This is a mind map one of the members of the atheist group on my campus created describing the problem of evil. I just thought it was interesting; thought I'd share it. It's one of the most in-depth evaluations of its type that I've seen. Enjoy.
1) this is excellent. should be a great help to many. thanks for posting it. i've gone ahead and featured it so that it gets seen by the greatest number of members.
i'd like to see it incorporate Steven Maitzen's recent work (attached below) that points out that a common response- "god allows suffering to exist because suffering is a necessary consequence of a higher good; if god were to refuse suffering to exist then there wouldn't be this higher good."- seems to stand against ordinary morality insofar as it is incumbent upon us to minimize sufering where we're able to. the believer is left in a position where they're forced to believe that god allows suffering because it’s a means to a greater good but also that he wants us to prevent this greater good from being realized so that we can minimize suffering or that we're supposed to minimize suffering and stand in the way of the realization of greater goods.
2) as one of the moderators i want to make sure to thank you for placing the thread in the appropriate section and using helpful tags so that the forum stays organized and searchable. :P)
I like to see posts tagged appropriately, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. :P
That pdf you posted is fascinating; I'll definitely pass that along, it was quite a read. The Problem of Evil has been a hot topic in the campus Freethought group for a while now, it should go over well.
lol. tagging your own threads appropriately because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy sounds like masturbation to me Kyle. :P
regarding the Maitzen paper, he wrote a more accessible essay based on the more technical paper. it might be easier reading for some people. i've attached that essay.
Nothing wrong with that. Warm and fuzzy is a great feeling. ;)
I really like this Maitzen fellow. I'll have to read more of his work. Thanks.
check out John Danaher's posts at Philosophical Disquisitions on Maitzen's papers. good stuff. plus links to some of his papers.
anyway, glad i could point you to Maitzen. enjoy. :)
Steven Maitzen cannot hold the view that God is omnipotent, omniscient and purely benevolent. If he does then his claim is logically invalid.
"god allows suffering to exist because suffering is a necessary consequence of a higher good; if god were to refuse suffering to exist then there wouldn't be this higher good."
If God were omnipotent, then he could bring about any final result (in this case the higher good) without being constrained by necessities. If something is necessary it logically implies that there is a constraint. If something is necessary, it is forced, and nothing can be forced upon an omnipotent being. If there is a constraint, then there is no omnipotence.
Its amazing the depths to which even professional philosophers can stoop in the defence of religion. I haven't read his stuff, so it could be the case that he does not make assumptions concerning omnipotence. If this is the case, my bad.
Perhaps a briefer statement could have been: if God's will (higher good) is conditional upon something, then he is restricted and is not omnipotent.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7, KJV)
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Amos 3:6, KJV)
There is sin and evil in the world because two beings that knew nothing of good or evil, right or wrong made a choice that your god gave them no way to understand there was a right or wrong choice. At this point we get original sin that you are born with and we are told you can't make the right choice but you have "free will".
Is you must believe in Jesus or burn in hell for ever is free will or just a jaded game that is called "Free Will"?
i have no doubt that you're convinced that the problem of evil isn't a problem for Christianity. but then i'm sure you're convinced that nothing is a problem for Christianity. i'm not being uncivil but that's what delusion does, prevents you from seeing the facts of the matter.
i'll ignore the theological platitudes about how evil is the absence of god.
regarding free will. let's first get you to explain what you mean by free will. because if you mean what most Christian apologist philosophers mean when they refer to free will then you mean contra-causal- or "libertarian"- free will.
if that's so then you're the one with a lot of difficulties when it comes to morality. because contra-causal free will (hereafter "free will") means that our choices are determined by nothing, that not our beliefs, thoughts, memories, experiences, or indeed our prior choices, or anything determine our choices. but what are "you" or "me" if not our beliefs, thoughts, memories, experiences, all informed by our prior choices? would "you" still be "you" without all of those things?
picture yourself watching from outside the universe two scenarios. both scenarios are exactly the same except in one the man kills his wife and in the other the man does not. on free our choices aren't determined by anything. they're random. you can't say that the man that killed his wife is evil and the man that didn't is good because once you say that their choices are random, determined by nothing, you've lost all grounds for calling one good and the other evil.
and anyway, why couldn't god have given us free will but created us in such a way as to make so that we always freely choose good?
Language requires duality, it's not what you say but it is also what you don't say.
If god created everything then he created evil, what does good mean without evil.
I understand the believers need to think god could not have anything to do with evil but if that were the case then god would have limits on it's self, not very god like huh?