Friday, June 5, 2009

The Evil God Challenge

My paper The Evil God Challenge - the long, academic version of The God of Eth, has been accepted by Religious Studies.

As it has now been accepted for publication, I am also posting it for anyone to look at. The copyright now belongs to CUP.

Go here.

Be warned - it is 10K words!


Kyle P. said...

This was pointed out by Jackie while we were discussing the beginning of the paper: Your character-destroying answer does not actually destroy character. For something like that, you need it to be more along the lines of you are born with some natural, good tendencies, and over the course of life are corrupted to do evil. At the very least, I agree and I think your version is a bit weaker. We'll comment more as we go through it.

Luke said...


Every now and then, I translate a journal article into plain talk for my readers. Last time, I did Buckareff and Plug's article on escapism. This time, I've selected The Evil God Challenge.

Lucky for me, you tend to write in plain talk by default, so not much translation is required. :)

Jackie said...

Since the paper is so long, I'm just going to comment on things as I come to them.

"Perhaps the logical problem of evil does not pose such a great challenge to theism. To deal with it, it would suffice to show that an all-powerful, all-knowing and maximally good God might allow some evil for the sake of some greater good."

I know at least one philosopher who finds rationalization extremely contentious. For instance, before God created suffering, the universe was already maximally good because of God's presence. Creating people who could suffer might not have decreased the good (infinite thanks to God) but it certainly increased suffering. That's inconstant with the all good God. I understand not wanting to address both issues in this paper, but I don't think you should dismiss the logical argument out of hand.

Jackie said...

Since this is an academic paper, I'm going to point out typos in case the paper is going to be reprinted at some point.

"Still, there remains an acknowledgement by many serious-minded theists that it is certainly isn’t easy to explain quite why omnipotent, omniscient and supremely benevolent being, would unleash so much horror on the sentient inhabitants of this planet over hundreds of millions of years. "

Jackie said...


"Surely, if a supremely evil being is going to introduce sentient beings into his creation, it will to torture them and have them do evil."

Jackie said...


"We suppose there is little of any substance to place on the left had side of the scale, and that, when the boulder that is the problem of good is added"

I think you meant "if," there, but it could be a difference between GB and USA English.

Jackie said...

On "A first moral argument":

I would argue that Evil God gave us morality so that we might feel guilt. If we didn't feel that something was wrong, we wouldn't feel guilty for doing it, even if we knew in a sense that it was supposed to be wrong.

On "A second moral argument":

If good is good because God says it is, then you have no way of defining God is good by definition. "Good" simply means "in accordance with God." But that has no baring on whether God delights in human suffering.

Musa Kocaman said...

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