• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What do religious believers mean by the 'problem of suffering?' Select any two theodicies and consider how far they offer solutions to this problem.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What do religious believers mean by the 'problem of suffering?' Select any two theodicies and consider how far they offer solutions to this problem. The problem of suffering concerns the evil in the world and the difficulties surrounding how an all-powerful and all-loving God can allow his creation to suffer. Brian Davies considers a three pointed triangle which poses no moralistic problems if any one of the three is removed. For religious believers, God exists as omnipotent and omnibenevolent, however, evil exists. The problem arises especially for believers in the traditional God of Classical Theism, other religious outlooks, which accept the presence of a variety of gods do not have this problem since the evil can be attributed to the tensions between the different Gods. The Hindu religion is based on the Trimurti, here there is one God, Brahman, but people relate to him through Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. For Hindus suffering is a way your soul pays for past mistakes and lets you move up the caste system to achieve Moksha, the release of the soul. David Hume summarised this problem in his 'Dialogues concerning Natural Religion.' He concluded that either God is not omnipotent, or God is not omnibenevolent, or evil does not exist. ...read more.

Middle

God does not intervene because he is not responsible for the evil. However, God did show his mercy through Jesus when he gave us a second chance through sending down his son from heaven. The free will defence deals with the problem of natural evil by again laying blame on the Fall in Genesis, he claims the loss of order within nature occurred when the first human sin destroyed the delicate balance of the world and also caused the world to become remote from God. F.D.E Schleirmacher argued against Augustine's theodicy and pointed out a logical error, how could the perfect world God had created have gone wrong? Whether evil is a real feature or an absence of one it has been created and therefore must be attributed to God eventually. Another logical problem is posed in the idea of a perfect creation having a potential for evil as for angels and humans to disobey God they must have had a knowledge of evil in the first place. There are also scientific discoveries since Augustine's death, namely evolution, which contradict certain aspects of the theory. We are not all seminally present in Adam which means we are not in fact guilty for Adam's sin. This could mean that God is making us pay for other people's sins unjustly. ...read more.

Conclusion

God therefore keeps a distance so people do not feel obligated to believe in him, but want to. Although there are fewer discrepancies in this theory compared to Augustine's, many remain. God's justice is put into question with the introduction of the concept of heaven. It contradicts religious texts which state that the unrighteous will be punished. And also leaves us with little incentive for moral development, possibly causing us to question the point of moral behaviour if we will be rewarded in heaven regardless. Another main problem with this theory is the severity of suffering with wars and starvation killing billions throughout the ages. Wouldn't a lesser form of evil have allowed us to learn from our failings? We could also begin to question how God's love was demonstrated in events such as the holocaust. The free will defence seems the most likely explanation for evil. There would be little point in a world without the potentiality of improvement. It explains God's distance from the human race and the reasons why some people are able to have complete faith in God at the same time that someone else refuses that he exists. Evil to a certain extent seems necessary for us to learn. However, as D.Z. Phillips argues, the extent of suffering seems unjustifiable in many situations. This therefore does not completely solve the problem why a omnipotent and omnibenevolent God would allow such pain to be inflicted through thousands of years. Hannah Fleming Philosophy 7.12.03 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. What does it mean to be human?

    Our dignity is rooted in our creation because we were created in the image and likeness of God. From the moment of conception, we were all given dignity. Therefore, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, so we must respect the bodies of others and ourselves.

  2. Good and Evil

    may believe that the devil could be the stereotypical, red demon with a pitch fork Christians believe that evil can be a punishment for sin; the Bible gives several dramatic definitions of sin. To start with Sin is defined biblically as a violation of divine law (cf. 1 John 3:4).

  1. What does it mean to say that God is 'necessary?'

    The cosmological argument is based ultimately on the existence of the cosmos (hence the name) and its main gist is that for something to move it must first be caused to move by something else. The Cosmological argument is developed around a distinction between that which has necessary existence and that which is contingent.

  2. Persuasive Writing on the Holocaust

    After leaving the concentration camp he became a rabbi. He became a writer on Jewish Philosophy. I am deeply persuaded by his actions against Hitler. It was very hard to stand up during that hard period. Death was obvious if anything went wrong. I strongly agree with him, a person who would see what he did will never think about him in a negative way.

  1. Explain how natural evil may be seen as a challenge to belief in God ...

    Also it may make you more compassionate. Another example, could be failing an exam. Next time it will make you work harder, and you'll strive in order to achieve, and you will probably achieve a better grade. Both these examples of suffering and evil help you to gain wisdom through experience.

  2. 1.) Compare and contrast the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies and their attempts to solve ...

    Therefore, although in theory the God of classical theism should have the ability, power and will to prevent suffering, it still exists. As St Augustine put it, "Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all-powerful; if he will not then he is not all good."

  1. Christianity - Ideas on suffering

    Other suffering such as disease falls under the laws of God. For instance there has to be bacteria, we need forms of bacteria and viruses or we, as humans, cannot digest food properly. Bacteria and viruses are therefore necessary to our survival.

  2. Does Suffering Make It Impossible to Believe in God?

    His mum just stood in the doorway and smiled. She knew it was a visit from his dad's ghost but he meant no harm. That was one way that he showed that even though he died, he would always be there for his family and always be watching them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work