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Written Assignment # 3
The Problem of Evil

Write a 1-2 page response to the following questions on the problem "evil" poses for traditional Western theism.

1. Carefully consider the challenge to the existence of the Western theistic God posed by the problem of evil. Does the fact of evil or the amount of evil in the world count against the hypothesis that God exists? Provide reasons for your answer.

2. What do you make of the suggested solution that God is limited and is either not omniscient (all-knowing) or omnipotent (all-powerful), and therefore is not ultimately responsible for the amount of evil in the world? Does this view solve the problem of evil? Or does it merely extinguish the concept of the sovereign, theistic deity?

3. Do you think that any plausible theistic response to the problem of evil must rely somehow on a greater-good line of reasoning? Why or why not?

4. Is evil and suffering less problematic for the non-theistic religions (Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, etc.) than for the theistic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity)? Is evil and suffering less problematic for the atheist than for the theist?

5. A theodicy (justification or defense of God) which focuses on a future existence of heavenly bliss seems to stress patience or endurance in the face of earthly suffering and adversity. Is this response to evil appropriate or satisfactory? What are the practical implications of this view for life here and now? Are these implications acceptable or not?