Architects of a New Dawn

We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.

Here is my Question and I`m longing for answers, thoughts and insights from your different perspectives & spiritual backgrounds, dear Brothers & Sisters:

What about all the suffering and pain that people must experience in this world - like accidents, illness through no fault of ones own, War, Murder, absurd tragedies?
What about the Shoah/Holocaust and all the daily victims of structural Violence?

Its easy to sing "Hallelujah", when everything is fine, to praise the goodness of Life when I'm on the "sunny Side of the Street" (most of us in USA and Western Europe) and can enjoy the Beauty of Nature, to believe in the goodness of Men when I'm not to much a Victim of the dark Side of Men ... But what to say the parents, when they lost theit child? How to deal with someone who cannot bear his physical pain any longer? What to do in the Middle of Hell-Experience??

I ask you you this as a protestant Pastor, who has to deal with it again and again.
I have my confessional Ways to deal with the Problem of THEODIZEE and I try to deal with this problem in the way, that sometimes I have no answers and believe in a God, who suffers with us (my look at the Cross), limited himself (= lots is in our Responsibility!) and works through the Spirit of Forgiveness, inner Healing and Reconciliation ...
And sometimes I think Life & Believe are a "Nevertheless" in the Way of Camus` "The Plague" ... and a Bob Dylan "Never Ending Tour" as an unsatisfied Soul is nearer to me than spiritual Bright-shining- Vibes ...

I'm very interessted in your Views (please excuse my unperfect writing as a Posting from Germany)

be blessed
Thomas

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Hi Thomas
One of the most difficult problems for people of faith. I am not qualified to answer this question as my suffering cannot compare to what so many experience. However; being human and curious, I have read widely. One of the best books I have found to answer this question is a recent one called Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. I am reading another book which , although not on my list of extremely well written books, goes on my short list of interesting ideas. This book is called The Shack --and while rather graphic in content, the wisdom behind the story, grabbed me. I particularly liked some of the images the writer provides to up end our ideas about God. The author is William P Young. Probably not on the recommended book list for most Christians--still.
I wonder if it is more difficult to deal with people and their problems, or if it is more a wanting to try and steer them in a certain direction. This is something I have learned teaching my daughter. She has the power to make the choices in her life. And this is something she holds to honestly. We tell her she is responsible for who she is. I am a firm believer in making one's on destiny, and not following some misguided human's interpretation of what God is. I think this is the down fall of mankind, trying to tell people what they should think. They are going to be the way they are whether you want to change their minds or not. If I am friends with a Crack addict, and he/she is a dye in the wool crack addict, and he is not going to change for anyone, I am not going to try and change who they are. I am going to sympathise, but people make their own choices in life. If we are talking about Cancer and things of this nature, then I can understand. But what is it that you have trouble with Father Thomas? Understand this is not a heartless answer, I am only trying to see into your world.
This is a very deep subject. Suffering can sometimes be about perception. There is physical suffering, mental, emotional, not to mention grief. Pain can be an indicator of something wrong. It can be direct or indirect. It teaches us to focus.
When I have someone physically in front of me that I can see and touch and I know they are suffering I usually ask what is wrong. Now it is unfair to ask this question and not expect an answer. Perhaps they will answer "nothing"...so why the frown, bad mood, tears, etc.??? If you really care you will ask and if they say nothing the 3rd time take both hands and place one on either side of the persons head and force them GENTLY to look into your eyes. Just say you care. If they get quiet, as they frequently do, the next thing to say is "I am here IF YOU WANT to talk". Still quiet. Next move to saying that whatever has made them sad it can't be that bad.
This process can take some time. Just remember that the other person needs to ask for help in their way. The same thing doesn't work with everyone. Men say they want to talk and end up playing basketball. women say they want to talk and can wind up in a slumber party.
I asked God This...

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

And God Said...

"Bad things don't happen. What you see as being bad is just another thing that happens. Everything that happens happens just as it should."

