I would guess that most everyone is familiar and knowledgeable of the “Problem of Evil”. If not, I found the rationalwiki page on the “Problem of Evil” informative http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil
which might be a good starting point for anyone not familiar with this concept. I would not be surprised if most here on these forums are familiar with rationalwiki and perhaps even contributed to it. I actually found these forums through the rationalwiki article on “Why won’t god heal amputees”.
From my point of view, I think the “Problem of Hell” and subsequently my version of the “Problem of Heaven” have more impact than the “Problem of Evil” but I digress and will save that for my introduction post. Here I’m going to ask the ‘what if’ question regarding the “Problem of Evil”.
What if god solved the problem of evil?
Imagine if there was no holocaust or genocide in human history. From my perspective these acts are obviously evil but for sake of argument I’ll just call it perceived evil from a matter of perspective as what I would say is an evil person or being would view this evil as good. Since god prevented the holocaust or any genocide from happening, we humans would have no knowledge or reference to this type of perceived evil. I would guess that in this scenario we might be capable of imagining such perceived evil. Murder would still occur and making the leap from killing one person to imagining killing many people might not be too big of a leap. Although going from one or perhaps a dozen people to millions of people might require a large and perhaps perverse imagination.
Now imagine if there was no murder at all. Again since god prevented the killing of any human being, we would have no knowledge or reference to this type of perceived evil. I think we would still be able to imagine such perceived evil because we would still be killing animals and be capable of striking each other or harming each other without killing. I think at this point however the idea of genocide becomes unimaginable unless you consider what humans do to livestock like cows, pigs, chickens, goats, turkeys and other animals.
What if there was no murder or killing at all of humans and other animals. Some people view the killing of cows and other animals as evil. What if god made humans to not have any desire to eat animals as well as not be able to murder other humans. Now certainly, genocide would be unimaginable in this scenario. Even if it was, it would be so incomprehensible to be deemed nearly impossible if not the ravings of a lunatic. In this world where no genocide or murder occurs, the greatest perceived evil would be inflicting harm without killing.
I personally consider rape to be as bad as murder but for the purpose of this discussion I’m not going to get into that, let’s just say in this scenario god prevented all rape at the same time that all murder was prevented.
Lets now imagine if god prevented any and all harm from being inflicted by any one person onto any other person. What would the worst perceived evil be then? I might say stealing, as that might be a big reason to harm or murder someone in the first place. Perhaps god would have to prevent stealing before other perceived evils could be prevented. Verbal abuse or lying might be the next worst perceived evils.
I can’t even if imagine what such a world would be like if murder had never occurred in the history of the human race. I could imagine what life would be like in this world if we as human beings somehow stopped murdering each other, but not if murder had never happened.
What if god prevented all of what we in this world commonly perceive as evil?
Eventually, perceived evil might become what we in this world perceive as good. Perhaps only helping one person instead of two would be perceived as evil. I’m guessing here as it is difficult to imagine such a world. I find this to be an interesting rabbit hole.
Of course none of this suggests that the “Problem of Evil” doesn’t defeat the idea of god. It is just a what if scenario which I as a mere mortal am simply curious about. If god were indeed all knowing, all powerful and all loving then god would be capable of figuring out a way to solve the problem of evil. If god were not all knowing, all powerful or all loving then god is not worth worshiping nor would be capable of creating the universe and does not exist.
Anyway, I was also curious if any philosophers in history discuss or write about the “What if” question in regards to the “Problem of Evil”.