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Featured If God exists, why does He allow suffering?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Then I guess you know of his book entitled Heaven and Hell?
    I have read that book more than once and I think it is spot on...
    What else has he written about?
     
  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Assuming for a moment Satan exists as a real entity, the it would be logical and that God created Satan knowing what He would do and become. Whether or not that is true or false the world is certainly full of trials and tribulations, suffering and hardships. Some of that is a consequence of our own actions, some beyond our control. Regardless turning towards God appears to an important aspect of overcoming those trials for one who believes in God, regardless of the existence or otherwise of Satan.
     
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  3. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is, God has given us free will, and He does not interfere with our free will. But if someone is wronged, God will compensate him/her, in the next world, with the spiritual things. So, ultimately no one is wronged.
     
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  4. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Suffering was never part of God’s original purpose for the human race. We know that because we have no in built resilience to pain or suffering or death. Suffering makes us weak.....in body and spirit if we have no idea why it exists.....or why God permits it. Death, if it was a natural occurrence would not lead to grief.

    This is a good point. So many see God as some great magician in the sky with nothing better to do that respond to a snap of the fingers to make it all go away.....naive indeed and so misinformed.

    God’s people suffered just like everyone else. Jesus said that his disciples would be hated and persecuted, but not because they were doing anything wrong. (John 15:18-21)

    We suffer because God gave control the of the world over to his adversary.....to prove his claims that humans do not need to obey God....that they can handle their own affairs successfully without him. In the account about Job, Satan was permitted to test the faith and integrity of the most faithful man on earth at the time.....Satan said that if God took away everything he valued, that he would curse God to his face.....he didn’t. (Job 1)

    Satan went back for another go....this time Job was personally afflicted with a very painful condition that caused him to sit in the ashes and scrape his painful infected sores with a shard of pottery....yet still his faith was not broken. (Job 2)

    Satan came back again and had three so-called comforters tell him how sinful his life must have been to be punished by God so severely....yet God took him through all of it, and Job proved that the devil was a liar and he maintained his faith in God despite his not knowing that the devil was doing all the nasty deeds. God took Job through the greatest test a human can endure and he came out victorious.

    Most people don’t understand why God could allow such tragedy to befall such a faithful man....but he is a beacon of hope to all suffering humanity.....his endurance was to serve as the best example of faith through unimaginable trials for all of us who came after him.

    What was the result after his trials were over?

    Job 42:10-12;16.....
    “After Job had prayed for his companions Jehovah removed Job’s tribulation and restored his prosperity. Jehovah gave him double what he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and all his former friends came to him and ate a meal with him in his house. They sympathized with him and comforted him over all the calamity that Jehovah had allowed to come upon him. Each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.

    12 So Jehovah blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the beginning. . . .After this Job lived for 140 years, and he saw his children and his grandchildren—four generations. 17 Finally Job died, after a long and satisfying life.”


    Job’s reward was great, but God knew that he would survive this test and become the greatest example for others who undergo trials. We endure them in God’s strength....he does not make the trial go away. It is our opportunity to show God our faith and reliance on him, and for him to show his faith in us.

    Our reward too will be great. Job lost ten of his children, but he believed in the resurrection, so in the new world to come, all 20 of them will be reunited with their parents.

    Isaiah comforts us with these words....“Here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” (Isaiah 65:17)

    The future will be amazing....
     
    #84 Deeje, Dec 21, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
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  5. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Humans can do things despite God not allowing them?

    So humans are more powerful than God? Impressive.
     
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  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    God does not cause suffering, not directly, but God sure allows suffering.
    Otherwise suffering would not exist.
    Suffering exists because of the material world God created, which is a storehouse if suffering, but some suffering is caused by human free will choices, so some of that suffering could be prevented.
     
