The underdetermination of evil

The main problem with the Argument from Evil is its dependence on gratuitous evils, but a lesser problem is that evils are experienced both as refutations of design and as paradigm cases of things that must be somehow meaningful but can only be so if God exists. Great evils are both used as arguments against God existing and as things which send many back to the Church. Sure, one can be cynical about people being chased back to church in the face of evil, but we can be just as cynical about a person who tries to tell others what their sufferings have to mean.




  1. GeoffSmith said,

    June 7, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Yeah, I find in my most dispassionate moments that the argument against God from evil only works as a rhetorical device (even in ones own mind). It is difficult to find it compelling when considered coolly.

  2. mjm said,

    June 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Might we say further that the flight to God can be a rational response to great evils, insofar as they manifest the corruptibilty and contingency of many natural goods, whose radical dependency on the incorruptible and non-contingent is available to our knowledge? Not that we here approach (or should approach) God as the term of an argument, but I think there maybe something there. The “sentimental comfort” objection used to bother me until I realized that people who turn to God in times of extreme distress are probably seeing the world more clearly, not less.

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