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God and Inscrutable Evil Paperback – December 4, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


[A] careful . . . analysis of the challenge that the existence of evil presents to 'orthodox theism' . . . a remarkable amount of material in compressed format, something that will well serve readers. (T. Michael McNulty, S.J., Marquette University, Milwaukee Theological Studies)

This book will appeal to anyone who has ever asked why there seems to be so much unnecessary evil and suffering in the world. (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith)

This book includes an impressive discussion of the nature of evil.

The book is full of creative thought experiments, detailed and incisive argument, and exposition and analysis that reveal an impressive command of much contemporary literature on this topic. (R.D. Geivett, Biola University CHOICE, Fe. 99 Vol. 36 No.6)

The most important book-length treatment of its kind in the past twenty years . . . O'Connor's book will most certainly be the locus of debate for years to come. (Daniel HowardSnyder, Seattle Pacific University)

. . . excellent work . . . chock-full of original, creative analyses and arguments. (Del Kiernan-Lewis, Morehouse College The Journal Of Religion)

A number of O'Connor's arguments are persuasive.O'Coonor's central argument against Schlesinger's 'No-Best-Possible-World-Defence' seems well-taken. (Katherin A. Rogers, University of Delaware Religious Studies, Vol. 35, 1999)

This book is an substantial contribution to contemporary discussion of the evidential force of the fact of evil and the rationality of beleiving in God. (Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy)

O'Connor should be praised for forcefully bringing to our attention the centrality of the standard assumption in the debate over God and evil. (Philosophical Review)

About the Author

David O'Connor is professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University and the author of The Metaphysics of G. E. Moore.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847687643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847687640
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,788,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By DEAN STRETTON on April 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
"God and Inscrutable Evil" is an excellent contribution to contemporary philosophy of religion. Published in 1998, it addresses some of the latest work on the problem of evil, including some of the essays in "The Evidential Argument from Evil" (the anthology edited by Daniel Howard-Snyder).

O'Connor develops what he calls a "reformed logical argument from evil", based on the widespread existence of natural evil resulting from natural processes (NERNP). In developing the argument, O'Connor compares the actual world with a world he calls "Wp" -- a world which contains much less natural evil than the actual world. He concludes that God (that is, the God of traditional or "orthodox" theism) would have created Wp rather than the actual world; hence the actual world is not God-made; hence God does not exist (since God is defined as, among other things, the creator of the world). In other words, either all or some of the great abundance of NERNP in the actual world is inconsistent with the existence of God; hence God does not exist.

In deploying the reformed argument against orthodox theism, O'Connor considers the most important objections that might be raised against it (and which have been raised against other arguments from evil). He considers Swinburne's greater-good defence, Schlesinger's no best possible world defence, and Plantinga's free will defence, and shows how all these arguments fail to defeat the reformed argument from evil. (Interestingly, O'Connor endorses Richard M. Gale's argument which states that Plantinga's free will defence fails because God's actualisation of possible persons in that defence gives God a freedom-cancelling control over those persons.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that shows that there is still life in the Problem of Evil. The analysis of the problem is very thorough, precise and analytical. The arguments of Swinburne and Plantinga are considered in detail and important problems with their arguments are singled out.
The book is highly technical and while self-contained assumes some familiarity with philosophical argumentation of the analytical variety. More introductory works are Kaufmann's Critique of Religion and Philosophy (Princeton University Press), also Davis's Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press), both available from amazon.com.
The book contains an excellent bibilography and notes for further reading.
This book is indispensible to those who want to be on the forefront of Philosophy Of Religion.
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By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
The author attempts in this book to show that God cannot possibly exist because of the problem of evil. The argument goes something like this: If God is all good then evil cannot possibly exist, but since evil exists then there is no God. Why? Because there is a supposed contradiction between an all good God and evil. But is there? This argument is the classic case of begging the question. It has to be defined what good means. For example, suppose someone committed a murder, the murderer appeared in front of a judge who is a good judge. The judge would then say "Well you committed a murder, but thats fine. Im not going to punish you, Im going to let you go." Many people would think this judge had lost his mind. They would want the murderer punished. So the judge cannot be considered good because he did not punish evil. This is the problem with the problem of evil. Atheists cannot believe in God who punishes evil and therefore no God exists. The fallacy of this line of argumentation is clear. Man has free will and he chose evil over good. Free will implies a choice. That choice is good or evil. All mankind was represented by Adam, and Adam and Eve chose evil. God punished them for it. Punishment implies suffering, as hard as this is to bear. Atheists want a god who does not punish evil. If this were the case then there cannot be a god. But the truth is just the opposite. The argument for evil as presented in itself or in this book is no argument at all.
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