The idea that religion provides ideas and practices that help people cope with evil is widespread. It may be used in a neutral way to define the function of religion but can also be used by both adversaries and advocates of religion. Thus religion may be criticized for “easy coping,” for providing cheap, comforting theories. Religion may also be appreciated for giving an anchor or focus to life in hard times. In this paper, the coping thesis and the presuppositions behind it are confronted with the example of Karl Barth’s view of evil and Christian belief. Barth deals with evil under the term das Nichtige and aims to understand God’s relation to it. He criticizes the idea that human beings by themselves can know what evil is and how they should cope with it. Thus, Barth’s view seems to differ on important points from the coping thesis. What does this mean for the value of this thesis?
Theodicists have sought to show that belief in an all-powerful, all-loving, personal God is not at odds with the existence of evil and, in particular, with the extreme suffering that results from it. This paper, in common with other antitheodical approaches, argues that the attempt to show that God and evil can coexist invariably leads to the distortion and misrepresentation of suffering. At the same time, it builds upon such criticisms, proposing an approach that does not seek to provide a solution to evil conceived as a puzzle. Rather, it contends that the philosopher should take suffering seriously, allowing it to challenge the assumptions that underlie Western philosophy of religion. In particular, it accepts the limited significance of theoretical claims in the light of events that often challenge any attempt to impose meaning.
1 Introduction What was the role of belief in gods in the development of human prosociality and cooperation? The emergence of large-scale human cooperation is a theoretical puzzle that has given rise to a number of quite different hypotheses. Several authors have suggested that religion could have
relationship between morality and religion is this: Is there any evidence that god-beliefs enhanced pro-social behaviour (also towards non-kin group members) and thus played a role in human cultural evolution? “Which comes first, cooperation or beliefs about moralizing gods?” as Ilkka Pyysiäinen puts it
is impossible without belief in God; atheists are also the most distrusted minority. Whereas anti-gay prejudice is characterized by dislike, anti-atheist prejudice is based specifically on distrust. 2 Sinnott-Armstrong, however, turns the argument around in writing that if God existed, then
Michael L. Spezio
Certainly, a place like Homeboy Industries is all folly and bad business unless the core of the endeavor seeks to imitate the kind of God one ought to believe in. In the end, I am helpless to explain why anyone would accompany those on the margins were it not for some anchored belief that the
the origins and aspects of consciousness and the construct of the self, and it identifies how these have important relationships to conscious volition and agency. Second, it discusses an under-developed area of inquiry: the experiences people have of free will, their beliefs in it, concepts of it, and
,” in The Neural Basis of Human Belief Systems . Edited by F. Krueger and J. Grafman . New York : Routledge , 2013 . Calvin Jean . Institutio christianae religionis , Opera selecta , vol. 3 . Edited by P. Barth and G. Niesel. Munich : Chr. Kaiser Verlag , 1926 . Descartes R. Meditationes
whether the text caused the respective behaviors and beliefs or simply reflected existing behaviors and beliefs, as redaction criticism would assume. It is relatively easy to identify issues related to network formation, identity, and rituals in the texts. It is less straightforward to explain how
. Tübingen : Mohr Siebeck , 1987 . Räisänen Heikki . The Rise of Christian Beliefs: The Thought World of Early Christians . Minneapolis : Fortress , 2010 . Reumann John . Philippians: A New Translation and Commentary . Anchor Yale Bible 33 B . New Haven : Yale University Press , 2008 . Sanders E