Freud thinks that humanity’s baser nature is more powerful than our achievements. Human beings are subject to their instinctual activities and desires (Evil). For Freud the raison d’etre of civilization is to defend itself against the powerful nature, which is not in man’s control. In this helplessness, man desires to appease the natural powers and turns these forces into gods and goddesses. Freud thinks, these deities have three primary tasks: they exorcise the terrors of nature, they reconcile humanity to the cruelty of fate, and they balance humanity sufferings.
Such ideas of divinity protect humanity against the dangers of nature and fate, and the injuries, threatened from human society itself. Freud explains that once everything is understood by humanity in the expression of intelligence superior to us, death is no longer seen as the extinction of life, but rather death is seen as the beginning of a new kind of existence. This understanding of a superior wisdom creates an understanding of goodness and justice of the divine beings who created the man, world and the universe. To Freud religious idea is an illusion and is the fulfillment of the oldest wishes of humankind.
Pojman argues that that the virtues of traditional belief are to provide intellectual and emotional stability. He explains that, doubt is a kind of pain and an undesirable state, from which we seek release. In order to avoid dissatisfied state, we struggle to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief, which is a calm and satisfying state. The doubter is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. . If there is an obligation to seek true belief, then what God desires is not obsequious struggling, but the need arises for a keen and impartial mind, which is shaped by the evidence.
A doubt may be painful, but it can be a guiding force to re-check ourselves, which may lead us to greater accuracy. Religion gives us hope, and hope is not possible unless we believe in it. The belief in God can make a profound difference the way we live. Edward and Peter point out, that the theists excuse God of evil by saying, that He persuades his creatures to do good seems contrary to the idea for God to take all freedom from his creatures and force them to do good only.
They questions, is the distribution of evil in the world compatible with the existence of a God, who always exercises the mixture of coercion and persuasion. They wonder about the amount of terrible pain and suffering caused by events like fire, flood, landslide, hurricane, earthquake and deadly diseases, all evil emanating from a benign God. They questions, if God is unlimited in power, why is there so much evil in the world? If He is limitless in power, He should take away the evil. If he is omnipotent, he would have removed evil, they conclude, God is either limited in power or He does not exist at all.
Draper shows that the evolution is more likely to be true than theism. He points out that for naturalists, there is a lack of alternatives for evolution, while for the theist; anything is possible without any hard evidence. Draper admits that there are gaps in the knowledge regarding evolution. He discusses the pattern of pleasure and pain in conjunction with evolution as an argument for naturalism over theism, and points out that there are countless connections between pain, pleasure and reproductive success.
Draper states that, “the biological goal of reproductive success does not provide an omnipotent omniscient creator with a morally sufficient reason for permitting humans and animals to suffer in the ways they do or for limiting their pleasure to the sorts and amounts we find. ” He concludes that the moral randomness of pleasure and pain is due to the evolutionary naturalism, rather than to the presence of a supernatural God. (B) Summary of the Night by Elie Wiesel The book begins with fifteen-year-old Elie learning about his Jewish culture.
His teacher, Moshe the Beadle is deported, but he returns in a few months to warn his neighbors about the impeding horrors of the Gestapo, and Hitler, but he is not taken seriously and considered crazy. Soon after Moshe’s warnings, the Gestapo forces Elie and his neighbors into a ghetto in Sighet. Upon arrival to the camp, Elie and his father are separated from his mother and sisters. While waiting in line, someone tells Elie to hide their real ages and tell the soldiers that they are 18 and 40 to pass the selection process.
The prisoners are pushed to extreme hard work with a meager diet, many perish and those survive are marched towards Auschwitz, the main extermination camp. In the beginning laborers help each other, but after endless beatings and witnessing several hangings of fellow prisoners, the men are stripped of their faith, and they only look after themselves, while Elie prays for his father rather himself. The Russians advance allows Elie to run 50 miles on a broken limb to the nearest concentration camp.
After a few days, the Russians liberate the camp, the 100 prisoners in Gleiwitz are loaded in a cattle truck and headed for Buchenwald, Due to starvation and exhaustion, only 12 prisoners survive the journey, including Elie and his father. Unfortunately, Elie’s father pass away because of extreme exhaustion, Elie keeps himself alive, until Americans liberate Buchenwald. The novel tells the story of young boy, who looses his childhood, before he comes of age. The horror of camp and the extreme helpless makes him lose his faith and the belief in good. He often argues with God, but is sustained only by the need to care for his father.
