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Posts: 1585/1637
(29-Apr-2012 at 05:45)
The Problem of Suffering

...And why there is no such problem.

The problem is this: If God is good, then how can there be suffering in the world?

Firstly, the idea of good and evil is not the same as pleasure and suffering.
Suffering is unpleasant, but it may still be good, if that suffering is experienced under the supervision (and partnership) of a good God. Yes, I present to you an oxymoron, the idea of good suffering. As I will explain:

It is, in fact, arrogance which the greatest obstruction to understanding this. Arrogance is the thing that makes one believe that good and evil are the same as pleasure and suffering. Humility, on the other hand, is the thing that shows us there is distinction between good and evil, and pleasure and suffering. So it is humility which I now ask you to draw upon.

Thus, the problem becomes: Why didn't God just make a world without unpleasantries? Why would God bother so much with humility?

The answer is simply to promote understanding.

Free will, the geniune kind, is indeed about being able to 'do your own thing'. Yes, but infered within free wil is also the search for truth. That truth, however, is concealled by arrogance. And here is the key point: when we demand an answer, or the one that best suits us, the responce is rushed and brash, it is incorrect.

If we see plainly, there is no problem with discerning the truth. Similarly, if we see plainly, there is no problem with suffering.

But how exactly?

Well, by being humble and close to God, suffering can be also be good, since it is truthful suffering. It is only arrogance and the distance from God that makes dishonest suffering possible, which in turn makes manifest evil misunderstandings, such as the one that produced the perception of a problem in the first instance.
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View Public Profile Find more posts by Gotterdammerung Add Gotterdammerung to your Buddy List Reply with Quote
Posts: 1586/1637
(29-Apr-2012 at 06:11)
In summary (deductively reasoned):

Part I

Premise 1: Man requires humility to be able to see truth
Premise 2: Humility is sufferance
Conclusion: Truth is sufferance

Part II

- God is good
- Truth is good
- God is truth

Part III

- Truth is sufferance
- God is truth
- God is sufferance

Part IV

- God is sufferance
- God is good
- Sufferance is good

Last edited by Gotterdammerung, 29-Apr-2012 at 06:14.
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Global Moderator
Posts: 3827/3863
(30-Apr-2012 at 01:24)


Did anyone else spot the irony of this line:

Quote:
That truth, however, is concealled by arrogance. And here is the key point: when we demand an answer, or the one that best suits us, the responce is rushed and brash, it is incorrect.
Quote:
it is incorrect.
That you are.

Your whole post was an attempt to explain a "fact" to us, and yet it is simply the answer that best suits you. By your own words; it is incorrect.

Suffering exists for a variety of reasons; none of which need a divine being to be the cause.

People, like snowflakes, are all slightly different, but we all follow the same patterns -Stewie
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

Some people are like Slinkies- absolutely useless, but always fun to push down stairs!
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Posts: 1587/1637
(30-Apr-2012 at 02:23)
Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Azure Dragon: View Post
Your whole post was an attempt to explain a "fact" to us, and yet it is simply the answer that best suits you. By your own words; it is incorrect.

Suffering exists for a variety of reasons; none of which need a divine being to be the cause.
The problem of suffering assumes God exists. It's a theological debate. The issue is that how could suffering exist if there was an all powerful being that was totally good.

For the sake of argument?

Regardless, I can tackle the issue of suffering not needing God if you like, but in a different thread.

P.S. I'm not sure if the second post there regarding logic is technically sound. I am trying to get a hand on the correct way to format deductive logic, as distinct from say analogical or inductive logic.
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Posts: 1588/1637
(30-Apr-2012 at 02:43)
I'll tell you what, for the sake of discussion, I'll make an compromise.

You stated that belief in God is itself arrogant. However, belief (faith) in God is through humility, so does that mean that it is really arrogantly humble or humbility arrogant?

That's babble.

In your search for truth you would have been confronted with the idea of an all powerful being. Maybe he exists, maybe not. If you are arrogant enough, you will either say that God certainly exists or that he certainly doesn't, when in truth either of those positions are incorrect.

The search for truth is a humble affair. So is it better to remain unconvinced or to have faith? Well, let me say this, the search itself is an exercise in faith.

