Article

The Problem of Evil

Michael L. Peterson

in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780199644650
Published online October 2013 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199644650.013.032

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Problem of Evil

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The problem of evil is considered to be the most formidable objection to theism and a central element in the case for atheism. This essay surveys and evaluates the two key formulations of the problem expressed as an argument: the logical argument and the evidential argument. It also analyzes two types of defences offered in response to the argument from evil: the Free Will Defence against the logical argument and Skeptical Theist Defence against the evidential argument. Also treated are several greater-good theodicies that are generally employed as responses to the evidential argument: free will theodicy, natural law theodicy, and soul-making theodicy. Because it sounds a slightly different note from traditional greater good approaches, the theodicy of Open Theism—which argues that the theistic God could create a universe in which there is the possibility of evil occurring that does not serve some greater good—is examined.

Keywords: problem of evil; logical; evidential; free will defence; skeptical theist defence; theodicy; soul-making; Open Theism; greater good

Article.  7951 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Alternative Belief Systems ; Comparative Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion

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