For my first paper, I want to write about a response to the problem of evil. So the problem of evil says that if there is a god that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, why then is there evil in the world. Wouldn't a perfectly omnibenevolent god not want evil and suffering in the world?
A possible theist response is one that explains the presence of evil. Suffering is a necessary evil that results from evil events happening around us and to us. Evil can be anything “bad” and can be measured on a large scale. Why does god allow us to suffer? He uses it as a learning experience for his creations. Suffering is a stress in our lives and we need stress to survive. For example, on a biological level, we need stress and resistance for our hearts to keep beating. Muscles need stress and resistance so they do not experience atrophy or deterioration. Are these necessary struggles “exercises” to keep us strong mentally and/or emotionally or to keep our faith strong? For believers, this may be the case, to keep faith strong, but what about the nonbelievers? Why do nonbelievers experience suffering and stresses? Does god just want the best for his creations whether they believe in him/her or not? Keeping the presence of suffering and evil to create suffering is necessary to “build” the person; if not in faith then….character?
Our society has looked well on the individual who is always positive and happy all the time, but more adoration goes to the hero. The individual that has seen adversity/sufferings, experienced them, and has overcome them.
I think this is just a positive spin on suffering and presence of evil for the theist. I saw similarities in the ideas of Arthur Schopenhauer. In his writings on the idea of happiness, he explains that individuals do not like to be happy. The idea of complete, perfect happiness scares us because once we reach that level, there is nothing after that can make us that happy. So in order to make sure we haven’t reached that level yet, we create stresses in our life, like we do in biology, to keep us going. The stresses create a distance from happiness and makes us appreciate good or happiness that much more. He plays on Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest. Only the strongest will be able to overcome the stresses in front of us.
What did you guys think of the theist response to the problem of evil I provided? My paper wants to focus on the validity of the explanation the theist has provided, so if you have criticisms for the argument, or some kind of connection with the response and the survival idea, please let me know.