Do Theists Need to Solve the Problem of Evil?

Religious Studies 12 (3):383 - 389 (1976)
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Abstract

The problem of evil may be characterized as the problem of how precisely to specify a property, P , about which it is possible for a morally sensitive man to believe that a person who possesses it would be morally justified on that account in not preventing instances of intense innocent suffering and it is neither impossible nor unlikely that if there is an omnipotent and omniscient being, he possesses it. Atheists have typically claimed that P cannot be precisely specified. Moreover, they have maintained that in view of our inability to give a precise specification of P , it is irrational to believe that there is an omnipotent and omniscient being who is perfectly good and, hence, irrational to believe that God exists. In the remainder of this paper, I want to discuss the question whether there is any good reason for believing that this latter thesis is true. 1 If there is no such reason, then no matter how much he may busy himself with an attempt at formulating a precise specification of P , the theist can be justifiably contented with the thought that it doesn't much matter whether he succeeds

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