Talk:Problem of evil

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The hebrew bible is not judaism[edit]

Don't want to make a long rant here, but it is a typically Christian move to think about the Christian "Old Testament" as somehow "Jewish" and to have sections exactly the one we have here, where you quote something from the OT and call it "the Jewish perspective on X". It is about as stupid as taking a quote from the new testament and calling it "the Christian perspective on X." Any reasonable Christian perspective on X will (probably) start with a biblical passage and then have layers of interpretation through the centuries - here is where Augustine went with that, where Aquinas went, Luther, Calvin, Barth, whatever - like in the Christian section of this article. It is ludicrous to have passages from the Bible like this, to cover "Judaism". There are many interpretations of these passages in Christian and Jewish and Muslim traditions, some of which are fairly mainstream and some of which are fringe-y, in those traditions. The passages themselves are foundations; starting places. I also want to note that Isaiah is way more important for Christianity than for Judaism. Bizarre to single out Isaiah in a section on Judaism, unless you are a Christian trying (pretty lamely) to write about Judaism. Jytdog (talk) 21:37, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Previous user is at 3 reverts and appears to be deleting all references to the Hebrew bible for any reason at hand against NPOV policy. BRD is invoked for purpose of previous user obtaining consensus prior to further edits which refer to the "Hebrew Bible" in relation to Judaism, and do not even mention the words "OLD Testament." Consensus is required prior to further reverts, you have already reverted this three times, with two editors restoring verified text. FelixRosch (talk) 21:57, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I opened the discussion, and will not revert again. I am not "deleting all references to the Hebrew Bible." Please address what I wrote above. thanks. Jytdog (talk) 22:09, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
My comment above was predicated on dialogue. If User:FelixRosch will not Talk, then I will go ahead and delete again tomorrow. Jytdog (talk) 19:23, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Went ahead and removed this section again, in this dif. I want to note that these three paragraphs also violate WP:OR and that the one decent secondary source that was provided, was by a Christian biblical scholar. Jytdog (talk) 14:04, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
The fact that no one has joined in for your opinion should have been sufficient reason for you to stop serially reverting text. You are violating 3RR and edit warring against two editors. You must obtain consensus before making any further edits on this issue. No one is in agreement with you. FelixRosch (talk) 18:55, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Felix, BRD has a D in it. You can't invoke BRD and then insist "no consensus has formed" while refusing to collaborate. This sort of participation is disruptive. Either join the discussion, or drop it, but stop edit warring. Regarding the content dispute itself, Jytdog has a point about OR. I don't see any secondary sources discussing this issue (particularly within the context of Judaism). If we find secondary sources, we can consider reintroducing the content. I've found that these sort of obscure religious articles very frequently suffer from these sorts of problems, so it's not surprising. Thanks for catching that, Jytdog!   — Jess· Δ 19:11, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Yup. I'm inclined to agree with Jytdog too. There appears to be no source cited in the 'Hebrew Bible' section presenting the arguments given, and consequently, it looks like WP:OR to me too. And why does a section on Judaism quote the (Christian) King James translation, only to then explain (as if our readers can't figure it out for themselves) that the translation isn't appropriate anyway? As our Book of Job article indicates, there seems to be no lack of appropriate sources which can be used for a properly-sourced section, which avoids digressions and presents the multiple views of Judaism on the subject. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:18, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Greetings to all three respondents now. If even one of you would have joined with Jytdog over the last two days, then I certainly would have responded at that time. With three of you responding now, the situation is quite different and Jytdog does not seem to be the single and isolated voice from the last two days. Over the past two days I have presented two separate versions of this restoration the material being deleted by Jytdog. There are three paragraphs involved in the section being deleted, call them (a), (b), (c), respectively. In the first edit I posted, I responded to the concern raised by Jytdog that there was a hidden Christian reference in the text by deleting the third paragraph (c) in its entirety, and also strengthening the wording in the first two paragraphs to ensure that no mention of the words "Old Testament" appeared anywhere and to replace them with the exclusive use of the "Hebrew bible". Although Ehrman mentioned in paragraph (c) was previously protestant, he is now apparently a secular professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, and even though he is neither Chr nor Jewish now, in wanting to be fair to the issue raised by Jytdog my restore completely removed paragraph (c) before restoring the deleted subsection. User Jytdog then completely deleted the section again in its entirety. The reason given was that Judaism has no relation to the Hebrew bible. This seemed odd since the Hebrew bible is written in Hebrew (the generally accepted language of Judaism), was written by Jewish authors, and written primarily for Jewish audiences and believers. Jytdog's claim of no relation between Judaism appeared to lack any support, and as a result I returned the full edit of three paragraphs in its original form. The conduct of Jytdog I then documented as resembling that of someone who was determined to eliminate all reference to the Hebrew bible for any reason at hand. @Mann_jess and @AndyTheGrump, perhaps the discussion should be in terms of which paragraphs of (a), (b), (c) are the cause of the difficulty and to assess them on a one-by-one basis, deleting all three still seems excessive. Let me know your thoughts, and with three of you responding this is very different than when only one person was deleting a full subsection as an isolated voice. FelixRosch (talk) 23:00, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Can you start by telling us which sources the first two paragraphs are derived from? AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:11, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
