Religious Philosophy the Nature of Term Paper

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.. The actual universe, with all its good and evil, exists on the basis of God's will and receives its meaning from His purpose. However, these two conclusions do not stand in simple contradiction, to one another. The one says that evil is bad, harmful, destructive, fearful and to be fought against as a matter of ultimate life and death. But the other does not deny this. It does not say that evil is not fearful and threatening, inimical to all good and to be absolutely resisted. It says that God has ordained a world which contains evil- real evil- as a means to the creation of the infinite good of a Kingdom of Heaven within which His creatures will have come as perfected persons to love and serve Him through a process in which their own free insight and response have been an essential element."

(Hick, 1978)

Arthur Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell (and others) have pointed out that most of the world is much more cruel than "beautiful" and that the incalculable amount of suffering inherent in Nature is absolutely pointless, and, more importantly, that a truly omnipotent God would never choose any method for accomplishing good that required any harm, precisely because God's supposed power and knowledge is unlimited. Surely any unlimited intellect with equally unlimited power could achieve any goal or good purpose by multiple (if not an infinite number of) different ways.

"I do not understand where this "beauty" and "harmony" are supposed to be found. Throughout the animal kingdom, animals ruthlessly prey upon each other. Most of them are either cruelly killed by other animals or slowly die of hunger. For my part, I am unable to see any great beauty or harmony in the tapeworm. Let it not be said that this creature is sent as a punishment for our sins, for it is more prevalent among animals
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than among humans. I suppose the questioner is thinking of such things as the beauty of the starry heavens.

But one should remember that stars every now and again explode and reduce everything in their neighborhood to a vague mist. Beauty, in any case, is subjective and exists only in the eye of the beholder."

(Russell, 1953)

Presently, human societies subscribe to more than one thousand distinctly different religions and definitions of God. Many of those beliefs are mutually exclusive in that they include the view that there is only one God Creator. Naturally, philosophical thinkers have wrestled with certain inescapable implications of various religious beliefs, particularly where specific beliefs raise inherent logical contradictions, such as between the presumed goodness of God and the Evil that is observable everywhere.

The fundamental incompatibility between the presumed goodness of God and apparent Evil have caused many to redefine the God of their religious beliefs, while leading others to doubt God's existence altogether. Many, like Einstein, Nietzsche, and Russell, have suggested that God is completely unnecessary for the logical derivation of moral principles for ethical human life. Nevertheless, the belief in one omniscient, omnipotent God of good character prevails among the vast majority of modern adults, particularly in the Western Hemisphere.

Ultimately, if their religious beliefs about the existence (and character) of God provides them with psychological comfort and with the underlying framework for a moral system that incorporates respect for their fellow man and peaceful tolerance of those with different religious beliefs, God serves a valuable purpose in human life, whether his existence is fact or fiction.

References

Bowker, John. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions.

New York: Oxford, 1997

Einstein, Albert. Ideas and Opinions.

New York: Crown, 1954

Magill, Frank N. Materpieces of World Philosophy.

New York: Harper & Row, 1961

Mann, Douglass, and Dahn, Elijah G. Philosophy: A New Introduction.

Belmont: Wadworth, 2004.

Russell,…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Bowker, John. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions.

New York: Oxford, 1997

Einstein, Albert. Ideas and Opinions.

New York: Crown, 1954

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