The Problem of Evil and Liberal Theologies
Issue: Vol 24 No. 2 (2016)
Journal: Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism
Subject Areas: Philosophy
The Problem of Evil (POE), the idea that inexplicable human and non-human suffering is inconsistent with the existence of a benevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God, stands as one of the greatest challenges to classical theism. Many philosophers and theologians have offered theodicies, defense of God, in an attempt to blunt the force this problem. Others, however, believing that those theodicies have been effective have abandoned the classical definition of God and have embraced more liberal theologies, including deism, pantheism, process theology, and alterity theism. Theists of this sort argue that their theologies are immune from the POE. This is so because the POE derives its force from the supposed attributes of God. If God is not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, the problem disappears. So rather than seek to resolve the POE, theists who hold one or the other of these non-classical positions seek to walk around it altogether. The problem simply dissolves, it is claimed, when these alternative theologies are embraced. This article critiques the most prominent liberal responses to the POE and demonstrates how they fail.
Author: William R Patterson
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