By Donald A. Crosby
How a faith in line with the sacredness of nature offers with the matter of evil.
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Extra resources for Living with Ambiguity: Religious Naturalism and the Menace of Evil
Alternatively, perhaps there would be no births in this world; perhaps all of its individual immortal creatures, as well as their respective species, would be present in it from the beginning and never reproduce. This imagined world, which we are requiring to be unambiguously good in every respect and every detail, would be devoid of any kind of human moral misdeed, however slight or heinous, and whether committed by mistake, neglect, or deliberate intent. All its human beings without exception would do only good and never evil.
The potentiality and high probability of moral evil are therefore contained within the good of freedom. Not to have the ability to commit evil acts would be to have a freedom without significant alternatives and without significant consequences. This would be a curious kind of freedom, a freedom hardly worth the name. Evil acts on the part of human beings are not made totally explicable by their possession of freedom. Other factors are involved as well—indifference, greed, anger, hatred, prejudice, lust, jealousy, fear, mental illness, addiction, and the like.
Such a world would contain none of the systemic natural evils that we have talked about, and its human creatures would neither commit nor permit moral evils of any kind. It would be unqualifiedly good in all of its aspects and would lack no possible or pertinent goods. In a word, it would be a perfect world. It might seem obvious that such a world would be much more deserving of reverence, devotion, and trust than the present world I am proposing as a suitable object of religious faith. We will find reason presently to question this assumption, but let us continue trying to imagine a perfect world free of all traces of ambiguity.