God and Evil
"If God Exists, then Why…":Understanding and Countering Certain "Proofs" of God's Non-Existence
The question of whether or not God exists is central to many modes of understanding and systems of knowledge, both theological and philosophical, and the implications of the answer to this question -- and of the question itself -- are quite far reaching indeed. The very fabric of reality depends upon the knowledge that this question seeks to obtain, and constructions of ethic, social interactions, metaphysics and epistemology all depend on how the question is answered and even how the question is asked. That is, the manner in which an investigation of God's existence (or non-existence) is conducted and the specific inquiries that are made in this regard have their own implications on understandings in all areas of human knowledge and action. The following presents an examination and refutation of one specific argument that has…… [Read More]
The free will defense suggests that God permits, but does not cause evil. Therefore, it is possible to live in a universe in which good and evil continually coexist. Human beings are blessed with the ability to make a choice that can further the objectives of God and good, or to promote the interests of evil. Although this view is logically coherent, there are clear objections to it.
One objection is that God has nothing at all to do with evil, and human beings, made in God's image, likewise have nothing to do with evil. Free will is therefore irrelevant and in fact negated. There is no such thing as free will, according to this point-of-view. All human beings have is a fate that has been pre-determined by God. Using this objection, it is easy to see how the human being is portrayed as a passive recipient of life…… [Read More]
God would have never created human beings if everyone was to be perfect.
There are certain problems with the view that there is evil in the world despite the presence of an almighty God who is omnipotent and omniscient. Critics believe that evil should not exist if God is omnipotent and omniscient. They believe that there is evil in this world because God doesn't exist. There is no to govern what is right and wrong. This view is contradicted by some religions which rightfully believe that God is there and he created the world as He knows what's best for his beings. This point-of-view leads critics to argue that God is not morally good and that if He has so much power then He would be able to get rid of evil from the world without any problems.
Epicurus was quoted to have said "Either God wants to abolish evil,…… [Read More]
4. How does Luther and Calvin's view of moral evil differ from that of Catholicism?
The classical Christian approach to the dilemma of moral evil has been that people are abusing the freedom of choice given to them by their creator. With free will and the ability to choose between good and evil actions, people who exercise the wrong choices can create moral evil, which impacts others. The Catholic Church essentially takes this approach to evil. To understand their approach, one must understand the concept of original sin. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they were created in the image of God, but with a presumably much more limited intellect than modern humans. They were forbidden to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, because it would give them moral reasoning, thus making them closer to God. However, they chose to eat of this fruit, which distanced…… [Read More]
Question of Evil
In the Bible (The Old Testament ) God gives many codes of justice as well as righteous behavior for humans to follow his ten commandments for instance. The philosophical problem, then of why God allows evil and injustice in the world has been looked into by many people. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not willing to prevent it? If so then he is impotent. Is he able to prevent evil, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both willing and not willing to prevent evil and suffering and injustice, and then we must say that God is evil. This paper will be based on Ehrman's views on why we suffer.
According to Ehrman the bible has a large number of views as to why people suffer, particularly the people of God. Many of thee views are at odds with one another and most…… [Read More]
1. Using the language of possible worlds, explain what it means to say that ‘p is consistent with q.’
The idea that p is consistent with q is a logical premise that supposes there is a world in which p and q can both be true. This premise contrasts with the premise that p is contradictory of q, which states that if p is true, q must be false and there can be no possible world in which both are true and neither can there be one in which both are false. The idea here is that when p is consistent with q, the world in which such a premise could be true is one in which there may be a conjunctive proposition underlying the concept or there may simply be a nullification of the linguistic theory of necessary truth.
2. What is P.S.R. (The Principle of Sufficient Reason), and…… [Read More]
The role of evil is generally misunderstood in the human approach to life. The fear of committing evil lies paramount within all facets of society. The purpose of this essay is to argue that to solve the problem of evil, humanity must begin to embrace the benefits and solutions to problems that evil provides. This essay will first define the concept of evil and discuss the problem in a philosophic manner that can help transmute evil ideas into more productive energies that can be used for growth and evolution
The power of words carry emotional value that create energetic fields that permeate in the environment. Some words carry great power and instantly polarize the conditioned mind into an immediate and often irrational emotional reaction. "Evil" carries with it spiritual, moral and ethical values and energy that suggest the word's meaning has super power on and over…… [Read More]
If humans are not the architects of good and evil, then, it is easy to see how a human cannot be wholly good or wholly evil. An architect may be trying to emulate the style of Frank Lloyd right, but his or her work will, ultimately, be different from right's in some ways. The emulating architect will create some aspects of his or her building that are entirely his or her own. In the same way, a person may be emulating the metaphysical creator of good or evil, but he or she will be flawed in some ways, meaning that he or she is not wholly evil or wholly good. Edgar Allen Poe gives a good example of this in his story "The Black Cat." hile the main character commits atrocities to his cat, Pluto, readers are able to find a glimmer of good through his actions before he commits…… [Read More]
Initially St. Augustine favoured the dualistic view that evil was external and separate from the world and mankind that in evident from the Manichean worldview. However, he was later to reject this strict dualism and taker another view of the nature of evil. This was more Platonic and was based on the writings of Plotinus and Porphyry. This refers to the view that evil is a measure and result of our separation from God.
