The problem of evil

Mind Map by Sumahlor, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Sumahlor over 6 years ago


A-Level Philosophy Mind Map on The problem of evil, created by Sumahlor on 05/04/2015.

Resource summary

The problem of evil
  1. Why does the existence of evil challenge that of God?
    1. Inconsistent triad (Epicurus and Mackie) See 'Goodness of God' mind map


      1. Mackie: burden of proof - theists must prove their belief makes sense
        1. Two types of evil: moral and natural (and moral evil which leads to natural evil)
          1. Surely only God can cause natural evil - humans can't?
            1. Dawkins: there is suffering in the animal kingdom - not a beautiful, perfect world!
              1. Nature is 'indifferent'
            2. Is free will worth the trouble it causes?
              1. Couldn't God have made all humans moral so we'd always choose the moral action?
                1. Why are bad people allowed to profit from the suffering of innocents?
                2. Do we all share in original sin? This seems unfair?
              2. Theodicies
                1. Explanations for evil in the world using reason
                  1. Augustine's theodicy
                    1. Evil is a privation of good
                      1. Absence is not an evil - eg the lack of wings isn't an evil because we don't need them
                      2. Evil is not an opponent of God, or God would not be omnipotent
                        1. You are only evil if you choose to be - eg if you rob someone, your lack of respect for them is what makes it wrong.
                        2. All beings liable to corruption have some goodness in them or there would be nothing to corrupt
                          1. God created beings with free will - humans and angels
                            1. Some angels turned against God and 'fell.'
                              1. So there was evil to tempt Adam and Eve via the snake
                                1. Original sin disrupted harmony in the world
                                  1. This is how humans are responsible for natural evil
                                    1. Original sin is seminally present in us all
                                      1. So our moral choices lead to evil
                                        1. Jesus was sent to reverse the fall
                                          1. If we repent we go to heaven, or hell if we don't
                          2. Augustine's theory - issues
                            1. Most people don't believe in angels
                              1. Many don't take the creation story literally
                                1. We know the Earth was not made perfect - it developed slowly
                                  1. How can sin be inherited?
                                    1. Unscientific
                                      1. Unfair
                                      2. How do angels sin?
                                        1. We have to accept the existence of hell
                                          1. Didn't God know we'd abuse free will?
                                          2. Irenaean Theodicy (based on Irenaeus's ideas, but made by John Hick)
                                            1. We are made in God's image, but we have to grow into his likeness
                                              1. Irenaeus himself interpreted the Fall literally - Adam and Eve had not learned enough to realise what they did was wrong so they were punished so they could learn
                                                1. But Hick's theodicy says you do not need to take the story literally
                                                2. We are not created in God's presence or we'd be overwhelmed and would not have free will
                                                  1. There is an epistemic difference between God and people
                                                    1. The world is an environment for soul-making
                                                      1. Charity and compassion require suffering
                                                        1. We grow towards goodness
                                                          1. If only evil people suffered, we'd never learn
                                                            1. There is heaven; you go to purgatory if you don't learn enough to be good in life
                                                              1. Eventually we all go to heaven
                                                        2. Issues with this theory
                                                          1. Most don't believe in purgatory
                                                            1. Is universal salvation just? Christians teach that God only rewards goodness.
                                                              1. What about stillborn children?
                                                                1. Why do some groups seem to suffer more than others?
                                                                  1. Why is there so much suffering?
                                                                    1. It means that God is responsible for evil - an unattractive theory?
                                                                      1. It means we have to accept God - if we have free will, can't we reject him?
                                                                        1. It makes Jesus a moral example rather than a saviour
                                                                      2. Benefits of theodicies
                                                                        1. Augustine
                                                                          1. Explains evil
                                                                            1. Humans, not God, are responsible for evil
                                                                              1. Seems fair - evil is punished, good rewarded
                                                                              2. Irenaeus
                                                                                1. Humans aren't to blame - an attractive idea
                                                                                  1. Could be accepted by non-Christians and evolutionists
                                                                                    1. Heaven for everyone - a nice idea!
                                                                                    2. Do we need theodicies?
                                                                                      1. Can we understand God well enough to explain his reasoning?
                                                                                        1. Are we putting God 'on trial'?
                                                                                          1. Z Philips: We cannot know God's reasoning:
                                                                                            1. That's why we have faith
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