I think Andy's question is a good starting point. Without detracting from that, Felix, you should know that you should always discuss changes with other editors when reverting. That doesn't change when it's just one editor (in fact, if anything, it makes discusion more important.) I just wanted to make a note of that for your future reference since you talked about it above. Let's move forward by focusing on discussing article content. The best way to do that is if you can point to the sources we're using. Thanks!   — Jess· Δ 23:45, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Both users AndyTheGrump and User:Mann_jess are correct in this and greetings after the week-end. Over the week-end I found this reference: (The Old Testament. Modern Library Edition, Introduction, authored by George Steiner, p. v-xvi), which is writen by a professor at Cambridge University George Steiner who identifies himself as Jewish and in the department of Comparative Literature. His Introduction covers both the Book of Job and the Book of Isaiah. Let me know if this helps for the restoration of the text with the citation added or if you might need further cites. Also, there is no reason not to get even further citations using the good idea of AndyTheGrump to obtain a number of them from the bibliography of Book of Job if the further references are needed. The reference I presented above is from Cambridge University and should meet neutrality requirements for wikipedia. FelixRosch (talk) 18:36, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
What does Steiner say about the Book of Job? AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:43, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
The issues are weight and scope, sources. With regard to weight and scope: (scope part) would you please point out where there is any discussion of foundational texts in other sections on religious perspectives (Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism)? I do not think you can. (weight part): would you please provide some justification, ideally with a source, as to why the Jewish section should have over 2/3 of its length devoted to discussion of its foundational text, and zero on what any named Jewish thinkers had to say (where is anybody from the Talmud, or the early rebbes, or Mainmonides or Spinoza (if Spinoza?) or the Star of Redemption or Hertzl any of a bazillion actual Jewish thinkers). With regard to sources: we need sources that claim that Job and Isaiah are the key biblical texts for Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil; does the Steiner source say that? If so, please provide the page so I can verify. As I stated in the beginning, it is pretty clear to me that somebody stuck a discussion of these two books into this section, as filler, and that the editor who did that had no ideas, and no sources, about Jewish perspectives on the "problem of evil". Jytdog (talk) 19:06, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Greetings AndyTheGrump, Mann_jess, and Jytdog. Here is another professor in good standing Professor Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt University: (The Old Testament, (The Great Courses, Book Number 653, The Teaching Company.) Chapter 19 is titled "The Southern Kingdom" and documents the prophet Isaiah recording the destruction of Jerusalem as an evil visited upon the Jewish people living in Israel at that time.) Professor Levine is in agreement with Professor Steiner as to this issue of the destruction of Jerusalem as being an evil upon the Jewish people along with the suffering and evil of their captivity and enslavement after the destruction of Jerusalem. In the same reference, Chapter 22, Professor Levine documents the Book of Job as the test and trial of Job by evil brought upon him as a testing of his faith, in order to see if his faithfulness can withstand the challenges and problems of evil. Professor Steiner accepts and documents the same reading and Professor Levine in his reference which I have provided above and both of these professors are in agreement. @Jytdog, this is now the third argument you have made, this time apparently suggesting that further subsections on "Maimonides on Evil", and "Spinoza on Evil", and other Jewish scholars writing on evil, would be interesting and helpful, but, this is a separate issue for separate subsections or expansions. Both Professor Steiner and Professor Levine are scholars of good standing at major universities who provide documentation for the present edit which is being evaluated. Their support is direct and in full agreement with the texts of the Book of Job and the Book of Isaiah. @AndyTheGrump and Mann_jess, possibly with two citations for each of these now, it is sufficient to help restore the edit. FelixRosch (talk) 21:48, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
You are not addressing what I asked; if we are going to include a discussion of Isaiah in this section on Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil (not "bad things that may or may not have happened to ancient israelites" but rather "Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil") - we need a source that says that the text of Isaiah is somehow important for Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil. You don't seem to have a source that says that. I am sure you can find lots of people who have written about the book of Isaiah; that is a different matter altogether.Jytdog (talk) 22:44, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
And you misunderstand my point about Jewish thinkers; Jewish thinkers represent Jewish perspectives, just like the Christian thinkers discussed in the Christian section represent Christian perspectives. And yes that is a third argument about why discussions of biblical books is inappropriate in the section on Jewish perspectives.Jytdog (talk) 00:45, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Geetings AndyTheGrump, Mann_jess, and Jytdog. (Resetting tab for readability). Both users AndyTheGrump and Mann_jess have asked for citations to this edit in the Judaism section and I have now provided two each for the Book of Job and the Book of Isaiah from two separate Professors at the Cambridge University and Vanderbilt University. This should be normally sufficient to meet neutral and objective citation requirements. User:Jytdog now is changing his position again to indicate that an entire new subsection on a new topic Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil is required in order avoid blanking out a large part of this section. His previous arguments were that there were hidden Christian references, and his unexpected heading that "the hebrew bible is not judaism" even though it is written in Hebrew (the principle language of Judaism) and written by Jewish authors for Jewish audiences. It should be noted that the documented experience of evil and suffering of Jewish populations in Israel in the Hebrew bible is notable and informs the discussion of the problem of evil. The references I have provided are normally sufficient to retain and re-post this deleted section material for this survey to be supported at this time to return the deleted three paragraphs:

OPPOSE User:Jytdog. The material should be deleted. The deleted text can only be supported is the presence of an extensive section on Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil. User:Jytdog.

(note for the archives. I did not write the text above and would not have written it; it was written by User:FelixRosch and oddly "signed" by Jytdog as though I wrote it. Jytdog (talk) 23:00, 1 February 2014 (UTC))

SUPPORT The section portions should be returned and re-posted since they now have two references each from University Professors and should be re-posted on this wikipage. Deleting all references to the Hebrew bible for any reason at hand is excessive and should not be supported. FelixRosch (talk) 19:40, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

User:FelixRosch you are consistently misrepresenting me. Frustrating. You have not brought any sources that discuss Jewish perspectives on the problem of evil. This is not an article on Isaiah nor on Job nor on ancient near eastern history nor on representations of evil in literature. It is an article on the problem of evil. The section is Jewish perspectives on that problem. To remind you, the "problem" is how to reconcile the existence of evil with a god that is all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing. Nothing you have written and no source you have brought speaks to the topic. For pete's sake.Jytdog (talk) 20:13, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Yup. Sources for the section need to discuss the section topic. Directly. Not 'informing' a discussion, but discussing it in detail. FelixRosch, you are going about this in completely the wrong way - you don't write articles and then look for sources to back them up, you find the sources first, and write the article accordingly. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:14, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Andy. And Felix, I am not talking about creating a new section. Please look at the actual article. It is called "Problem of evil"; it has a section called "By religion" and there is a subsection of that called "Judaism", which is where the paragraphs discussing Isaiah and Job were before I deleted them. What content goes in that section? Jewish religious perspectives on the problem of evil. Additionally (4th ground for excluding the paragraphs, brought up in response to what you write above) most scholars of religion understand that ancient israelites were not religiously "Jewish" in any meaningful sense of that term; it is very sloppy to talk without nuance about any "experience of ... Jewish populations in Israel in the Hebrew bible" as you have done above; and along those lines it is also not valid to simply assume the author(s) of Isaiah and Job were religiously Jewish. Foundational religious texts (including their authors and the origin of stories in them) are not continuous in any simple way with religions built on them. This article is not the place to go into any of that. Again, if say Martin Buber or Franz Rosenzweig or Rabbi Akiva calls up Isaiah or Job in the course of laying out his approach to the problem of evil, that would be a valid content discussing those books. But the content would be about Buber's, Rosenzweig's, or Akiva's approach, not about the books per se. Jytdog (talk) 23:01, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Felix, let's be succinct. Please post a direct link to a source you want to include in this article, and exact wording you feel follows from the source. For instance: ""This source should be included with this wording: 'The problem of evil is an important topic in Judaism.'""   — Jess· Δ 23:10, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Large chunk of text seems to be OR and EDITORIAL[edit]

