The Existence of God and the Problem of Evil (Reg)
DOES GOD EXIST?
long and complex history
Questions on the existence of God + Questions on the basis of ethics = Questions on the ‘problem of evil’
Characteristic socratic dialogue
takes its title from the name of a man who is supposedly an expert on religion whom Socrates beings to question
claims that he is an expert on what divine law does and does not require
Only what ALL gods agree on can be considered a guide to god conduct
Is something good because God approves of it or does he approve of something because it is good?
If God is perfect and lacks nothing, how can we serve him?
The concept of good or bad is dependent on the will of God (wholly arbitrary) or there is no room for any appeal to God (not wholly arbitrary)
We start to search for answers to ground the claims of morality.
Form of the problem: hypothesis (a loving god exists) and evidence (there is evil in the world.) Experience of suffering and evil make people look to a higher power. Therefore evidence brings about hypothesis.
The form of life religion recommends is distinctive.
The Myth of Sisyphus (sarah)
Philosophers have found it difficult to determine what is meant by the ‘meaning’ in the ‘meaning of life.’
“ Does life have a meaning?” is a question the meaningfulness of which may itself be doubted.
One useful way of exploring these issues involve lies in thinking about the story of Sisyphus
**Story of Sisyphus - a classical myth made famous by Albert Camus’ existentialist essay about the meaning of human life. “The Myth of Sisyphus”
According to Camus and Taylor
The Problem of Religious Knowledge (3sa)
“If God does exist, can we ever know for certain what his will for us is?
Boils down to the question: “Which religion?”
The Religious perspective
Camus, Taylor and Nagel do not believe that Religion can provide a perspective w/in which we might hope to combine both objective meaning & subjective value.
The Secret of Religious Enlightenment
Suppression of desire
A Systematic elimination of our attachments to the world
Thinks of human beings as
Discounts subjective values
Western Minds: Religious faith as belief and hope that we will be saved from eternal death and live forever.
Eastern Religions: Other things being equal, we do live forever and it is from this dreadful fate that we must look to spiritually save us.
Judaism ,Christianity & Islam
religion of the ancient israelites
essence of Judaism is found in the Hebrew scriptures
everything was ‘without form and void’
test of adequacy is whether God regards them as good from the point of view of his purposes
God creates good
“In the image of God”
Thus man is able to appreciate & use good things created
Creation is followed by the fall
unanimity between God and man
possibility of divergence between..
The 3 Difficulties Reconsidered
The ultimate aim of all human thoughts and activities
different light on the problem of evil
pain and death
overcoming the evil
Problem of religious knowledge = Euthyphro dilemma
Appeal to a religious perspective
Living the good life
“The Divine Economy”
Where true joys are to be found (Aimee)
Religion relieves tension between objective meaning and subjective value
divine purpose -> explanation
fulfillment of God’s purpose = cooperation/willingness of humans
divergence of freedom from God’s ordination
Obedience or to follow the divinely prescribed order
Find the greatest subjective value in the divine purpose
Service of God: Perfect freedom
‘Muslim’ -> Follows the straight path
Christian Religious aspiration
Difficulties/Problems unresolved by religion
Religious thought and language
Religious insight/theorizing Metaphysical Theorizing
Obscurum per obscurius
Example: God-World Relationship
Religious belief: Intellectual inquiry and feeling/experience
Experience gives life to religious ideas
History of Religion (including Christianity) -> hostility to intellectual criticism
How are the egoistic demands of personal happiness and the altruistic demands of morality to be squared?
Is there a good life?
Good life: morally virtuous life or personally happy one?
Religious ideas after resolution
Abstruse & perplexed idea -> Illumination
Life with dichotomy
Attention to personal concerns with some attention to moral demands