Yet, a cursory glance reveals a world that clearly is not inherently just or free from undeserved suffering.
Hence, the problem of evil: how can a perfect deity allow such injustice and rampant evil in the world that He created? Others have argued that certain kinds of moral goodness — compassion, for instance — are not possible in a world without evil, and the value of these types of goodness outweighs the evils on which their existence depends. Were we able to see things from the perspective of God, we would see that, in the grand scheme of things, every apparent evil plays a necessary role in making the world more perfect.
Leibniz depicts God assessing in His infinite mind all the various possible worlds that He could create. We should take comfort in the fact that everything is, in the final analysis, as good as it can possibly be. In Candide , the eponymous hero and his companions stumble through the world, constantly beset by bad luck and predations. The claim that justice naturally inheres in the order of things does not bear scrutiny.
One popular method has been to reassert the inherent justice of the world, implying, if not explicitly claiming, the righteousness of the suffering that we witness throughout it. The result is, essentially, a theological form of victim-blaming. For example, the American evangelical preacher Pat Robertson explained the earthquake in Haiti — which killed between ,, people, and injured another , — as the fault of the Haitian people. The people of Haiti had apparently sworn a pact with Satan in exchange for delivering them from French rule, and the earthquake was divine retribution for that bargain delivered approximately two centuries later.
Robertson similarly suggested that both Hurricane Katrina and terrorism were divine punishment for the fact that abortion is still legal in the United States. Robertson, of course, is not alone. An Iranian mullah has blamed earthquakes on women dressing immodestly; a New York rabbi blamed the advancement of gay rights in the US for another earthquake in ; many Burmese Buddhists blamed a cyclone that killed approximately , people on bad karma. The desire that motivates these interpretations is understandable.
Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are either random events in a chaotic world, or they are explicable events within a discernible pattern. In the former case, we inhabit an essentially amoral universe: bad things happen to good people, children die premature deaths, and tragedy strikes without remorse, all without rhyme or reason. In the latter case, we inhabit a much more hospitable universe where there is some sort of inherent order: a place where morality is inscribed into the very fabric of things, assuring us that, if only we play by the rules, evil will be punished, goodness will be rewarded, and justice will reign supreme.
It is easy to understand the attraction of that vision. But it has a substantial dark side. Like any theodicy, it cannot simply unmake suffering, and so it instead tries to justify it. Indeed, they see it [as] distant. Far from being distant or indifferent, Allah God as described by authentic revelation loves to give and forgive, even those who continue to get and forget.
Simply put, that is His unique Sublime Nature. But for this forgiveness to take place, there must exist sins and sinners. If Allah wished for humanity to be sinless angels, that would not have been difficult for Him, but who then would these beautiful Divine traits envelop? Who would God redeem, and who would be mended after breakage by the Most Merciful?
The wisdom of Allah necessitated that He appoint an appropriate remedy for every disease, and remedying the misguided requires the most difficult remedies. A compassionate doctor may cauterize the sick person, searing him with fire over and over again, in order to remove the foul elements that sabotaged his natural state of health. And if he believes that amputating the limb is better for the sick person, he severs it, causing the most severe pain.
When an intelligent person reflects on the laws of Allah the Blessed and Exalted , His destined decree in this world, and His reward and punishment in the hereafter, he finds them perfectly suitable, appropriate, and interconnected. This is because it is all sourced in perfect knowledge, impeccable wisdom, and overarching mercy. Some may argue that a doctor would readily remove the painful element of treatment if he could, so why does God not purify souls without pain?
What Ibn al-Qayyim suggests here is that it is the pain itself that serves to purify the wicked soul. Without repentance, indulgence in sin continues to desensitize its doer and blind them from seeing anything but their next moment of prohibited pleasure. This rescue comes in the form of a Divine reprimand and sometimes arrives just before their lives expire in heedlessness, by afflicting them or those near them. On the individual level, consider a person dying a slow and painful death from a terminal illness; most would judge this at face value as utterly tragic. Lastly, sacrificing a part to preserve the whole—when necessary—is something all prudent people find to be reasonable.
Good and evil are two sides of the same coin, an inseparable cosmic pair that need each other to exist. Valor cannot exist without peril, forgiveness cannot exist without offense, and perseverance cannot exist without obstacle. The delight of satiety is only known to those bitten by hunger, and feeling quenched is only savored by those who experience thirst.
