God, Freedom, and Evil

God, Freedom, and Evil

God, Freedom, and Evil

God, Freedom, and Evil

Excerpt

This book discusses and exemplifies the philosophy of religion, or philosophical reflection on central themes of religion. Philosophical reflection (which is not much different from just thinking hard) on these themes has a long history: it dates back at least as far as the fifth century B.C. when some of the Greeks thought long and hard about the religion they had received from their ancestors. In the Christian era such philosophical reflection begins in the first or second century with the early church fathers, or [Patristics] as they are often called; it has continued ever since.

The heart of many of the major religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, for example—is belief in God. Of course these religions—theistic religions—differ among themselves as to how they conceive of God. The Christian tradition, for example, emphasizes God's love and benevolence; in the Moslem view, on the other hand, God has a somewhat more arbitrary character. There are also supersophisticates among allegedly Christian theologians who proclaim the liberation of Christianity from belief in God, seeking to replace it by trust in [Being itself] or the [Ground of Being] or some such thing. But for the most part it remains true that belief in God is the foundation of these great religions.

Now belief in God is not the same thing as belief that God exists, or that there is such a thing as God. To believe that God exists is simply . . .

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