The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 8, 2006

Philosophy of Religion

David E. White
Pages 103-107

Evil, Probation and the "Sunday Truth" of Theism

In this paper, I reconstruct the problem of evil as an argument to the conclusion, "No one can claim to be a theist without abandoning the ethics of belief that would ordinarily be required for a civil way of life." Most theistic replies to this argument reduce theism to a "Sunday truth," i.e., a sincere belief that has no direct relevance to ordinary life. Bishop Butler's position - that this world is best understood as a probationary state - is presented and defended. Nevertheless, Butler's argument that one follow the ethics of belief is consistent with being led to doubt God's existence.