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1.the branch of theology that defends God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil
TheodicyThe*od"i*cy (?), n. [NL. theodicæa, fr. Gr. � God + � right, justice: cf. F. théodicée.]
1. A vindication of the justice of God in ordaining or permitting natural and moral evil.
2. That department of philosophy which treats of the being, perfections, and government of God, and the immortality of the soul. Krauth-Fleming.
doctrine philosophique : selon l'époque (fr)[Classe...]
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The term theodicy ( // from Greek theos - "god" + dike - "justice") has no universally agreed upon definition, but usually refers to an attempt to resolve the evidential problem of evil by reconciling God's traditional characteristics of omnibenevolence, omnipotence and omniscience (all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing, respectively) with the occurrence of evil in the world. Although some arguments existed previously, the term 'theodicy' was coined in 1710 by German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz in his work, Théodicée.
A variety of theodicies exist. The Augustinian theodicy suggests that evil does not exist, except as a corruption of good, and occurs because of the free will of humans and angels. According to this tradition, evil occurs as a punishment for human sin. The Irenaean theodicy proposes that human suffering exists for human development. The theory proposes that humans are created imperfect, and that moral perfection is only attainable through the experience of suffering. The Holocaust has prompted reconsiderations of theodicy in Jewish philosophy; some philosophers have proposed alternative responses to evil. Similar to a theodicy, a cosmodicy is an attempt to justify the fundamental goodness of the universe in the face of evil and suffering.
A theodicy is a response to the evidential problem of evil and attempts to justify the existence of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God in light of the occurrence of evil in the world. The evidential problem of evil argues that evil constitutes evidence against the existence of God and that, considering the occurrence of evil in the world, God's existence becomes unlikely.
There is a distinction between a theodicy and a defence. A defence is presented merely to indicate the logical possibility of the coexistence of God and evil, whereas a theodicy attempts to justify God's allowance of evil. Defences, therefore, propose solutions to the logical problem of evil, while theodicies attempt to answer the evidential problem. In the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Nick Trakakis proposed an additional three requirements which must be contained within a theodicy:
The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz coined the term theodicy (as French: théodicée) in 1710 in his French work, Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil). Leibniz's Théodicée was a response to Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (1697/1702), written by the skeptical Protestant philosopher Pierre Bayle. Bayle saw no rational solution to the problem of evil, arguing against three attempts to solve it, and believed that since the Bible asserts the coexistence of evil and of God, that state of affairs must simply be accepted.
Voltaire critiqued Leibniz's concept of theodicy, suggesting that the massive destruction of innocent lives caused by the Lisbon earthquake demonstrated that God was not providing the "best of all possible worlds", a critique echoed by more recent philosophers in response to the multiple holocausts of the twentieth century.
The Catholic Encyclopedia (1914), in an article by Constantine Kempf, gives a different definition of theodicy:
Imitating the example of Leibniz other philosophers now called their treatises on the problem of evil "theodicies". As in a thorough treatment of the question the proofs both of the existence and of the attributes of God cannot be disregarded, our entire knowledge of God was gradually brought within the domain of theodicy. Thus theodicy came to be synonymous with natural theology (theologia naturalis) that is, the department of metaphysics which presents the positive proofs for the existence and attributes of God and solves the opposing difficulties. Theodicy, therefore, may be defined as the science which treats of God through the exercise of reason alone. It is a science because it systematically arranges the content of our knowledge about God and demonstrates, in the strict sense of the word, each of its propositions. But it appeals to nature as its only source of proof, whereas theology sets forth our knowledge of God as drawn from the sources of supernatural revelation.
It has been argued that the question of theodicy is a modern problem. Ancient civilizations, such as the Mesopotamians, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians held polytheistic beliefs that may have enabled them to deal with the concept of theodicy in a very different manner. Within these religions, there were many gods and goddesses that controlled various aspects of daily life. Early Mesopotamian, Grecian, Roman and Egyptian religions may have avoided the question of theodicy by endowing their deities with the same flaws and jealousies that plagued humanity. No one god or goddess was fundamentally good or evil. In that sense, bad things could happen to good people if they were to anger a given deity. The gods exercised the same free will that humankind possessed. However, some gods were more inclined to be helpful and benevolent, while others were more likely to be spiteful and aggressive. In this sense, the “bad” gods could be blamed for misfortune, while the “good” gods could be petitioned with prayer and sacrifices to make things right. There was still, however, a sense of justice in that individuals that were right with the gods could avoid punishment.
