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Pragmatism with PurposeSelected Writings$
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Peter Hare, Joseph Palencik, Douglas Anderson, and Steven A. Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264322

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264322.001.0001

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On the Difficulty of Evading the Problem of Evil

On the Difficulty of Evading the Problem of Evil

(p.155) Nine On the Difficulty of Evading the Problem of Evil
Pragmatism with Purpose

Edward H. Madden

Fordham University Press

This chapter challenges many of the most established explanations of the problem of evil, arguing that the theist's solutions to this problem are frequently inconsistent. It first examines the views of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich, on the one hand, and certain interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein and J. L. Austin, on the other. In particular, it considers Barth's claim that the whole of rational theology is not only useless but exhibits on the part of those who indulge in it a sinful nature. It then discusses the concept of a theological circle, along with Tillich's rejection of natural theology on existential grounds. It suggests that the problem of evil is neither a part of rational theology nor a criticism that is imposed upon religious belief from some external frame of reference. Finally, it contends that the problem of prima facie gratuitous evil is not a problem forced upon theism from an external frame of reference that has different concepts of evidence and reasonableness.

Keywords:   problem of evil, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, rational theology, theological circle, natural theology, religious belief, theism

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