Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Problem of Suffering

One of the oldest problems in the world is, why do people suffer, particularly those who have not done anything obvious to deserve it? It goes back to the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and the book of Job (whenever you date that book). It is the really emotionally gripping part of the problem of evil. It can reasonably be claimed that people do morally evil things because they choose to. But it is the suffering of their victims or the victims of natural disasters that is heart-wrenching.  The fact that this issue has been around so long shows it is a difficult question that cannot be easily resolved one way or the other to everyone's satisfaction. To increase the difficulty, it is not merely an intellectual problem but involves a fundamental emotional reaction to the world around us. That is why purely intellectual answers tend to feel so thin and inadequate when used in this context. Nor can we escape the this problem simply by becoming  atheists. For if suffering is just a normal part of life, why do we feel it is so abhorrent?. And there is also with that the question of how we face these issues when we encounter them in our life. I do not claim to have all the answers. But in future posts I want to deal with various too-easy answers in hopes of getting some sort of idea on how to look at this issue.

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