June 6, 2013

Marilyn McCord Adams on Evil and Optimism

Marilyn McCord Adams (born 1943) is an American philosopher working in philosophy of religion, philosophical theology and medieval philosophy.

Adams was educated at the University of Illinois (AB); Cornell University (PhD 1967); and Princeton Theological Seminary (ThM 1984, 1985); and holds the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of Oxford (2008).

Adams' work in philosophy has focused on the philosophy of religion, especially the problem of evil, philosophical theology, metaphysics and medieval philosophy. Her work on the problem of evil largely focuses on what she calls "horrendous evils". She is an avowed Christian universalist, believing that ultimately all will receive salvation and restoration in Christ.
Marilyn McCord Adams on Evil and Optimism. Source: YouTube channel Gottfried Leibniz. Date Published: February 16, 2013.

"The world is riddled with what I've called horrendous evils. They're not a rare thing. And it's easy to become a participant in them. And thousands, millions of people, are participating in them now even as we speak. And so what I want to say to people who don't believe in God is this, if you're optimistic and idealistic, if you think life is worth living and you have high purposes in your life, this is not a rational posture unless you think that there is some superhuman power who is capable of making good on the many and various horrors that human beings perpetuate everyday on one another, and which could befall you tomorrow, even in the next half hour." - Marilyn McCord Adams.

"I'm saying that a condition of the possibility of an optimistic worldview being true is that there exists a superhuman power that is good enough and resourceful enough to make good on the many and various horrors that riddle our world. So it's a pragmatic argument. It's a bit like Kant's moral argument. Kant says well the moral life is worth living, moral endeavour is what makes human beings so special. But the moral life can be worth living only if God exists and there is immortality. So I'm making an argument that's analogous to that. If you really open your eyes and see how riddled with horrors the world we live in is and you still find yourself deeply optimistic and idealistic then a condition of the possibility of your posture in life being reasonable is a belief in a God who is good enough and resourceful enough to make good on it all." - Marilyn McCord Adams.