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How is suffering justified?

annhasle
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7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.

I did hear of one man, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Christian theologian), who justified suffering as an opportunity to show patience, sympathy and generosity, therefore creating a holy character. His most recent point was attempting to justify the Holocaust on the grounds that "it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble."

Now I find that reasoning grotesque and luckily Peter Atkins was there to say, "May you rot in Hell." Anywhoo, I was wondering if there were more....humane opinions!

Discuss.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
vivalayeo
Posts: 142
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7/13/2010 10:11:00 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Well if you don't believe in a god, then it's justified in that it's completely random. Suffering occurs to good and bad people equally. However if you are religious you have a few weak rebuttal's:

1. Soul-making - Some argue that sufferring and evil exist because it build's character and make's you a better person. Well a more moral person apparantly.
2/ God isn't Omniscient , Omnipotent and Omnibenelovent. Either he does not know evil exist's, he doesn't care, he is powerless to stop it or he created it for a purpose.
3/ You've also got your distinction between Natural evil (sufferring) and moral evil. Natural evil taking the form of earthquakes and natural disaster's out of control of human's. And moral evil, where there is another option, but the said person chooses to do evil.
4/You've also got Saint Augustine's theodicy where he explains we deserve to be punished because we were all seminally present within adam during the creation of the original sin.

None of them to be honest, except St Augustine is very convincing. And even it is farfetched.
FREEDO
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7/13/2010 10:17:20 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"God made everything"

"God is perfect and all righteous"

There is evil in the world.

Oops, busted.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

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Yvette
Posts: 859
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7/13/2010 10:30:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The argument's been done plenty of times, here as well, but nevertheless the religious do need to answer for it. I do remember a fine debate on the problem of needless animal suffering as well, not sure how that turned out. But I'd like to hear the religious answer for that as well.
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
vivalayeo
Posts: 142
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7/13/2010 10:36:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 10:30:54 PM, Yvette wrote:
The argument's been done plenty of times, here as well, but nevertheless the religious do need to answer for it. I do remember a fine debate on the problem of needless animal suffering as well, not sure how that turned out. But I'd like to hear the religious answer for that as well.

Well one argument is that animal's are inferior and don't have soul's therefore it doesn't apply to them. They are just afflicted by natural evil/sufferring in some way
Yvette
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7/13/2010 10:39:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 10:11:00 PM, vivalayeo wrote:
Well if you don't believe in a god, then it's justified in that it's completely random. Suffering occurs to good and bad people equally. However if you are religious you have a few weak rebuttal's:

1. Soul-making - Some argue that sufferring and evil exist because it build's character and make's you a better person. Well a more moral person apparantly.
2/ God isn't Omniscient , Omnipotent and Omnibenelovent. Either he does not know evil exist's, he doesn't care, he is powerless to stop it or he created it for a purpose.
3/ You've also got your distinction between Natural evil (sufferring) and moral evil. Natural evil taking the form of earthquakes and natural disaster's out of control of human's. And moral evil, where there is another option, but the said person chooses to do evil.
4/You've also got Saint Augustine's theodicy where he explains we deserve to be punished because we were all seminally present within adam during the creation of the original sin.

None of them to be honest, except St Augustine is very convincing. And even it is farfetched.

3. God has power over these natural "evils", he is either causing the evil or allowing it to happen. It is something he should be able to have full control over if he chooses, and apparently he chooses not to. Even worse, it affects the poor far worse! Those who are poor (who God supposedly favors) are devastated by natural disasters, diseases, and starvation, while the wealthy (especially those who have not deserved their wealth) aren't affected as badly.
4. You cannot believe in both a God who values free choice and the idea of being responsible for your ancestor's choices. They are mutually exclusive. Either God's opinion of you hinges on your choices or it does not.

I still adore whoever brought up the problem of animal suffering.
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
Yvette
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7/13/2010 10:44:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 10:36:53 PM, vivalayeo wrote:
At 7/13/2010 10:30:54 PM, Yvette wrote:
The argument's been done plenty of times, here as well, but nevertheless the religious do need to answer for it. I do remember a fine debate on the problem of needless animal suffering as well, not sure how that turned out. But I'd like to hear the religious answer for that as well.

Well one argument is that animal's are inferior and don't have soul's therefore it doesn't apply to them. They are just afflicted by natural evil/sufferring in some way

Yea, that does seem to be the kneejerk response.
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
Mattsterpiece1993
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7/17/2010 10:09:28 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Personally, I wouldn't have gone with an appeal to the Holocaust, though I agree with Swinburne's point. There's hardly a boundary containing what extent our burdens will be. Nevertheless, we do grow from them, and without them, we would hardly develop at all.

