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Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God

Cornell University Press (1999)

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  1. How a Modest Fideism May Constrain Theistic Commitments: Exploring an Alternative to Classical Theism.John Bishop - 2007 - Philosophia 35 (3-4):387-402.
    On the assumption that theistic religious commitment takes place in the face of evidential ambiguity, the question arises under what conditions it is permissible to make a doxastic venture beyond one’s evidence in favour of a religious proposition. In this paper I explore the implications for orthodox theistic commitment of adopting, in answer to that question, a modest, moral coherentist, fideism. This extended Jamesian fideism crucially requires positive ethical evaluation of both the motivation and content of religious doxastic ventures. I (...)
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  • Universalism and the Problem of Hell.Ioanna-Maria Patsalidou - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (11):808-820.
    Christian tradition speaks mainly of two possible post‐mortem human destinies. It holds that those human beings who, in their earthly lives, acted according to God’s will and accepted God’s love will be reconciled to Him in heaven; whereas those who have acted against God’s will and refused His love will be consigned to the everlasting torments of hell. The notion that hell is everlasting and also a place of unending suffering inevitably gives rise to the following question for theists: how (...)
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  • Ignorance, Instrumentality, Compensation, and the Problem of Evil.Marilyn McCord Adams - 2013 - Sophia 52 (1):7-26.
    Some theodicists, skeptical theists, and friendly atheists agree that God-justifying reasons for permitting evils would have to have an instrumental structure: that is, the evils would have to be necessary to secure a great enough good or necessary to prevent some equally bad or worse evil. D.Z. Phillips contends that instrumental reasons could never justify anyone for causing or permitting horrendous evils and concludes that the God of Restricted Standard Theism does not exist—indeed, is a conceptual mistake. After considering Phillips’ (...)
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  • The Anxious Believer: Macaulay's Prescient Theodicy.Jill Graper Hernandez - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):175-187.
    Recent feminists have critiqued G.W. Leibniz’s Theodicy for its effort to justify God’s role in undeserved human suffering over natural and moral evil. These critiques suggest that theodicies which focus on evil as suffering alone obfuscate how to thematize evil, and so they conclude that theodicies should be rejected and replaced with a secularized notion of evil that is inextricably tied to the experiences of the victim. This paper argues that the political philosophy found in the writings of Catherine Macaulay (...)
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  • Eternal Life as an Exclusively Present Possession: Perspectives From Theology and the Philosophy of Time.Mikel Burley - 2016 - Sophia 55 (2):145-161.
    Does it make sense to think of eternal life not as an unending continuation of life subsequent to death but as fully actualized in one’s present mortal and finite life? After outlining conceptual and moral reasons for being troubled by the notion of an endless life, this article draws upon the thought of major Christian theologians and philosophers of religion to expound the idea of eternal life as a possession exclusively of the life one is presently living. Supplementing the claims (...)
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  • C. S. Lewis on the Problem of Suffering.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (1):33-48.
    C. S. Lewis’s small book, The Problem of Pain, first published in 1940, is essentially a theodicy, specifically, a version of soul-making theodicy. In this essay I present Lewis’s theodicy and I offer some critical comments. I conclude by asking whether his theodicy remains intact and helpful upon the death of Lewis wife, as he reflects on that in A Grief Observed. I conclude that it does.
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  • Acquainted with Grief: The Atonement and Early Feminist Conceptions of Theodicy.Jill Graper Hernandez - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (1):97-111.
    This paper explores the relationship between the problem of evil and a kenotic view of the Atonement evidenced not just by feminist theologians, but by analytic philosophers of religion. I will argue that, although kenosis provides an interesting story about the ability of Christ to partake in human suffering, it faces debilitating problems for understanding divine concurrence with evil in the world. Most significantly, I will argue that the potential tensions between divine justice and divine love can be loosened by (...)
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  • Overcoming the Limits of Theodicy: An Interactive Reciprocal Response to Evil.John Culp - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (3):263-276.
    Recent criticisms of theodicies express a conflict between theoretical and practical responses to the existence of evil. Theodicies, and defenses, seek to provide a resolution to the question of why there is evil if there is God. In providing an answer, theodicies offer an explanation for evil that responds to the existence of evil in a theoretical manner. In contrast to those theoretical responses, there have been a number of responses to the existence of evil that have emphasized acting against (...)