For Augustine, the measure of all existence was God. Instead of the Manichean view that evil existed outside humanity "…as an invasion," he posited the view that evil only existed to the extent that we do not acknowledge and live within God's word and law. ( Augustine Influences Christianity). Stated in another way, evil exists only because mankind refuses to acknowledge God. In essence Augustine defines evil as "…a privation in goodness." (A Brief Response to…… [Read More]
"'m not religious, 'm spiritual." Conversely other people state that they dislike the formality of religion, of beliefs and practices, but do believe in God and in some sense of 'higher truth.' This confusion might be best addressed by doing away with the category of religion altogether -- religion is whatever a society defines it to be, and the term has grown so meaningless, people even speak of making golf or music their 'religion' simply because they love these hobbies so much.
n this postmodern age, the idea of absolute truth has ebbed away. n medieval times, absolute truth for Christians was manifest in Jesus; for some empires the word of a great leader was a manifestation of absolute truth, and for Buddhists, the absence of any 'absolutes' in the world is 'the truth.' Philosophy and science have a more rigorous but also a narrower set of criteria…… [Read More]
The Cosmological Argument: This argument begins with the tenet that for the Universe to exist something outside the universe must have created it. Also refereed to as the First Cause or the Uncaused Cause theory, here God exists as the prime mover that brought the universe into existence. The universe is a series of events, which began with God who must exist apart from the universe, outside of time and space as well. (Martin) the detractors of this theory say that if everything has a creator than God must also have a creator and that perhaps an infinite series of creators and universes exist as well. Also if God is an uncaused cause than why could not the universe be one as well.
The Moral Argument: This is perhaps one of the most interesting arguments for the existence of God. Basically it states that since man perceives a moral law,…… [Read More]
Problem of Evil
Natural Evil vs. Moral Evil
Natural evil is a term that embraces theodicy, in the sense that there are devastating earthquakes, and tornados, tsunamis, and hurricanes, and other terrible weather situations that harm people and communities (Philosophy of Religion). God created the planet and in doing so He never promised to always have fair weather with puffy white clouds and rays of sunshine every day. The planet is a natural world reality, and besides the frightening weather events, natural evil could also be seen in a child's birth defects, in a mother's breast cancer; one could argue that a woman got breast cancer from eating too much red meat or other foods that are not recommended, but nevertheless when she is stricken with this deadly disease, it can be considered a natural evil that has caused her pain -- and maybe taken her life as well.
On…… [Read More]
Yes, of course. But Hick too is making an important initial assumption here: He is assuming that a test of human goodness is a necessary part of the universe. But this is only the case if one assumes the presence of a certain type of God -- one that demands that people demonstrate their faith and their ability to make the choices that God wants them to make. If one concurs with this view, then Hick's argument is a sensible and entirely believable one. But if one -- and I do -- rejects this assumption of his, the entire argument falls apart.
Evil exists in the world. This is undeniable. Cruelty also exists, as does simple bad luck. Terrible things happen for many reasons. Both Hume and Hick take the presence of evil in the world as a starting point to discuss the presence or absence of a benign God.…… [Read More]
Theodicy is the vindication or justification of divine goodness in spite of the evidence of a world where evil exists. When one has faith in the divine goodness of God, the question of why God allows evil things to happen is one that is not troublesome; it is one when one has no faith or has doubts that the question becomes pertinent. Thus, it is helpful to explain how and why a good God would allow evil to exist and evil things to befall innocent people so that others might come to believe or might come to believe more strongly. The main reason for the existence of evil is that God gave to men (and to the angels) freedom of will. Men and angels were given the choice, in other words, of whether they would serve Him or their own desires. The fallen angels (led by Lucifer now…… [Read More]
Apologetics: Evil, Suffering and Hell
1. What are some of the facts of history and experience that give rise to the problem this course calls the problem of evil?
The facts of history and experience that give rise to the problem of evil are primarily war, pain, death—i.e., suffering. This is what Lewis describes as the problem of pain: Why would a good God create a world wherein people suffer and are doomed to die? Why does it seem, moreover, that innocent people suffer? These are the questions that Lewis asks, noting in particularly that “all civilisations pass away and, even while they remain, inflict peculiar sufferings of their own probably sufficient to outweigh what alleviations they may have brought to the normal pains of man.”[footnoteRef:2] [2: C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (Samizdat University Press, 2016), 2.]