I would go on to note that suffering doesn't need to be justified, per se. That's life, but under a Christian worldview, that isn't all there is, and any suffering undergone here would be infinitesimal compared to the eternal bliss of heaven.

Moreover, Christianity doesn't posit that we're here to be happy, but rather, to have a knowledge of God, and that is our number one purpose. Of course, it doesn't posit that we should cut ourselves listening to MCR either. So, what gives?

I believe Proverbs 19:3 is of great deal of relevance here:

3 A man's own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the LORD.

With the opportunity to do as we please, we live in a society where many people live in sin, and many live in righteousness. This is necessitated by our freedom as teleological beings. Christianity offers an amends certainly, with eternal bliss.
Yvette
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7/17/2010 11:01:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/17/2010 10:09:28 AM, Mattsterpiece1993 wrote:
Personally, I wouldn't have gone with an appeal to the Holocaust, though I agree with Swinburne's point. There's hardly a boundary containing what extent our burdens will be. Nevertheless, we do grow from them, and without them, we would hardly develop at all.

I would go on to note that suffering doesn't need to be justified, per se. That's life, but under a Christian worldview, that isn't all there is, and any suffering undergone here would be infinitesimal compared to the eternal bliss of heaven.

Moreover, Christianity doesn't posit that we're here to be happy, but rather, to have a knowledge of God, and that is our number one purpose. Of course, it doesn't posit that we should cut ourselves listening to MCR either. So, what gives?

I believe Proverbs 19:3 is of great deal of relevance here:

3 A man's own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the LORD.

With the opportunity to do as we please, we live in a society where many people live in sin, and many live in righteousness. This is necessitated by our freedom as teleological beings. Christianity offers an amends certainly, with eternal bliss.

You're missing the point.

Natural disasters, horrible diseases, etc. These cause suffering, and are not the fault of humans. So why does your god create them? Why does he specifically create suffering? And why is it that natural disasters and disease harm the poor more than the wealthy, if God supposedly loves the wealthy?

And when you form your answer, consider--why does he make animals suffer, too? Why did he make some animals cruel and some incredibly good and kind (like the bonobo)?
In the middle of moving to Washington. 8D

"If God does not exist, then chocolate causing cancer is only true for the society that has evidence for that." --GodSands
Mattsterpiece1993
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7/17/2010 11:43:22 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
No, I'm not missing the point.

Under a probabalistic argument from evil, it loses merit with the acknowledgment of free will. I assume this isn't the argument that God and evil are logically incompatible, because that's a baseless claim.

I feel the Christian doctrines I noted are also of assistance.

Natural evils are what they are, natural. It would be incredibly presumptuous to take for granted that, within logical parameters, natural beings such as ourselves can come to exist in a world without these evils. Moreover, taking a principle from chaos theory, these natural evils could be apart a complex tapestry that makes the world as great as it possibly could be within the natural realms.

Perhaps, economic factors aren't taken into account, and perhaps natural disasters too give us an opportunity to gain something.

In short, I think all we have here is an emotional argument from evil, but not an intellectual one, as the argument is a complete non sequitur, and in our limited framework, we can't make the assessment that "all of this isn't right". We're not in a position to make such an evaluation logically.
lovelife
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7/17/2010 11:56:15 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I think it would prolly be around the lines of "Humans desearve it"
Without Royal there is a hole inside of me, I have no choice but to leave
popculturepooka
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7/17/2010 2:27:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.


First, did God ever promise his creations that life on earth would be without suffering? Heck, he didn't even promise his followers that life would be without suffering or pain. In fact, he said the opposite: that there would be suffering, pain, and ridicule.

Second, is suffering and pain intrinsically bad?
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annhasle
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7/17/2010 2:47:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/17/2010 2:27:01 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.


First, did God ever promise his creations that life on earth would be without suffering? Heck, he didn't even promise his followers that life would be without suffering or pain. In fact, he said the opposite: that there would be suffering, pain, and ridicule.

Well, some assume that an "all good and loving" Father would not want his creations to suffer. The ones that were punished in the Bible were usually the non-believers, with some exceptions. Yes, there were times when He sent destruction, disease and pain to certain groups of society, but that is not the worldwide suffering like we have now. Where in the Bible does he promise suffering for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation and/or religious belief?

Second, is suffering and pain intrinsically bad?

