Metaphysical Evil. You know, that’s, it’s the people who experience wartime atrocities can become so psychologically damaged, it may be impossible, absent a miraculous divine intervention in this life for those individuals to experience the kind of peace and wholeness that a character like Father Zosima experiences. h�bbd``b`N�@�Iĵ\G��^ �v##7H #��� k�� And it’s very painful to read, his recounting of just some horrific atrocities that occurred in and around that time. Citation/Other Information. And they can experience it as a moral committedness and trust in the love of God. But enough of that. And so why do we find ourselves confronted with all this suffering? 380 0 obj <> endobj The Existential Problem of Evil. One of them goes off and is educated in the West and becomes a, sort of Enlightenment, atheist-type figure. References . The secular existentialists' perspective on the problem of evil has its root foundation upon naturalism where God does not exist. Before delving into the deep and often murky waters of the problem of evil, it will be helpful to provide some philosophical background to this venerable subject. But he, at one point, he recounts the story of his life, and he indicates that, actually, early on, he was a violently angry young man and participated in dueling and such. show it is possible to provide reasonable. So, but, this character, Father Zosima, is a sort of, he’s, we’re introduced to him as this saintly monk that people come to, and they just feel spiritual comfort often just in his presence even when he doesn’t speak. So then there’s this other character that, and Dostoevsky very much wrote, he wrote it in stages. But, of course, as theists the problem is God has permitted a world, for us to exist in a world where precisely such horrible things have happened. Why I Stopped Trying to Win Arguments: The Servant-Apologist Model, On Taming the Tongue: An Interview with Richard Bauckham, Global Indifference & the Mothers of Invention (feat. • But, try speaking about Plantagina, or evil as … The... a. “I don’t want to participate in that. On theone hand, there are metaphysical interpretations of the term: God isa prime mover, or a first cause, or a necessary being that has itsnecessity of itself, or the ground of being, or a being whos… “The Problem of Evil ” by Fyodor Dostoevsky beggars come in, they wear silken rags and tattered lace and beg for alms dancing gracefully, then one might like looking at them. Contemplate this, and it will bring healing to you? Because these are far from being individuals who are morally calloused. This label calls attention to the “real-life” dimension of the problem in addition to the more abstract and general lines of reason - ing that are typically pursued. In fact in, as you know, in a lot of anthologies devoted to the problem of evil, you often get an excerpt of just Ivan, the brother, the atheist, his statement of the problem of evil. Menssen, Sandra L. "The Existential Problem of Evil: Reflections on the Analogy Between Creation and Procreation, "American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Annual Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Vol. Existentialism (/ ˌ ɛ ɡ z ɪ ˈ s t ɛ n ʃ əl ɪ z əm / or / ˌ ɛ k s ə ˈ s t ɛ n t ʃ ə ˌ l ɪ z əm /) is a form of philosophical inquiry that explores the problem of human existence and centers on the lived experience of the thinking, feeling, acting individual. %%EOF It can make it very difficult to believe that there is a God of the kind described by traditional Christianity. ...Instead we encounter a variety of perspectives... Consequently [the Bible focuses on] moral and spiritual remedies, not rational or logical [justifications]. The Hollowness of the Pragmatic Argument from Evil. The most common statement of this problem is, “I can’t believe in a God who would allow…”. Since any direct inductive problem of evil must be either existential or non-existential, without an adequate response to such objections, the success of direct inductive arguments is greatly diminished. Journalist and best-selling author Lee Strobel commissioned George Barna, the public-opinion pollster, to conduct a nationwide survey. The Existential Problem of Evil: As often called the "religious," "personal," or "pastoral" problem of evil, the existential problem is one that asks, "Why my suffering and/or evil at this time in this way in this place?" They feel they don’t want to simply say that, “Well God is wholly just and God is perfectly good, and he will bring good out of horrific evil.”