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problem of evil

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Introduction

A) Objections Arising from Evil in the World, explain what is meant by this claim The word evil is a word which can be used very loosely, usually used to describe something we think to be morally wrong, something that when in inflicted on a person causes pain and suffering. However, if an 'evil' act is committed by someone who has been in all other aspects good, does this act make this person 'evil'? There are many different situations where evil acts could be done all with different circumstances and consequences. For example; at Auschwitz, so many guards were involved in the slaughter of massive amounts of Jews but it seems unlikely that all of them were evil. The actions may be considered evil but they were normalised by the sense of responsibility felt by the guards. In their eyes, they were carrying out a duty so the question of whether they are to be labelled evil is indefinite. There are two recognised categories which evil can fall under: Moral evil and Natural evil. Richard Swimburne, a modern day philosopher describes moral evil as 'including all evil caused deliberately by humans doing what they ought not to do, and also the evil constituted by such deliberate acts or negligent failure'. ...read more.

Middle

He states that evil is necessary in a created world as only the uncreated creator can be perfect, his creations are susceptible to change. Augustine's idea on the existence of Natural evil is that it exists as a punishment for the Original Sin, which we are all guilty of as we were all seminally present in Adam at the time it was committed. Natural evil punishes us for the destruction of the natural order by human action. For these reasons God is right not to intervene and the fact that he does save some through Christ emphasises His mercy. God would be justified in sending everyone to hell for being guilty of the Original Sin, the fact that some go to heaven shows God's goodness. Augustine's theodicy has some substantial strengths, as is proved by its popularity. Brian Davies is an example of a scholar who supports his claim that evil is only a deprivation of good rather than having a proper existence, he said it is 'a gap between what there is and what there ought to be'. To criticise would be to say that God should have created more than he did which doesn't make sense; how is anyone to know how much more should have been created. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lastly, nobody can be overlooked as evil acts are carried out in different circumstances for different people. For example, someone who was abused while being raised is much more likely to be abusive as an adult, it is something they are used to and have become desensitised to. There are solid criticisms of Irenaeus' theodicy as well as Augustine's: For example, everyone going to heaven defies religious texts as well as making it pointless to live a moral life, why bother if you are going to heaven anyway? It also takes away the incentive to develop into God's likeness which Irenaeus regarded of utmost importance. Another critique is of the level of suffering needed to make the world adapted for 'soul making, e.g. Was the Holocaust really necessary? Finally, it can be said that love can never be expressed through suffering, supported by D.Z Philips who said it is not justifiable to hurt someone to help them. To conclude, neither of these theodicies can be considered perfect by any means, but Ireneaus is the stronger of the two. Where Augustine fails to provide room for belief in evolution, Ireneaus manages it and while Augustine cannot provide a logical explanation for the origin of evil, Irenaeus provides a stable reason for it. It is also popular, like Augustine's for its views on free will. ...read more.

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