Good and Evil For each topic you will need to know a range of Christian views as well as your own viewpoint • This module covers 5 main areas: Fist we need to know what Christian denominations we are discussing
The Christian Denominations Christian do NOT all believe the same thing and are divided into different groups depending on faith and establishment The Roman Catholic Church • This denomination is a traditional group of Christians who believe in Natural Law: doing what God intended in a natural way. Up until the C16th Catholics were the dominant group of Christians in Europe. Catholics are controlled by the Pope in Rome Protestant Churches • These are the Christian groups that developed after Martin Luther’s debate in 1517. • These are modern Christians who have re-interpreted the Bible and have a different view to the Roman Catholics. • These Christians are NOT controlled by the Pope.
What is God Like? • Many people have wondered what God might be like. Christians believe that he has certain attributes that define him.
What is the Devil Like? • A lot of people believe that there is a being in existence that lives to cause pain and suffering: this is the Devil.
What is Evil? • People use the term ‘evil’ all the time, sometimes without thinking about its meaning. The term ‘evil’ can mean many things:
The Fall of Adam and Eve • Where did Evil come from? Some people think that it is the fault of Adam and Eve. • Adam and Eve were created by God and placed in the garden of Eden. They had everything they wanted. But one day a serpent appeared and asked Eve to get him some fruit. He asked for fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was the one tree whose fruit they couldn’t eat. Eve took the fruit and ate some herself. Seeing that nothing bad had happened she took the fruit to Adam to eat and he did. God knew of their disobedience and punished them for their actions. It is due to them that nature is out of balance with humanity and evil exists in the world. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God, evil would not exist This is called Original Sin
Lucifer in the Fall • Lucifer is another name for the devil, one that he had when he was an angel. The Story of Lucifer Lucifer was an angel in Heaven with God and all the other angels. However, he was not happy with his situation; he was jealous of God’s power. Lucifer challenged God, but God is omnipotent and easily defeated Lucifer, casting him out of Heaven into Hell below. Since then, Lucifer, or Satan, has worked to get revenge on God. He does this through causing pain and suffering to what God loves best: humans Lucifer is the serpent in the story of the Fall
The Problem of Evil • Although millions of people believe in God there are still plenty of people who argue that God cannot exist if evil does: they are a contradiction The Problem of Evil and Suffering If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent then how can evil exist? If God is loving he would want to stop evil If God was powerful he would be able to stop evil So why doesn’t he?! • There are a number of responses to this question, some religious and some not
Process Theodicy This means that God is not omnipotent (all-powerful) and therefore cannot stop the evil things that happen in the world Monism This theodicy denies the existence of evil. Evil is simply an illusion, it is simply a question of perception Free Will This is the idea that God gave humans the ability to make their own decisions, whether they are right or wrong Theodicies Manichaeism This is the idea that in order for us to appreciate what is good in the world we must have something to compare it to; evil. It is about balance Protest Theodicy This means that God is not omni-benevolent (all-loving). He does not care about evil existing the world and is not going to stop it for us
The Problem of Evil There are two very famous responses to the problem of evil: one says evil is humanity’s fault, the other says evil has a purpose in our lives Augustine of Hippo Augustine believed that evil and suffering was the fault of humans – it was created by Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in Eden. They brought about Original Sin, that humans today are still trying to stop. We all need to behave well to end evil in the world Ireneaus of Lyon Ireneaus believed that evil was a necessary part of life. Humans are made in the image of God – this is spiritual not physical. Evil is character building and helps to become more like God in terms of our understanding and patience. It makes us better people in the end.
Jesus and Suffering • When people suffer they often look to find comfort somewhere; one of the ways that people find comfort is to look at what happened to Jesus in his life and how he dealt with it Jesus and Suffering Jesus was God incarnate: this literally means God made flesh. He lived for 33 years before being crucified by the Romans. Jesus does not lash out at anyone but remains peaceful and forgiving throughout his ordeal. Atonement It is due to Jesus’ death that Christians believe that we can be saved from our sins and are able to reconcile with God and become ‘at one’ with him if we genuinely repent and ask forgiveness
How Should We Behave? • Christians are all aiming to get into heaven when they die to be with God, but in order to do this they must behave appropriately and earn their entrance to heaven. So, how do Christians know the right way to behave? They have four pieces of evidence that tell them what to do The 10 Commandments These are guidelines given by God to Moses / Chosen people telling them how to worship God and how to treat each other The Golden Rule Jesus taught the Golden Rule to his followers in a number of ways: Treat others as you want to be treated The Example of Jesus This fits into two areas: What he did and what he said: this can all be found in the New Testament The Conscience Christians believe that the conscience is the God communicating with humans letting them know when they have done wrong
Jonny Kennedy • Jonny Kennedy is a very good example of someone who has dealt with suffering in a positive and inspirational way Who is Jonny Kennedy? He is the subject of a documentary called ‘The Boy whose Skin Fell Off’. He has a rare genetic skin condition that causes him extreme pain everyday of his life and yet he carries on with a positive attitude raising money and awareness for the condition’s charity, DEBRA He died in 2003 aged 36
Practice Exam Question Good and Evil: this exam question is worth 24 marks • What does moral evil mean? (1) • Give two examples of suffering (2) • What do Christians believe about the devil? (3) • Explain how some Christians might respond to suffering in the world (6) • “There is too much evil in the world for God to exist” Discuss this statement. Give different, supported viewpoints including a personal viewpoint. You must refer to Christianity (12) Remember: Part E is an ESSAY question and must be written in an essay style with PEE paragraphs in order to attain all 12 marks