Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


The suffering of others being part of a

divine plan is not something to theorise about

 

THE PLAN DOCTRINE IN A NUTSHELL

 

Christianity sees suffering as necessary for allowing love to be possible and for helping love to grow. Here is the teaching.  To think there should be no suffering is to think then there should be no love.  To love is to be about the other and that alone is painful. Real love then in that case would mean you suffer and are wiling to suffer for the person you care about if you have to.  Suffering purifies and confirms and strengthens your love.  It tests it to see if it is really love.  If they maltreat you that will hurt you terribly more then they will ever intend or realise. So the more you can suffer the more you love. And the more you can love.  Love and suffering go together so in that sense love is suffering.  Love leads to suffering.

 

CRITICISM

 

Christianity warns that society may try to destroy strong love units such as the family and weaken them so that people become less caring and less able to suffer. This assumes that love matters more than health, happiness and even life. But what is love for if not for those things? They are not just side effects or indirect benefits.  So that is the paradox of love.  If it needs you to suffer it is not properly love.  If it does not need you to suffer it is still not properly love. If you cannot win then teachings that you must be eager to face the suffering that life will inflict on you for loving another and to face it in the name of love are just spite.

 

The teaching that love needs to be suffering and potential suffering for the other clearly is speaking from experience.

 

Thus it is up to experience, not Bibles, not God, not Jesus, not philosophy to tell us if suffering has a good purpose.  It is insulting for anything else to even try!  This is an atheist position.  The atheist view of suffering is, "Let it speak for itself.  God and so on can get lost."

 

ESSENTIALS

 

If God is the all-good maker of all from nothing then why is there innocent and cruel suffering?  Do you assume innocents suffer so bad for a divine purpose in order to defend God or to give them hope?

 

God is that which is pure love.  So love has to be seen as the gift of God and you give it back to him for he deserves all love as a matter of justice. The love for another is ultimately love for God for it is loving what God has made.  So love has to be indirectly and directly about God. 

 

The Christians say the love of God and neighbour go together. If you love him you will love the person he chooses to see as part of himself.  To fail to reward (you cannot really reward him but you offer him love in return for the sake of principle) God by making love about him would be to insult the love he gives them.  It would be to insult them as well for they need his love and are made of it.

 

This is putting faith in God before people and is bad.  You are even using their suffering to have faith.  Faith in spite of the suffering of others is a myth.  Its just another way of having faith because of it.

 

You have to assume God should not be cursed and spat on for the suffering.  That is the bottom line - it is worse to do that than to assume a child is abused by its mother for some lofty and worthwhile purpose.  It is worse to do that than to assume optimistically that it will make a person of the child and that makes it worthwhile. 


THEORY OR OBSERVATION?
 

Believers hold that God is that infinite love source that is actively concerned about the welfare and happiness of his creatures.  It does not look that way especially when you remember that those who have a reasonably okay life are in a minuscule minority.  Those who are good at coping no matter what are in an even smaller minority.  What usually happens is that people suffer so much and end up at the bottom that the only way is up.  That is not coping and never was.

 

They are basically saying God puts up with evil and his good, not just good, is the force with the real power not evil.

 

Is that theoretical - just a theory? 

 

Is it empirical - that is to say that you see so much good and you see evil turning into good and reason that the evidence is that there could be a loving God.

 

It could be both theoretical or empirical. 

 

Empirical can lead to theoretical.  You see the good and form a theory that God explains it. 

 

Theoretical can lead to empirical.  You have your theory and look around you to see if it correct.

 

Which one matters most?  What if it could only be one? 

 

If God alone should matter then theoretical is the one.

 

Worrying about the empirical denies that God should just be good and just matters.  So in reality there is no choice.  The theoretical really does alone matter.

 

So to do the decent thing and make it empirical God must be dropped.

 

THE DEGRADATION OF SUFFERING

 

If you say there is a God who can take away all evil and suffering but justifiably does not then you are turning the suffering of others into a theory. Your theory is the suffering will bring about a good that will not happen without it. That is how you can call God good while people scream in agony.

It is easier to condone evil done by another than yourself for you know what your motives are. You donít see their motives. And if you read motives you are never that sure if they have been read correctly.  You don't see all the influences and circumstances.  They don't even see all that themselves.
 
You are far from humble if you think there is a God whose motives you can read! You cannot even read man's or your own half the time!

Are you dealing with your painful realisation that others suffer by telling yourself its part of a plan? Is your motive to relieve your own pain?
 
Yes if you are not doing much or enough.

You cannot think there is a plan because of the evidence. Nobody says it looks like there is a plan.

