Master of Arts (MA)
Edward N. Martin
Evidential Argument from Evil, Evil, God, Probity, Theodicy, William Rowe
Comparative Philosophy | Esthetics | History of Philosophy | Other Philosophy
Apata, Olaoluwa, "The Problem of Evil and the Probity of Theodicy from William Rowe's Evidential Evidential of Evil" (2016). Masters Theses. 421.
In this research, we discussed the types of evil: moral and natural, which are cited by atheistic philosophers as evidence against the existence of God. The so-called evidence from evil has been used by the atheistic and other non-theistic scholars to raise hypothesis on evaluating the possibility or likelihood that an omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good God exists in a world that is littered with evil. Moral evil is evil that arise from the misuse of free will by moral agents, while natural evils are natural disasters such as: earthquakes, famine, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes etc. We discussed moral evil and Plantinga’s free will defense. We also discussed the natural evil and how it poses threat to theism. The logical and the evidential arguments from evil are the forms of arguments developed from moral and natural evils. While many scholars have agreed that Plantinga’s free will defense adequately responds to the problem of logical evil, the same consensus does not necessarily apply to the evidential argument from evil. We also examined William Rowe’s evidential argument which he developed from cases of intense animal and human sufferings considered by him to be pointless or gratuitous with no known reasons or goods for which God should have allowed the visceral experience of such sufferings. The work of Rowe and other non-theistic philosophers have made evidential evil a relevant and predominantly modern argument, addressing real life cases of animal and human sufferings, thereby making a case for atheism and also creating an awareness for not just the irrationality of theism but also the problem of the probity, morality, or rightness of doing theodicy. We also considered the works of other atheistic, and even some theistic scholars, who argue against the morality and rightness of doing theodicy. Some of these scholars consider theodicy to be a failed enterprise simply because, according to them, it ignores or suppresses the effects of horrendous and terrible evils that human beings and animals experience. Many theistic scholars on the other hand reject the notion that theodicy ignores suffering by developing various positively moral reasons to support not just the plausibility of theism but also to demonstrate that theodicies have successfully provided answers to problem of evil. The thesis of this research examines various problems associated with evils and the effects of Rowe’s instances of intense suffering on the enterprise of theodicy. It challenges the act of theodicy and questions its morality on the basis of its purposes, goals, attitudes, problems, truth, and accomplishment. This research concludes that theodicy is not a failed enterprise, but it is the only rational explanation to the problem of evil and the only option that gives hope and comfort with respect to the effects of various intense and horrendous evil in our world.