Free Will and the Creation of Evil | Arguing for Atheism

Secular analyses of the concept of evil in the narrow sense began inthe twentieth century with the work of Hanna Arendt. Arendt's thoughtson the nature of evil stem from her attempt to understand and evaluatethe horrors of the Nazi death camps. In the Origins ofTotalitarianism (1951), Arendt borrows Kant's term ‘radicalevil’ to describe the evil of the Holocaust. However, Arendtdoes not mean what Kant means by ‘radical evil’ (seesection 2.2 for Kant's view of radical evil). Instead, Arendt usesthe term to denote a new form of wrongdoing which cannot be capturedby other moral concepts. For Arendt, radical evil involves makinghuman beings as human beings superfluous. This is accomplished whenhuman beings are made into living corpses who lack any spontaneity orfreedom. According to Arendt a distinctive feature of radical evil isthat it isn't done for humanly understandable motives such asself-interest, but merely to reinforce totalitarian control and theidea that everything is possible (Arendt 1951, 437–459;Bernstein 2002, 203–224).

If God is the creator of all things, why did He create evil toruin his creation?

The ontological argument is, of course, a notable exception, and,consequently, the advocate of the argument from evil certainly needsto be able to show that it is unsound. But almost all of the otherstandard arguments are simply not to the point.


Dec 14, 2013 · Free Will and the Creation of Evil

Augustine and the Problem of Evil from a Christian Basis In his Confessions, St.

It seems very unlikely, however, that its merely being the case thatone does not know that the story is false can suffice, since it mayvery well be the case that, though one does not know that pis false, one does have very strong evidence that it is. But if onehas strong evidence that a story is false, it is hard to see how thestory on its own could possibly counter an evidential argument fromevil.


William Paley, "The Teleological Argument"

Plantinga’s view here, however, is very implausible. For not only canthe argument from evil be formulated in terms of specific evils, butthat is the natural way to do so, given that it is only certain typesof evils that are generally viewed as raising a serious problem withrespect to the rationality of belief in God. To concentrateexclusively on abstract versions of the argument from evil istherefore to ignore the most plausible and challenging versions of theargument.

Can there be evil of fault in the angels

Alvin Plantinga does not challenge (and thus implicitly concedes) the soundness of Paul Draper's argument for the conclusion that certain facts about good and evil are strong evidence against theism. Plantinga does, however, challenge Draper's view that naturalism is more plausible than theism, which Draper needs to reach the further conclusion that, other evidence held equal, theism is very probably false. In addition, Plantinga challenges the significance of this final conclusion. In this chapter, Draper defends his views on plausibility and then argues that Plantinga's challenge to the significance of his final conclusion fails for two reasons. First, Plantinga fails to show that this further conclusion does not threaten the rationality or warrant of most theistic belief. Second, he mistakenly assumes that, in order to be significant, this conclusion must threaten the rationality or warrant of most theistic belief.

What kind of sins can be in them

The history of theories of evil began with attempts to solve theproblem of evil, i.e., attempts to reconcile the existence of evil (inthe broad sense) with an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God orcreator. Philosophers and theologians have recognized that to solve theproblem of evil it is important to understand the nature of evil. Asthe Neoplatonist Plotinus put it “Those inquiring whence Evilenters into beings, or rather into a certain order of beings, would bemaking the best beginning if they established, first of all, whatprecisely Evil is” (Plotinus, Enneads, I, 8, 1).

What did the angel seek in sinning

Since its inception, Manichaean dualism has been criticized forproviding little empirical support for its extravagant cosmology. Asecond problem is that, for a theist, it is hard to accept that God isnot an all-powerful sole creator. For these reasons influentialmedieval philosophers such as Saint Augustine, who initially acceptedthe Manichaean theory of evil, eventually rejected it in favor of theNeoplatonist approach. (See Augustine,Confessions; On the Morals of the Manichaeans;Reply to Manichaeus; Burt, Augustine's World.)