2. To what extent would you defend the following claim: the…… [Read More]
Victor and his creature are opposing forces that struggle because of their conflicts throughout Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Conflict is the dominant theme of the novel—one that Mary Shelley herself experienced in her own life, being married to the romantic poet Percy Byshe Shelley, who struggled with his own romantic ideas just as Victor Frankenstein struggles with his vain desire to be a Creator in Frankenstein. While Victor Frankenstein does become a Creator, he accomplishes his task ironically because he is a creator of the monster (which becomes of a monster because of Victor’s own incapacity to love him). True, the monster comes into life looking hideous—but that is because he had an uncaring creator; the monster is actually very thoughtful and desires to love and be loved. He attempts to make friends but finds that he is rebuked for his ugliness and driven away into isolation. He then…… [Read More]
Origin of Evil
The origin of evil has been a controversial issue not only in the contemporary Christian circles but also among the ancient Greek Christians. The point of contention in the discussion about the origin of evil is why a good God would have created evil. The Judeo-Christians struggled to understand how a good, powerful, and all-knowing God could allow evil to exist. The logical conclusions were that either God did not exist or God was not good[footnoteRef:1]. However, Augustine sought to clarify this erroneous notion about the existence of God. Saint Augustine believed that the discussion on the origin of evil and whether a good God has a role in its creation and existence must first begin with the understanding of evil and God. He explained that if evil was not necessarily a thing, then it may not have been created although it negates the notion that God…… [Read More]
Answer to an Atheist
e are mortals and cannot possible know the will of God. God does perform miracles in our lives, if we only stop to pay heed to them. If one takes a bunch of parts and random parts and pieces, gives them to a chimpanzee, and asks them to assemble a car from them, an Atheist would have one believe that eventually they would do it through random chance. There is another similar argument that if you placed 100 monkeys at 100 typewriters they would eventually come up with a Shakespeare play. Just as the Atheist argument claims that there is no proof that God exists because no on has ever seen him, there is also no proof that the monkeys will ever make a car or type Shakespeare. It has never been done and no one has ever proven that it will actually happen. At the…… [Read More]
Believe About God
Looking at the atheist worldview on believe about God as a myth that people have invented to make them feel better we tend to find out whether it is impossible to have a high moral character without belief in God.
As I was getting settled into my set for a very long plane ride home a was I got to know that the person next to me was a devoted atheist who believed that God is a myth that people have invented to make them feel better, he asked me what I believed about God. Since iam a Christian I believe that God is real, the creation the origin of life and the universe gives me a concrete reason to believe in God instead of seeking real answers. Another thing is the idea of loving God is sweet and the idea that there is eternal life.…… [Read More]
God in mankind
Image of God and mankind
According to Genesis 1;26-27
Then God said Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness: and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping things that creep on earth.
God created man in His own image .In the image of God He created him: male and female he created them.]
This simply means that God finished his work with a personal touch according to his own image. God made man from dust and gave life to him by sharing his own breath with man. This therefore means that man is unique among all God's creations since man has both a material body and an immaterial body which is the spirit or soul. Having the image or likeness of…… [Read More]
Personal Theodicy Apologetics
The problem of evil is something everyone has to face sooner or later. As Schlesinger points out, philosophers want to understand “why there is any suffering in the world at all.”[footnoteRef:2] The problem with a philosophical approach to suffering is that it does not reveal the whole story or the whole picture of why suffering (evil) exists. Religion, on the other hand, does provide that whole story—and depending on the religion, the story will be a little different. Christianity teaches that evil is a result of sin—that it is not something that came of its own into the world or that God created but rather something that His creatures chose of their own free will. The choice to pursue evil (defined as an absence of the good) altered God’s world—or at least man’s perception of it. Prior to man’s fall, he lived in happiness in the Garden…… [Read More]
Her marriage was not sanctified in a community church, and true to expectations, Domingo leaves Sofi soon afterward. But this is not viewed in the narrative construct or in Sofi's own eyes as a judgment by the divine of her bad decision-making. Conventional religion within the narrative frequently fails to save even worthy people, like the pious Felicia. The need for God is a palpable presence within the narrative on a popular level, but God promises no reward for moral behavior.
Later on, in Chapter 6, the reader will see the young Domingo through Sofi's eyes, although the reader knows what he will become. However, Sofi's life is never a tale of virtue rewarded or foolishness punished, and she always reacts to adverse circumstances with humor and empowering choices, as she decides to run for mayor, at one point, in flagrant opposition to her community's standards once again, just as…… [Read More]
DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way" [what authorized and created that system, if not God?] and e) "e know God exists because he pursues us… constantly initiating / seeking for us to come to him… [and] keep the question of His existence constantly before us" (Morse, 2010, p. 2).
