Table of contents:
- Origin of the word
- Theodicy - what is it?
- Who is the "father" of theodicy
- Theodicy in antiquity
- Medieval Theodicy
- Which thinkers considered this topic
- Theodicy today
Most of us know what philosophy and theology are. At the same time, very few people know the interpretation of the term "theodicy". This, meanwhile, is a very important philosophical doctrine, over some of the ideas of which, without knowing it, everyone thought at least once in their life. Let's find out what it studies and on what principles it is based.
Origin of the word
This term comes from ancient Greek. It is derived from theos ("God") and dike ("justice").
When and by whom exactly it was first used - not revealed. However, long before theodicy was used as a special term, the word appeared in separate works of many thinkers and philosophers.
Theodicy - what is it?
Having considered what the noun under study means, it will be easier to understand its meaning. After all, it is precisely in this name that the essence of theodicy lies, which means a set of religious and philosophical doctrines aimed at justifying the presence of evil in the world, provided that the universe is controlled by the almighty and good Almighty.
Quite often theodicy is called "justification of God", although during its existence some philosophers and theologians arguedabout the expediency of trying to judge the actions of the Creator of the universe.
The one who dared to talk about the causes of human suffering, always had to build his arguments based on 4 principles:
- God exists.
- He is all good.
- Evil really exists.
It turned out that in itself each principle of theodicy did not contradict the other.
However, if we consider them all at the same time, contradictions arose, which they still try to explain to this day.
Who is the "father" of theodicy
This term was introduced with the light hand of the famous German philosopher, logician and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
This man was truly a universal genius. It was he who developed the foundations of the binary system, without which computer science could not exist.
Besides this, Leibniz became the father of the science of combinatorics and, in parallel with Newton, developed differential and integral calculus.
Among other achievements of Gottfried Leibniz are the discovery of the law of conservation of energy and the invention of the first mechanical calculating machine, which could not only add and subtract, but also multiply and divide.
In addition to his active passion for the exact sciences, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz also studied philosophy and theology. Being a scientist, he remained a sincere believer. Moreover, he was of the opinion that science and the Christian religion are not enemies, but allies.
Like any reasonable person with greatdeveloped logical thinking, Leibniz could not help but notice some contradictions in Christian dogmas about the goodness of the Almighty and universal evil.
In order to somehow settle this unspoken "conflict", in 1710 the scientist published a treatise "An experience of theodicy about the goodness of God, the freedom of man and the origin of evil."
This work became very popular and gave impetus to the final formation of the doctrine of theodicy.
This has become a very popular topic of controversy not only in philosophy but also in literature.
Theodicy in antiquity
There have been attempts to explain why the Creator allows suffering and injustice since ancient times. However, in the era of polytheism (polytheism), this issue was considered in a slightly different way. Since each of the deities had its own sphere of influence, it was always possible to find someone to “blame” for the problems of mankind.
But even at that time, thinkers were already thinking about the root of evil in principle and the conniving attitude of higher powers towards it.
So, one of the first discussions on this topic belongs to Epicurus of Samos. He gave 4 logical explanations for how a good higher power can allow evil.
- God wants to rid the world of suffering, but it is not in His power.
- God can save the world from evil, but is not willing.
- God cannot and does not want to put the world out of suffering.
- God is able and willing to save the world from suffering, but does not.
Besides Epicurus, other ancient thinkers also thought about this. So already in those dayswas a very tangible manifestation of theodicy in philosophy. This is typical for the works of Lucian (dialogue "Zeus indicted") and Plato (claimed that the existence of evil is not a reliable argument against the existence of the Almighty and his good disposition).
They were later used by Christian theologians to form their own doctrine.
The fact that Epicurus, Lucian, Plato and other ancient philosophers pondered the paradox of the existence of suffering and divine goodness in the era of polytheism suggests that the problem of theodicy is older than many modern religions.
