Evil & Suffering

Through the second half of the Autumn Term 2020 Candle Conferences will offer a unique, national series of online lectures for Year 13 students of A Level Religious Studies. Exploring content specified by ALL ENGLISH EXAMINATION BOARDS for the full A Level in Religious Studies, and aiming to develop higher-level AO2 essay skills, the lectures will take students on a “deep dive” into the Problem of Evil and Suffering. Each of the first four lectures will explore a different aspect of the problem in detail, before the final lecture takes the form of a debate, to which students will be encouraged to contribute their own, reasoned arguments.

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As always with Candle Conferences, the 45 minute lectures will be pacy and engaging, designed to provoke deep thought and further discussion and debate. Each lecture will be accompanied by digital student resources, with an overview of the content, useful scholars and quotations, suggestions for extra reading and learning activities, to print off in advance of the session.

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A Grand Design? (4th November)

Does the teleological argument succeed in using evidence of order and purpose to demonstrate the existence of God… or is the universe better characterised by disorder and dysteleological suffering, suggesting a limited God, an evil God… or no God at all? Reflecting on more than a century of horrors, not least the suffering occasioned by COVID 19, as well as on the majesty of creation, this introductory lecture will encourage students to make and defend an academic judgement.

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St. Augustine and the Problem of Free Will (11th November)

The second lecture will explore St Augustine’s multi-layered response to the Problem of Evil and Suffering, considering his argument that evil is only a lack of good and that God allowing it can be justified in terms of both the principle of plenitude and human free-will. The free-will defence will then be evaluated in more detail, including as it is presented by Alvin Plantinga. Reflecting on the significance of this Armistice Day, 75 years on from the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima, students will be encouraged to consider whether an omnipotent, all-good God would be justified in giving human beings such freedom… and whether if we have such freedom, God really can be omnipotent.

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The Logical Problem of Evil (18th November)

The third lecture will begin by exploring JL Mackie’s article Evil and Omnipotence (1955), which sets out the logical problem of evil and then argues that there is no adequate solution to it. It will then go on to evaluate John Hick’s attempt to provide a “Theodicy for Today” through his Evil and the God of Love (1966). At the end of the lecture, advice will be given on how to tackle a typical essay-question.

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The Evidential Problem of Evil (25th November)

The fourth lecture will consider William Rowe’s attempt to use evil to disprove the existence of God in The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (1979). Is it really fair to say that there are instances of dysteleological suffering in the world? Must an omnipotent, wholly good God always prevent suffering when doing so would not result in a worse outcome? At the end of this lecture the motion for the final debate on 2nd December will be introduced and instructions for how students can prepare, make and send in a video of their own reasoned contribution will be given.

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“This house believes that evil disproves the existence of God!” (2nd December)

The motion will be proposed and then opposed live, before a range of student video-contributions are played and a final vote taken.

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The series will end with the launch of a national essay-competition, with a submissions deadline of 1st January 2021.

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● The winner will receive a cheque for £200 and their school will receive either a goody-bag of books and teaching resources from Candle Conferences or a free half-day Bespoke Event.
● Runner-up prizes may also be awarded, at the discretion of the judges.
● The best submissions will be published as part of a digital journal that will be provided to all those who participated in the lecture-series for the Spring Term 2021.

To Book

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Logon links for the lecture series must be purchased online and cost £100, which includes digital resources and a recording of the lectures.

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buytickets.at/candleconferences

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Links may be shared between unlimited numbers of students when they access together. A recording will be provided to the school after the series has concluded.

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In the event of another local or national lockdown, arrangements will be made to ensure that students can access the lectures individually, from home.

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Bookings come with:
FREE Candle Friends status for 12 months; including FREE resources & CPD as well as discounts on our other events.
FREE online teacher study day CPD place (worth £100)*

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Friends’ Discount
If Friends of Candle Conferences purchase their link before October half-term, they will receive you receive a 10% discount*

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*Full T&Cs can be read at www.candleconferences.com/book-your-conference/

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With Candle you get:

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○ Up-to-date scholarly content made engaging and tailored to the real needs of A Level students.
○ Sessions and resources designed by practicing teachers with a record of engaging students of all abilities.
○ Easy, secure online bookings with no fees to pay; just print off e-tickets.

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e-mail: info@candleconferences.com

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Tel: 0208 133 2241