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  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Satan was not created to be a rebel. He abused his free will as well as misusing his station as a guardian in Eden to lure the humans away from God. He wanted their worship for himself...and the only way to get it was to separate them from their God. He did this by deception, which is why Jesus called him "the father of the lie".

    Jesus certainly treated satan as if he were a real entity. How many times did he mention satan as the one behind the scenes, ruling the world? (1 John 5:19; John 14:30)

    How does a sinless Jesus contend with the three temptations of his adversary? (Luke 4: 1-13; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26)
    How is the devil "the father of the lie" if the devil did not lie to the woman in Eden? (John 8:44)

    Where will I find any reference to the devil as a mere quality of evil in men?

    The whole narrative of the Bible falls apart without the fall of man and satan's role in it. Jesus came to undo what satan did in Eden. If you don't grasp that very important fact, then nothing makes sense without it.

    In your belief system, why are we in this life if God is as loving as the Bible says he is? Why is there pain and suffering and death if God purposed for us to live in peaceful conditions in paradise on earth forever?....and why did Jesus come? Why did he have to die as it was foretold in the Hebrew scriptures. ( Isaiah 53:5; 9)

    If satan isn't real, how do you make sense of any of it? :shrug:
     
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  8. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    A greater purpose would be the greater glory of God

    We tend to make it all about us
    but happily showing mercy is near the apex of God's glory
     
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I do not believe that 1 John 5:19 is referring to Satan. It is referring to our own wickedness. The evil one is the Satanic self, our own lower material nature that lives for the worldly desires rather than for God. That is self-evident in these verses wherein I believe Jesus was conversing not with an entity called Satan, but rather with his lower self that was tempting Him away from God.

    Matthew 16:23-26 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    As for John 14:30, here is the authoritative Baha'i interpretation of that verse. the Blessed beauty is Baha'u'llah.

    “Thou didst ask as to chapter 14, verse 30 of the Gospel of John, where the Lord Christ saith, ‘Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the Prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ The Prince of this world is the Blessed Beauty; and ‘hath nothing in Me’ signifieth: after Me all will draw grace from Me, but He is independent of Me, and will draw no grace from Me. That is, He is rich beyond any grace of Mine.” Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 170
    We are here to learn the lessons we need to learn in order to prepare our souls for the spiritual world, and that is why there is pain and suffering. Did not Job grow spiritually and show his faith by suffering?
    I do not believe this world was ever intended to be a paradise, it is a Storehouse of Suffering.

    Paradise comes after we die.
    “Death proffereth unto every confident believer the cup that is life indeed. It bestoweth joy, and is the bearer of gladness. It conferreth the gift of everlasting life.” Gleanings, p. 345
    It is easy to explain. Satan symbolizes everything you believe is real.
     
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  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Reincarnation is not part of my belief system and it appears contrary to God’s Mercy and Justice. However I acknowledge it is an important part of the world view for many Hindus and some Buddhists.
     
  11. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    There are abhorrent things that should never happen in a just reality. No one needs examples of evil to see where that leads. If anything people need examples of what love and goodness is.

    Evil itself is monstrous. I am not quite sure if sin is any less of a violation.

    Much of the sufferings that goes on is purely incidental with no reasons for their goings on. Disease serves no purpose. And young lives cut short serves no purpose.

    Many of us have wisely sheltered ourselves from all the senseless, meaningless bad things in our world. But we should at least know that there is no special purpose to the evil in the world. And what's worse is that some people have no sense of what evil is or they define it in erroneous ways. Or some say that there is no such thing as evil, which is a blindness I don't understand.

    I am quite sure that civil society can someday redefine society in the future and help others walk in the light. And much of human caused suffering can one day be majorly reduced.

    People do have a choice to be apart of the light, or cast shadows of destruction upon others and themselves. I think that one important lesson is not to return evil for evil done to you. That there's better ways of fighting injustice.

    Some people die in silence across the world. Lives that have no luxury to know of any religion that might seem like the way. Am I to judge those who die without voice and die without religion or social benefits?

