The Existence of Evil

SJ Says:

A thread about the existence of evil.

As one that believes in God, I’m interested to know your view on evil. I think that we can both agree that evil and suffering effects everyone and no one from any religion or belief system is exempt from it. I have hope that one day God will redeem the world from sin and sorrow, so I curious to understand your perspective on the struggle for good and evil and how you account for the presence of evil in the world.

4 Responses to The Existence of Evil

  1. The Atheist says:

    Sj

    That’s a very thoughtful question! Thinkers like Epicurus and others cite the problem of evil as evidence that God, as he is usually defined, cannot exist:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    So if I may clarify your question (and please correct me if this is not what you meant): if we claim that there is indeed evil in the universe, what do we mean by evil? Specifically, do we mean a transcendent (universal) evil that exists independently of the human experience? If the answer is “yes”, that would suggest a higher source of good and evil (e.g, a god or gods).

    Or conversely, do we simply mean a human judgment, a declaration of human experience? If the answer is “yes”, then Epicurus has no complaint.

    The answer is we mean both – but not at the same time and not in the same context (that is, we do not attempt to deceive by equivocating the term within a given context). The Epicurean riddle identifies 2 premises: that universal evil exists, and a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God exists. He demonstrates that these premises are mutually exclusive. So when I invoke “the riddle”, I mean a universal or transcendental evil that is claimed by some to exist.

    Regarding your questing about my own view of evil, I don’t think any universal evil exists. In fact, we are hard pressed to find any act that was not acceptable in some society at some time. I do find that individuals find certain acts repulsive to them, and we label these acts as evil (in a non-universal, experiential sense). Societies simultaneously engenders these feelings in its individual members while the collective sensibilities of its members form the society’s definition of evil.

    Outside of human (and maybe other animal) consciousness, I don’t think evil exits.

  2. Lisa Bee says:

    Regarding your questing about my own view of evil, I don’t think any universal evil exists. In fact, we are hard pressed to find any act that was not acceptable in some society at some time.

    I have tried to find something that has not be condoned by society at some time in History, but am unable to do so. At best, perhaps a serial killer, but then one would say that about a solider during war time. Jack the ripper may have been an example if the deeds ever prove to have been contained within one individual, but that has never truthfully been proven for certainity.
    Yet at the same time, I feel that it does exist, for I have encountered a sinister/evil spirit that is unexplainable or justifiable by normal interventions of rationality. It’s presence is an internal spiritual battle, as it would like to destroy my faith.

  3. Lisa Bee says:

    HAPPY hOLIDAYS

  4. The Atheist says:

    Thanks, Lisa. Merry Christmas :)

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