@Daniel Ray- As a fellow depression sufferer, yeah, I get that end of it too.
Under stand, though: I'm not trying to impose meaning on anything. All I'm saying is this: That stuff I mentioned objectively sucks. Not just the "outward appearance", the actual experience. And so many lives born into some flavor of misery with nothing to look forward to but Hell when it's over seems to somewhat undermine the Goodness of the Good News, is all.
Anyway... I'll bite. I guess I'll see you in you in your inbox.
As a Christian, I understand your point. As one who has suffered through debilitating depression for most of my nearly half-century of life, even as a Christian, I understand “suffering” personally.
Some days are ok, some are not.
It is easy for us to talk about suffering when we are not suffering. It is not easy to talk about it when we are.
Christians are often accused of speaking of suffering glibly, overlooking it, downplaying it, etc. Sadly, I have been guilty of that myself.
Yet non-believers at times will mention the suffering of “other people” in order to demonstrate their point that God does not exist or care.
But why does the unbeliever get to define for those “other people” what their suffering means? What gives the unbeliever the ability or right to define what the suffering of “other people” is or is not? In so doing, the skeptic is unwittingly taking upon himself the task of the theologian here, defining what God is or is not, what He’s doing or is not doing and then rendering a judgment/interpretation of another’s experiences based solely upon outward appearances. How is that any better than pseudo-Christian pietism which glibly asserts, “God will work this out for good”? (See Job’s friends’ comments as an example).
How does the skeptic justify defining the meaning of others’ suffering?
I would very much be willing to have an intelligent discussion with you about it, Mr. Schaeffer. It is clear from your post you have seen a lot of suffering. Perhaps we can learn something from one another.
Well... It'd been a while since I screamed at my radio.
Between the consistent "So you want everything to be pleasurable all the time and that's the meaning of life" straw man, the downright bizarre appeals to "we can't know W, X, Y or Z because of our earthly perspective, but for some reason that means we can be sure horrible stuff works out for good", and "Jesus fixed it all, but not in a way that affects the real world, so that makes it all okay", I just couldn't control myself.
I've spent the better part of the last 10 years working with human misery on a near daily basis, in the form of emotionally disturbed, abused children and crisis mental health services, and the thing is nobody ever shares stories in church that end with "And then she was addicted to heroin and lost custody of 4 children in 10 years before jumping off a bridge", "Despite every every attempt at intervention he grew up to be a serial child abuser and died in prison" or "early sexual abuse and neglect left her with intellectual limitations and severe mental health issues, and after aging out of foster care she bounced between jail and mental hospitals until she was killed by the police at 52". Unexpected death is one thing, but what really concerns me is life spent in misery and deprivation with nothing that remotely resembles a happy ending in sight, and the expectation that we have some obligation to thank God for it.
And to be honest, I could happily spit in the eye of anyone who offers such flippant, dismissive, childish "answers" in the face of that kind of real human suffering, anyone who is so unwilling to face and deal with it that they can wave it off with cute platitudes about it "sweetening the joy of heaven".
In the last 10 months I've lost my Father and Step Father, of course is was painful but I required no deluded belief in some god to get me through the loss. They were both very good people and lived long lives and they went fast, you can't ask for much more than that (unless of course you’re a Christian). All these Christians have one thing in common which is they are unwilling or unable to cope with the reality that this life is ALL we will ever have, and the bottom line is it’s the only reason they or any other religious person needs their god for he is obviously useless for anything else.
To think we need to watch some 3 year old suffer from a horrible disease or anyone else just shows you have far a Christian can warp their mind to allow them to embrace their delusional thinking. As I’ve said in the past, what kind of father would ever let their child suffer so if they could prevent it, none that I know of, except of course this heavenly one they praise, how freaking sick that they could justify such actions.
I’ve been a compassionate person all my life , not only towards humans but animals, I need not watch anyone die horribly to embrace that compassion. Babies born with no limb, destine to die right after birth, and we need that kind of lesson from this loving , caring god..are you fucking kidding me?
The reality is we are all biological creatures, we will all die and will at one time all suffer loss of one sort of another, it’s part of life and no magical sky daddy is required to teach us anything, for it is human nature to grieve, the Christians try to avoid that the best they can but more often than not fail.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why these religious people believe the way they do, the amazing thing is that they don’t understand it.