You have faith that you are free, that truth and understanding are possible. The logical end is perfect truth and perfect understanding, there is faith in this ideal or else you wouldn't even bother making sense of anything whatsoever, even for the most mundane, practical matters.

So then, I challenge you to reason why the existance of free will, of truth, and of faith in these pursuits, could possibly have purely physical causes and how these things could come about in that physical setting. Simply, how are we free and truth-seeking rather than not at all? By extension, how does the universe exist rather than not at all?
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Posts: 3828/3863
(01-May-2012 at 22:25)


Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung: View Post
The problem of suffering assumes God exists. It's a theological debate. The issue is that how could suffering exist if there was an all powerful being that was totally good.
.
Suffering can quite plainly exist without god.

Quote:
I'll tell you what, for the sake of discussion, I'll make an compromise.
How about you start with discussing the hypocrisy I pointed out in your own post?

People, like snowflakes, are all slightly different, but we all follow the same patterns -Stewie
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

Some people are like Slinkies- absolutely useless, but always fun to push down stairs!
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Posts: 1589/1637
(02-May-2012 at 01:30)
Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Azure Dragon: View Post
Suffering can quite plainly exist without god.
I never said it couldn't.

You misunderstand the context I opened with, i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

Quote:
How about you start with discussing the hypocrisy I pointed out in your own post?
What do you want me to say?

I said that confronted with a concept like God you ought to be humble towards its possibility.

What is hypocritical about that?
#7  
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Posts: 1590/1637
(02-May-2012 at 03:08)
A video you will like:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMAt0a5EWw0

An intereting comment on this video: "Atheism: the arrogant belief that a universe of 100 sextillion stars was NOT created for the benefit of a single species on a single planet."

Clearly I'm not siding with religious certainty. My angle is one of humbility and UNCERTAINTY. It is incorrect to be certain beyond what our understanding (language) allows, and even then understanding is not total.

Last edited by Gotterdammerung, 02-May-2012 at 03:17.
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Posts: 3829/3863
(03-May-2012 at 00:49)


Re: The Problem of Suffering

Quote:
What do you want me to say?

I said that confronted with a concept like God you ought to be humble towards its possibility.

What is hypocritical about that?
You discredit yourself with your continual and blatant lies and misdirections.

You do not seek to debate, only to misinform.

People, like snowflakes, are all slightly different, but we all follow the same patterns -Stewie
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

Some people are like Slinkies- absolutely useless, but always fun to push down stairs!
#9  
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(03-May-2012 at 00:59)
Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Azure Dragon: View Post
You discredit yourself with your continual and blatant lies and misdirections.

You do not seek to debate, only to misinform.
I suppose it is my fault that you have this impression.

I will have to be much clearer and compact in the future.

It seems the audience (you) is increasingly weary.
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(03-May-2012 at 02:08)
Anyway, what you could have said is that truth and freedom are nothing more than functions of the herd to determine which course of action is the one which ensures the best survival of the collective.

What I am personally frustrated with is the misnomer around truth and freedom. In this darwinian arrangement they are false ideals in the sense is that they are not means to ends in their own right. I wanted something more. Don't you? In order to do this you have to devorce yourself from the herd sensibilities.

Does this mean putting faith in an arrogant concept? Of course it does. But I would hope you would at least understand the meaning behind such aspirations.
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(06-May-2012 at 03:13)
Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Azure Dragon: View Post
You discredit yourself with your continual and blatant lies and misdirections.

You do not seek to debate, only to misinform.
Also, what exactly gives you that impression?
#12  
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Global Moderator
Posts: 3830/3863
(06-May-2012 at 15:46)


I care not to continue this discussion. I feel my points have been successfully made, and nothing more needs to be said.

<hunts around to find mod wand>

Please stop double posting, and topping this thread.

People, like snowflakes, are all slightly different, but we all follow the same patterns -Stewie
Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

Some people are like Slinkies- absolutely useless, but always fun to push down stairs!
#13  
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Posts: 741/742
(15-May-2012 at 21:31)


Re: The Problem of Suffering

Suffering was never the problem for a believer. A good God may indeed conceivably still allow the existence of suffering. It's the patently obviously cruel types of suffering (say, the birth of barely viable children whose unfortunate genetic mutations make them live in horrible pain for a few weeks only to die after) that are impossible to reconcile with the idea of a good God. No amount of humility or trying to keep 'close to God' will make those experiences make sense.

