I’m struggling to find questions for my PHIL 500 class forum. I don’t want to have the class devolve into a theological slugfest. Here are some ramblings courtesy of a medium Americano at my local Peets.
If Hick is right, or if we accept Hick’s view about all religions being a product of human imagination, we might “easily” resolve the problem of evil question by simply refomulating our notions of evil, God, and goodness. My sense is that this is what DZ is addressing layer by layer, or rather, concept by concept.
But if we can refomulate our conceptions in order to defang the “problem” of evil, doesn’t that lead to the risk of obliterating the prospect of a stand-alone, ontological god or divine reality?
Maybe I’ve given human imagination too much authority and power here.
Perhaps the Divine Reality (or Hick’s Ultimate reality) allows us to play in our theological and philosophical sandbox(es). What difference would it make to “OMNI” (to switch dieties for a moment)?
I’m not sure where I stand on this. I suppose my view is that these philosophical arguments have no purchase on me, and that since they do not persuade me one way or the other I would probably come down on the side of the constuctivists (in my sense of the term).
I suppose my view would make any “sandbox decision” irrelevant. My belief or non-belief is immune from other people’s formulations.
As a philosopher though, I really worry about this immunity. It doesn’t seem to be something I can hold consistently. As I often say in class, “Gators don’t let other Gators believe in or act upon any old belief.” Why should religious Gators be immune from challenges? Challenges to their … what? Sanity? Rationality? Consistency?
The consistency demand leads us back to the problem of evil issue.
So what’s my forum question?
Maybe: Can we reformulate our way out of the problem of evil?
Or: What does it mean — ah — here’s the point. We can reformulate all we want. Is it going to change any ontological facts on the ground? Or does Buddhism offer a model here? The Buddha doesn’t say that bad things don’t happen to good people. Part of the way of handling the “bad things” is to reframe the event or our expectations of ourselves, others, and the cosmos.
If I don’t set myself up for suffering by understanding the fundamental impermanence of existence, does this mean I can live a relatively balanced, “evil-free”? life? No. That doesn’t seem right either.
Well, there’s a question in there somewhere!
Second question: What is evil? Is it real, i.e., ontologically or metaphysically real? Is it only a human phenomenon? Do gorillas or antelopes encounter “evil”? Is evil something we generate by or with our thoughts and/or actions? Or is evil something “out there” completely separate from any human enterprise?
I’d better stop while I’m ahead!