After Christianity finally took shape as a religion and even acquired a militant form, for several centuries philosophers and theologians could not even afford to voice thoughts about the imperfection of the world. After all, the Inquisition was on guard, ready to take the life of anyone who dares only to think about the shortcomings of Christianity. And there were many of them, both secular and religious authorities did not hesitate to oppress ordinary people, covering up their actions with divine will.
It has come to the point that in Europe they began to slowly withdraw the Holy Scriptures from the hands of ordinary people, depriving them of the opportunity to check whether priests and rulers are telling the truth.
For these reasons, theodicy was kept underground in the Middle Ages. Among those few who at least somehow touched on this topic, one can name the legendary church leader and philosopherAugustine Aurelius (Blessed Augustine).
In his writings, he adhered to the idea that God is not to blame for the evil existing in the world, since it is a consequence of human sinfulness. a similar doctrine, by the way, is still used in many Christian denominations today.
Which thinkers considered this topic
In later centuries (when the church lost its influence on society), it became quite fashionable to blaspheme the dogmas of religion. In this vein, many have thought about theodicy. It became as popular as writing religious treatises in the Middle Ages.
In response to the work of Leibniz, which Voltaire considered overly optimistic, this author wrote his own philosophical story Candide (1759). In it, he quite caustically walked through many contemporary realities and expressed the idea of the meaninglessness of suffering. Thus denying the theodicy idea that God allows evil for a specific purpose.
P. A. Holbach was able to more systematically criticize all the ideas of Leibniz. He expressed the idea that there is no place for theodicy in philosophy. This was done in The System of Nature (1770).
Among other critical individuals is F. M. Dostoevsky. In his novel The Brothers Karamazov, he expresses a denial of the dissolution of torment or the guilt of one person in the harmony of the world whole.
Besides Dostoevsky, L.N. Tolstoy in the work "The Pillar and Ground of Truth".
In most moderncivilized countries, the imposition of their own religious views is a thing of the past and is even punishable by law. Thus, a person has the opportunity to choose how to believe in God and whether to believe at all.
This situation has contributed to the emergence of new arguments in favor of theodicy. This is primarily due to the results of numerous experiments that have proven that for the formation of a person's personality and his constant development, he needs certain stresses from time to time, from contact with evil.
Thus, in 1972, a well-known experiment with mice was conducted in the USA, called "Universe-25". The bottom line was that 4 pairs of he althy mice of childbearing age were placed in a huge tank with all the amenities. At first, they actively multiplied and settled in free space.
When the inhabitants of the mouse paradise became enough, they had a hierarchy, in which there were both the elite and the outcasts. And all this despite ideal living conditions (protection from infections, cold and hunger).
However, gradually more and more so-called beautiful mice began to appear among males. They cared only about their own appearance, he alth and food. At the same time, they did not want to take part in the life of their community, fight for territory, protect females, mate and breed.
At the same time, a similar female mouse model of behavior appeared. Gradually, the number of offspring decreased until the mice stopped mating altogether and all died of old age.
Based on the results of such an experiment (as well as on other observations and psychological experiments), humanity has come to the conclusion that the absolute satisfaction of all desires and the absence of dangers and needs is contraindicated for a person. For in this way she loses her incentive to develop and invariably degenerates, first morally, and then physically.
That is why the main argument of modern theodicy (which justifies the presence of misfortunes in the world, subject to the existence of an almighty good God) is that He allows a certain level of evil, as an incentive for the education of mankind, in general, and each of its representatives specifically.
Besides this, today the opinion continues to be popular that the negative in people's lives is sent by the Almighty as a kind of manifestation of their true essence, as in the biblical story with Job. So, with the help of suffering, God helps a person to open up and show his insides, what he would not do if he had problems.
What is evil: the imperfection of the Almighty, His indifference, a stimulus for the development of mankind or a catalyst for the manifestation of its true essence? Theologians and philosophers will argue about this issue as long as there is intelligent life on Earth and are unlikely to come to a consensus. Since how to respond to evil and reconcile its presence with one's faith, each person ultimately decides for himself.