David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Religious Studies 43 (1):49-69 (2007)
Several theists have adopted a position known as ‘sceptical theism’, according to which God is justified in allowing suffering, but the justification is often beyond human comprehension. A problem for sceptical theism is that if there are unknown justifications for suffering, then we cannot know whether it is right for a human being to relieve suffering. After examining several proposed solutions to this problem, I conclude that one who is committed to a revealed religion has a simpler and more effective solution. In particular, according to traditional Judaism, God has permitted us, indeed commanded us, to relieve suffering, so we know that it is right for us to do so. I further show how God's command, according to Judaism, that we save lives provides an answer to an analogous argument put forward by David Hume. Thus, revealed theistic religions can sometimes solve problems more effectively than theism alone. (Published Online January 15 2007).
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