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Free will is a common theodicy, or explanation, for why there is evil and unnecessary suffering in the world. But, as The Tale of the Twelve Officers should make manifestly obvious, there is more under the surface. Free will is not a complete explanation of why an all-powerful and perfectly loving god would stand by and watch pain go by unhelped.
After reading Vuletic’s essay, one must ask: If free will is such an important feature of being human, than what exactly do we find personally wrong with the police officers’ decisions to not uphold their duty to justice? My response to this question is that free will is a red herring. If one of the police officers would have stepped up and defended the woman from rape and murder, that officer would not have changed the will of the perpetrator. Free will was not interfered with, or directly influenced. Rather, the police officer took away the free exercise of the perpetrators’ will. The will of the perpetrator to rape and murder the woman could, in all probability, have remained the same or even intensified after the police officer stopped him from carrying out his plans.
I think most would agree with me that this would be just. If it is unjust to prevent such acts as killing and raping, then one must wonder why it is just to take any sort of moral action at all.
So then, why doesn’t God intervene to prevent evil and unnecessary suffering? Wouldn’t he have a moral duty to do so?