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  • Horribly Wrong.Stephen S. Bush - 2013 - Journal of Religious Ethics 41 (4):585-600.
    Moral horror is an extreme emotional response to that which violates things we regard as sacred. In Robert Merrihew Adams's view, horror is a response to badness and not to wrongness, and so one could properly regard some actions as horrible but not wrong. In contrast, I argue that horror, when directed toward actions, is only appropriate for wrong actions. The reason is that horror involves moral disgust, and agents who committed a horrible action would have self-disgust, that is, they (...)
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  • Rape and Silence in J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.Graham St John Stott - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (3):347-362.
    Disgrace , by J.M. Coetzee, is a story of a rape; more, it is a tale in which the victim of the rape, Lucy Lurie, is silent. She demands neither sympathy nor justice for what happens toher, presenting herself as neither a victim nor someone seeking revenge. Instead she stands as a witness, and does so by adopting an attitude reminiscent of the thinking of Simone Weil—rejecting the possibility of rights, and not looking for explanations. Rape, Coetzee thus suggests, is (...)
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  • On Letting Go of Theodicy: Marilyn McCord Adams on God and Evil.Andrew Gleeson - 2015 - Sophia 54 (1):1-12.
    Marilyn McCord Adams agrees with D. Z. Phillips that instrumental theodicy is a moral failure, and that sceptical theists and others are guilty of ignoring what we know now about the moral reality of horrendous evils to speculate about unknown ways these evils might be made sense of. In place of theodicy, Adams advocates ‘the logic of compensation’ for the victims of evil, a postmortem healing of divine intimacy with God. This goes so deep, she believes, that eventually victims will (...)
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  • Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Jack Zupko, Patrick Hutchings & Gerard Williams - 2002 - Sophia 41 (1):135-137.
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  • Divine Intimacy and the Problem of Horrendous Evil.Dennis Earl - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (1):17-28.
    The problem of horrendous evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of horrendous evils with the existence of a God that is nevertheless good to individuals. A solution to the problem along the lines of that proposed by Morilyn McCord Adams resolves the problem by appeal to various sorts of intimacy with God on the part of the participants in horrendous evils. One half of the problem concerns the victims of horrendous evils. A second half of the problem of (...)
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  • Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Nevin Climenhaga - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:367-392.
    A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...)
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  • The Problem of Natural Evil II: Hybrid Replies.Luke Gelinas - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):560-574.
    I consider two views that combine different elements of general theistic replies to natural evil, those of Peter van Inwagen and William Hasker. I end with a Hasker-style defense – one that, unlike Hasker's, denies the existence of pointless natural evils – and some brief observations on the direction of future debate.
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  • Towards a Religiously Adequate Alternative to Omnigod Theism.John Bishop - 2009 - Sophia 48 (4):419-433.
    Theistic religious believers should be concerned that the God they worship is not an idol. Conceptions of God thus need to be judged according to criteria of religious adequacy that are implicit in the ‘God-role’—that is, the way the concept of God properly functions in the conceptual economy and form of life of theistic believers. I argue that the conception of God as ‘omniGod’—an immaterial personal creator with the omni-properties—may reasonably be judged inadequate, at any rate from the perspective of (...)
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  • Theodicy: The Solution to the Problem of Evil, or Part of the Problem?Nick Trakakis - 2008 - Sophia 47 (2):161-191.
    Theodicy, the enterprise of searching for greater goods that might plausibly justify God’s permission of evil, is often criticized on the grounds that the project has systematically failed to unearth any such goods. But theodicists also face a deeper challenge, one that places under question the very attempt to look for any morally sufficient reasons God might have for creating a world littered with evil. This ‘anti-theodical’ view argues that theists (and non-theists) ought to reject, primarily for moral reasons, the (...)
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  • Megill's Multiverse Meta-Argument.Klaas J. Kraay - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):235-241.
    In a recent paper in this journal, Jason Megill (2011) offers an innovative meta-argument which deploys considerations about multiple universes in an effort to block all arguments from evil. In what follows, I contend that Megill has failed to establish a key premise in his meta-argument. I also offer a rival account of the effect of multiverse models on the debate about evil.