. These tend to fall, however, into two main groups. Biola University's Center for Christian Thought is supported by generous grants from: © 1996-2021 Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The History of Theodicy. He’s a person of overwhelming love, and that’s the thing. Lewis’ works that cover his personal experiences with loss and evil, and then a fictional piece about what the afterlife might be like. It can induce a kind of vertigo. The Existential Problem of Evil and Redemptive Suffering. It still, it doesn’t help me to, but God could cause them to have insight into the character of God that it could somehow take on redemptive significance for them. I don’t want Him to change my mind about this. %PDF-1.5 %���� And so then, for some individuals, when they experience this kind of intense suffering, they find themselves just psychologically withdrawing from God. I meant to speak of the suffering of mankind generally, That could be, for some individuals in this life, they might say, well, I, you know, I can’t make that identification. If God is all-good, wouldn’t He want to prevent so much of this horrific suffering? Sociologist Walter Brueggemannsays theodicy is "a constant concern of the entire Bible" and needs to "include the category of social evil as well as moral, natural (physical) and religious evil". When faced with the problem of evil, we see evil clearly because we have a more direct knowledge of it. This is the pastoral or existential problem of evil. in Philosophy from Talbot School of Theology and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of Notre Dame. Much as Schopenhauer once suggested (1818), the existence of evil gives rise to a philosophical problem that is logically prior to and distinct from the classical problem.2 I call this problem the secular problem of … The existential problem is mainly emotional (although this does not mean they do not also consider the logical problem). The term “God” is used with a wide variety of differentmeanings. And so you’ve done some really interesting thinking and writing about this existential problem of evil. The Politics of Theodicy. This is what it looks like to be full of love, wholly trusting in God and his goodness, wholly in solidarity with the suffering This is what it looks like. For this reason, Lewis spent a significant amount of time exploring the topic in his books, both in fiction and nonfiction. The theistic concept of God as supremely powerful, intelligent, and good makes the problem very difficult because such a being, it would seem, would make a … Now, this is a kind of theoretical problem. Related Issues and Problems. The Existential Problem of Evil • The Philosophical Problem of Evil concerns evil in the general and in the abstract. Right. And so, I wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you think about the practical problem of evil, and what you think Dobzhansky’s solution or reply to this problem is. Also Jokes These are as follows: The Philosophical Problem of Evil – “Why does an omnipotent, perfectly good God’s creation include evil?” Yeah, the practical problem is sometimes we find ourselves quite rightly feeling a revulsion against certain kinds of really horrific evil that certainly others in the world experience, and maybe we, ourselves, have been touched by at some point in our lives. There remains, however, what we may call the evidential form?as opposed to the logical form?of the problem of evil: the view that the variety and profusion evil in our world, although perhaps not logically inconsistent with the existence of the theistic God, provides, nevertheless, rational support for atheism. Yes, exactly. Theodicy and Scripture. The “evidential” subcategory – … He specializes in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion. Wandering in Darkness: Eleonore Stump on Suffering, Evil, and Personal Encounter, Union with God: Love, Joy and Peace (Eleonore Stump), Suffering, the Problem of Evil, & the Desires of the Heart, The Existential Problem of Evil and The Brothers Karamazov, Purging the World of Evil: St. Thomas Aquinas on the Atoning Work of Christ, Should We Tolerate Evil Opinions? LXVIII (1994), pp. It’s true there aren’t that many of us that attain that level of saintliness in our lives, but there are some, and we should listen to them. See William Rowe, ‘The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism’ in M. M. Adams and R. M. Adams (edd), The Problem of Evil (Oxford: OUP, 1990) The argument for atheism based on evil: 1. Many religious individuals sometimes report, not so much theoretically ceasing to believe that God exists when they encounter evil, but just God feeling distant, and feeling the inability to draw near to God and to love God, to trust God given his willing permission of these kinds of suffering. 229 - 246. ...It is simply that the Bible operates within a cosmic, mo… It’s, and it’s because, perhaps out of an identification with the sufferer. There is evil... Evidential problem of evil. And a kind of brief loss for Marilyn Adams has interestingly speculated that one way in which people who’ve experience horrific suffering might actually come to, in a way, have that suffering take on redemptive value for them, even though it remains an evil thing, what they experience, but it can come to have redemptive significance if God enables them in a kind of mystical way to yoke their suffering, see their suffering as a means of identification with the suffering of Christ on our behalf, right. Evil and the Demonic. And he very much wanted the novel to offer response to the problem of evil, and he feared that he did a better job of framing the problem of evil than he did in giving a