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PhilosophyPart of Humanities

God and Evil - Rowe

William L. Rowe (1931- ) argues that it’s all well and good to show that it’s logically possible that God is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, and yet there is evil; however, it’s quite another thing to show that that’s actually the case.


For this reason, Rowe thinks that we need to move on from discussing whether God is logically compatible with the evil in his creation, and start discussing whether we have evidence to think that God actually is compatible with the evil in his creation.

In Rowe’s opinion, the evidence we have of pointless suffering is sufficient to show that there is no God. But he calls this position “friendly atheism” because, although it is atheism, it is at least still open to the possibility that believers in God could also produce evidence that the evil we see in the world is redeemed by some divine plan or justice. It’s just that no one has convincingly given us that evidence yet.


To learn more about this topic, you might like to read Susan Neiman’s Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, or the online Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy entry on ‘The Problem of Evil’.
At Southampton, you can learn about the problem of evil as well as the nature of God, faith and belief as part of the first-year module Faith and Reason. You can also learn more about famous philosophers interested in question of evil, suffering, and religion on modules such as Existentialism and its Origins, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard. Southampton lecturers with expertise in these topics include Dr. Genia Schönbaumsfeld, Prof. Chris Janaway, Prof. Aaron Ridley, Dr. Alex Gregory, and Dr. David Woods.


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