I believe that the general population would view suffering and pain as intrinsically bad since it is something that most humans avoid. I haven't ever heard of someone intentionally creating a situation where they suffer. Some might believe it to be essential for human growth while others maintain the notion that God wants them to suffer. My intentions for this thread was not to discuss the moral relativism of suffering and pain, though. It's about the idea that the Christian God offered peace and salvation if you believed in Him, but there is suffering spread throughout our planet that affects atheists, theists, deists, naturalists, secularists, etc. How is that justified by your scripture?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
innomen
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7/17/2010 3:07:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"justified", hmm. I don't know that God really would consider justified. So let me take a crack at this. Let us suppose that there is a grand design for all things. That in all things there was purpose and there is a purpose to existence. Take a giant step back and try to think of suffering as not being the worst thing in the world except for us.

What if...physical or emotional pain was less important than it is (i mean to us it is, but what if beyond us it isn't)? If your life here is material and is part of a larger plan, much larger, and indeed there is a purpose to pain in the world, but the answer may not be as we like it to be, what if in that grand scheme pain and suffering is actually minuscule in its relativity to the overall purpose? Again, if we don't like the answer, that doesn't mean it's not a good answer. We will try and attribute human short comings on a God, and let us suppose that is absurd in and by itself, but understandable. We are egocentric by nature, and it's very difficult for us to think outside of who we are and in terms of a plan that is much bigger than our lives.

I'm sort of botching this up, but hopefully you can get some gist of what i am saying.
annhasle
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7/17/2010 3:17:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/17/2010 3:07:31 PM, innomen wrote:
"justified", hmm. I don't know that God really would consider justified. So let me take a crack at this. Let us suppose that there is a grand design for all things. That in all things there was purpose and there is a purpose to existence. Take a giant step back and try to think of suffering as not being the worst thing in the world except for us.

What if...physical or emotional pain was less important than it is (i mean to us it is, but what if beyond us it isn't)? If your life here is material and is part of a larger plan, much larger, and indeed there is a purpose to pain in the world, but the answer may not be as we like it to be, what if in that grand scheme pain and suffering is actually minuscule in its relativity to the overall purpose? Again, if we don't like the answer, that doesn't mean it's not a good answer. We will try and attribute human short comings on a God, and let us suppose that is absurd in and by itself, but understandable. We are egocentric by nature, and it's very difficult for us to think outside of who we are and in terms of a plan that is much bigger than our lives.

I'm sort of botching this up, but hopefully you can get some gist of what i am saying.

Ok, I do get the gist of what you're saying. However, are we really going to take comfort in the fact that suffering is part of a grand plan? That we're martyrs for God's intentions?

I could never tell the parents of a eight year old child who died of Leukemia that it's part of the plan. If you were a survivor of a massive genocide like the Holocaust or Stalin's regime, and someone said that the death of your family and friends were part of God's grand scheme, would that truly justify 11 million deaths by Hitler or the 7 million ordered by Stalin?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
innomen
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7/17/2010 3:30:41 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/17/2010 3:17:30 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 7/17/2010 3:07:31 PM, innomen wrote:
"justified", hmm. I don't know that God really would consider justified. So let me take a crack at this. Let us suppose that there is a grand design for all things. That in all things there was purpose and there is a purpose to existence. Take a giant step back and try to think of suffering as not being the worst thing in the world except for us.

What if...physical or emotional pain was less important than it is (i mean to us it is, but what if beyond us it isn't)? If your life here is material and is part of a larger plan, much larger, and indeed there is a purpose to pain in the world, but the answer may not be as we like it to be, what if in that grand scheme pain and suffering is actually minuscule in its relativity to the overall purpose? Again, if we don't like the answer, that doesn't mean it's not a good answer. We will try and attribute human short comings on a God, and let us suppose that is absurd in and by itself, but understandable. We are egocentric by nature, and it's very difficult for us to think outside of who we are and in terms of a plan that is much bigger than our lives.

I'm sort of botching this up, but hopefully you can get some gist of what i am saying.

Ok, I do get the gist of what you're saying. However, are we really going to take comfort in the fact that suffering is part of a grand plan? That we're martyrs for God's intentions?

I could never tell the parents of a eight year old child who died of Leukemia that it's part of the plan. If you were a survivor of a massive genocide like the Holocaust or Stalin's regime, and someone said that the death of your family and friends were part of God's grand scheme, would that truly justify 11 million deaths by Hitler or the 7 million ordered by Stalin?

Again take a step back and look from a much grander scale, one that includes eons if not more of time, and relativity that is beyond our comprehension and then you will look at the pain of someone that is of a fairly insignificant period of time.

