Theodicy means “justifying God” in reference to the Christian culture. One often presented idea to wich I have had the misfortune to run into again and again is, that a benevolet and omnipotent god would allow evil in order to access for free will. If you have anything new to add or submit to this idea I might be interrested, because I seem to have trouble understanding it. That is how otherwise seemingly intelligent individuals might even consider this as a good defence to the problem?
To me this has been just gibberish from the first time I run into it. First of all, wether a god is benevolent and from whose perspective tells us absolutely nothing about wether such an entity might exist. This is just about wether we are justified in calling something “benevolent”. Or are people merely pronouncing their hopes on the rather hypothetical issue even contrary to the observable evidence? To declare that this very same god is the final arbitrator wether something is benevolent or not makes the issue totally moot. Add to injury, in my experience, the same people who press forward this idea of their god being both benevolent, omnipotent (or even maximally potent) also only too often claim, that we humans are not worthy to even evaluate the morals of the actions of this very same god. I suppose in their minds benevolent and good is what ever this god of theirs wants, wich peculiar enough seems to be very much in line on what they would want, even if it means to limit the rights and free will of other people.
How do these people expect they are able to evaluate and choose between different god claims? If they are unable to evaluate the morals of a god, how do they know wich god is true, or even wich god to them seems benevolent? It seems to me as a terrible and potentially very dangerous not to mention harmfull hubris to assume the creator entity of the entire universe is telling specifically you what is the true religion, what is right or wrong only through such dubious methods as communicating with you, through your intuition, gut feeling, conscience – that is to say – your subconscious and of course through a particular relgious book written by obvious ignoramuses in ancient times, when written word was so rare, that people had superstitious attitudes about all written word. A book that is so filled with obvious mythos and tribal moralism. A book – like so many others – demands blind faith and makes the sad claim, that this is actually a virtue! This remembering, that the method by wich most people “choose” their religion and their version of it, is by being born into a specific culture. A sort of fatalism in wich the people who were born into the “right” culture benefit from their god being “benevolent” for the accident of birth, exept for some random exeptions, reminds me of racism, in wich it was typical for the members of the “superior” race imagining themselves as justified to their position by mere accident of birth. If racism is wrong then so is this method of divine “choise” for whom shall be saved from them alledged lakes of fire. Is it not?
It is tragicomic, that the very same Christians often also believe they are to continue their lives after their death in some state of a heaven where they expect no evil will exist. Do they think they are going to have free will in them Heavens? If they assume they do posses free will in afterlife, do they also think there is evil in there? If they think, that in their afterlife they are so in line with their particular god, that they only want good things and no evil is required for them to have free will, then what ever for was evil created onto this world?
Who in their right mind would argue, that a creator entity, who deliberately causes, or even allows unnecessary suffering such as for example polio, could honestly be called benevolent, if they could prevent and or at least stop it? How has the existance of polio enabled the free will of anyone in the world?
All this free will argumentation seems like nothing but an evasion attempt at the face of obvious in the high hopes, that if there indeed is a creator entity, it is not only fair, but also benevolent in terms of granting some specific humans an afterlife, if they pay their tithes to support the ritual experts whose job it is to tell the story to people who have never heard of it, because obviously neither omnipotent, or even maximally potent mean, that this god was able to communicate directly with everybody.
Ultimately, the entire notion of free will requiring evil to exist is just nonsensical, even if we could ever prove on any sane level there existed something we could call a creator god. Evil would then need to be an inherent part of that god, for it to have free will. That would mean, that we could call this god benevolent only for overcoming it’s own evil side. If this god did not have evil in it before it chose to create it, then it could not have made the free choise to create evil, or anything really.
It would all seem like from a bad joke, unless this all involved the fact that the adherents of these gods have for centuries felt justified in forcing, coercing and indoctrinating other people to believe like they do, or at very least to act according to what they think (wich is very culturally relevant and tribally moralistic) their particular gods wants from people in general, not just them.