Some Christians also find it hard to believe in an omnipotent God. It also includes an experience of faith or hope that God is already bestowing unconditional love upon this child. The Treadmill Was A Torture Device For Prisoners. It includes the genuine experience of deep grief at premature loss. That God has destined human beings for eternal life (see UNITs B&C), that God is unconditional love (see UNIT J), and therefore, that God destines all of us for eternal life in His unconditional love. It would not be chosen. For instance, someone who has a child out of wedlock can find … are evident in the world. The suffering of death. If one does not have the freedom to choose unloving behaviors, then one’s loving behaviors are not really chosen – they are merely programmed (like impulses, desires, or instincts). Choice requires seeing the alternatives. For example, a preventable disease such as leprosy (a natural cause) is not prevented or delimited by a particular country in order that tax money can be used to incite a new war (a human cause); or a tsunami (a natural cause) hits a particular country, but the country next to it decides not to use easily accessible resources to help because the victims are thought to be inferior and undeserving (a human cause). Given that God can get into dilemmas because of the finitude of His creation, it should not be surprising that God cannot create a creature with the capacity to own its own love (to initiate a loving action anew) without simultaneously creating that creature with the choice (capacity) for unlove (with the consequences of human suffering). There seems to be something in collective tragedy and suffering that awakens the human spirit, awakens a prophet or a visionary (such as Jesus Christ, St. Francis of Assisi, William Wilberforce, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, Jr.), which then awakens a collective movement of the human heart (such as the abolitionist movement), which then has to endure suffering and hardship in order to persist, but … So also, when God created wave behaviors, He simultaneously created their exclusion of particle behaviors from themselves in the same respect at the same place and time, etc. Envision a square-circle in the same area at the same place and time. to arable land, urban sprawl, infrastructure development, and other anthropogenic changes to the characteristics of land.Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and pollution are aspects of habitat destruction caused by humans that do not necessarily involve over destruction of habitat, yet result in habitat collapse. The suffering of the five appropriated aggregates. The price of love is not only the capacity for unlove, but the real possibility of unlove. It would not be love but merely an instinctual, caused, or stimulated behavior with beneficial consequences. It would have to be pure acting, pure act, pure power, pure existence, without any way, magnitude, quantity, or spatio-temporal condition – just pure Being. But these occasions are rare – very rare – because they truly represent interruptions in the free action of human beings. In other words, without the capacity to cause suffering (through choices of unlove), human beings could not be truly loving, and this would defeat the purpose of an unconditionally loving God. Could God Eliminate Human Evil through Continuous Miraculous Intervention? When does one become Hitler or Stalin? And while I’m at it…. Boundaries will exclude other boundaries from themselves on the same generic level in the same respect at the same place and time. (Chinese Cultural Studies) and disease. There are two types of evil and suffering: The existence of evil and suffering is important because it can cause problems for Christians’ belief in God. Thus, the moment God created finitude, He subjected Himself to dilemmas, that is, He had to respect the exclusionary property of the boundary that He created. Sign in, choose your GCSE subjects and see content that's tailored for you. What is the problem with evil and suffering for Christians? It may seem somewhat unusual that God could be forced into a dilemma. The cause and cessation of human suffering is a basic purpose of Buddhist belief. It originates from a cause other than one’s self. For if God is unconditional love, then it would seem that He would not want anyone to suffer. God’s purpose in creating “little beloveds who are loving” would be frustrated. If the work you do doesn’t fulfill you on a spiritual level and you believe what you do is wrong, you may experience psychological suffering. It would not be restricted to any magnitude or quantity; it would not even have a particular way of acting (like a wave, or a particle, or a proton, or an electron). Couldn’t He have, well, caused Hitler an early demise by some means that at least looked natural? This page was last edited on 26 July 2011, at 15:07. The limits to your imagination would be the limits to your apprehension of a future; and the limits to your self-consciousness (your awareness of your self) would be the limits to your recognition of your future. Our tips from experts and exam survivors will help you through. That’s what boundaries do. Take for example a gold fish; most experiments claim they have a life span of three seconds, comparing that to a human life it can be said that we would suffer by recollecting old memories that brought us pain and suffering. Well, then, if God does not directly cause suffering (except to impede those headed toward imminent self-destruction), and is therefore only an indirect cause of suffering, what or who are the true direct causes of suffering? Here are some variations of the causes of suffering: Thirst, which leads to rebirth, accompanied by pleasure and lust, finding its delight here and there. Pretty much the entire African American population, "when the white man doesn't have money it becomes a depression"-some black lady from 1930's. 1. 