It is hard for us to get out of our paradigm of thinking...what about this and that and bring it down to the scale that we can only find comprehensible. I wouldn't say we are martyrs but rather we are part of a purpose that we don't fully know or are capable of understanding. It took me a long time to understand where my personal comfort is relative to the universe and a purpose of existence.
Marauder
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7/19/2010 11:01:19 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.

I did hear of one man, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Christian theologian), who justified suffering as an opportunity to show patience, sympathy and generosity, therefore creating a holy character. His most recent point was attempting to justify the Holocaust on the grounds that "it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble."

Now I find that reasoning grotesque and luckily Peter Atkins was there to say, "May you rot in Hell." Anywhoo, I was wondering if there were more....humane opinions!

Discuss.

well, the man is not wrong that suffering creates opportunity for character growth. you may have heard the expression "god made mountains so we could learn to climb"

but not all bad stuff is put on us by god for the sake of our growth or to test us. because of free will sometimes bad stuff happens because of man abusing the right to free will from Gods will. And then theirs the existence of Satan specifically antagonizing us to do just that. This is part of the reason God test's us, to prepare us for when Satan plays against us and when he plays, he plays for keeps.
One act of Rebellion created all the darkness and evil in the world; One life of Total Obedience created a path back to eternity and God.

A Scout is Obedient.
Zetsubou
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7/19/2010 11:18:10 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
You assume that omnibenevolence is by a human moral standard. Omnibenevolence literally means ‘always fair -ness' most definitions call it 'all loving' but my point applies to both terms. 'fairness' 'love' 'UUE' by definition, within moral relativism, are all relative and subjective. What is fair for one is not necessarily fair for another. What is lovely for one is not necessarily lovely for another. What is evil for one is not necessarily evil for another. They fail the moral 'categorical imperative'[Kant. et al.]. Their application to all human subjects let alone divine subjects(Whose moral standard you have no objective way of knowing!). Give me one example of what is universally evil, fair or lovely. Rape, child starvation, unneeded slaughter, natural disasters are evils only to people who share your moral belief. God may see these things as love, prove he doesn't. You can't.

To say omnibenevolence of an omnipotent figure is impossible is absurd. You assume that the figures moral code is your moral code! With your hypothetical situation that the Christian god exists you assume that his divine omniscience morality is like yours. His morality might be better than ours, after all he's omniscience and you're not.

->Other argument
What is good/fair/lovely is just the absence of what is malicous/evil/bad. There is a ethical scale of what is good or evil, remove the furthest pole of what is evil, exterminationism for example, the scale will shift. If I remove all evil acts you will be left with only good acts, correct? What is good will lose its meaning when there is no opposing standard. All actions will become simply neutral, nothing will be good because nothing will be bad. In a sentence: Goodness as an absolute it's fully consistent and reliant on other postulates concerning moral value.


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DATCMOTO
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7/20/2010 2:40:27 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.

I did hear of one man, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Christian theologian), who justified suffering as an opportunity to show patience, sympathy and generosity, therefore creating a holy character. His most recent point was attempting to justify the Holocaust on the grounds that "it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble."

Now I find that reasoning grotesque and luckily Peter Atkins was there to say, "May you rot in Hell." Anywhoo, I was wondering if there were more....humane opinions!

Discuss.

We suffer because we are fallen in a fallen world.

We chose this and continue to choose it every day; whenever we disregard God's Word.
The Cross.. the Cross.
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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7/20/2010 5:51:27 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 7/19/2010 11:01:19 AM, Marauder wrote:
At 7/13/2010 9:33:39 PM, annhasle wrote:
If this thread has been done, I apologize.

So, obviously in our world there is suffering and pain. However, to those religious... how does your God justify the suffering of his creations or followers? This is for people of any religion.

I did hear of one man, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Christian theologian), who justified suffering as an opportunity to show patience, sympathy and generosity, therefore creating a holy character. His most recent point was attempting to justify the Holocaust on the grounds that "it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble."

Now I find that reasoning grotesque and luckily Peter Atkins was there to say, "May you rot in Hell." Anywhoo, I was wondering if there were more....humane opinions!

Discuss.

well, the man is not wrong that suffering creates opportunity for character growth. you may have heard the expression "god made mountains so we could learn to climb"

but not all bad stuff is put on us by god for the sake of our growth or to test us. because of free will sometimes bad stuff happens because of man abusing the right to free will from Gods will. And then theirs the existence of Satan specifically antagonizing us to do just that. This is part of the reason God test's us, to prepare us for when Satan plays against us and when he plays, he plays for keeps.

First off, this does not solve the problem of suffering by disease, injury, etc. Not every single suffering is a result of free will.

Secondly, Couldnt God give us the ability to grow and/or test us without suffering?