"So why is it that these things that happen aren't always nice?"

"That's because if you only knew what was good then how would you was bad?"

"Do I need to know what is bad?"

"You need to know the Difference."

"And what is this "Difference?"

"This "Difference" is like day and night. It is like warm and cold. If you don't know this "Difference" then you'll never know what's important..."

"And what's important I asked..."

"That this "Difference" even as you all experience it isn't real..."

"What I asked is "Real"...

"Nothing... My Son/Daughter"

"It's just a Dream..."
Here's my take on this, Thomas. I should point out that, as I don't subscribe to any religion, my views may well conflict with our own. I want you to understand that I am not challenging your views, just presenting my own.

Although I don't share your belief in God, I do most strongly believe that we are part of a process and there are forces still beyond our understanding that guide us. I don't put a name or a face to it and I have no stories of its origins nor do I make any pretense at knowing or understanding its intent. I have faith but I don't have a belief-system to describe it.

As for suffering: If the lion succeeds, the gazelle gets eaten; if the gazelle succeeds, the lion goes hungry. Who is to judge which should have their day?

To suffer is bad enough. To truly believe that God has decided that you should suffer must be a million times worse. How can a God that inflicts such suffering be MERCIFUL? Perhaps, instead, we should be asking why we insist on attributing such paltry, petty reactions such as anger, jealousy, vengeance and a megalomanic obsession with being worshipped to an entity we claim to regard so highly. Why do we say God-fearing instead of God-loving?

If you believe in a God Who gave us Free Will, then suffering must be accepted as part of the package. Either we have Free Will and accept responsibility for the consequences of our actions or we are pawns in some Game that God is playing.

Suffering is a consequence of circumstances in which the victims have the Free Will to find themselves or that others have the Free Will to impose on them. If you believe in a God Who gave us Free Will, would you not agree that divine intervention when things go wrong would compromise that Freedom of Will? Suffering is a consequence of our actions upon others or our susceptibility to the actions of others.

If we always consider our actions and our words so that we do not knowingly cause suffering, That's a good start. If we can communicate with those who continue to inflict suffering in such a way that an end to the suffering is a mutually desired outcome, that's the way forward.

We must reach a hand out to both those who suffer and those who inflict suffering. If we blindly oppose, we invite nothing but counter opposition. If we listen, we invite discourse. If we are prepared to change something in our viewpoint based on something of value we gleaned from the other person's views, we invite an exchange of ideas.

An argument becomes a confrontational clash of ideas and all this ever achieves is a lot of noise.

If we can accept that we, in some way, contribute to global suffering when we support institutions that exploit the world's most vulnerable, we can possibly adjust our lifestyles accordingly.

If we can teach, we can teach values that include compassion, empathy etc. If we can write, we can convey our thoughts to many others. If our position in life gives us a voice that others will take note of, we must use that voice.

We must accept full responsibility if we inflict suffering. We are not doing God's Will; we are doing our will. By the same token, we must accept the responsibility to alleviate suffering. It's not God's job; it's our job.

Meanwhile, the lion will continue to tread with stealth and the gazelle will continue to tread with caution.
Well, everybody has each own experience when it comes to the word--SUFFERING. and this is happening in a different levels in life. But everyone should be aware of that the world is lust, greedy and corrupt so we should prepare for the suffering to come in life. Death for example is a thing that we have to admit of... yes there is pain and tears when tragedy comes, there is hate when love one was being murdered, and there is suffering between conflicts and war...thus everybody should know that this earth comes to nothing at all no matter what people wanted to change for the better as the bible said....and what we do now should is to have love in our hearts and do this love for others.And be in mind always about the life of Job, the servant of God....He lost everything in a wink of his eyes....experienced suffering so much than any person in this world, yet he stand for the word of God....and was blessed with happiness and salvation.
your suffering dims down whemn you come out of your body and see it from an external point of view

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