There is a long paragraph that needs some copy editing, but I wonder if the whole paragraph is original research and editorializing.

Although this concepts had been argued by some to how the events and calamities in the nature and environment are not the problem, for that this are a natural process and part of the cyclical nature of the ecosystem. That the fault is in man's inability to adopt to its environment, and not the environment itself, for the reason that man is ignorant and blind to his surroundings as he integrate himself with a group of people to form a society and build a technology. Establishing that animals sense when danger are coming, except man, even though he is also part of the ecosystem. An analogy given is in how a driver shouldn't complain that his car experience accidents and incidents that are done due to how the driver handles his car within his line of sight. That he shouldn't even put the blame to the car manufacturer when he is involved on a car wrecked, when the fault lies on his way of driving the car. Equating that what most people are doing is blaming God, or the car manufacturer and not acknowledging their faults. Another raised point is in the technology that man builds, for instead of a technology that complements and aligns with nature, man builds a technology that alienates and harms it. He build his city near a dangerous prone area, and complains of the conditions that he experienced in the land he lives. As George Carlin said, one shouldn't complained on volcanoes and being buried to thousands of earthquake rubble, when they build their homes next to an active volcano. Blaming a person/s, object, or deity, for their own ignorance and inability to adapt to their environment, and also to the lack of responsibility and awareness to the consequences of their actions.

I am inclined to just boldy delete it. Opinions? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Whikie (talkcontribs) 22:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Please include one more religions view[edit]

Please include the religous view of the Latter - Day Saints! Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

The standard answer to this kind of a request is "wp:so fix it"; you can either discuss in more detail here on the talk page what you think needs to be added, or you can yourself add that content to the article. Asterisk*Splat 15:50, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
The LDS section has some good things, but lots of irrelevant stuff that bury the two salient points (e.g. nuances of the LDS definition of "omnipotent" are different, and the LDS variant of Irenaean theodicy). Will summarize soon. Yasashiku (talk) 21:46, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

it is the case that the point of judgement and creation being the same thing has been part of the introduction of this page for a long time; it is subsequently the people who keep taking it off who are persistent editors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Nope - it doesn't work that way. You have been reverted by multiple contributors, and you have to establish that the material belongs. If the material is to be included, it needs to be on the basis of consensus. And as I see it, there are two problems with the disputed material. Firstly, the article lede is intended to summarise material in the body of the article, rather than presenting a particular perspective on the problem, as done here. And secondly, the disputed material cites what appears to be a personal website, rather than a published reliable source - it is almost always inappropriate to reference content to such sources. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:23, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
I second what AndyTheGrump has stated. Additionally, in this kind of edit conflict, the article should go back to it's most recent steady state, before the conflict began, and the objectionable edits should not be reinserted unless there is a consensus to do so on this talk page. Asterisk*Splat 00:29, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Hi, sorry I just saw this at the bottom of the page, I was looking at the top; I've started another/identical topic below.The point addresses The Problem of Evil Specifically and references an argument and the Wikipedia page for Judgement Day. The point of judgement and creation being the same deals with the topic of the Problem of Evil specifically; there are other points in the introduction that deal with generic evil which might be better suited to the page for Evil itself but I will (out of politeness), not remove them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Creation-Judgement explanation in the introduction[edit]

Articles can be as helpful as they can be or they can be unnecessarily troubling to their readers who could be of any age. The point that there is an explanation that equates creation and judgement is helpful and reassuring. People who quickly look up The Problem of Evil can quickly have confidence in the idea of the meaningfulness of existence brought about by the goodness of God. The sooner a reader considers the explanation the more equipped they will be for dismissing the unhelpful ideas of people who have argued that God cannot be good; but it is blatantly the case that we can see how we could come to a conclusion that He is all powerful, all knowing and good.