Augustine of Hippo proposed a theodicy reconciling God's goodness with evil present in the world. He argued that evil does not exist in itself, but is a privation, or going wrong, of goodness. He argued that evil exists as a result of free will of either humans or angels and, as a result, all evil is either sin or the punishment of sin. Aquinas agreed with Augustine and suggested that evil must exist for the appreciation of goodness: if there is no suffering, freedom from suffering cannot be truly appreciated. Like Augustine, Aquinas believed that evil does not exist independently and can only be understood in terms of goodness, which does exist. He thus saw evil as a deviation from goodness.
Irenaeus (died ca 202) expressed ideas which explained the existence of evil as necessary for human development. Irenaeus argued that human creation comprised two parts: humans were made first in the image, then in the likeness, of God. The image of God consists of having the potential to achieve moral perfection, whereas the likeness of God is the achievement of that perfection. To achieve moral perfection, Irenaeus suggested that humans must have free will. To achieve such free will, humans must experience suffering and God must be at an epistemic distance (a distance of knowledge) from humanity. Therefore, evil exists to allow humans to develop as moral agents. In the twentieth century, John Hick collated the ideas of Irenaeus into a distinct theodicy. He argued that the world exists as a "vale of soul-making", and that suffering and evil must therefore occur. He argued that human goodness develops through the experience of evil and suffering.
The Holocaust performed by Nazi Germany during World War II prompted a reconsideration of theodicy in Christian and Jewish circles. French Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas declared theodicy to be "blasphemous", arguing that it is the "source of all immorality". Levinas insisted that, since the Holocaust, there can be no absolute morality.
Professor of theology David R. Blumenthal, in his book Facing the Abusing God (1993), has drawn on data from the field of child abuse and proposed "worship of God through protest" (which could be characterized as misotheism) as a legitimate response of survivors of both the Holocaust and child abuse. Despite the term "abuse" being new in Jewish theology, the arguments connected to it have a long tradition in Jewish theology.
In 1998, Jewish theologian Zacahry Braiterman wrote (God) After Auschwitz, in which he coined the term anti-theodicy. In the book, Braiterman referred to a trend which he saw to be developing in post-war Europe, and defined anti-theodicy as a rejection of any meaningful relationship between God and suffering. Anti-theodicy therefore puts complete blame for evil on God, but rises from an individual's belief in God. Anti-theodicy has been likened to Job's protests in the book of Job.
Max Weber viewed theodicy as a “problem of meaning.” Weber believed that the explanation for the “distribution of fortunes” became increasingly imperative as “religious worldviews became increasingly rational.” This led to the development of two opposing concepts of theodicy, the theodicy of fortune and the theodicy of misfortune. The theodicy of fortune is the belief that bad things happen to good people due to their own poor choices and lack of hard work. In the case of reincarnation, the theodicy of fortune can explain why good people were born into a lower class, due to bad karma. The theodicy of fortune tends to favor middle to upper class individuals, and is deeply rooted within Evangelical and Protestant churches. It is also evident within the American ideology and the idea that if an individual works hard enough, good things will happen to him/her. The theodicy of misfortune, however, perpetuates the belief that if an individual follows the scripture and lives a good and virtuous life, he/she will be blessed in the afterlife. In essence, this is the belief that the poor and unfortunate will go to heaven, or otherwise be rewarded in the afterlife. The theodicy of misfortune tends to favor individuals of the lower to lower-middle class, and has roots in many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.
A cosmodicy is an attempt to justify the fundamental goodness of the universe in the face of evil. Similarly, an anthropodicy attempts to justify the fundamental goodness of human nature in the face of the evils produced by humans.
Considering the relationship between theodicy and cosmodicy, Johannes van der Ven argued that the choice between theodicy and cosmodicy is a false dilemma. Philip E. Devenish proposed what he described as "a nuanced view in which theodicy and cosmodicy are rendered complementary, rather than alternative concepts". Theologian J. Matthew Ashley described the relationship between theodicy, cosmodicy and anthropodicy:
"In classical terms, this is to broach the problem of theodicy: how to think about God in the face of the presence of suffering in God's creation. After God's dethronement as the subject of history, the question rebounds to the new subject of history: the human being. As a consequence, theodicy becomes anthropodicy — justifications of our faith in humanity as the subject of history, in the face of the suffering that is so inextricably woven into the history that humanity makes."