powerful Christian response to it. The existential problem of evil is simply this, and I say this to people: that ultimately the problem of evil is not a problem because you’ve got a bunch of philosophers or eggheads somewhere in an ivory tower debating the intellectual merits of Christian theism. (2b) Extreme and horrendous evil exists. But I think as Christians, we also have to bear in mind that the God we worship is a god who suffered greatly on our behalf. And I think we just have to recognize that. If God is all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good, why does he let so many bad things h… You have three sons of, that are all interesting characters. Alternatively, if the believer were to question whether the existence of apparently pointless evil were to render belief in God false or improbable, he would be dealing with a different sort of problem -- the epistemic problem of evil. Yes, I think that’s it. 387 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<91B92E767D1D854DB417396326B98C3C><75D388A41E37AA4E930169FC45FDA94A>]/Index[380 21]/Info 379 0 R/Length 56/Prev 380449/Root 381 0 R/Size 401/Type/XRef/W[1 2 1]>>stream So he’s, I take it what Dostoevsky’s doing, he’s saying he’s a kind of witness. Key works: Human, All too Human (1878–1880), The Gay Science (1882–1887), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1891), Beyond Good and Evil (1886), The Genealogy of Morals (1887), Ecce Homo (1888) Martin Heidegger (1889–1976): The most thoroughly academic of the existentialists. He puts it in terms of the suffering of a young child and says. Theists agree (2a) and (2b) are both true, and. And then whether you think it works, whether you find it persuasive. The philosophical problem posed by the existence of evil is not. Horrific Evil. It’s set in Russia of course. And we don’t want to align ourselves with any grand scheme of things such that this is a part of what’s being planned. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Third Edition, Brian Davies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004. And you can imagine trying to come in and give the person an argument, you know, a philosophical argument. They’re not dismissive of suffering. So is it that you can imagine someone in the grip of an existential crisis, finding themselves repulsed maybe by God because of horrific suffering and experience through a witness. (1) An all-powerful, all-good and all-loving, all-knowing God exists. endstream endobj 381 0 obj <>/Metadata 71 0 R/Pages 378 0 R/StructTreeRoot 110 0 R/Type/Catalog>> endobj 382 0 obj <>/MediaBox[0 0 612 792]/Parent 378 0 R/Resources<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageB/ImageC/ImageI]>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/Tabs/S/Type/Page>> endobj 383 0 obj <>stream It can make it very difficult to believe that there is a God of the kind described by traditional Christianity. For Clive Staples Lewis the “problem” of evil is a problem of which people need to have a better understanding, but not necessarily completely solved. The Experience of Suffering. It can be done. And he frames the problem of evil this way. Philosophers sometimes distinguish between different problems of evil. The inner life of God who grieves over his suffering and sinful children and longs to have them return to them and experience profound suffering and alienation in the second person of the Trinity, incarnated and crucified. I’m gonna give you a picture. I want to just stand apart and stand with the suffering victim, so. So really a model of Christian virtue, a very Christ-like figure. As for what the existentialist has to say, I'm not enough of an expert on it to respond. But it’s also, there’s also an existential problem that we face when we encounter terrible evil in our own lives and in the lives of others. And then it’s an invitation for us to try to follow that path and to experience that for ourselves. And he doesn’t tell us how. He just says it is possible to come to see things in this way. And if He’s all-powerful and all-knowing, wouldn’t he have the power and know how to do so? William Hasker, in the selection here, argues which maybe in some cases might help, but in many cases maybe would feel cold and lifeless and unduly abstract. These individuals may be rendered naturally incapable of any psychological wholeness, wellness in this life. The Literature of Theodicy. For an existential version of theism is a much more a special set of emphases within the theism than it is a separate worldview. if all of this requires the torture of this one innocent child, then I don’t want a part of it. The Table is a publication of the Biola University Center for Christian Thought. And so he, and we’re supposed to, what we the readers are invited to take away is listen to the testimony of some individuals like that. The first and perhaps most important step of this stage-setting process will be to identify and clarify the conception of God that is normally presupposed in contemporary debates (at least within the Anglo-American analytic tradition) on the problem of evil. However, the “pastoral” problem is as real and important as the “epistemic” problem. For The Table subscribers only: Sign up for "Charting a Course Through Grief". Forms of the Problem of Evil The First Two Forms. • The responses to this problem work just fine, while one sits comfortably in a nice, cool philosophy classroom. h�b```"0��A�X��� �dha8k�����u���Z�u�ӹ�m8sYp�p�r�e�rm���Ym���S�u���,ͥ#�,ä5�"\�Ԁ��:%к���u����[�!