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How could a benevolent god allow evil? Is it really just a matter of free will?

The question of evil has troubled theologians and philosophers for millennia. How could a just and loving god allow for human-inflicted evils such as genocide and torture? Are these painful parts of the human experience the inevitable outcome of god-given free will? Part of BBC Radio 4’s A History of Ideas series, this animated short uses comic book-style animations to explore one of philosophy’s most challenging and ubiquitous questions, examining the ‘free will defence’, which some believers in a good god have put forward to explain why we still suffer at each other’s hands.

Video by BBC Radio 4

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animation: Andrew Park

23 January 2015

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