The God Beyond Belief

The God Beyond Belief

In Defence of William Rowe's Evidential Argument from Evil
Studies in Philosophy and Religion, Band 27

von: Nick Trakakis

171,19 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 03.11.2006
ISBN/EAN: 9781402051456
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 376

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This study of Professor William Rowe’s defense of atheism on the basis of evil assesses the literature that has developed in response to Rowe’s work, closely examining two strategies: mystery – the idea that God may have reasons beyond our comprehension for permitting evil; and theodicy - explanations as to why God allows evil to flourish. The book unearths difficulties in both, concluding that the God of theism must be "beyond belief."
For quite some time I have corresponded with Nick Trakakis, a very t- ented young philosopher at Monash University in Australia. He was c- pleting a manuscript on the problem of evil. Although we’ve never met, I’ve come to greatly admire his philosophical ability, even, or I hope particularly, when he notes weaknesses, if not outright mistakes, in my own writings on this topic. His knowledge of the relevant literature is nothing short of extraordinary. I am deeply impressed by the clarity and quality of his wr- ing, his measured judgments, as well as his philosophical ability. In this volume Trakakis begins with my 1979 paper, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” sets forth the evidential argument from evil, and considers the large body of literature developed in response to that argument. He examines and evaluates with great care the objections raised by Wykstra, Howard-Snyder, Durston,Alston, and others, along with my responses to those forceful objections. Noting the importance of the assumption that if there are God-justifying goods for horrendous human and animal suffering then it is likely that humans would have some awareness of what those justifying goods might be, Trakakis carefully evaluates the lit- ature bearing on this crucial issue, including, of course, the significance of what is commonly known as the problem of divine hiddenness, and the line of response proposed by the sceptical theists – philosophers who are theists but sceptical of arguments against theism.
Background to the Problem of Evil.- Rowe's Evidential Arguments from Evil.- What No Eye Has Seen: The Epistemic Foundations of Wykstra's CORNEA Critique.- CORNEA Applied to Rowe's Evidential Argument.- Further Objections to Rowe's Noseeum Assumption.- In Support of the Inference from Inscrutable to Pointless Evil.- The Problem of Divine Hiddenness.- Meta-Theodicy: Adequacy Conditions for Theodicy.- Theodicy Proper, or Casting Light on the Ways of God: Horrendous Moral Evil.- Theodicies for Natural Evil.- The Compatibility of Gratuitous Evil with Theism.- Conclusion: Is Rowe's Evidential Argument Successful?.
Why would a loving God who is all-powerful and all-knowing create a world like ours which is marred by all manner of evil, suffering and injustice? This question has come to be known as ‘the problem of evil’ and has troubled both ordinary folk and specialist philosophers and theologians for centuries, with no answer seemingly in sight.

However, in a series of publications from the late 1970s onwards, Professor William Rowe – one of the leading philosophers of religion today – has put forward a powerful case in support of the view that the horrors littering our planet constitute strong evidence against the existence of God. In this book, the first extended study of Rowe’s defense of atheism on the basis of evil, Nick Trakakis comprehensively assesses the large body of literature that has developed in response to Rowe’s work, paying particular attention to two strategies employed by critics: firstly, the appeal to mystery – the idea that God may well have reasons for permitting evil that lie beyond our comprehension; and secondly, the appeal to theodicies, where this involves offering explanations as to why God allows evil to abound in his creation (free will theodicies, for example, argue that God could not prevent us from acting wrongly without at the same time curtailing or removing our free will). Trakakis unearths significant difficulties in both strategies, and concludes that – absent any evidence in support of theism – the God of theism must be judged to be "beyond belief".
Provides the most comprehensive examination to date of the work of William Rowe on the problem of evil
Is informed by an impressive breadth of research, critically engaging with the voluminous literature on the problem of evil that has been produced in the last few decades
Advances a novel and controversial approach to the problem of ‘natural evil’, i.e. suffering brought about by natural forces such as hurricanes and tsunamis
Written in a lively and accessible style, but without foregoing precise and rigorous argumentation

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