Friday, January 29, 2010

Theodicy... FAIL!

In my earlier post I mentioned that I found none of the traditional theodicies very compelling, and in fact I called them 'weak', as in they had little persuasive power to non-Christians also. I figured, that as a result of making such a claim, I should tell people why I find them un-compelling and then maybe give someone a chance to defend them also. So, to that end I will examine the theodicies that are out there and give reasons as to why I find them unconvincing.

First up is one that often floats around on emails for some obscure reason. I think its the worst answer, and in some ways the most belittling of the whole problem.

The solution, according to this defense, is that evil does not 'exist'. Essentially, the claim is that evil is not actually 'something' its merely the absence of goodness. Much like darkness is merely the absence of light. It, by itself has no intrinsic properties and does not properly belong in a list of things that have 'existence'.

Therefore, this defense states, God has nothing to do with evil, he did not create it and so how can we blame him for that which he could create, since, after all it non-existent things cannot be 'created'. Evil, in this view is an 'illusion'.

Now, the first reason I find it to be severely lacking, is that it does not take evil very seriously, and seems to really be a play on words.  When we speak of 'Illusion' we usually mean fake and contrived. However, when the person who is proposing that evil is an 'illusion' he is meaning it does not have the properties of existence, not that it is contrived or a 'fake'. Then, on closer inspection, we discover that this 'illusion' of evil is actually fairly malicious, most magic tricks do not have such cosmic consequences or are so universally feared, as those things/people/events that we consider evil. Even if we decide that evil indeed is not something metaphysically classifiable, it is still an 'illusion' that causes great pain and anguish to people all the time, and as such I see no good reason to see this as an appropriate response to the problem. I see no good reason for why God should permit an 'illusion' to exist anyway so it does not even remotely respond to the problem.

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