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?

 


NEVER LOOK AT THE GOD QUESTION EXCEPT THROUGH SUFFERING

THE ESSENTIALS

God is that which loves people and does not want them to suffer.

That is a big compliment to him.

But suffering is certain and God is not.  Even if God were certain he might be more of a machine than a loving person.

So true compassion starts with me not faith.  And especially not faith in God.

I am careful then if I go down the God road to make sure that I am not adding to anybody's suffering or keeping it as bad.  If I do good but one person is hurt then I am a failure.  That one person counts.

If I am telling people who are incurably ill that God is with them and that makes them feel worse or can do so them I am evil.

Evil sounds dramatic but remember evil happens for stupid reasons and is banal and ordinary.

I degrade people even if I comfort them with God for the fact remains I cannot really know what I am talking about.  The worst suffering is all around me but it happens mostly to other beings.  The volume of it is staggering.

That is all you need to know.  You know where we are going with this.  Unless God belief and faith can be proven to help suffering they are wrong.  They cannot be proven.

It is about the other person.  It is not about you as a person of faith.

AN ESSAY ON THE SUBJECT

If you should believe in God, then you should believe because you love and feel compassion for suffering and think your faith helps you to be proactive in helping people who suffer.  But can you?

The Christian doctrine that suffering can lead us to God needs to be firmly but gently corrected whenever it surfaces among the believers. In some cases, priests and other believers need a sharp reprimand.

 

Secular people sometimes think that life and living have value and meaning if you don't want to suffer but go after things that you know might make you suffer for they are worth the suffering.

 

But suffering by definition cannot be measured like that.  It is easy to judge before or after the suffering that it was worth it.  A child being abused is never worth any good that comes from it no matter how great.  Suffering is an experience of psychological and existential degradation.  An a secular person may think greatly loving somebody is worth it and end up being driven to suicide.  They made a prediction on what they expected for the end of their suffering and it proved wrong.
 
What is Suffering?
 
Suffering is the sense of meaningless existence. It is despair. Pain and suffering are not the same. You can value your existence and life and still be in a lot of pain. Suffering is not to be confused with pain. Religion is waiting to take advantage of those who do confuse them.  Pain is often a good thing in the sense that it warns you to go and get help.  When pain seems to serve no purpose for you - eg toothache that lasts for days -  at least you know the warning is working and its good in that sense.  But overall it is still bad.  Christian attempts to justify disproportionate pain are offensive and pathetic.

 

Neutral?

 

Suffering is never a neutral matter.  Pain is.  Suffering is lived experience and that experience is very dark.  There is no beauty in it.

 

Accept?

 

We are asked to accept the bad things that God allows to other people and ourselves.

What does that mean?

Does it mean God had no other way? But as God cannot know who Henry VIIIís tenth bride was God has to base decisions on the best information he has. This means we have a right to wonder if he did the right thing.

Does it mean they deserve it? If somebody suffers it is more important to assume they deserve it than to assume God let it happen unjustly.  God comes first.  Nobody claims to know if you can't or don't deserve it so there is a thought of suspicion in the air.

 

Ignoring suffering?

 

If I'm happy when others suffer, am I just happy?  Or am I happy in spite of their suffering or because of it?  Or both?  How do you know that an ingredient of happiness isn't "The bad things are happening to others but I am fine!"?  Being happy because I ignore their suffering would be more distasteful than being happy because of it.  Indifference is worse and more damaging and more risky than spite.  With spite you at least recognise that somebody is in pain. 
 
Happiness or God or both?
 
Why do people think a good purpose justifies their suffering?


What if the end is not worth it even if we think it is?

The happiness they feel is more down to the pain being over and this ends up being treated like something that makes the pain worth it. 

 

There is an unmistakeable callousness in the person who says that suffering leads to God. It suggests that in some way, or partly, suffering is a necessary evil.
 
Also, to tell a suffering person that their suffering has a purpose is only going to make them feel worse if that is possible. It is insensitive to tell a person who experiences meaningless existence that their suffering has a purpose. Itís not intended to help but to teach religion.
 
The believer has to want to reach God for God's own sake and not for the sake of happiness or for her own. Wanting happiness is not wanting God. That is an extremely difficult and almost unnatural thing to do so loving God will induce and increase and prolong suffering.
 
The thought that happiness is only a possible side-effect of doing good suggests that happiness should be left to fate or luck.
 
It is unpleasant to believe that happiness should not be sought.  It is agony to believe that if your life is terrible. 

 

It is not natural for us to believe it.

But what if it is necessary to believe it?
 
For the atheists it will add to their pain and suffering. But the alternative, to expect happiness, will only add to it more. Disappointment will be added to the mix.

 

The believers are more likely to expect happiness for they believe in a God who can give it to them.  So there is little that can be done for the atheist predicament but at least there is no salt rubbed into the wounds as with the believers.
 
Whether you choose to seek happiness or not then it results in pain and risks pain. You just have to choose whatever is the least horrible and that could mean changing from one to another depending on the circumstances.

Ulterior Motive
 
As God wants you to adore him alone for no ulterior motive and God alone matters what does that tell us?
 
The only way to be sure there is no ulterior motive is to suffer and want to suffer. So the believer accomplishes this by seeking out the most painful and selfless way to do God's will. For many Catholic saints, this meant living lives of self-punishment or self-denial. For others, it meant leaving all they had to work among the most destitute and sickly people in the world.  In fact the latter as it benefits others and gets work done that nobody else would do it is what you would expect of a serious Christian.  We must be careful with that.  A large number of secularists and agnostics and non-religious sacrificed themselves to help others during the 2020 Covid 19 crisis.
 
When you seek to bring good out of bad
 
Suffering is to be seen as evil and abhorrent and useless. Good cannot come out of something so vile. It only appears in spite of it. If you can bring good out of it, it does not mean the suffering was intended by God or anything for you to do this.

 

I repeat, getting good out of suffering does not mean God had a plan for the suffering.  What claims that is assuming God in the first place. If you do that you will see suffering as part of the plan.  That is what claims it not the good that comes from the suffering.  The good only confirms an assumption already made.

 

You show yourself to be better than the terrible situation. Doing that matters. Faith in God does not and has nothing to do with it.

You cannot bring good out of your suffering so remember it is hypothetical.  The good comes from things around the suffering.  A good that needs suffering is not a good at all.
 
But whether good comes from suffering or in spite of it, it is its being bigger than the bad situation that matters. Only that will give you the strength if another disaster happens.
 
Saying a person is letting the evil happen

Saying the suffering of a loved one is random and nobody is responsible is different from saying a person, God, has let it happen or even done it. If a person doesnít react badly, anger and resentment towards God that is down to luck and chance or conditioning. It is normal to hate a person for hurting the innocent even if for some reason they mean well.

 

Suppose God exists and God lets the suffering happen to you. In a way, a being that lets evil loose at you is worse than one who does the evil directly for he is not ceasing to control the situation. But human nature tends to prefer an evil person who looks the other way and lets torment come on you to one who directly torments you. It is the irrational way we are. We condone a God who lets evil befall us and others not because we should but because of our inbuilt bias.


Man has no right to ask you to take his word for it that God lets suffering befall you or inflicts it. Man has no right to ask others to take his word for it that God is good and is doing either. That is too much faith in man to ask for. Man's fallibility is not the point here. Even infallible man has no right to ask for that degree of trust. But man's fallibility makes man's preaching far more repellent. If man says is it God's word not his do not forget that again it is man's word you are taking that God said it.