that God allows evil in the world. We don’t know His particular reasons. So the charge of[br]contradiction is the charge that there is a contradiction[br]between the existence of God

And the existence of evil. We’ve shown that there’s[br]probably no contradiction. If God can have a reason to allow evil, then the argument has been answered. Of course, this leads to[br]the next problem of evil called “the evidential problem.” But that’s for another day. Subtitles by the community

#Philosophy #Problem #Evil #Part

Philosophy Pop: 5 mins on Problem of Evil

Hi everyone it’s Aimee here from the blog I Think Therefore I Teach   welcome to your next pop of Philosophy this   five minute summary is going to go over the topic of the problem of  

Evil so let’s get my timer started I do like this topic so let’s see if I   can do it here we go start okay the easiest way to deal with   this topic is to break into three main sections the first section is the  

Logical aspects of the problem of evil so this is questions how does evil   actually exist where do we get the problem from and this problem comes   about and is summarized by Epicurus and later termed the inconsistent triad by  

J. L Mackie and the inconsistent triad is the idea of if   God is all-powerful then he just must not want to stop evil   therefore he’s not all loving if he’s all loving and he just can’t   stop evil then he can’t be all powerful but if God  

Is all powerful and all loving then why does evil exist   and these form what is known as the inconsistent   triad because they do not go together they are inconsistent   and so this is known as the logical aspects because logically  

How can God be all loving and all-powerful and evil   exist the next part of this topic is the theodicies   these are presented by St. Augustine and John Hick   St. Augustine presented the theodicy theodicy meaning justification of God   with evil in the world he presents the idea that rebellious  

Angels and Adam and Eve are what corrupted and destroyed God’s perfect   paradise so God created everything in absolute perfect and said   do not touch the apple he laid that one rule down   so that free will stood and said do not touch from that tree  

And what Adam and Eve did was Eve took the apple gave it to   Adam and they ate the apple this then corrupted and destroyed the perfect   harmony because they broke that covenant they broke that   promise with God and so that moral evil of turning their backs on God  

And breaking a promise brought in that natural evil   so natural evil is a result of the moral evil Adam and Eve did so why is it   around today you ask it’s because we are seminally present in Adam and Eve we are  

All the bloodline of Adam and Eve so we therefore deserve punishment for what   our ancestors did so natural evil is a punishment and a   result of moral evil and therefore God is not responsible but   is not responsible to stop and do something  

For something that he did not create or bring in the other area of Augustine is   this idea of a privation evil is a privation   it is where something is lacking goodness is lacking   so evil is a privation or an absence of good you cannot create an  

Absence you can’t create a lack of something it is   where a lack of goodness is which is what happens when you bring your moral   evil you turn your back on God bringing in other evils into the world   we then have John Hick which is a new modern take on  

Irenaeus’s theodicy and what John Hick gives   in Irenaean light is that we are made in the   image of God and move into the likeness and when we’re made in the image of God   based around that quote in Genesis we are made in the image of God  

But we are spiritually immature we’re like rebellious children   we are trying to find our way and we therefore make a lot of mistakes but   we’re trying through being tested and challenged to move into that   likeness that relationship and that oneness with God  

And so what happens is when we make mistakes it’s because like Adam and Eve   they were not mature enough to make that decision and so what happens is   we are we are punished and we are tested and so evil is a test to  

Help us learn how we should behave and for Augustine   this world is soul deciding in that what happens to the fate of your soul heaven   or hell is designed in this world whereas for John Hick through Irenaeus  

This idea that this is the veil of soul making our souls are made   developed nurtured in this world through those   trials and those tests and John Hick was very different from   Irenaeus as John Hick believed everybody eventually would go to heaven  

Some through purgatory Irenaeus did not believe this he believed that hell was   still necessary for people that turned their backs completely on God   and in Against Heresies he presents the idea of the potter and the clay  

God is the potter we are the clay if you turn your back on God   you let yourself go dry to God then and and   you do not let God’s hands mould you and guide you through these tests  

Then and then you you’ll end up in hell for not accepting God’s help   that he gives you how am I doing for time one more minute   left so a few extra names that you could bring into this topic you have a few  

Supporters of free will free will is the issue if we didn’t have   free will then we wouldn’t be able to do moral evils   bringing in natural evil but we have free will because free will is important   and why is free will important John Hick says  

That we have to be free to love God love cannot be forced if God just said   no you are all going to just love me follow me and I’m going to give you no   free will why would God want that no with free  

Will though comes that chance of disobeying and turning away from him   and so we have to be free to love God and this is presented by John Vardy’s   peasant girl idea story and where he talks about the peasant girl  

Falls in love with no sorry the king falls in over the peasant girl he can force her to   marry him but not to love him similarly we have people like   Swinburne that says if God was constantly intervening in our lives  

It’d like an over protective parent every time we fall over he picks us up   and therefore again free will would be diminished because we think oh well God   does exist because he constantly comes and   helps us out somebody against free will though is Dostoyevsky  

That is time I’ll just finish that point off a   critic against free will is Dostoyevsky he’s the one that argues that free will   comes at too high a price he would rather not have it and so he   presents the story of a servant boy that was playing with  

The master of the houses dogs he’s running around with them and one of the   prize hunting dogs breaks its leg and therefore it is no good to the master of   the house and so is punishment to the boy he takes the boy’s  

Clothes off and makes him run out into the field while his parents watch   the child being mauled to death by the other dogs now   whether this story has a truth or is based on something that he heard or   something that actually was true from his day  

And we don’t really know but as far as the story itself he’s   saying that these horrible horrible horrible things happen in the world what   we do to one another because we have free will   and you just rather not have it it comes at too high a price  

When we see how people treat one another and don’t forget in this question as   well to always bring in what’s happening in the world   give recent specific examples and and this is known as the evidential   part so always give examples of things that happen in the  

World that could show the problems that we have with evil right   folks thank you very much for watching if you’ve   liked this give me a little like and hopefully you do find it useful and   don’t forget to subscribe as well so that you always keep up to date  

With all the latest videos thanks very much guys bye for now

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