What is certainly the case is that the introduction to The Problem of Evil contains comments about generic evil which might be better suited to the Wikipedia page for Evil. The point about creation and judgement being the same thing is precisely about The Problem of Evil. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding as to the purpose of this encyclopaedia. It is not here to create "confidence in the idea of the meaningfulness of existence brought about by the goodness of God". It is not even here to create confidence in the existence of a God or gods - omnibenevolent or otherwise. Instead, it is here to inform readers as to what scholarly sources have to say on particular topics - in this case, the problem of evil, as defined by said sources. If you wish to promote a particular explanation because you personally find it "helpful and reassuring" and because you consider particular arguments "blatantly the case", you will need to find somewhere else to do so. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:55, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

What is the point of scholarship? And what makes you think that you have the authority to exclude the idea that it can be for the creation of confidence? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:03, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

The 'point of of scholarship', as far as Wikipedia is concerned, is that it provides the necessary sources for our articles. As for 'authority', Wikipedia has policies - arrived at through consensus after considerable debate - concerning article content. If you wish to contribute towards Wikipedia, you will have to conform to such policies. I am going to remove the material you have added one final time - and if you restore it without prior consensus, I shall report you for edit-warring, which will undoubtedly lead to you being blocked from editing. The choice is yours. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:12, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

I happen to think that any scholarship and any encyclopedia exists to equip its readership with the ability to speak confidently about a particular area of interest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Given your repeated violation of Wikipedia rules against edit-warring, I have reported the matter. I suggest that while you are blocked, you take the time to read up on Wikipedia policies and guidelines regarding content, and then decide whether you are willing to work within them, or would prefer to promote your ideas elsewhere. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:34, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Did someone really delete my comment from this discussion; that seems low and detracts from what this is. It was previously suggested that my description of creation and judgement being the same be made in the main body of the page; it would be lovely if someone could please put it there. (I had wanted it to be in the introduction - and that was the issue, or was it? was it in fact taken off because of bias?). Here's what I said: " I have been blocked. And I am considering the policies and guidelines. I would appreciate it if the following paragraph could be included in the responses and theodicies section of The Problem of Evil (by anyone reading this or yourself Andy): "These include the explanation that God's act of creation and God's act of judgment are the same God's condemnation of evil is believed to be executed and expressed in his created world; a judgement that is unstoppable due to God's all powerful will; a constant and eternal judgement that becomes announced and communicated to other people on Judgment Day. In this explanation, God's judgement of evil is declared to be a good judgement." Many thanks." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Last Paragraph of the Free Will Section[edit]

The last paragraph of the free will section is poorly written and appears to be original research. I'd remove it myself, but the article is semi-protected. For clarity, I'm referring to the paragraph that compares free will to a video game. The sentence, "That is to say that like how one could choose to think..." in particular just kills me. (talk) 20:21, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

No mention of William Lane Craig[edit]

How can you have an article regarding the Problem of Evil, and not mention perhaps the second foremost scholar in the field (after Alvin Plantinga), Dr. William Lane Craig? It's at the very top of the Google search too (talk) 11:19, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Craig may be a top scholar of philosophy of religion, and he should surely be included in any article on the cosmological argument, but what original contributions has he made to the problem of evil? If none, then why should he be cited? (talk) 22:13, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

I'll let 680 citations speak for itself ( (talk) 04:37, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Unless those 680 citations are to an original contribution on the problem of evil, I don't agree that he *has* to be included. Bertrand Russell has over twice the number of citations and is not included(, correctly I believe, because he did not make an original contribution to the subject. (talk) 23:21, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

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