The Problem of Suffering: Benjamin-Newton United

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  • by Ben Huot
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"Think Critically" with BENjamin-NEWton's Network © Ben Huot 1998-Present.

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The Problem of Suffering

Essay

Many people think about the problem of suffering as a problem for religions, that profess there is an all powerful, perfectly good ruler of all His creation. Many people overly simplify this situation and think because God can get rid of suffering and doesn't that He is being cruel by not doing so. That is caused by a poorly thought out chain of causality and responsibility.

Just because one person has more money than someone else or is smarter or stronger they are not entirely responsible for fixing the weaker person's problems, if they did not directly cause the other person's problem. All suffering comes from our mistakes, that God has given us the ability and the strength to not do and warned us of this and we refused to follow these rules. God then also intervenes constantly, in order to bail us out, of all sorts of self-inflicted suffering we find ourselves in.

I am certainly not at peace about myself or others suffering and I very much would like God to always intervene, to prevent any suffering, but God owes me and everyone else nothing, as He did not cause any of the problems. It also seems very unfair that entirely good victims like animals that are weaker suffer do to the bad choices of stronger people's bad behavior. Additionally, God offers us the freedom to choose to live forever, without suffering, just by humbling ourselves before God and admitting our mistakes, which even kings and emperors have done willingly.

So suffering is a problem, but it is ours, not God's. The problem of suffering will never fully be resolved. Many of the major world belief systems deal with nothing but the problem of suffering. I do not blame God for suffering because it is our immorality (sin) that causes all suffering. The attitudes we have and how we treat others are the the causes the all suffering in the world.

But I do not trust God or feel as close as many other Christians are. People say that God gets you through suffering and that He gives you peace, but that is of little comfort to me. I just don't want to suffer the pain. God constantly intervenes supernaturally, to bail us out of the consequences, of stupid decisions and protects us from powerful evil forces, but that does not make the pain we do suffer any less painful.

I appreciate that I will never suffer after I die, but even 5 minutes can be an eternity, as I learned in the military. As far as having God help you through suffering, from my experience, you make it through, whether you want to or not and the human body can suffer unbelievable amounts of pain and still survive.

So how is it helpful to have the strength to get through? You will suffer whether you like it or not and it will pass eventually. This is of little comfort. There is no promise that you will not suffer beyond description, for the rest of your life. There is no limit to the amount of pain you can suffer.

Just because you felt you have gotten your share of suffering, there is no less chance you will not suffer in every other way a person can suffer. Just because you are mentally ill does not mean you cannot have physical disabilities, as well. And many that suffer the most are very kind and do not cause others suffering but are just innocent victims like animals.

Good people suffer terribly and for no reason and evil people often don't suffer at all and for no reason. The Bible is the only belief system, that I have studied, that gives sufficient explanation, to how the world works, but that is of little comfort, when you are suffering. This may all seem irrational, but it is how I feel about it.

Faith is not easy, but not believing in God will not make the pain hurt any less. I believe everything the Bible says, but the Bible doesn't give a solution to how to not suffer in this life or even put some sort of limit on how much you will suffer or how long you will suffer. I do know that karma does not explain this well, I certainly do not have the strength to control my mind through meditation, and modern medicine can only provide so much relief.

It is ironic, that when you are suffering from severe depression, the psychiatric response is to lock you up, which makes you more depressed. Doctors never prioritize highly people who are in severe pain and so, if the problem you have is not life threatening, they just ignore you. But depression can be very painful, even physically, and though although you may not be suicidal, you still suffer greatly.

There are not any fast acting anti-depressants, so do no not go to the hospital, if you think you are in crisis, because all they will do is lock you up. Get on an anti-depressant, as fast as possible. Do not attempt street drugs, because, while they may provide temporary relief, they will cause even deeper depression afterwards.

That means you are on your own and you need to rely on yourself and your creativity and determination to find a way to suffer as little as possible. The biggest thing to avoid is military service. The happiest day of my life was when I left the military. I would even go so far as to say happiness is not being in the military. There is no place more depressing than an army base, except maybe prison.

Helping others suffer less is a major goal in my life, which does provide some comfort. If I cannot experience happiness, maybe someone else can and maybe I can help with that. Sometimes there are no solutions to a problem and the best you can do is manage the situation and minimize the symptoms. The only thing you can be sure about suffering is your response to it.

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20 Years of Critical Thinking
Creativity in Philosophy, Not Theology

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I am a researcher, writer, and designer for consumer, citizen, and seeker advocacy. I can improve your life, by giving you better advice.

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