What is wrong with thinking that something is so bad that good has to come?

You are saying there is a plan but it is not testable. How does anybody know then if you are saying this because it is not testable or because you think there probably is a plan? You are asking people to trust you that you are not being dismissive of the suffering of others in any way. But trust requires that you earn trust. ďI donít know if there is a plan therefore there isĒ is hardly inspiring others to trust you! No just the opposite!
 
If you use God to feel better about what others have to endure then you will soon start doing this if people hurt each other too. You will deal with the pain by condoning what they or by saying that for some mysterious reason they do right.

 

ASSUMPTION THAT SUFFERING IS NOT A COMPLETE EVIL FOR GOD IS MASTER

 

Innocents suffer horrendously and God shows no sign of acting on it.

 

Believers then have an assumption to make.  They assume that God is tolerating and then using evil for a greater good.

 

To say God tolerates evil or anybody does is a serious matter.  It is as serious as calling them evil.

 

The reality is that if suffering is terrible and degrading you have no right to assume anybody tolerates it without proof or avoiding reasonable doubt. 

 

Even more so you have no right to assume anybody uses it.

 

Those are not faith or assuming matters.   They are proof or beyond reasonable doubt matters.

 

Anyway now why assume that a God who protects from suffering can line up with terrible chaotic suffering happening to innocent people? 

 

1  You can say it is so that people can find hope in their suffering and know it will not defeat them.

 

2  You can say that you want to honour God by refusing to condemn him if he exists.

 

2 is the only real option for a believer for God's honour comes first and God as maker of all is what alone ultimately matters.

 

1 would be cruel if there is no God.  It is better when you suffer to recognise when there is no hope. You will learn it the hardest way anyway.

 

1 is really a derivative of loving God.   Why?  It only works if you love God and God loves you.  If he doesn't then it works for nobody and they only think it does work.

 

But in the real world, people promote 1 alone for they are trying to use God as a means for making others feel good or stronger.  But that is bad if you think God is a being with rights in his own right.  You do not really respect the victims if you want to ignore the respect due to God who loves them just to make them feel good.  It is not your place to decide what placebo they should get.  And a placebo is a lie and should never be used so liberally.  Liberal use of placebos is asking for trouble and is really about you trying to make you feel you are great and compassionate and not about the other person.  Your credibility will be in shreds.

 

2 takes us back to people theorising that there is a God and theorising that they have faith in him and theorising that people should have faith in him and insulting the suffering of others as if the theory matters more than the suffering.  Faith is no excuse at all, not even in the slightest, for risking condoning suffering in your head and/or heart. Suffering is too serious and the human cost of it is too serious.

 

INSPIRATION

 

Are you claiming that you feel inspired to assume that there is a plan? But it is too serious to merely assume. If God battered his wife would you assume? If you feel inspired to say there is a plan, why donít you say you feel inspired to say the child molester has a plan? Why do you choose to say you are inspired in relation to God simply because God is not testable? Who are you to say you are really inspired? Who are you to say that its okay because you feel inspired when it might not be okay? Your feeling inspired does not matter more than the suffering of others.

 

So you assume evil fits God's love for the sake of honouring God. That is putting faith before a person.  In short, it is about you putting YOUR FAITH first.  If that is your attitude, it is no wonder if your record at caring for the most needy is so poor.

 

The good works done by believers could be part of an attempt to deal with the evil that faith puts in them.  They try to compensate with good works.

 

FORGIVE?

 

Forgiveness is put out there as an option if you are wronged.  But it is also an option if you are not wronged.  If God or somebody tolerates great harm visiting you then there is an issue and forgiveness has to be considered.

 

Forgiveness that is too easy is not forgiveness at all.  It is condoning.  If believers were struggling terribly with what God is letting happen it would be different but they just go and worship as if it does not really matter.

 

Why do you not want to condemn and deny forgiveness to God?  You are selfish if you are going to have an accepting attitude towards what he does to others in case you feel bitter and hurt and angry.  It is making it about you.  You have no right to accept what others endure so you can feel better.
 
SUFFERING IS NOT SOMETHING TO THEORISE ABOUT!
 
The need of suffering is not something you theorise about. It is something you experience. It is insensitive and presumptuous for religion to theorise about you or anybody's suffering. As only PERSONAL experience can say if suffering has a value that makes it worthwhile.  You still have no right and are in fact doing wrong by thinking you experience value in suffering and that means you can think others is valuable too!  You have to be everybody that suffers before you can say God permits it for a reason.

 

Theorising implies a lack of understanding and empathy.

