Some quick thoughts on the “character-building” theodicy

  1. Firstly, I don’t think character-building is a good thing in itself. I think it’s only instrumentally good. But let’s give the character-building theodicy a bit of a break and see where it takes us.
  2. It doesn’t explain instances of suffering where someone is crushed by suffering.
  3. It doesn’t explain instances of suffering caused by nature-i.e. natural evil.
  4. It doesn’t plausibly explain the suffering of animals. Yes, you can try and combine theism with some story (auxiliary hypothesis) where, for example, there is a heaven and animals look back on their experiences on earth. However, this is only a logically possible story or epistemically possible story—it does not meeting the definition of a (good) theodicy.
  5. It doesn’t explain the suffering of infants. Even when conjoined with the idea of “Heaven” (which itself is a bad explanation/improbable) , it doesn’t explain infants who die before being born or die very young.
  6. The distribution of suffering across nations, among the poor/rich, etc., doesn’t make sense on the character-building theodicy.
  7. Character-building doesn’t explain all the types/instances and distribution of HORRIFIC suffering in the world. Horrific suffering is not needed to build character. In fact no suffering/evil at all is required to improve oneself. One can go above & beyond what morality requires.
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