The existence of evil makes belief in God impossible. Assess this view.

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‘The existence of evil makes belief in God impossible’. Assess this view. (30 marks)

The problem of evil is a problem for everyone as no one wishes to suffer, but it is a particular problem for believers in one God, who possesses all the attributes ascribed to him in revealed and natural theology, such as omnipotence omnibenevolence and omniscience. There are many types of evil: natural evil, like earthquakes and volcanoes, pains and sufferings caused by nature, which are independent of human actions. There is also moral evil, which is evil caused by humans upon other humans, such as murder, assault and rape.  

A predicament arises when we consider the unbridled iniquitous acts of evil that seem to crescendo throughout history. Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, first stated the problem of evil. If God wants to remove evil and cannot, then he is feeble and not omnipotent. If God does not want to remove evil and he can do such a task, he is evil and not omnipotent. If he cannot remove them and he does not want to remove them, then he is both feeble and evil, and is at variance with God’s character. If he wants to remove evil and he has the power to then why is there evil prevalent within the world, which is an undeniable assertion, then why does he not remove them? This questions the perfection of God which is revered by believers.

More recently philosophers have created a dichotomy into the logical problem and the evidential problem. Epicurus’ is more akin to the logical problem. J.L. Mackie states the modern logical problem. God is the omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient creator of the universe; evil exists within the universe. An all-good God removes evil as much as he can. But here there is a contradiction as there is evil within the universe. J.L Mackie also created the ‘Inconsistent Triad’, which shows that God’s attributes cannot be reconciled with the evil and suffering in the world and God’s loving nature. This argument uses deductive reasoning and is an a priori argument, which is contrasted to the following argument.

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The evidential problem tries to show that the existence of evil, although it could be logically consistent with the existence of God, lowers the probability of theism being true. For David Hume, the existence of evil makes it more probable that God does not exist, as he says in his ‘Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion’, that it is not possible to ‘reconcile any mixture of evil in the universe with infinite attributes’.  This argument is an a posteriori argument using inductive reasoning, where the conclusion is derived from empirical evidence rather than being from reason. This argument highlights the fact that ...

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