Meanwhile Oxford professor Anthony Flew argues against those who say that because of the big bang God is proven to exist. Did God cause the big bang, or was it just "popped" into existence, Flew asks. And why only two possibilities? Only a physicist can explain that, Flew asserts. Okay then, Flew explains that if God is truly "omnipotent and omniscient" and wants people to "behave in a certain way, why couldn't he accomplish this? If you were omnipotent wouldn't you expect results and expect people to do exactly…… [Read More]
King David is a significant character in the Bible because he foreshadows the coming of Christ, Who was foretold to be a descendant of the House of David. David’s faith also foreshadows the faith that Christ sought among His people (yet in most cases failed to find). While the Bible is the only historical source of information for King David, other than the Tel Dan Stele in the archeological field, an analysis of the person of David is revealing as it sheds much light on the character of God and the merciful nature of the Divine Being Who represents the central heart of the Bible. In the story of King David, it is God’s mercy after all that shines most brightly. David was an individual who had many flaws and imperfections: he could very easily be considered a “bad guy” for his numerous transgressions—such as his adultery with Bathsheba…… [Read More]
The scene is reminiscent of Egyptian burial chambers; the walls were covered with brilliantly painted images of deities in animal form, including Anubis, the jackal-headed god who weighed the soul of the dead. This second phase of the prophet's vision of Jerusalem illustrates a number of important points with respect to the state of religion in the capital city. The nation's leadership was actively engaged in the pursuit of evil. hen the integrity of the nation's leadership is lost, there is no hope for its people.. It is already clear from the first part of the prophet's vision that the worship of the temple had become sadly debased; a pagan altar had been set up in the temple's outer court. So why, with a public altar outside was there a secret worship of the other false gods inside? Probably, there were two forms of the false religion? The open altar…… [Read More]
Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Specifically, it compares and contraststhese three characters in relation to the evil that dominates them, indicate what the attitude of the author is regarding each one, discuss the source of their evil nature or acts, the nature of the evil deeds they commit, and the results of these evil designs.
It will also select the character that should be the most strongly condemned and fully justify why. Each of these novel's characters is dominated by the evil influence of another character, and each of them faces this domination in a different way. Each character grows stronger from this evil influence, and learns how to remove the evil influence from their lives.
Evil is present in all of these novels, and much of each novel's theme revolves around the age-old premise of good…… [Read More]
God's Existence And Evil Existence
God's existence and the existence of evil
hen considering illiam Paley's Argument from Design, St. Thomas Aquinas's Cosmological Argument, and St. Anselm's Ontological Argument, one can only come to one conclusion. As superficial as this might seem for some believers, the conclusion is not that God exists. Sometimes it is better to be superficial, as this provides a person with the ability to see matters from a general perspective. Considering the complexity of things can lead to serious dilemmas, taking into account that as long as someone wants to believe that God exists, the respective individual can go through great efforts with the purpose to come up with a theory that can convince many to accept it. This is exactly what happened in the cases of Paley, Aquinas, and Anselm. These people devised ingenious theories that are hard to contradict by simply relating to the…… [Read More]
God on Trial: Movie Analysis and Review
The Holocaust of orld ar II spawned many tragedies, one of which was the crisis of faith it precipitated amongst European Jews. The film God on Trial depicts the inhabitants of a concentration camp literally putting God on trial for his crimes against humanity as they wait to be "sorted out" into groups of who will live and who will die at Auschwitz. The film begins set in the present, where various tourists to the concentration camp are shown gawking at the premises. They can hardly believe the horror was once real and then slowly, there is a shift as the camera pans away to reveal a change of time and the viewer is taken back to orld ar II. The event is based upon an apocryphal incident in which the residents of Auschwitz were said to have staged such a mock court,…… [Read More]
It can be argued that they have no way of knowing the outcome of their reactions. And indeed, nor does Chris. What differentiates Chris from the rest of the crew is the love he feels for Rheya. Love in the end is the essential force that enables him to forgive both Rheya and himself, and in the end love both redeems and kills him. This dichotomy furthers the ineffability of both death and the god force symbolized by Solaris.
Chris chooses to remain on the doomed station rather than face further life without Rheya on earth. He has no way of knowing what the outcome will be and most likely believes that he will simply die. His "redemption" is therefore not based upon faith, but rather upon the love emotion. Emotion in this case takes the place of faith in redemptive force. Furthermore, his "afterlife" entails life with his love…… [Read More]
DESCARTES' BELIEVE IN GOD
Descartes Believe in God
Descartes' Believe in God
Science attempts to prove how God did or does things. The assessment is heavily disputed by archaic religious doctrines. The traditional conflict between science and religion is entirely based on the dominion and not what is right or wrong. Rene Descartes' belief in God is not based on atheistic principles, but on blasphemy as seen from the way he investigates God's functions. hilst examining Descartes' belief in the existence of God, it establishes that Descartes does not dispute the existence of God, but has a different opinion (parallel from the religion). A scientific argument proving Descartes' arguments and a reflection on his presumptions are provided.
Does Descartes believe in God?
As a philosopher and mathematician, Descartes dedicated his work entirely on writing and researching. His arguments combined humanism, science, and religion to arrive on the much-aggrandized assumptions of…… [Read More]
Defenses against it may be equally inconclusive, but in their fertility they at least promise a solution some day.
dams, Marilyn McCord. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.
Belliotti, Raymond a. Roman Philosophy and the Good Life. Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2009.
DeRose, Keith. "Plantinga, Presumption, Possibility, and the Problem of Evil," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (1991), 497-512.
Draper, Paul. "Probabilistic rguments from Evil," Religious Studies 28 (1992), 303-17.
Dueck, a.C. Between Jerusalem and thens: Ethical Perspectives on Culture, Religion, and Psychotherapy. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995.
