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Encountering Evil: The Evil-god Challenge from Religious Experience

Asha Lancaster-Thomas

Abstract

It is often thought that religious experiences provide support for the cumulative case for the existence of the God of classical monotheism. In this paper, I formulate an Evil-god challenge that invites classical monotheists to explain why, based on evidence from religious experience, the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god (Good-god) is significantly more reasonable than the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, evil god (Evil-god). I demonstrate that religious experiences substantiate the existence of Evil-god more so than they do the existence of Good-god, and, consequently, that the traditional argument from religious experience fails: it should not be included in the cumulative case for the existence of Good-god.

Keywords

God; evil; good; religious experience; miracle; arguments for God's existence

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