��R"���J�Dn�p�v�vܑ T)��]xK�0Hr��-�@e�@j3P`K�V���ш���І�׈��������F�����������ƌ����4���9�A(���A�g������*�fb� �� ��pU��)�|�O��+: � @W��[S'�ff`�s�G�'��� ��&@� %j And it induces in us a profound sense of that the things ought not to be this way. of the problem of evil, some work has also been done on what we might call the existential version. Thomas M. Crisp has a M.A. As it’s treated in the writings of Theodosius Dobzhansky and his beautiful character, Father Zosima. Summary and Conclusions: The Problem of Evil and Pain. So, the problem of evil. Is Dobzhansky in effect saying I’m not gonna give you an argument? a. The Hiddenness of God. ISBN 0-19-926347-7. Philosophers sometimes wave off this task—one some regard as “merely” addressing the “pastoral” or “existential” problem of evil. How is it that the existence of all of this suffering we find ourselves confronted with is compatible with the existence of an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing God? There is general agreement among Bible scholars that the Bible "does not admit of a singular perspective on evil. I simply wanted to show you my point of view. And no doubt, it requires supernatural activity on the part of God, but we’re already. endstream endobj startxref Tim O'Connor (Ph.D. Cornell) is Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University. In these readings, we learn the existential problem of evil to be the conflict of one’s emotions with one’s logic. Pastoral Care Care for them and love them as Christ does. So I just think Dostoevsky’s solution is there are certain saints that are witnesses to us that it is possible. The next step will involve providing an outline of some important concepts and distincti… Our free 4-week, 8-lesson ecourse on navigating the pain of loss... What Happens When We Die: What We Are and What We Will Become, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University, CCT Scholar-in-Residence and Executive Board Member / Professor of Philosophy, Biola University. And that’s the way that Dobzhansky frames the problem of evil in “The Brothers Karamazov,” which I think is just a terrific novel in many ways. The “logical” subcategory – “The fact that God’s good creation includes any evil entails God’s nonexistence.” b. Now, this is a kind of theoretical problem. He is currently Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Biola University. The opinions and personalities represented in The Table do not necessarily represent those of Biola University or the Biola University Center for Christian Thought. h�Ėmk�0ǿ�`oZXѓ%�PI�����4[�/�ZK �lwk�}��8q���� c�,�t�~�-�!�H!�����@A+H��_ΠSF�"0`(�%�H�$����'"X��`U�89=�����51����Y��w$!=KV�.���D�!���DpMG�d^)�����x�'J?�Bh����d��4[��`W��E�=fM��1:��Ev���G�pI��s�B/��F��0��v�o�=]��_ŕ٪.J�}�Y(��Yx�ׯ�G^^!�_�з��9'ah��g�~�A�����VJ?Y�c���!���r�����)�-0t����ʶ�곻�l�b���L�E�q1���qz}Sc���I�f��. It can induce a kind of vertigo. And I find that a helpful suggestion as just a, a possible intimation of a way that that could be done. Tim O’Connor (Baylor University) reflects on the psychological, existential nature of the problem of evil, and looks to Dostoevsky’s Father Zossima of The Brothers Karamazov for an answer. This perspective in He’s this powerful saintly figure. The Judgment of God. And it’s hard to imagine sometimes how that could be. And we have some of his correspondence. The survey included the question “If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response, offered by 17% of those who could think of a question was “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” (Strobel 2000, p. 29). to reconcile that. – Robert George on Peter Singer, Abortion, and Seeking Truth, As You Love Yourself: Where Contemplation and Action Meet. And he just speaks with great confidence that it is possible to be reconciled to that without diminishing it and while still identifying with the victim of suffering. And all the, he functions, I think, in Dostoevsky’s hands as a kind of witness to, because he encounters people, people come to him who are suffering horribly. Where God does not admit of a young child and says an expert on it to.., we see evil clearly because we have a more direct knowledge of it innocent child, then evil not! By generous grants from: © 1996-2021 Biola University or the Biola.! 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Inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world and it will healing! Believe that there is a publication of the kind described by traditional Christianity wave off this some... Imagine trying to come to see things in this way because, perhaps out of an identification the. Saints that are witnesses to us that it is possible Robert George on Peter Singer, Abortion and...