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  • Moral Antitheodicy: Prospects and Problems.Robert Mark Simpson - 2009 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (3):153-169.
    Proponents of the view which I call ‘moral antitheodicy’ call for the theistic discourse of theodicy to be abandoned, because, they claim, all theodicies involve some form of moral impropriety. Three arguments in support of this view are examined: the argument from insensitivity, the argument from detachment, and the argument from harmful consequences. After discussing the merits of each argument individually, I attempt to show that they all must presuppose what they are intended to establish, namely, that the set of (...)
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  • Ivan Karamazov is a Hopeless Romantic.Toby Betenson - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (1):65-73.
    Ivan Karamazov is frequently used, and misused, in discussions concerning the problem of evil. The purpose of this article is to correct some pervasive misinterpretations of Ivan’s statement, as found in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I criticise some common misinterpretations, as exemplified in the theodical work of Marilyn Adams and John Hick, as well as the more nuanced interpretation of Stewart Sutherland. Though Sutherland’s interpretation is the strongest, it nevertheless misses the mark in identifying Ivan as a positivist. I argue (...)
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  • God's Deontic Perfection.Brian Leftow - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (1):69-95.
    I offer part of an account of divine moral perfection. I defend the claim that moral perfection is possible, then argue that God has obligations, so that one part of his moral perfection must be perfection in meeting these. I take up objections to divine obligations, then finally offer a definition of divine deontic perfection.
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  • The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies.Luke Gelinas - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):533-559.
    I examine different strategies involved in stating anti-theistic arguments from natural evil, and consider some theistic replies. There are, traditionally, two main types of arguments from natural evil: those that purport to deduce a contradiction between the existence of natural evil and the existence of God, and those that claim that the existence of certain types or quantities of natural evil significantly lowers the probability that theism is true. After considering peripheral replies, I state four prominent theistic rebutting strategies: skeptical (...)
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  • Silencing Theodicy with Enthusiasm: Aesthetic Experience as a Response to the Problem of Evil in Shaftesbury, Annie Dillard, and the Book of Job.John McAteer - 2016 - Heythrop Journal 57 (5):788-795.
    The problem of evil is not only a logical problem about God's goodness but also an existential problem about the sense of God's presence, which the Biblical book of Job conceives as a problem of aesthetic experience. Thus, just as theism can be grounded in religious experience, atheism can be grounded in experience of evil. This phenomenon is illustrated by two contrasting literary descriptions of aesthetic experience by Jean-Paul Sartre and Annie Dillard. I illuminate both of these literary texts with (...)
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  • The Normatively Relativised Logical Argument From Evil.John Bishop & Ken Perszyk - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):109-126.
    It is widely agreed that the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil (LAFE) is bankrupt. We aim to rehabilitate the LAFE, in the form of what we call the Normatively Relativised Logical Argument from Evil (NRLAFE). There are many different versions of a NRLAFE. We aim to show that one version, what we call the ‘right relationship’ NRLAFE, poses a significant threat to personal-omniGod-theism—understood as requiring the belief that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good person who has created our world—because it (...)
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  • The Fall of “Augustinian Adam”: Original Fragility and Supralapsarian Purpose.John Schneider - 2012 - Zygon 47 (4):949-969.
    The essay is framed by conflict between Christianity and Darwinian science over the history of the world and the nature of human personhood. Evolutionary science narrates a long prehuman geological and biological history filled with vast amounts, kinds, and distributions of apparently random brutal and pointless suffering. It also strongly suggests that the first modern humans were morally primitive. This science seems to discredit Christianity's common meta-narrative of the Fall, understood as a story of Paradise Lost. The author contends that (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Problem of Evil: An Evolutionary Model with Application to an Ancient Debate.Robert K. Fleck - 2011 - Zygon 46 (3):561-587.
    Abstract. Since Darwin, scholars have contemplated what our growing understanding of natural selection, combined with the fact that great suffering occurs, allows us to infer about the possibility that a benevolent God created the universe. Building on this long line of thought, I develop a model that illustrates how undesirable characteristics of the world (stylized “evils”) can influence long-run outcomes. More specifically, the model considers an evolutionary process in which each generation faces a risk from a “natural evil” (e.g., predation, (...)
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