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The Problem of Evil and Replies to Some Important Responses

Bruce Russell

Abstract

I begin by distinguishing four different versions of the argument from evil that start from four different moral premises that in various ways link the existence of God to the absence of suffering. The version of the argument from evil that I defend starts from the premise that if God exists, he would not allow excessive, unnecessary suffering. The argument continues by denying the consequent of this conditional to conclude that God does not exist. I defend the argument against Skeptical Theists who say we are in no position to judge that there is excessive, unnecessary suffering by arguing that this defense has absurd consequences. It allows Young Earthers to construct a parallel argument that concludes that we are in no position to judge that God did not create the earth recently. In the last section I consider whether theists can turn the argument from evil on its head by arguing that God exists. I first criticize Alvin Plantinga’s theory of warrant that one might try to use to argue for God’s existence. I then criticize Richard Swinburne’s Bayesian argument to the same conclusion. I conclude that my version of the argument from evil is a strong argument against the existence of God and that several important responses to it do not defeat it.

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