Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Problem with Evil

The topic for the next BQ should go something along these lines:

If God created the world, then he would have created the Best of All Possible Worlds (BAPW). He would do this because, being God, he would be All Powerful, All Knowledgeable, and All Good. To be less than these would be to be less than a God, and certainly less than the God that could create the world. Thinkers in the early 1700's reasoned that if God did create the world as the BAPW, then the world we have today must behave and contain exactly what God intended. The apparent existence of what we think of as Evil really boils down to our own innate inability to understand God's Plan. God's definition, as being All Good, necessitates that He is in Control, and He is acting in our best interest.

Aquinas talked about Particular Providence, where he said something like, "Not a blade of grass grows that God does not will it." In times of great natural disasters it is hard for most people to see the Good in widespread and indiscriminant destruction, death, and suffering (Haiti and Chile both come immediately to mind). On a personal level we can sense the sadness, depression, loss, and upset in our own lives as lacking a feeling that the world is working in our own best interests. God doesn’t seem to be taking an active hand in directing the world to make sure this a BAPW for us, individually! Shit happens all too often, and for no reason!

So, what is Evil? Why do bad things happen to good people?

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