    As long as humans exist there will always be those that choose to do evil. I fail to see any purpose in that allowance. It's senseless.
     
  12. atanu

    atanu Member
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    This is only a single explanation. But the religious and spiritual teaching, in my opinion, is many layered, suitable for different contexts.

    These questions are always from a perspective that presumes that body-mind-intellects are separate real things. And in that situation, this question is a straw man. If you assume that God IS, you must agree that the main characteristic of God is "Omnipresence". If that be the case then who is suffering?

    Yes. But there are many layers, suitable for different people of different experiences.

    Whether God exists or not, one surely exists. If source of one is blind nature and mechanism, one cannot be guaranteed of knowledge. On the other hand, if our origin is in wisdom-intelligence, then we can take refuge in that wise-intelligent Self. God, if it exists as an omnipresent Being, cannot be essentially different from anyone''s self. If God does not exist, then no harm is done by reliance on one's true intelligent self.
     
    #92 atanu, Dec 22, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
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  13. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Why contrary?
     
  14. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree, it is entirely subjective. And therefore it is also subject to your own perception. That is my entire point. Those who lament some forms of suffering needn't if they simply refuse to acknowledge it as suffering in the first place. Sometimes they are merely the conditions of the moment, and may pass. Mental state can do quite a lot to alleviate pain or allow you to work through it. Especially emotional torment. I am of the opinion that accepting emotional torment/suffering into yourself to become a part of your "now" is very much a choice in a lot of instances. Most of the time, I simply don't do it. I don't allow it.

    Again, I don't disagree at all. In fact your last sentence basically says everything I have been trying to say. "Suffering is as real as we experience it to be." Decide to experience it differently, and guess what? It loses its bite.
     
  15. Salvador

    Salvador RF's Swedenborgian

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    A complete list of Swedenborg’s theological writings, in order of publication:

    • Secrets of Heaven (Arcana Coelestia)
    • Heaven and Hell
    • New Jerusalem
    • Last Judgment
    • White Horse
    • Other Planets (Earths in the Universe)
    • The Lord
    • Sacred Scripture
    • Life
    • Faith
    • Supplements (Continuation concerning the Last Judgment)
    • Divine Love and Wisdom
    • Divine Providence
    • Revelation Unveiled (Apocalypse Revealed)
    • Marriage Love (Conjugial Love)
    • Survey (Brief Exposition)
    • Soul-Body Interaction
    • True Christianity
    Swedenborg’s Writings Online – Swedenborg Foundation
     
  16. dfnj

    dfnj Well-Known Member

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    God is perfect and whole without any lack or need. Since God does not lack anything or need anything God is absolute perfection. God is absolute good because God does not have any desires which are the source of all evil and corruption.

    Nature and people on the other hand are full of imperfections. God did not create the Universe out of desire. God created the Universe out of an overflowing abundance of energy. But unlike God, nature and ourselves are incomplete and full imperfections. It is these imperfections in nature and in our human characters that are the source of that is evil in the World.

    The real question is not why does God allow suffering. The real question is why do we allow ourselves to suffer. Based on human experiments there is no amount of evil God will not tolerate in order for us to preserve our free-will. If we crap in our own beds and are living in excrement God does not care. If we do not want to live in excrement then it is up to us to clean our own beds.

    The same is true with justice. There is no justice with God. If we want justice is has to come from human laws and human law enforcement. Again, God is perfect and whole desiring nothing. There is nothing God wants. There is nothing God needs. This includes justice. God is perfection. Perfection does not need justice. People do. Just like cleaning up the excrement in our beds, if we want justice, it's up to us to find it. Stop defining God as a reflection of your own imperfections.
     
