Human Rights and the Problem of Evil Essay

1936 Words 8 Pages
Human Rights and the Problem of Evil

Arguably, the greatest challenge to faith in the omnipotent, omniscient, and fully good being ("God") is the problem of evil: There is so much evil in the world, so why does not God eliminate the evil? A number of solutions were proposed, with the main argument that life can only be meaningful if people have to fight against problems and have freedom to try different solutions, and that interference of God would cause people to rely on God instead of fighting the problems (evil) themselves. Assuming that this argument is plausible, as I do for this paper, another problem must be solved.

Justice and human rights appear to be the basic principles of civilized society. It is considered wrong to
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Violations by God are violations and as such would be inherently wrong. Since God is always good and such violations occur, they are not inherently wrong (assuming that God exists).

If denial of inalienable rights is not inherently wrong, then why is it wrong? Would it be right to drug and torture a captured soldier to extract invaluable information? The answer is that denial of basic rights by people is wrong not because of the inherent wrongness but because of the great dangers of such denials and because of the inherent fallibility of humans.

Suppose that you see a person who has captured a young child. He tells you he is "creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, ... but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death one tiny creature" (from essay "Rebellion" in Reason and Responsibility) the child that he is holding. He then asks you for advice on whether to kill the child. How should you answer?

The child should live because her torture and death would be a real evil but the promise of making men happy in the end is an illusion. Even if he believes or believes that he knows that the torture will lead to human salvation he would still be unjustified because of fallibility of beliefs. In other words, the child should live regardless of the expected utility of her death.


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