6. For example, if you’re suffering psychologically in your job, you may find yourself experiencing physical suffering by getting sick all the time. This is an incredibly hard thing to do; yet it is a path to the transformation of suffering into love, and therefore a path into the horizon of Unconditional Love’s eternity. For example, a person might feel depression because of a chemical imbalance (a natural cause), which causes him to be marginalized by people who are fearful of his peculiar conduct (a human cause), which, in turn, exacerbates his depression and its physical symptoms. Go ahead and try it. This thirst is threefold, namely, thirst for pleasure, thirst for existence, thirst for prosperity. This can cause problems for many Christians, as they believe in a loving, powerful and all-knowing God. Now the images of Jesus Christ are many. Without these powers of imagination, you would not be able to create; you would not even be able to identify obstacles to a better life so that those obstacles could be overcome. Couldn’t He have anticipated the effect Stalin would have on history and allowed at least one of those assassination attempts to ‘hit home?’ And, in my own life, couldn’t He have seen the devastating effect of Joe X’s action and have caused Joe to get really sick for a week at the time he hurt me so much? For Buddhists, understanding the causes of suffering and rejecting evil is part of the route to enlightenment. Some Christians therefore wonder why he did not create the universe without this potential for evil and suffering. 7. Cite. Nothing is intrinsically contradictory to God, because God is purely inclusive (pure act, pure power, pure being); but anything other than God (which would have boundaries to action, power, or being) would exclude other boundaries (on the same generic level) from itself in the same respect at the same place and time. The principle of non-contradiction tells us that the block of wood cannot be in both the shape of a square (four inscribed right angles) and the shape of a non-square (say, a circle, with no inscribed right angles) in the same respect (i.e., the same area) at the same place and time. Because the inability to combine square and circle is not about the limits of human power or the human mind; it is not about the limitations of divine power or the divine mind; but rather, it is about the exclusionary properties of boundaries – the exclusionary properties of anything which is finite. Some religious people find that when they experience evil and suffering, it can present a challenge to their faith. God must avoid this kind of behavioral conditioning in all its forms; for it interferes with our freedom for unlove in all its forms, which ultimately interferes with our freedom to love in all its forms. To rectify that, a classification scheme or taxonomy is outlined that distinguishes mental, physical, and social suffering, and then offers sub-categories. If God is to create a being capable of love, then He would have to allow this being to make that love its own; otherwise, the being would be like a marionette – only behaving according to a program or cause other than itself. Thus, if one’s love is not chosen, one’s love is not one’s own. 4. We would be like frenzied lawyers attempting to find the precise point at which one crosses the line from legal to illegal – locating excusability and deniability, mounting up the case law to prove that one can go to the very edge without crossing it. When you do get what you want, you can’t hold onto it. Alvin Plantinga recalls … Thus, God is caught in a dilemma from the very beginning. Another problem relates to the idea that God is. See more. Humans often suffer “because time and unexpected events overtake them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) That is, people are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, accidents occur, or people are careless or make mistakes. 5. In Lama Tsongkhapa’s Great Stages of the Path, the eight types of suffering are explained thoroughly. He so frequently lowers the boom on anticipated evil that He conditions most people (out of fear or desperation) to avoid evil. If you were truly incapable of these things, you would either be incapable of imagining them, or you would not have the self-consciousness to want to make those things your own. Go ahead. God must create this possibility; otherwise, He could not create a free agent, and therefore, could not create a loving being – that is, He could not create a beloved with the freedom to love others with a love that is its own. Or should God lobotomize only those Hitlers and Stalins that do have historical opportunities? Christians believe in an omnipotent and omniscient God, so some find it difficult to understand why evil exists in the world when God has the power and knowledge to prevent it. Cause and effect would certainly not be set within the context of a possible future, but only the satiation of a sensorial appetite or instinct. In view of this, one might ask the question, “Why would a loving God have allowed suffering to occur?”. Suffering definition, the state of a person or thing that suffers. The answer is that the question is absurd because it presents a contradiction. They find it easier to believe these are random acts of nature. Couldn’t He just have eradicated them?” Unfortunately, He cannot. We now proceed in UNIT L to a discussion of the next extrinsic source of suffering and evil, namely, suffering induced by natural causation. Thus, if God allows human beings to cause suffering to one another, He does so for reasons of advancing the free appropriation of love; and if God created an imperfect world with natural laws which indirectly cause suffering (see UNIT L), He would have done so for the same reason. For example, many psychotropic drugs cause the user to experience euphoria, an extreme sense of happiness, yet these same drugs can cause physical addiction and organ damage, leading to death over long periods of use. The suffering of separation from what is pleasant. discomfort. Examples include acts of murder, and war. Manmade suffering usually occur in poor/developing countries, e.g. The “loving” action would not be created anew by the self, and hence, the “loving” action would not belong to the “loving” agent. But it may be objected, “Well, okay, skip the idea of God preventing evil every time we want Him to. There are a few problems with this “better world,” not the least of which is that my incapacity to act on these harmful dispositions and attitudes would reflect rather poorly on my intelligence and reflectivity – indeed, I would be, well, virtually lobotomized. Evil is the cause of great suffering and there are different types of evil: Moral evil describes the behaviours of human beings that cause suffering, such as murder, lying and stealing. Various types of evil and suffering are evident in the world. . Computers can be programmed to do very positive and beneficial actions (and programmed not to do negative actions), but