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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 14870
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Antitheism and Gratuitous Evil
  Author(s):  Ebrahim Azadegan
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Heythrop Journal
  Vol.:  DOI: 10.1111/heyj.12717
  Year:  2017
  Supported by:  IPM
Antitheism is an axiological thesis concerning the existence of God. Its general claim is that the world would be worse if God existed than if he did not. Its narrow personal version, which seems to be resilient in the face of objections, maintains that it would be worse in certain respects for me if God existed than if he did not. The main argument which proponents of the narrow personal version of antitheism cite in favour of their view is based on the idea that there could possibly be a person who in all relevant theistic worlds in which she exists has a life plan essentially related to her belief that she has a completely private inner world, and that without this belief her life would be meaningless. In this paper I argue that personal antitheism can be defended against several objections. I argue that the personal form of antitheism reduces to a form of gratuitous evil. I then try to show that instead of denying the existence of gratuitous evil by approving sceptical theism, one can accept the existence of gratuitous evil and show that this sort of evil provides for a special sort of goodness. In line with this, I then demonstrate that the existence of personal antitheists makes the world a more valuable place than a Godless world free of antitheists would be. I conclude that even for antitheists the existence of God is valuable, because they can thereby find a new meaning for their lives.

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