    #96 dfnj, Dec 22, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
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  17. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    And my point is that there are lines we create ourselves anyway, regardless what you say about "no one having the right to question another's suffering." We (including you) do it ALL THE TIME. For example, a person you know is lamenting how they found out they aren't going to be able to afford that sports car they have wanted for so long, because some other financial responsibilities came up and they're going to have to settle for a cheaper, more practical vehicle. They might be really torn up about it... and maybe you say "aw, that sucks man" - but should they really be suffering over this? Shouldn't terming something suffering be reserved for something that really matters to a person's well-being? Are we really to accept any and all claims of "suffering" that a person wants to foist on us?

    How about spurious lawsuits, where the plaintiff claims "emotional damages" against the defendant for something like spilling hot coffee ON THEMSELVES? Tell me we all haven't rolled our eyes at some of those stories.

    How about the people on street corners who hold the signs that say they "will work for food." One day you may see a whole troop of them get out of a van, passing out the signs so they can "go to work." Or you literally offer "work" to one of them and 3 square meals that day as payment, and they refuse.

    How about a child who was sick the day before, but is running around feeling much better today, but who still claims to be "oh so sick" when its time to get ready for school?

    Point being - it is naive to just blanket accept anyone's claims to "suffering." Naive. We all have tools of discernment at our disposal - so use them.

    You're preaching to the choir with this. NONE of my happiness is derived from the money I make. I literally buy almost nothing. A new pair of cheap shoes when I need them. Plain clothes when I need those. I don't buy music, don't care about the car I drive AT ALL, don't care how others view me or my possessions (or lack thereof). Rarely ever do I assess the situation and realize I "need" something. Need is far to strong a word for just about any material possession.

    Exactly!

    She WAS trying to help. I never dwell in the past. I remember it, and use it to move forward, but the only thing that can ever truly matter is the present moment. It's really, truly THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE. You don't have the future, you don't have 5 minutes ago. You have NOW. That's all. I feel that animals either understand this very well, or take this for granted entirely. They could have something like a cyst growing in one of their eyes, and do you know what they do? Carry on. Only ever carry on. The conditions they face are merely the new "life" for them. They don't have time for "suffering" like we do, and so they simply push it aside (or try to) in most cases I have ever seen. 3-legged cats, for example, get along about 1,000 times better than a human being missing a leg would. No wheelchair required. My point only being that the animal's view of themselves as a cohesive being does not involve "feeling good" as a prerequisite to fine mental health. It simply doesn't... and we can achieve this as well.
     
  18. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I agree, but we do not all possess the same capacity for controlling our own perceptions and reactions. Many of us believe that we have NO capacity for it. I see atheists claiming all the time that they are not able to choose what they believe even though what they believe (atheism) is logically baseless. For a lot of people I think the same applies to their suffering. Believing that they are helpless to change how they feel, they become helpless to change how they feel.
    But we don't really have that option if we are unaware of having it, even if that option is actually available to us.
     
    #98 PureX, Dec 22, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
  19. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    This view does not translate past the literal interpretation of the myth, though. Man did not cause misfortune or disease. And yet misfortune and disease cause mankind much suffering. And not because mankind is disobeying God in some way. Even the saints got sick and died. So we need to get past the literal interpretation of the myth, to a more grown up, reasonable interpretation.

    It is true that much of humanity's suffering is caused by humanity, itself. Not so directly as your train example, but collectively, it's similar. The more we live for ourselves, and at the expense of each other, the more suffering we bring into the world. And as a whole, the more suffering we all end up having to endure. Selfishness looks like it's a good path for us to take in a short term, myopic view of existence. But in the end it causes everyone to suffer more, including even ourselves. But when we let our fear and ignorance rule us, as we very often do, we act selfishly, anyway.

    But regardless, we will experience some suffering as part of the natural human condition. As all living things will. And the reasons for this remain a mystery to us.
     
  20. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    [QUOTE="PureX, post: 6450184, member: 5255" As all living things will. And the reasons for this remain a mystery to us.[/QUOTE]

    Just as it did for the author of Job.
     
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