Ferreira, M. Jamie. "Surrender and Paradox: Imagination in the Leap." In Kierkegaard Contra Contemporary Christendom, edited by Daniel W. Conway, 142-67. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Griffin, David Ray. God, Power, and Evil: Process Theodicy. Louisville: Westminster Press, 2004.
Hick, John. "The 'Vale of Soul-Making' Theodicy." In the Problem of Evil: Reader, edited by Mark…… [Read More]
Evil in Judaism and Taoism
(2) How does the answer to the existential "why" given by the karma theodicy differ from the answer given by the eschatological theodicy?
The karma theodicy suggests that the existence of evils upon earth, and of evils within the individual human life, should be understood in two directions -- looking back at a state before a person was born, and ahead towards a state after a person will be dead. Here life on earth becomes a sort of purgatorial existence -- the heaven to be reached is an escape from earthly incarnation. The reward of people for suffering is ultimately a removal from earth itself, and the justice of the universe is manifest in the logic of this process of death and rebirth. Time, in the karma theodicy, is understood as cyclical: souls have been here before and will be here again, and presumably samsara…… [Read More]
The world is filled with chaos, war and strife. In Africa, innumerable numbers of individuals suffer and die from AIDS, poverty and hunger. Genocide and mass murder of groups with varying cultures continues. Regularly, soldiers and civilians die in Iraq. Terrorism scare tactics threaten throughout the world and the Middle East remains a hotbed for horror. China moves forward with its "Big Brother" actions and North Korea downplays its nuclear capacity. In such a world, how can I believe in God? Because it is more important to believe now than it ever was before, especially with such uncertain world. As Voltaire once said: "To believe in God is impossible. Not to believe in Him is absurd."
One of the main reasons I believe in God is that it makes me feel more secure amidst this growing instability. Because we live in such an insecure world, it is impossible to…… [Read More]
Time and again mankind has proven himself to be resourceful, skilled, and deliberate in taking on the forces of nature. hen mankind acts in a way that is contrary to the forces of nature, such as building fixtures or structures in the path of well-known paths of natural destruction, then mankind is challenging the forces of nature that bind mankind to the earth - the domain that God created for and gave to mankind.
However, when mankind succumbs to his own inner capacity for evil, then he is exercising free will. That that capacity for evil is capable of reaching extraordinary levels of destruction is the manifestation not of the devil, but of man's own reaction to the incremental levels of evil, the fueling of power that comes from exercising free will over others who are not capable, or who won't, act to prevent that exercise of free will over…… [Read More]
McGrath's comments above suggest periods of conceptual adjustment as observers of the Christian faith worked to make explanations for the presence, even the commonality, of sin as it exists in spite of God's innate goodness.
So again, to the idea that Christianity's incredible facets couldn't rationally be reached by outsiders to the faith with some guesswork does not hold up against the process by which we know Christianity came to be. McGrath points out that in this discussion on how best to reconcile sin with God's innate goodness, Christianity was in a place of coming into its own identity. Answering questions such as this quandary on the dualism of good and evil would be very much a part of 'guessing' the structure of Christian faith as it were, but directly within the framework allowed by the basic tenets relating to God, man and the universe.
The text by Lewis demonstrates…… [Read More]
reason, God and religion with reference to ancient philosophers. These philosophers gave us some interesting views on the subject of God, which may prove helpful in understanding the nature of good in a world where evil often dominates.
Socrates maintained that 'reason' must dominate every community and its beliefs or else the world would turn into a chaotic, poorly organized unit. He was of the view that with reason comes knowledge, which further helps the statesmen in acting virtuously. Virtue is then the most important product of reason, which is needed to save a society. Here it is important to keep in mind that Socrates wasn't concerned with reason for its own sake but because of the notion that it could give birth to knowledge and virtue. It is also critical to know that for Socrates, reason was not connected with an ability to separate right from wrong. Instead…… [Read More]
It was clear that Cain had murdered his brother, an offense that is unthinkable in today's modern context. When Cain refused to admit his sins, God punished him in the same manner as he had punished Adam and Eve. God had cast Cain out of his homeland, just as He had done with Adam and Eve; "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth," (Genesis 4:11-12). Cain followed in the footsteps of his earliest ancestors.
This tells a lot about the character of God as represented by the Old Testament. Essentially, He is omni-benevolent when His followers are true to following His demands. In fact, God rewards in great measure. Yet, He can…… [Read More]
In fact, there is a sense here in which the will to do good deeds restores God to the universe as the fountainhead of morality, with the famous "categorical imperative" substituting for specific divine commandments. However, those who are not already convinced that moral truths are possible -- who are not already "morally certain" -- tend to find this argument circular (Palmer 259).
