What is your opinion on the problem of evil?

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glowing_starfish
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The idea that there is too much suffering in the world for God to be real.

All perspectives are welcome.
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har!bo
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Evil exists because of free will. If free will didnt exist neither would neither would a functioning human race. Therefore evil must exist within the world.
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miser
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Well, it doesn't say that God isn't real because of the presence of suffering, it says that if God exists then they're either powerless to prevent suffering or permit suffering to exist.

I think it's a solid argument and there's no way around it. I grew up as a Christian and I'd hear excuses like that God is perfect and has a plan, so there's a (just) reason for everything - but that's reasoning backwards from the premise that God is in fact omnipotent and perfect. There are also less appetising rationalisations such as the idea that suffering tests your soul so that you can freely choose to exalt God even in the midst of that suffering.

But the case remains, if God exists and is both benevolent and omnipotent, then they'd have created a universe that doesn't require suffering. I don't think there's any getting around that.
Last edited by miser; 4 months ago
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Halfeti Rose
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“The key question isn't 'What is Evil?' The key question is 'When does the Good become Evil?”..
In my opinion everything needs its opposite in order to have a stable life.. An Angel needs a Demon, A Good needs a Bad.. You shouldn't let one of these two to dip down in the scale.. When it's balanced ur life is balanced...
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by miser)
But the case remains, if God exists and is both benevolent and omnipotent, then they'd have created a universe that doesn't require suffering. I don't there's any getting around that.
This. If God is omniscient then the situation becomes even worse.
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Joleee
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fear of lack. humans fear they don't have enough for their own survival, so they rape, pillage and use each other because it's easier than patience, trust and generosity. jmho
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glowing_starfish
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(Original post by miser)
But the case remains, if God exists and is both benevolent and omnipotent, then they'd have created a universe that doesn't require suffering. I don't think there's any getting around that.
You have a good point- but wat if he wanted us to choose him in times of hardship so he knows we have faith in him- after all he did give us free will.

Giving us free will instead of making us as robots was quite loving was it not?

Perhaps he can still be loving in the sense that having experienced suffering people become stronger and better?
-God wanting them to become stronger and better so they can follow him in strong faith?
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FakeNewsEditor
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There are roughly two versions of it as far as I am aware.

The ''gratuitous or apparently gratuitous evil exists therefore God* can't exist'' version. This is the strongest version which essentially claims that gratuitous evil and God are logically incompatible. It's not merely that God doesn't exist but that God can't possibly exist. It's a contradictory concept.

And then there's the ''apparently gratuitous evil exists therefore God is unlikely to exist". This is the probabilistic version, that is, God and evil may co-exist but it's unlikely and since evil does exist, God probably doesn't.

I think the weaker, probabilistic version is far more plausible given that I only have to point out that there have been absolutely mind boggling amounts of suffering throughout human history. People who suffered and died horribly through no fault of their own. Natural disasters, diseases, etc have brought unimaginable pain and suffering to probably millions and millions of people. That is, disregarding the pain and suffering caused to non-human animals which has been enormous as well. The theist has to claim that God has reasons to allow such mindless suffering but we can't know what those reasons are 'cos we're too limited and stupid.

But note what a heavy burden they (the theist) bear. They must show that even a single child or infant in some obscure part of the world dying and suffering from, e.g., a congenital disorder somehow contributes to God's great plan. They must make quite implausible assertions, which although not logically invalid, are nevertheless quite implausible and maybe kind of offensive to even make.

*I write God with capital G to refer to God as conceived in the Judeo-Christian religions. All knowing, all Good, all loving, etc. Maximal greatness God. Not the petty gods of Greece and Rome.
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miser
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(Original post by glowing_starfish)
You have a good point- but wat if he wanted us to choose him in times of hardship so he knows we have faith in him- after all he did give us free will.

Giving us free will instead of making us as robots was quite loving was it not?

Perhaps he can still be loving in the sense that having experienced suffering people become stronger and better?
-God wanting them to become stronger and better so they can follow him in strong faith?
The thing is, if god is omnipotent, he's not constrained. He could create a universe with free will, without suffering, and with an adequate means for us to show him we have faith - he could do anything he wants if he's omnipotent. So if we say that he's omnipotent, we have to conclude that suffering only exists because he actively wants suffering to exist, or is at least indifferent to it. The suffering is therefore completely unnecessary, except insofar as he simply wants it to exist or doesn't care about it. In that case, I think we'd have to conclude he's evil or at least negligent.

To argue by analogy, I think a parent that unconditionally loves their child for example would want to prevent their child from unnecessary suffering even if it meant that child turning against the parent. If the parent's love is sincere, then the parent values the child's well being over considerations of how it would turn out for themselves. If on the other hand the parent willfully allowed the child to suffer, or worse actively caused suffering (like in the Christian case with God causing suffering for Job and killing his family), we wouldn't think that parent was fit to raise a child.

I do think there are often silver linings to suffering, but those silver linings usually don't offset the harm caused. If a person could choose, I think they'd choose to avoid unnecessary suffering, for good reason. If god exists and is omnipotent, I think the problem of evil is correct in questioning whether that god is worth our love and worship.
Last edited by miser; 4 months ago
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tazarooni89
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I don’t particularly see the problem with simply saying “God exists, and he permits/causes suffering to exist”.

You might not like a God which does this, but that is no indicator of its non-existence.

Furthermore the main religions all seem to acknowledge that God himself permits suffering to exist (e.g. he is the one who created Satan, he is the one who chose to put us on Earth rather than directly into Heaven etc.) as opposed to claiming that he will only ever try to do things which please us.
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QE2
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(Original post by har!bo)
Evil exists because of free will. If free will didnt exist neither would neither would a functioning human race. Therefore evil must exist within the world.
Not so. Suffering can be caused by an entirely infallibly omniscient and predeterministic god. Under such a god, man can have no free will, but suffering still exists.

Even if there is no god and man has free will but exclusively choses the path of no harm, there would still be the suffering of random nature events.

So either way, suffering is not dependent on free will.
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Moonbow
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(Original post by glowing_starfish)
The idea that there is too much suffering in the world for God to be real.

All perspectives are welcome.
Evil is needed to see what’s good, in a way
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