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Ujanah Eperezc
Ujanah Eperezc

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The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient god.[1][2][3] There are currently differing definitions of these concepts. The best known presentation of the problem is attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus. It was popularized by David Hume.


Besides the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is also important to the fields of theology and ethics. There are also many discussions of evil and associated problems in other philosophical fields, such as secular ethics,[4][5][6] and evolutionary ethics.[7][8] But as usually understood, the problem of evil is posed in a theological context.[2][3]


The problem of evil is generally formulated in two forms: the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil. The logical form of the argument tries to show a logical impossibility in the coexistence of a god and evil,[2][9] while the evidential form tries to show that given the evil in the world, it is improbable that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and a wholly good god.[3] The problem of evil has been extended to non-human life forms, to include animal suffering from natural evils and human cruelty against them.[10]


In philosopher Forrest E. Baird's view, one can have a secular problem of evil whenever humans seek to explain why evil exists and its relationship to the world.[29] He adds that any experience that "calls into question our basic trust in the order and structure of our world" can be seen as evil,[29] therefore, according to Peter L. Berger, humans need explanations of evil "for social structures to stay themselves against chaotic forces".[30]


The problem of evil refers to the challenge of reconciling the existence of evil and suffering with our view of the world, especially but not exclusively, with belief in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God who acts in the world.[3][28][31][32][33] These arguments all begin with the assumption that a being such as a possible God would agree with human perspectives and want to eliminate evil as humans see and define it. This, in turn, assumes that God is a personal being, though not all theodicists would agree; that God interacts, or at least has interacted with the world at some point, and is willing to continue to do so, which also has a lack of complete agreement; and that humans can recognize and agree upon evil as something that can be rendered intelligible and, therefore, discussed.[29]


The problem may be described either experientially or theoretically.[3] The experiential problem is the difficulty in believing in a concept of a loving God when confronted by evil and suffering in the real world, such as from epidemics, or wars, or murder, or natural disasters where innocent people become victims.[34][35][36] The problem of evil is also a theoretical one, usually described and studied by religion scholars in two varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem.[3]


One of the earliest statements of the problem is found in early Buddhist texts. In the Majjhima Nikāya, the Buddha (6th or 5th century BCE) states that if a God created sentient beings, then due to the pain and suffering they feel, he is likely to be an evil God.[37]


Both of these arguments are understood to be presenting two forms of the 'logical' problem of evil. They attempt to show that the assumed premises lead to a logical contradiction that cannot all be correct. Most philosophical debate has focused on the suggestion that God would want to prevent all evils and therefore cannot coexist with any evils (premises P1d and P1f), but there are existing responses to every premise (such as Plantinga's response to P1c), with defenders of theism (for example, St. Augustine and Leibniz) arguing that God could exist and allow evil if there were good reasons.


The evidential problem of evil (also referred to as the probabilistic or inductive version of the problem) seeks to show that




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