Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chapter 6.2 (Theodicies)

The Ontological Defense: Goodness cannot exist without evil. So a world without evil is impossible. C/A: 1- Lack of evil doesn’t preclude goodness. If it did, there would be no goodness in heaven. Also, there is no evil in heaven.

Knowledge Defense: Knowledge of evil is important (even to understand goodness) and it cannot exist unless there’s evil in the world. C/A: Suppose this is true, then how can one explain the excess of evil? Unnecessary evil is not justified by the knowledge defense. Evil must be necessary for something other than our education. Necessary evil: Evil that is required to prevent further evil or to bring about a greater good.

Free will defense: Evil is necessary for free will. We choose and sometimes we choose evil over good. C/A: 1- A being with free will who always chooses good is logically possible. God is such a being. 2- There’s still much more evil in the world that is necessary. Why is unnecessary evil chosen so often? The theist needs to answer this question. 2- Angels are free and yet they don’t choose evil. Why not?

Ideal Humanity Defense: Evil improves the human race. C/A: There is little evidence that the struggle for survival has improved the human race. One could argue that the advancements we've made in science are not the result of natural evil. Finally, the ideal humanity defense seems to contradict the Christian prionciple that each human is of infinite value.

Character (or soul) building defense: According to philosopher/theologian John Hicks, evil is not wrong for our own sake. C/A: It works both ways, suffering can also debase us. If this is true, then fighting evil becomes wrong (you shouldn’t alleviate a person’s suffering because it’s good for her character).