Lately I have been writing about the argument from evil against the existence of God. This argument claims that the occurrence of evil in the world is more likely if atheism is true than if theism is true. Theists typically respond that while God hates evil, he nevertheless has morally sufficient reasons for permitting it. And God’s reasons are only sufficient if He has no better way of securing Continue reading Is Theodicy At Odds with Humanitarianism?→
Lately I have been writing about the argument from evil against the existence God. This argument is meant to show that God’s existence is unlikely given the fact that we suffer at the hands of nature and our fellow creatures.
Theists who use the free will response to the problem of evil argue that the existence of moral and natural suffering is unsurprising if God exists. God, they claim, has good reason to create free creatures who play a significant role in shaping their own lives and the lives of others – for good or for ill. Moreover, free will depends on a system of natural laws that enable predictions of the outcomes of one’s behavior; therefore, the suffering that issues from living in such a system becomes inevitable. To sum up, we should not be surprised to find moral and natural suffering in a world created by God.
Theists often try to explain why there is evil in the world by arguing that God highly values relationships characterized by moral responsibility for one’s actions and for the well-being of others. God values these things because moral responsibility is an integral part of love. Love implies the ability to seek the good of others and to intentionally benefit them. Love makes certain actions within a relationship valuable or harmful depending on what is done, and so those actions take on certain properties, such as being wrong, indifferent, obligatory, and praiseworthy. If love is of utmost value to God, then He would likely make creatures that Continue reading Free Will and the Problem of Evil→
In a previous post, I outlined four components of the soul-making response to the problem of evil. This response argues that moral and natural suffering are allowed by God so that humans can play an intentional role in developing the good character which God will fully endow them with in heaven. In the afterlife, those humans who have intentionally shaped their characters in the direction of goodness, and who have confirmed their intention in the face of suffering and temptation to the contrary, will be endowed by God with Continue reading 2 Objections to the Soul-Making Theodicy→
A theodicy is an attempt to justify the ways of God to human beings. It tries to explain why evil exists in a world created by God by arguing that these evils are somehow needed to secure outweighing goods or avert greater harms. One such theodicy says that a world containing evil and suffering is needed for human beings to develop Continue reading 4 Compenents of the Soul-Making Theodicy→
Over the past 20 years, I’ve listened to various apologetic responses to the atheistic argument from evil, which says that God’s existence is improbable given the fact of apparently pointless suffering in the world. Some responses have been more helpful than others, so I’d like to offer 3 tips on how an apologist can best approach Continue reading 3 Tips for Apologists on the Problem of Evil→
In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we examined what the God of the Old Testament commanded the Israelites to do to the Canaanites. We discovered that Joshua’s mandate was to defeat the armies that opposed him in various locales – whether in cities, villages, fields, or the countryside – by killing everything that remained in those places during battle, whether civilians or combatants. In doing so, Joshua’s plan was to drive the nations out of the land by attacking strategic locales; his goal was not to Continue reading Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 3→