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Warranted Christian Belief$
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Alvin Plantinga

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195131932.001.0001

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Suffering and Evil

Suffering and Evil

Chapter:
(p.458) 14 Suffering and Evil
Source:
Warranted Christian Belief
Author(s):

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195131932.003.0014

Continuing an examination of proposed defeaters for Christian belief, I consider in this chapter the question of whether knowledge of the facts of evil (i.e., knowledge of the amount, variety, and distribution of suffering and evil in the world) constitutes a defeater for theistic and Christian belief. In the first section of the chapter, I focus on versions of the evidential argument from evil, which claims not that the existence of God and the existence of evil are logically incompatible, but only that the facts of evil offer powerful evidence against the existence of God. I first examine two such arguments due to William Rowe and then turn to one due to Paul Draper; I argue that all three fail. In the second section, I consider what we might call a nonargumentative defeater based on suffering and evil; essentially, the claim at issue here is that one who is properly sensitive and properly aware of the sheer horror of the evil displayed in the world will simply see that no being of the sort God is alleged to be could possibly permit it. After exploring and responding to this claim, I close with a brief look at some relevant themes in the Book of Job.

Keywords:   Christian belief, Draper, evidential argument from evil, evil, Job, Rowe, suffering

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