For the rest of us, it is a very different proposition to develop and defend a moral framework in the absence of religious certainty. e can simply reframe our notions of good and evil in terms of personal responsibility, as Kierkegaard does when he defines wrongdoing (sin) as the very absence of certainty itself. In this approach, human nature is split between conviction (or faith) on the one hand and anxiety on the other. "The anxiety of sinfulness manifests itself either as an anxiety about evil or…… [Read More]
Moreover, unlike Augustine who criticized the mysticism, the Jewish faith embraces it, however Judaism is more concerned about actions that beliefs (Judaism). In the Jewish law, sex is not considered shameful, sinful or obscene, nor is it a necessary evil for the sole purpose of procreation (Judaism). Although sexual desire comes from the evil impulse, it is no more evil than hunger or thirst, and like hunger, thirst and other basic instincts, sexual desire should be controlled and channeled, satisfied at the proper time, place and manner (Judaism). The primary purpose of sex is to reinforce the marital bond between husband and wife, and since the first and foremost purpose of marriage is companionship, sexual relations play an important role (Judaism). Although procreation is a reason for sex, it is not the only reason (Judaism).
Growing up Catholic, my views of the world, including sex, have been formed much from…… [Read More]
Augustine, The City of God
hich one do you think that he is living in?
In The City of God, Saint Augustine of Hippo references two cities. These cities are Rome which he references as the new Babylon and Jerusalem which he calls the city of Heaven because it symbolizes the Christian community. Based upon the way in which he references the two cities, it is likely that St. Augustine lives in Jerusalem. Since he depicts this city in a far more positive light, it is likely that this is where he would choose to live.
According to Augustine, what is the source of human suffering?
Augustine asserts that human suffering is caused by the will of God. He blesses some while cursing others. God does not make people suffer because he is punishing them for wrongs, nor does he grant blessings because he is rewarding them for good deeds.…… [Read More]
According to Leibnez, God has the potential to envision, conceive, and create an infinite number of possible worlds. From this infinite potential God selects the best one(s) to create. Leibnez suggests that God uses reason to consciously select the world that has the fullest creative potential, the most multiplicity, and ultimately, the least amount of evil. Leibnez suggests that the world in which we live must have been the best possible world, because God would not have chosen otherwise to create it. In the Monadology, Leibnez characterizes God as being benevolent as well as omnipotent, and therefore surmises that this one is the best of all possible worlds. "Now, as in the Ideas of God there is an infinite number of possible universes, and as only one of them can be actual, there must be a sufficient reason for the choice of God, which leads Him to decide upon…… [Read More]
Anselm also added the passion of repentance and the exhilaration of praise to the bare texts, involving the supplicant in an intensity of feeling and a deepening of understanding. In the intensity of sorrow for sin, he is the heir of Augustine of Hippo, and the language of the Confessions is very close to Anselm's self-revelation and repentance.
(McGinn, Meyendorff, and Ledercq 202)
So, in City of God the textual concepts from his earlier works became the stuff of reformative language that would apply itself not only to the personal but to how the person was meant to build upon the institutions that surrounded him, influenced him and in turn was influenced by him. Bernard of Clairvaux was a direct descendant of Augustine in his ideas. He strove to recreate the church not as a calling of finery and social stratification but of one that encompassed a monastic tradition of…… [Read More]
Luther's concept of the "liberated Christian" allows for both an almost existential responsibility and an odd passivity on the other hand. Humans are responsible for creating faith within themselves, but having once accomplished the achievement of faith, they can simply allow themselves to exist in the cocoon of divine love. Christ has done the work for others through his life and death. (Countering this is the idea of Luther's that all Christians serve as a communal priesthood, although it is not entirely clear to what extent he means this to be literal and to what extent he may be allowing for the metaphorical.) This tension between the active and the passive (or perhaps "accepting" might be a better translation of Luther's ideas than "passive") brings us back to the seeming contradiction posed in Luther's opening statements. It allows us to see another level of complexity in Luther's understanding of the…… [Read More]
The Humanistic Faith proposes neither a concept of deity nor a concept of Evil. We allow each individual practitioner to conceive of God in whatever way best suits their personality or cultural environment with the one caveat: that God never suggests that one person or group of people are superior or inferior to any other. Sexism and other social biases will not be tolerated by the Humanistic Faith.
Our rituals are simple but are constructed from a variety of worldwide sources. Influenced by Buddhism, we suggest that our practitioners examine the concept of the Four Noble Truths: the life is suffering, and that all suffering is caused by desire. To understand that pain is an integral part of life is, we believe, the doorway to genuine religious understanding. All living creatures suffer at some point and going through suffering with open eyes and a willing heart can help eliminate many…… [Read More]
As it is typical in good vs. evil combats, the forces of good are initially shown powerless, with no one to help them and with no thought on how to remedy the situation they find themselves in. The Pevensies themselves are unable to reach Caspian and the rest of the Narnians because they constantly come across impediments.
The overall purpose of the heroes in this book is to return purity in a ruined land, this being a reference to how the forces of good ultimately have to defeat the forces of evil and impose their influence over the land, so as for it to become pure once more. As customary for a land conquered by evil, many of those previously devoted to good have lost their faith and are inclined to believe that there is no hope for them. The story can be considered to be a parallel to modern-day…… [Read More]
etween the belief that God is a person and the belief that God is personal which one is essential to Christian faith? My stand is that the belief that God is a person is a hindrance to Christian faith. Interestingly, some recent religious philosophy writers have however made the assumption that believing in God is believing in a person. Richard Swinburne is one such influential advocate of this concept. It is clear from his works that Richard Swinburne understands that God is like "a bodiless person, a spirit who can do anything, is all knowing, free, without fault, eternal and the creator of the universe.
