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Is there a God?

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Introduction

1. "IS THERE A GOD? " "There is a problem about why God allows evil, and if the theist does not have (in a cool moment) a satisfactory answer to it, than his belief in God is less than rational and there is no reason why the atheist should share it" Swinburne - page 96 Richard Swinburne's "Is there a God?" was the publication that I chose to study. I narrowed this study down to one particular chapter, 'Why God Allows Evil.' In this chapter I feel that there is much room for contention to some of what Swinburne says, but also some very good arguments that have a good level of structure that put across that line of reasoning have been made. The major question that people who are skeptical about the existence of God ask is, why is there evil? Is its existence not strong evidence that points towards the non-existence of God? Swinburne believes that a theodicy is needed to be constructed to suggest why God would allow such evil to occur. ...read more.

Middle

This anthropomorphises God, which in turn suggests that he might not exist if he only possesses the power of a human. In response to moral evil, Swinburne proposes that this can form characters into good human beings. He says that humans have free will and are free and responsible in their choices, this leaves room for improvement. He uses a quote from Aristotle to strengthen his argument; 'we become just from doing just acts, prudent from doing prudent acts, brave by doing brave acts.' Swinburne then goes on to suggests that by doing just acts when it is difficult to (overcome moral evil) it goes against our natural inclinations (desires) and it will therefore be easier to do a just act next time. He basically says that moral evil doesn't pose a threat to the existence of God as it can be easily overcome. Swinburne then goes on to argue that we could wipe out moral evil all together. He says that we can change our desires and free ourselves from the less good desires and the possibilities for free and responsible choice is enormous. ...read more.

Conclusion

Someone suffering as the result of a natural evil can either endure it or bemoan it; his friend can show compassion or be callous. Pain caused by natural evil makes possible these choices/emotions possible which would otherwise not exist. He is saying that God makes natural evil so that humans can explore their otherwise unfound emotions. This, I feel, is a fair enough argument, but many will disagree with this way of thinking by saying that if God is all good he shouldn't make a world with a place for evil. To conclude his argument Swinburne says that God has the right to allow evil to occur and we, as inferior beings, should not question its happening. He also argues that God would be less than perfectly good if he created a world without pain and suffering, so that we can appreciate the good things in life. However he does recognise that evil is evil and is a substantial price to pay for the goods of the world. Swinburne's theodicy is an interesting one and one that gives the reader plenty to contemplate and think whether the existence of evil really is evidence to suggests that God does not exist. ...read more.

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