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Mills comments about the problem of evil are fatal to the teleological argument.

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Introduction

'Mill's comments about the problem of evil are fatal to the teleological argument.' Mill was born a year after the death of Paley, the most famous advocate and contributor of the teleological argument, and as an empiricist, fervently disagreed with his works and the works of his predecessors in Aquinas and the classical philosophers of Plato and Aristotle among others. Mill challenged the idea that evidence of design in the world proves the existence of the God of classical theism because evidence supported either the non-existence of God or a God that did not have the attributes accepted by Christianity. Mill pointed towards natural empirical evidence to disprove the teleological argument. He argued that because there is evil and suffering in the world, then the designer cannot have been all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving; the very foundations of modern Christianity. ...read more.

Middle

Augustine emphasised that suffering and evil were unknown because, as he took the bible literally word for word, all God made please Him. Augustine believed that Natural Evil originated from the loss of order within nature following the original sin and fell away from God and therefore a distance from Goodness and evil entered the world. In this damaged environment, remote from God, moral evil also flourished and spread. Whilst Augustine's theodicy addresses the key points with the problem of evil and suffering, issues still exist with flaws in the theodicy that essentially does not solve the problem. Irenaeus challenged the idea that evil is necessarily bad. Irenaeus believed that evil must exist for us to have free will. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Teleological Argument cannot be effective if the Christian concept of God does not run true. Whilst the arguments of Irenaeus and Augustine work to an extent, they are flawed each in their own way; Augustine's view of the Bible is decadent at best and problems are rife with the literal approach he takes. Irenaeus' theodicy addresses the problem of moral evil successfully but does not manage the same feat with the problem of natural evil, the more lethal to the teleological argument of the two. Whilst Mill cannot destroy the teleological, he manages to shake the foundations if not break them. The theodicies are such that they may strengthen belief in Christianity rather than convert or truly defend themselves from a serious challenge. Atheists may agree with the statement that it is a lethal blow to the teleological argument, whereas Christians may hold that the theodicies stand up to Mill's challenge. ...read more.

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