Despite his prayers , he is rescued by an American tank, once again proves that perhaps the story of the God is a myth, and does not work in troubled time. The story is a sort of Exodus in reverse, with humiliation and death as its destination, not liberation and triumph. The Night creates the understanding of the Holocaust through the perceptive of a young storyteller. We move to the “Dawn” in which we find the main character as a young man, who is involved in a moral dilemma like Golding “lord of the flies” who suddenly realizes, that there is evil in all of us.
Man by nature is tilted towards evil, bounded by society and the civilization behaves rationally due to social forces. As Golding mentioned, man heart is the seat of all darkness. Man behaves judiciously, as long as the rule of law is there, the moment these forces are removed, man unleashes his evil. (c) Interview with an Imam 1) Why is there so much evil in the world? God has created the world as a temporal place for man, and this material world has flaws and evils is a part of this design. All good and evil comes from God; He is the grand designer of the universe, who knows his plans well.
Whatever befalls a man is from Him, and all good and evil will be accounted for in the world hereafter. Those who heeds to God words, will live in peace and those who do evil deeds will roast in hell as Quran mentions, “those who seek gain in evil are the companions of Fire”(2:81`Al-Baqara). 2) Why is there so much horrible evil in the world? Wouldn`t just a little evil provide humans with opportunities to grow and learn? God has created nothing without reason, and nothing is ultimately evil or good in its grand design. A snake poison may be harmful, but it is helpful in medicinal use.
Islam started as a revolution against the tyranny and injustice in the society. In today’s world, it is man who is inflicting pain on man, not God. Islam as a religion believes in sharing prosperity and forbids cruelty even against the animals, but man heart is harder than a rock. Allah warns all evildoers “Little is it for enjoyment: Their ultimate abode is Hell: what an evil bed (To lie on)! ” (3:197,Al-Imran) 3) Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil in the world? Certainly God is omnipotent, but we compare God with ourselves.
He is the greatest ruler and the lawgiver, who has ordained certain laws for the whole universe for a definite time. Why should He abstain from it. He can turn the whole world obedient, and make it a heaven, but it’s a trial for humanity. We consider Him a wizard, who by his magic wand without any reason should do things in haste and decide things in advance. God has set the world as trial to test the man’s true nature, evil is not outside man, but it is a part of man. God has not created man for sport and those who follow their instincts are worse than animals and will be accountable for their mis-deeds. d) Personal perspective on the problem of God and Evil It is often very heart breaking, when I see people getting killed in wars, by diseases, in storms and in earth quakes. Being a normal human being, it is hard to see this happening and not influenced by it. It may seem incomprehensible to justify the evil, however being a true believer in God; I do not idealize the world. Evil is the flip side of the good. Man fathoms things in comparison and contrast, such as day and night, pain and pleasure, beautiful and ugly and evil and good. Removing one will totally cancel the effect of the other.
Imagine the world without day or without beauty or just filled with pleasure, where will be the charm of the whole system of things. Plato once said, if there is no God– invent it. Without the concept of God, man will simply follow instincts, which only desires instant gratification, the result can be any immoral act justified for the sake of pleasure alone. We believe and respect the scientists for their knowledge and complex theories, which ranges from minute atomic structure to millions of miles away Mars, although none of us has seen it, but we believe scientists as the harbinger of the knowledge.
We never ask our parents for a proof, although there can be possibility of error. Man has acquired knowledge by trial and error, Gods knowledge is complete and perfect, and He sees things in a different dimension, which is beyond our comprehension. It is not easy to swallow pain, when our loved one departs, however it is also a reminder that I may not that far from death. Death has never been an end for me, being a believer it is part of my belief that death is transit to another life and I will join my loved ones at my appointed time.
Elie Wiesel: Teacher Resource File, http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/wiesel.htm (Nov, 2005)
King.R (1952), The Problem of Evil: Christian Concepts and the Book of Job, Ronald Press New York.
Online Religion Source, http://www.religion-online.org/indexbyauthor.asp (Nov, 2005)
Louis Pojman,Faith, Doubt, and Belief, http://www.faithquest.com (Nov 2005)
Swinburne.R (1998), Providence and the Problem of Evil, Clarendon Press Oxford.
Smith.B ,CyberGuide, http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/night/nighttg.html (Nov 2005)