In our world of 24/7 global news coverage, natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, forest fires) and human violence (murder, rape, genocide, warfare, torture) seem to be a daily occurrence. Do you have a religious or spiritual explanation to the news of hundreds or thousands of innocent people suffering from natural or moral evil? Does it make you question the existence or moral qualities of God? Perhaps these tragic events reinforce your ideas about religion and/or spirituality?
In the process of clarifying the meaning of life, religions have addressed this conflict in the conception of God with the problem of evil. In this Application assignment you will study the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God in the face of evil and examine how they relate to your religious or spiritual philosophy.The following is a list of possible answers to the problem:
- Retributive Justice View: Evil and suffering are punishment for past sins.
- Original Sin View: Evil and suffering are results from the first sin of Adam and Eve.
- The Free Will View: Evil and suffering are the results of the misuse of human free will.
- The Demonic Forces View: Evil and suffering are the result of the actions of the Devil or his minions.
- The Contrast View: You have to have evil to know the good.
- The Moral Qualities Answer: Evil and suffering are to develop certain moral qualities like patience and fortitude.
- The Test Answer: God uses evil and suffering to test human beings.
- The Divine Plan Theory: God has a Divine Plan where in the end we will find out that evil and suffering were an integral part of this plan.
Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the instructor's response.
To prepare for this Application:
- Review pp. 81–87 in your course text The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy on the problem of evil.
- Review pp. 388–400 in your course text The Philosopher's Way: Thinking Critically About Profound Ideas on the problem of evil.
- Consider the philosophical idea that faith is an acceptance of a belief as true in situations in which one does not have direct knowledge—it is a choice, not a type of objective knowledge.
- Reflect on the nature and foundation of your own religious and/or spiritual beliefs.
- Compose a 1- to 2-page essay in which you do the following:
- Respond to the statement: "I don't understand why people believe in God when there is so much pain and suffering in the world."
- Compare the various arguments for and against God's existence with so much evil and suffering in the world.
- Be sure to use supporting evidence in your argument.
- Make reference to the 8 theories or possible answers to the problem of evil.
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||03/19/2014 12:00 am