That God is a person or personal is one of the fundamental claims believers have continuously made about God. God is represented like a person in Vishnu, Hinduism, rahma and Shiva. In the bible, the Old Testament, You can read about…… [Read More]
They angered God, and as God has done throughout the ages, He punished the Jews. Many of them retain their faith and hope in God, and retained it even during their time in the concentration camps - it was the only thing that helped them to survive when all other hope had died. On the other hand, many Jews saw the camps as a place where they lost their belief in God. They questioned how He would allow such a thing to happen, and felt He had turned His back on them when they needed Him the most. Neither of these reactions is surprising. Another historian believes this gap between acceptance and denial of God will continue. He writes, "I believe that Jewish religious thought will continue to demonstrate this tension between mixed intentions, innovation, and conservation well into the future" (Braiterman 164). Faith is a tenuous thing for many.…… [Read More]
Bernard of Clairvauxs on Love
For anyone wanting to learn about the simple and complex realities On Loving God, the early writings by Bernard of Clairvauxs present a great place to start. His assessment is written in old style but is pretty easy to understand and relate to. It's encouraging too that he writes with humbleness about the kinds of difficult questions of what love is and whether or not he is the best one to provide answers. The following quote is an example of the way the writer (Halsall, no date of editing or reformatting) summarized this sense of honesty,
Yet I am glad that you turn again for spiritual counsel, instead of busying yourself about carnal matters: I only wish you had gone to someone better equipped than I am. Still, learned and simple give the same excuse and one can hardly tell whether it comes from modesty…… [Read More]
Judaism and Christianity both have fairly common as well as totally contrasting religious concepts. In spite of the apparent differences and divisions it has to be understood that both these religions are like different streams of water merging in the ocean of god.
Christianity and Judaism are both religions of abrahamic origin. There are many similarities and differences between the two religions. Since Christianity originated from Judaism, it lends to the thought that both the religions are very closely related. However, in spite of their common origin, they differ considerably in some of the important issues while at the same time exhibit resemblance in many aspects. Even the monotheistic belief, which both these religions stand for, is quantified by entirely different perception of the attributes of godhead. Similarly, in the understanding of the messianic concept there is a significant contradiction giving us a hint of the vastly different nature of…… [Read More]
This raises several questions, however. For instance, is it acceptable that a person only deceives another if he is weak or malicious? or, can a person not deceive another person even if he is more powerful, and/or even if she is not being malicious? Cannot it not be that there exists a more powerful, and non-malicious, deceiver?
So basically, for Descartes, God is an entity that cannot lack in anything; and as deceiving means to lack certain positive qualities, he cannot possibly be a deceiver as he does not lack.
This viewpoint dovetails nicely with Plato's republic and the Cave allegory in that it presents a very black-and-white depiction of God and God's abilities, virtues and perfection.
That is why Descartes is unique: He paints for us a simple view of God in some ways.
One may argue against Descartes on the idea that evil may well be…… [Read More]
Hindu mythology, the gods engage in ongoing struggle, enduring opposition from demonic forces. Their challenges re overcome with tenacity, wit, and intelligence, providing a cosmic model on which human activity can be based. Moreover, the enmity of the gods and asuras highlights the central concept of balance in Hindu cosmology. The gods are shown to be up to the task of challenging demonic forces, but they are no more powerful than the asuras. In other words, Gods and anti-gods are equally matched. Their struggles can never truly be resolved, allowing Hindu mythology to assume its epic proportions as well as its potential for ongoing instruction.
The tactics and techniques used by the gods are similar to those used by the anti-gods: including deception. For instance, Rudra is pitted against Maya, who like her counterpart is also characterized by a deceitful nature she uses against her cosmic foes (Doniger Hindu Myths).…… [Read More]
Horus History Of the Egyptian God, Horus
Horus is one of the most important Egyptian gods and the Pharaoh was seen to be his earthly embodiment. At the same time, the Pharaohs were the followers of Ra and so Horus became associated with the sun as well and was seen as the son of the God, Osiris. In the common perception of Egyptian mythology, Horus is known as one of the offspring of the original pair of Egyptian gods, Ra and Rhea. Horus' siblings were Set, Isis, and Nephthys.