Hence, the problem (of evil) is real. The mental calystenics that make one try to fit unfair suffering within the concept of a 'good universe' are, in the end, rationalizations. On a whole, the universe shows no signs of a well-intended creator.

Your brain is unique in the history of the universe. Use it wisely.
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Posts: 2850/2860
(18-May-2012 at 10:03)


Have you studied Buddhism at all Gotter? My impression is that is a religion that deals with the solution to suffering. Christianity is more about the solution to Sin.

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(31-May-2012 at 13:54)


Re: The Problem of Suffering

Originally Posted by Mars II: View Post
Have you studied Buddhism at all Gotter? My impression is that is a religion that deals with the solution to suffering. Christianity is more about the solution to Sin.
Wrong kind of suffering.

The suffering cured by Buddhism has nothing to do with pain, or unpleasantness, or disease, or famine, or indeed anything external or physical.

It is all laid out in The Four Noble Truths:

1) Material life inevitably leads to suffering, because;
2) we start desiring things or states we can't have.
3) The suffering will stop when we stop desiring things or states, and that can be done by;
4) following the path to Liberation and Enlightenment laid out by Buddha.

On a linguistic level, the Sanskrit word dukkha used in the original text is translated into English as 'suffering', but it is a poor translation and in the better quality translations often left untranslated as 'dukkha' for that reason. It has more to do with negative emotional effects, or spiritual disturbance, or disquiet, than with anything physical.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(31-May-2012 at 20:15)


Dukkha contains physical, mental, and spiritual suffering. Nirvana is an escape from all of these, including the physical suffering that living brings. Gotter didn't reference any specific type of suffering, be it physical or otherwise.

If we are talking about a good god then I assume we are talking about Islam, Judaism or Christianity. Neither of these are well suited to the "problem of suffering" be it physical or otherwise. I don't think the question of why a good god allows us to be discontent is much different from the original question posed.

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(01-Jun-2012 at 14:45)


Not really.

The physical aspect (dukkha-dukkha) is ageing/dying, childbirth, or illness. Dukkha (viparinama dukkha) itself is as I described, something akin to spiritual disturbance, or anxiety. Think of it as 'anxiety caused by a changing world'. The third, samkhara-dukkha, is just a general feeling of pissed offness, where nothing is ever good enough.

What Gotter said was "Why didn't God just make a world without unpleasantries?" which suggests external causes of suffering from the external world, rather than the internal, spiritual suffering of dukkha.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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(02-Jun-2012 at 06:06)


Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
Not really.

The physical aspect (dukkha-dukkha) is ageing/dying, childbirth, or illness. Dukkha (viparinama dukkha) itself is as I described, something akin to spiritual disturbance, or anxiety. Think of it as 'anxiety caused by a changing world'. The third, samkhara-dukkha, is just a general feeling of pissed offness, where nothing is ever good enough.

What Gotter said was "Why didn't God just make a world without unpleasantries?" which suggests external causes of suffering from the external world, rather than the internal, spiritual suffering of dukkha.
God made us with the ability to feel all the kinds of suffering that exist. Suffering is never external because it is a feeling. One might suffer through a roller coaster ride whereas someone else would enjoy it.

Christianity views suffering as a punishment or the lack of it as a reward. God makes the disobedient suffer and rewards the good with heaven, no suffering. The problem is that suffering exists in those that live and are good. This is why it, and other religions do not deal well with the "problem of suffering." Buddhism does. And it seems to provide a good way to view all the kinds of suffering and deal with them.

Mars II - American Scientist
PhD - Physical Chemistry
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(02-Jun-2012 at 11:07)


You clearly can't distinguish between cause and effect, or between the spiritual and the physical, so you are incapable of understanding what Buddhism is about which in turn means there is no point continuing this.

If you want to believe that Buddhism is about dealing with the suffering of being flogged, go ahead.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
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