Critical Response

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Critical Response

Evil is divided into two broad categories by philosophers discussing theodicy. The two forms of evil are moral evil and natural evil. Philosophers define moral evil as evil arising from individuals exploring their freedom through wrongdoings. On the contrary, natural evil is defined as the evil that does not straightforwardly involve creaturely action that is blameworthy. The concept of free choice has attracted loads of discussion on how it affects theodicy. In their discussion, both Michael Murray and Michael Rea note that the concept of free will creates an argument concerning two forms of evil that arise from its existence. The two forms include the moral evils and the consequences of the evils. The inception of the two forms of evil, in turn, takes the concept of God’s will into further questioning. Arguments are raised on why God does not block the consequences of committing evil despite individuals seeking forgiveness. Murray and Rea question why a murderer has to be constantly reminded of his sinful past by the presence of a grave despite God forgiving them. In discussing the free will theodicy, they conclude that God allows evil and sometimes their consequences to linger since freedom is His choice of approaching things. Murray and Rea also discuss the natural law theodicy in which they note that the concept argues human life is dependent on naturally set laws to dictate the way of life. However, they note that in a scenario where various natural laws intersect, natural evil is the result of choosing whether to kill one to save many or to save one and kill many. Finally, they discuss soul-making theodicies that argue that pain and suffering are a necessity for there to be meaning in life. The argument provides that pleasure has no meaning if pain and suffering are non-existent.

Murray and Rea provide decent arguments on the concept of evil in society by citing various philosophers and their ideologies. Free will theodicy, natural law theodicy, and soul-making theodicy are the three philosophical concepts adopted in discussing why evil exists. They both try to evaluate evil by analyzing the defined concepts surrounding the moral issue while also critiquing each of them is trying to fix loopholes and question the uncertainty. While the free will theodicy gives birth to two forms of evil, moral evil out of the free will and the consequences of the evil, the concept fails to address why God does not provide salvation for evildoers who come clean repent for their sins. Questions are raised to ask why some people have to live with the consequences of their sin. In the natural law theodicy that gives birth to the concept surrounding natural evil, the effectiveness of natural law in the world is put into question with other individuals asking why God does not save people from natural evil. The last concept used is the soul-making theodicy that provides evil as a necessity for human experience. Soul-making theodicy issues a dilemma in which avoidance of evil can prove costly in losing valuable friendships and even potential love mates.

Nevertheless, for people trying to define the concept of evil, Murray and Rea fail to deliver their final thoughts and which stance they take in the matter. Reading through the paper leaves a philosopher with more questions than answers. The reasoning behind the concepts is also based on people with religious beliefs. People with contemporary religious beliefs and other non-traditional religions and atheists might find it hard to understand or accept the discussion. An approach that suits such people should be established to create balance and increase participation in making a final decision.