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Problem of Evil in Judeo-Christian Argument

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The Unit 3 lecture includes a discussion of the problem of evil as well as why it is a problem and some proposed solutions. It seems that none of these proposed solutions will satisfy everybody; the contradiction between God's goodness and the presence of evil seems to be insurmountable. To better understand the source of the problems, we might compare Christian ideas about evil with those of another religion.

1. Compare the concepts of evil in the two religions. Specifically explain what evil is. How do people of the two faiths know that something is evil?

2. Must evil exist in this world? Compare a Christian answer with an answer provided in the other religion.


Chapters 4 and 5 in Philosophy of Religion Online Textbook

Source: http://www.qcc.cuny.edusocial/sciences/ppecorino/phil_of_religion_text/ - (Chapter 4)
Source: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialsciences/ppecorino/phil_of_religion_text/ - (Chapter 5)

Thomas Aquinas' five ways of proving God's existence

Source: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/aquinas.shtml

An Atheist perspective. Bertrand Russell's "Why I am Not a Christian". See the sections starting "The Existence of God" through "The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice

Source: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell0.htm

Quotations, Etymology, History, Beliefs of Agnostics

Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/agnostic1.htm

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Solution Preview

To start, there are a number of things you might want to consider if someone presents you with the logical fallacy that "evil proves no Christian God." One is that "evil" isn't really defined, but that's a small tactic. The larger tactic is proving that, in the end, what is meant as evil later produces more good than evil. Another tactic still might be challenging the opponent to recognize that by-definition God is good, and therefore if evil exists it must exist outside of God's being. In other words, the fact that evil exists in a place where God is not perceived (say, Nazi Germany) is no surprise if in fact God exists and God is good. ...

Solution Summary

The approaches of both Christian and Judaic thinkers are touched on in brief in relation to the "Problem of Evil."

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Philosophy - 'true self' verses the 'false self'

1. Both Western and Eastern traditions, in their mystical variants, talk about the 'true self' verses the 'false self', which might be described as the 'ego'--that conglomeration of sensations and associations about ourselves as a subject and the world as an object. Both encourage finding, as it were, the true self (getting past the false self). In this context, how might we characterize the 'true self'? What do you think about this idea?

2.Philosophically, is God Identical to Brahman?:

Given the many attributes that are said to belong to Brahman, could the Judeo-Christian/Islamic notion of God allow it to be considered identical to God? Similar? Why or why not?

3.In its classic form, the problem of evil (POE) is an argument against the existence of God that goes something like this:

1. Evil exists.
2.God exists.
3. God is: a) all knowing b) all powerful & c)all good.
4. If 3a), God would know evil exists.
5. If 3b), God would be able to do something about it.
6. If 3c), God would want to do something about it.
7. Since it still exists, then either 2) is false or one of 3a,b, or c, is false.

Of course, theologians and philosophers have tried to find a way around this problem so that 1-6 remain true and 7 false.

Of the many Western solutions presented in the unit, which one is most compelling, why? Or are any of
the solutions compelling? What are their particular strengths or weaknesses?

Thank you.

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