A relevant question regarding the COVID-19 vaccines is whether or not it is reasonable to apply for a religious exemption simply because the vaccine may have, at some point in its development, utilized parts of an aborted baby. In order to arrive at my answer, please follow me through a brief theological discussion to its practical application.

As many philosophers have contended, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky contains one of the most notable passages for what has been termed the existential problem of evil. In book V, chapter IV, two of the brothers Karamazov are conversing about the nature of reality, evil, and God. The religious skeptic, Ivan, poses a particularly difficult dilemma to his younger brother Alyosha, a practicing monk, which is specifically intended as an argument against God:

Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.

Praise the Lord

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