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Free Will and the Problem of Evil, Personal Statement Example

Pages: 1

Words: 370

Personal Statement

If God is all Good and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? A common defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence is that we have free will, and therefore, that we make the choices that lead to any potential evil. However, what about innocents who are hurt? Does this not undermine the concept of free will, as some objectors point out?

The concept of free will, in these objections, is entirely individualistic. It speaks about the human being as making decisions only from his or her own autonomy. But what if our free will is not an individuality, an extreme individuality? This extreme individuality is a viewpoint of American liberalism and capitalism for example: the individual is the most important aspect of society. But free will maybe is not an individual decision, because we human beings live in relationships. This is an Eastern concept of free will, where every free choice we make is deterministic and not free in the sense that there are consequences established by these free choices.

Furthermore, in Eastern religions such as Buddhism, they emphasize that our free will are decisions that always take place within relationships. We can only make a decision because there is a limited number of options. Therefore, the Western conception of free will is too simplistic, it overlooks the determinism in any freedom.

How does this relate to the question of evil? It means that the critique of free will takes an individualistic account. It says what about the innocence of this one person? But it doesn’t see how free will ultimately implies relations and consequences. It is too simplistic too treat suffering on an individual level, this is egotism, and thinks about the human only in terms of individuality and not the relationships that make us up: relations to family, community and even the physical environment. On these grounds, such arguments against the free will defense of evil fail because they perhaps misunderstand what free will itself means. We are all inter-connected and therefore it is false to reduce the problem of evil to individuals, because we are not individuals, but living beings that live in relations to other things: without these relations of love and also hardship we are nothing.

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