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Philosophy - Religion

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Introduction

Explain and illustrate two criticisms of the claims that the universe shows design Many philosophers have suggested that world shows design to the extent that there can be no other conclusion other than there is a God who created it. This argument has come to be known as the teleological argument (from the Greek 'telos' meaning 'purpose'). The argument is an inductive one, a posterior (knowledge gained from experience) and is put forward to prove the existence of God. Design can refer to qua regularity and qua purpose. The former focuses on order and regularity in the world and the latter focuses on purpose and beauty but does this hold up to scrutiny? One criticisms was put forward by Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion says that there is no evidence for order in the world. In fact the evidence given seems to suggest an evil creator; the arbitrary destruction in the world that affects everyone included innocents seems to suggest that there is no design or order in the world. ...read more.

Middle

For a Christian, the purpose of life is to create a relationship with God so that they can be eschatologically reunited and the universe allows this (it's purpose) however a humanist would say that the universe has no purpose and that we are here to live our lives to the full. Thus Paley's claims are left redundant. To conclude, these two criticisms have shown that there is question as to whether there is design in the world. Hume has shown that design qua (in relation to) purpose and regularity are merely positions which are nothing more than falsities. Explain and illustrate two claims that God's existence is incompatible with the existence of evil Evil has come to pose one of the single largest threats to theism, indeed, many such as John Stuart Mill and David Hume concluded that God no longer existed because of the existence and the incompatibility of it. Evil has been defined to be the "absence of good" by Aristotle but it mainly refers to two types, either natural evil which entails natural disasters such as tsunamis or moral which refers to morally wrong actions and intents taken by humans such as infanticide or examples such as the Holocaust. ...read more.

Conclusion

However this leads to the second criticism which is predominantly put forward by William Row, Charles Darwin and David Hume says that even if we were to accept that evil should exist and it is compatible, the sheer amount and the distribution of it shows that the existence of God and evil is less probable. This inductive argument cites points in history that show that the distribution doesn't seem to amount justification for soul-making; it can accept the death of an adult, but what of the Gulag and Holocaust? Rowe also notes that there are evils which do not lead to spiritual growth such as people who never recover such as child who has had his whole family burned. Rowe also gives the example of a fawn who burns in a forest but no one is around to see it, who is growing spiritually, what compassion has been encompassed? This anthropocentric approach (by implication) also fails because it leaves animal suffering unanswered. Thus, the view that evil and God's existence is compatible is made redundant not only in the face of the incompatibility of God's very nature and the existence of evil but the sheer amount and distribution of it. ...read more.

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