 

You only really understand suffering if you endure it and as long as you endure it and if you are every person who suffers. Memory makes sure of that! Remembering it is not the same as enduring it all over again. And memory is reconstructive and not very trustworthy when it comes to suffering for you want to forget enough of it to move on. In that light, nobody has any right to say your suffering matches the idea of a loving God. It is not a theory problem but an experience problem.
 
Though experience would be the only hope you have if you want to justify God's responsibility for human suffering, it does not mean it will succeed.
 
This fact makes it even crueller to theorise. The less evidence you have for justifying God the worse you are. Thus if you see suffering that is gratuitous you have no right to risk taking the wrong attitude to it by saying that somehow it is not. You have no right to say it MAY be justified!  You have to see such suffering as evidence against God. If evidence matters, you can't risk getting blind to it by trying to explain it away.

 

WHY IS GOD SO DEPENDENT ON THEORISTS?

The theories about why God is right to let suffering happen no matter how terrible it is are clearly biased.  It would be different if they had boundaries - if God does this I will curse him and die like Job's wife might have done!  Even worse for most if not all, are they really theories?  They are talked about as if they are.  But they seem to be really driven by feelings.  They are just hiding emotions.  A person says they think that suffering teaches good character but in reality they just feel it.  Theodicies are really about you trying to feel that suffering in the world is somehow fine.  That is very insulting.

 

Religion trying to excuse suffering is scandalous for instead of devising theories about why God might let the innocent suffer, the religious person should have a supernaturally induced drive to go out and fight the evil heroically. It is action that should solve the problem of evil (if it can be solved) not doctrine. That religion mostly has people who adore God and do not really care about the problem especially when it is people in faraway places who suffer and not themselves and people who preach the theory instead of being the theory, this is to be understood as evidence that belief in God produces a lack of empathy and is riddled with hypocrisy.

 

We should not believe in God when the belief is so tied in with bad fruits. Even if a theory about how God can be forced to put up with evil had any validity, the fact remains that it insults sufferers if to you it is a theory and you don't become the theory and a soldier against suffering.

 

BACKGROUND
 
Even if the religion or religious individual does not go into the doctrine of God letting suffering happen it is still there in the background. The believer may not articulate it or think of it but is living the theory that evil happens and God lets it happen and wants you to destroy it. The risk of condoning evil is still being taken for what if you are simply honouring a God who does not care or who is spiteful?

 

The questions are so serious that having evil condoned in the background is the worst way.

 

FREE WILL


When religion says suffering is just part of life, part of what it means is that we have free will to help or to harm and we often do harm with it so the fault is ours. It says that God lets us do horrendous things for he will bring good out of it in his own time. So the evil we do cannot be described as intolerable as far as God is concerned. It is tolerable for it will lead to a greater good. Religion adds that God will influence us to carry out this good in accordance with our free will which he will not override. In reality God has no purpose at all, he leaves it to us to make good out of evil. Thus he is guilty of tolerating the intolerable though he has the power to do something about it. He gives us an influence and insults us by calling that doing something!

 

THE BLUNT RELIGIONISTS

 

We said a lot of tough things about how religion thinks about innocent suffering even extreme suffering. 

 

Notice how religion avoids being blunt - that is a tactic for hiding the true disgrace their faith is.

 

They can be blunt the other way though.

 

Religious people sometimes come out with it and say there is nothing wrong or bad about suffering.  They say it is not evil in itself.  So the consequences can be bad too.  They cannot be evil either.  If suffering is not evil in itself any thing "bad" that happens after it has even less chance of being evil.  After all there is a difference between x being bad and the results of x being bad.  The results are indirect and like side-effects.  But how can they condemn suffering then?  They maintain then that it is a symptom of a deeper evil.  But that turns sin into a mere rule.  Sin is just a rule that makes no sense or has no logic for how can you have morality if suffering is just a morally neutral thing or even a good thing?

We see that the suffering of others is being played down in the heads of the believers and all because of faith in God. They may feel shocked at it but they should be more shocked. The good is often the enemy of the best. They need to think about that.

 

GOD IS MAN'S THEORY AND A REFLECTION ON MAN
 
A supreme God who exists only in the mind of man will produce evil for man thinks much evil. Such a contrived God even if it does not encourage evil does nothing to thwart it. It has no intrinsic power to help with evil. And the supreme God notion gives man a way to say, "It is God making these rules not me". How clever and how empowering for man! The human origin of faith in God and how dangerous that faith is in the hands of religious fraudsters and liars and politicians and monarchs and prophets shout one thing out: DROP GOD!