PROBLEM OF EVIL:  QUESTIONS FOR FIRST EXAMINATION

Instructions: You will be given THREE of the following, of which you must answer TWO.

 

1) One common response to the problem of suffering is to assert that God’s purposes are simply incomprehensible to us mortals.  Explain and evaluate this idea, making reference to J.S. Mill’s argument here that claiming that God is good but his justice is incomprehensible, is equivalent to claiming that God is not good.  Is the idea of divine incomprehensibility a satisfactory solution to the Problem of Evil?

 

2) Present David Hume’s moral arguments against the idea of reward or punishment in an afterlife in Part II of “On The Immortality of the Soul”.  Does Hume make a convincing case against the afterlife as a satisfactory theodicy?  Be sure to distinguish between the better and worse arguments that he uses.

 David Hume, "On The Immortality of the Soul":  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/SCCCWEB/ETEXTS/PHIL_of_RELIGION_TEXT/CHAPTER_7_SOULS/Hume-OnImmortality-Soul.htm

 

3) The doctrine of karma and rebirth seems to presuppose that humans have free will, that is, responsibility for their moral decisions.  However, we discussed in class some reasons to wonder whether the doctrine is in fact compatible with free will.  Explain this difficulty and whether you think it is a decisive objection against karma.

 

4) Present an interpretation of the meaning of the Whirlwind Speech from the Book of Job. Does the Whirlwind Speech have any connection with the story as presented in the prologue or epilogue?  Discuss and evaluate the  interpretations presented in class, along with any other interpretations you find interesting.