Hume’s intention is to present three arguments concerning God, allow these arguments to respond to the problem of evil, and ultimately discern which argument is most rational.The problem of evil is one of the most important problems faced by theologians and philosophers alike.Butler had died in 1752; and, in the words of Buckle’s note-book, “in ecclesiastical literature the most prominent names were Warburton, the bully, and Hurd, the sneak”; which twain had, in the fashion above-noted, sought as was their wont “to labor together in a joint work to do a little good”, as Warburton phrased it.
Generally, the problem of evil arises when one tries to reconcile God’s existence with the presence of evil on earth.
In Hume’s specifically the problem of evil is presented as a clash between God and the suffering humans endure.
The facts that for about fifty years there were no fresh issues of the “Essays”, widely sold as they had been in Hume’s own day and the next generation, and that the only recent edition at a moderate price is thus piously fraudulent, are significant of the nature of our social and intellectual history since the French Revolution.
Murray and Son; and its mutilated character is the more scandalous, seeing that the title-page bears the statement: “A careful reprint of the two vols. If there ever was a two-volume edition of a similarly curtailed kind, it is certainly not generally known; and the effect of the publishers’ announcement is simply to deceive the reading public, who are led to suppose that the book offered them corresponds to the various complete two-volume editions of the latter part of last century and the earlier part of this.
While all three agree that a god exists, they differ sharply in opinion on god's nature or attributes and how, or if, mankind can come to knowledge of a diety.
Hume started writing the Dialogues in 1750 but did not complete them until 1776, shortly before his death.
The pamphlet was really in the main the work of Warburton, as we learn from Hurd, who, as Messrs.
Green and Grose observe, “tells the narrative of the pious fraud with great simplicity”.
It is important to first present Cleanthes for he represents the empirical theist.
Cleanthes has a unique response to the problem of evil in the world.