Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Making Sense of Suffering in a Post Modern World

Life is filled with suffering. That's a given. Despite the fact that some of us suffer more than others, there is no escaping it, and this - evil and suffering - present the greatest obstacle to faith in God, especially in modern and post-modern America.

And let's face it, most of us lose more than we win. But what if there was a way to win by losing? Well, in the audio version of the book below, Making Sense Out of Suffering, by Peter Kreeft, you may begin to look at suffering and pain in a very different way.   I know I did. And you don't have to be Catholic or Christian to read as he - albeit with 100% Christian bias - compares and contrasts all the different religions, philosophies, ets.

If you find that hard to believe, too good to be true, know that even the atheist Ivan Karamazov understands that hope. He says,

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.

Why then does Ivan remain an atheist? Because though he believes, he does not accept. He is not a doubter; he is a rebel. Like his own character the Grand Inquisitor, Ivan is angry at God for not being kinder. That is the deepest source of unbelief: not the intellect but the will.
Often using the Socratic technique of dialogue between himself and a very skeptical prospective reader, Kreeft brings together a variety of novelists, poets, prophets, philosophers and scriptures and he gives, what I think, is one of the best answers - if not the best - to the question for all time, if God exists, why is there so much suffering?  He masterfully exposes the fallacious thinking of modern times in a thought-provoking chapter on why it is most, if not all of us cannot understand suffering. He urges us to view ourselves as protagonists in the midst of our own life stories, where, maybe not in this world, good finally triumphs, as Christians believe.


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