- The Torment of Murder (Pauley novels)?
- Theodicy in the Hebrew Bible.
- An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.!
There must be some manifestations of evil in order to attain the virtue of conquering them. As Hubert S. God deemed that there must be sickness, so that we would pursue and enjoy health, and that there must be failure, so that we would be interested in accomplishment. We will savor nothing of our lives on this earth unless we also taste its bitterness on our tongues, and feel its regrets streaming down our cheeks. Explaining how pain is the container in which pleasure is delivered, Ibn al-Qayyim says,.
For that reason, He surrounded Paradise with hardships and Hellfire with temptations. Therefore, He did not remove him from it, except to readmit him to it a more perfect admission.
- Types of theodicy.
- Sole Survivor: The Story of Kaza of Theseus (Melody and the Pier to Forever Book 2);
- Bad things happen for a reason, and other idiocies of theodicy | Aeon Ideas.
- Theodicy and End-of-Life Care.
- War and People!
- Lesbian Slumber Party.
Only God knows the disparity between the first entrance and the second. What great disparity exists between the pleasure and comfort of the believers in Paradise after enduring what preceded it, and their pleasure had they been created inside it. What great disparity exists between the joy of someone He relieved after affliction, and enriched after poverty, and guided after being astray, and collected his heart after its dispersal, and the joy of someone who did not taste those bitter pains. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you.
A world without evil is like a world without good; neither possesses any meaning which a person would strive to actualize. Hence, when atheists demand a world without evil, they are simultaneously asking for a sterile world void of all good.
If evil were absolute, the creation would be destroyed, and if pure good existed, then the trial of life would end and thinking would cease. With the cessation of thinking would be the absence of wisdom, and once choices vanish, then discernment will also vanish and the scholar will become incapable of verifying, deliberating, and learning. No knowledge would exist at that point, nor would investigating remain possible, nor would harm be repelled, nor would benefit be secured, nor would patience through difficulty and thanks through blessings exist, nor disparity in eloquence, nor competition in ranks.
The joy of triumph and glory of conquering would be lost, and no righteous person on earth would find the gratification of being righteous, nor would any wrong person find the humiliation of being wrong, nor would anyone with conviction taste the coolness of certainty, nor would anyone in doubt be plagued with distress and haunted by the unknown. People would no longer hope nor be consumed by ambitions, their souls would be stripped of all purpose, their minds of all their fruits, and all things would lose their value and due right.
In reality, true riches involve being content at heart.
The Problem of Evil
Since God showers us with an endless downpour of favors, devoting every wakeful moment to thanking Him is only fair, and that is why living an attempt at thanks Islam is the dearest thing to Him which He rewards eternally. However, noticing the value of gratitude and embodying it are two very different missions. As for the latter, few things can ever be as effective as experiencing hurt or deprivation in your own life, or the lives of those around you. Therefore, the very real disparities between those ultra-rich and those dirt-poor, those with large families and dejected orphans, those fully mobile and those perpetually bedridden, are but avenues through which the gift of gratitude is thrown right into our laps.
Sudden deaths, horrific acts of violence, and natural disasters are but three of many ways God alerts people to the insignificance of this world. These tragic events remind us that life—no matter how long—is a journey that must conclude. In a blink and without warning, the blades of time sever hopes, dreams, and joys. This is like rain that causes plants to grow, to the delight of the planters.
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But later the plants dry up and you see them wither, then they are reduced to chaff. This analogy portrays how all this seriousness we see in the world around us today will—in an instant—be like aimless play and futile competition, except for those who invested it for yields in the afterlife. We human beings quickly forget things for various reasons. For this reason, God will sometimes interrupt the sweetness of life before we let our guard down, cling to its luxury, and forget our purpose. Evil Evil is a cause of human suffering.
There are two types of evil: moral evil - the acts of humans which are considered to be morally wrong natural evil - natural disasters, such as earthquakes or tsunamis These two types of evil can work together, eg human evil can make natural evil worse. Religions differ in what they teach about the origins of evil: Some consider it to have been present in the world from the beginning as the work of evil forces. Some believe it is part of God's creation which may have a purpose that humans cannot understand. Some consider it to be the outcome of ignorance and to have no beginning.
Most religions teach that moral evil should be opposed. Attempts should be made to minimise the impact of natural evil. Suffering Suffering is the bearing or undergoing of pain or distress.