we certainly would not say that those computers are loving. One cause of human suffering is natural disasters, such as tornados How evil and suffering cause problems for religious belief The suffering of change. In other words, our block of wood cannot be a “square-circle” of the same area in the same place and time. The fact that there cannot be a square-circle is not a problem with divine power or the divine mind; it is a problem with the exclusionary property of the boundary of square or circle. For example, when we face the end of a relationship, we tell ourselves things like “I will never find someone has good again” and “there is no way out of our suffering”. That is, He created boundary A’s exclusion of “all boundaries non-A” from itself. Finally, it includes a journey – a journey with a loving God to find meaning in the tragedy. Note, here, that God does not create the actuality of suffering in the world, but only the possibility of suffering, by creating agents who have the real choice, the real power, to act contrary to love. 5) Existential Suffering/ the Dark Night of the Soul. In a sense, this form of suffering is a mysterious work of grace in which the believer participates in Christ’s abandonment on the Cross. Moreover, the reason He created the possibility of suffering was to make us “beloveds with the capacity to own our own love”; with the freedom and autonomy to originate love anew; with the capacity to love originatively as He loves. They question why God would allow humans to cause so much evil and suffering if he had the power to stop them from doing so. Whatever this is, it is not love. God cannot force a violation of the exclusionary property of boundaries – He cannot create a contradiction. We would call that “God.” The moment being has a boundary, it would cease to be purely inclusive, and would begin to exclude other boundaries from itself; just like squares excluding circles, or proton behaviors excluding electron behaviors, or wave behaviors excluding particle behaviors, etc. Natural suffering is caused by natural disasters, e.g. But it’s not only the block of wood; it is also in your mind. This insight may be deepened by examining what would happen if God made us incapable of unloving behaviors. As implied in UNIT J, this incredibly important capacity to love is our happiness, our creativity, our eternal future, and our highest calling. According to me, loss of peace is the real cause of human suffering. The suffering of not getting what one wants. Recall, for a moment, the principle of non-contradiction – something cannot both be and not be a particular characteristic in the same respect at the same place and time. For example, a preventable disease such as leprosy (a natural cause) is not prevented or delimited by a particular country in order that tax money can be used to incite a new war (a human cause); or a tsunami (a natural cause) hits a particular country, but the country next to it decides not to use easily accessible … Examples include cancer, birth defects, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other phenomena which inflict suffering with apparently no accompanying mitigating good. We would never know whether, on this particular occasion that I am contemplating unlove, the bolt of lightening would come from the sky in the form of an interruption – say, an inability to speak, a sudden lapse of intellection, a pain in the heart, or getting hit by a car. It therefore seems to me that this precious gift of love is worth the price of suffering – even tragic suffering. If God is to create a loving being, He must create that being with the capacity to create a loving action anew; and if He is to create a being with that capacity, He must create a being with the capacity to choose love or unlove; and if He creates a being with that capacity, He creates the very possibility of unlove leading to suffering. Read about our approach to external linking. It also includes an experience of trust that one will be reunited with that child in the eternity of God’s unconditional love. Ph.D./Magis Institute July 2011. Impossible is impossible in all circumstances, places, times, and universes. Indeed, it would seem that God should be likened to the most compassionate and affectionate of parents who would gladly suffer in the place of his/her child, but realizes that this child must make her own decisions and must deal with the challenges of life as a free human agent. Even incredible tragedies, like the death of a child, may not be ultimately and completely tragic, for if we cooperate with God’s loving (long term) plan, the initial tragedy and loss can become an instrument of transformation and redemption (and furthermore, the child would be in God’s eternally loving arms). If God did not want to create “exclusion,” He could not have created finite realities. The word “cannot,” here, means “impossible,” which means it is not possible for this to occur under any circumstances – even through divine power. God so loves the world, and God so wants us to love one another, that He will respect our freedom, and restrain Himself from interfering with that freedom, even in the most egregious situations and with the most egregiously offensive people. The only way God could avoid such exclusions or contradictions is if He didn’t create any boundaries or finitude in the first place. Now, we may return to the divine dilemma with which we began. How can we understand this? The Magis God Wiki: Suffering Caused by Humans. For example, this would have to include suffering during the Plague in Middle Ages, the suffering inflicted upon American Indians by White settlers and the US Government, and … It would seem that the world would be a better place. People of common sense will not approach the line even though they desire it; and the ones who would approach the line wouldn’t have a chance. This suggests that, because evil and suffering clearly exist in the world, either God does not exist or he cannot be omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient. Why? 2. And while I’m thinking about it, couldn’t He have also caused a car to hit that man who kidnapped that little girl? God. The truth of the cause of suffering is the second aspect, or second component of the nature of human suffering that the Buddha taught. Thus, we will want to look for answers to our suffering which ultimately to an eternity of unconditional, authentic love. 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