The mythological story continues with Osiris succeeding Ra as king of Egypt. Osiris is credited with bringing civilization to the Egyptians. Among the things he taught them were the uses of corn and wine, weaving, sculpture, religion, music and law. Set slew Osiris, and dismembered the body; but Osiris' consort, Isis, reassembled the body and brought Osiris back to life. Osiris…… [Read More]
John Milton's Paradise Lost tells the story of Heaven and Hell both before and after Adam and Eve fell from grace. At the center of Milton epic poem is the story of the character of Satan, a being who has been sent to the underworld to live in agony forever after trying and failing to take over the control of Heaven from God. Satan will spend the rest of eternity amid the demons and monsters that live in what is now his realm. As he was punished for disobeying and daring to challenge God, so he wishes to damn all of God's creations in kind. Mankind is God's newest experiment and thus the subject of Satan's diabolical machinations. Before, God had made angels and other celestial beings that were extremely powerful and thus could pose a challenge to Him. ith man, God took a different position with his…… [Read More]
history medical studies have concluded that prayer helps to heal the sick. Many political meetings begin with a prayer and American currency has the words "In God We Trust" imprinted on its face. Around the world God is a powerful deity and one that has historically led entire societies to make decisions based on God's word. While God has been the single deity that leads and guides societies in their decisions both on an individual and collective basis there are many different concepts of what God is and entails. Two large worldwide faiths have many similarities and differences in God and its meaning. The faith of Christianity as well as the faith of Judaism both believe in a single God. The faiths are based in the word of that God and their followers respect and revere the God of their faith. While both faiths believe in a single God there…… [Read More]
Religion in Rome vs. Religion in the City of God
In Augustine's The City of God against the Pagans, the theologian-philosopher asserts that the true religion should be identifiable by its fruits -- i.e., the products of its practice. He compares the outcomes of the duties of propitiation practiced in the pagan rituals to the more wholesome duties practiced in the Christian religion to show the main difference between Christian and pagan worship. He notes that the former is respectable and the latter unrespectable. The fault of the pagans, he asserts, is located not necessarily in their lack of reason (as Cicero was highly rational and valued the virtue of truth, as shall be shown) but rather in the faith they placed in the false religion. This paper will show how Augustine distinguishes a true religion from a false religion.
The duty to identify that which is "true" or "most…… [Read More]
Pneumatology -- Spiritual Gifts
hat are spiritual gifts, and what is their purpose?
The reason for and definition of "spiritual gifts" is not always agreed upon among Christians and even among Christian theologians. At the very least spiritual gifts are a subject for deep discussion and debate. Christianity expert Mary Fairchild explains that in 1 Corinthians 12, the Bible says that spiritual gifts are given according to God's sovereign will. "There are certain kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them" (1 Corinthians 12:4); and 1 Corinthians goes on to explain that one spiritual gift is given for "the common good," another spiritual gift is for "wisdom"; another spiritual gift is for "knowledge"; another is for the "gift of healing"; and other spiritual gifts are for "miraculous powers… prophecy… speaking in tongues & #8230; and the "interpretation of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12: 7-11).
Jesus had the power to cast…… [Read More]
God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith
Preface and Introduction
The Preface explains why Wright chose to write this book. He felt that it could be a more personal and humble approach to God than that achieved in his other books, which were about "knowing God." In this book, Wright wants to address some of the more confusing aspects of God. He justifies this approach by showing how God Himself points out that His ways are not our ways in Scripture. This is a valid point, and what Wright is doing is drawing attention to the fact that we are not God's equals and therefore should not try to humanize Him but rather should try to understand that He knows and sees all and therefore has a good reason for why He commands and does things that might seem disturbing or odd to us.
However, in Wright's…… [Read More]
Moltmann and Pannenberg
Comparing and Contrasting theologies of Moltmann and Pannenberg
Comparing and contrasting theologies of Jurgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg:
The nature of evil
How is it possible for God to be good in a world full of evil? This is one of the most essential questions all theologians grapple with, including Jurgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg. Although there are similarities between both thinkers, according to Kane (2005), both theologians have fundamentally different points-of-view of human freedom. For Pannenberg, all human beings have the freedom to fulfill their human destiny in a positive or a negative fashion. "The ability to decide among possibilities of conduct is a high form of creaturely independence," but true freedom finds its fullest expression in the Trinity (Kane 2005: 41). Furthermore, although the creation may manifest imperfections, this is not a reflection upon God, who remains separate from his creations which are given free…… [Read More]
The real question is not which party is right or wrong, but rather, what lessons can be learned and applied to modern man.
The Warnings in Genesis 7: 21-24
In these verses, we learn that God tried to warn his children, but on the day of the flood, they were still eating and drinking without abandon. They did not heed the final warning. This demonstrates that God was not set on his resolve to destroy humankind. He was acting the part of the father, giving his children one last time to change their ways. God gives his children many chances to repent. It is clear that he wishes them to repent, rather than to destroy them. First, he gives them 120 years, then a final week, and then on the day set for the flood to occur, he gives them one final chance. They can save themselves at any point…… [Read More]
Plotinus on Good and Evil
The act of defining what shall be considered Good or Evil is a central part of many philosophies and religions. The subject is often approached with very little rationality and a great deal of rabid sentiment and heavy-handed authoritarianism, as sharp lines between Good and Evil are drawn in the metaphoric sand. It is no coincidence that in the East Good and Evil are shown divided sharply into the two sides of the ying-yang symbol, or that in the West these two have often been imagined as the manifestation of competing spiritual forces (of God and the Devil). Amidst all of this, Plotinus is a refreshing voice precisely because he does not attempt to delineate sharply between the Good and the ill, but rather takes a broad view of the inter-relationship of all things with the divine. To summarize quite brutally: Plotinus believes that…… [Read More]