Beatrice: We spoke before about the problem of evil. I’d like to talk about a new defence:
First, I’d want to say that, even if there is no justification of the evils we see in the world, that they are nonetheless outweighed by the goods. The world is (pace the anti-natalists or negative utilitarians) net positive,[ref]Beatrice: I guess you might want to say that the world including its entire future will be net-positive, and so that entails optimism about how the future is going to go.[/ref] and the objection raised by the problem of evil is not that God did a bad thing in making the world, but rather fell far short of moral perfection.
Adam: And the second consideration?
Beatrice: The second is that it is good to bring positive things into existence. This can be weaker than a Total-view-esque it is as good to bring positive things into existence than it is to improve existing things by the same amount: just something like, “Given the option, it is better (ceritus paribus) to bring something good into existence”.[ref]Beatrice: I think this is generally plausible, but Theists should be particularly sympathetic. After all, if this were not true, why would God create anything?[/ref]
Adam: Okay. Where are you going? Continue reading “God’s Multiverse?”
Adam: It is often wondered whether evil gives reason to believe there is no god. There are many such responses to this idea. One is to suggest that although at first appearance suggests that evil ‘counts against’ god, further sober enquiry reveals that this is no evidence at all. Theism can provide a similarly good explanation. In a sense, we give ‘God’s alibi’ to the prosecution to the argument from evil.
Alternatively, and more recently, a popular response is that of sceptical Theism: Namely, the principle that we simply aren’t in a position to judge whether the evils we observe really count against God. We simply aren’t able to judge the matter. Instead of God’s alibi, we simply show that our trial could never reach a safe verdict in the first place.
Also, one can simply accept that the balance of evil in the world really does, taken alone, suggest there is no God. However, this only considers evil alone. Considering the rest of the available evidence, we observe that there are much greater reasons in favour of God.
However one common objection, amongst popular sources at least, is to appeal to morality itself to ‘trump’ the argument from evil. When Atheist offers an argument from evil, Theist says some variant of “Well, to run the argument from evil in the first place, you need some account of what good and evil is. Yet the only plausible source of value is God.”
Charles: I think this argument could just be another argument like fine tuning or whatever else designed to rebut the argument from evil: “Okay, so there’s a problem of evil, but I’ve got an argument from morality which is even better.” However, I think when this sort of response is offered, it’s more an undercutting defeater: that, until Atheist gives a good answer to the moral argument Theist poses, Theist need not worry about answering the problem of evil. Continue reading “Does the moral argument undercut the argument from evil?”