Let's talk about Suffering.
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21-08-2014, 12:38 AM
Let's talk about Suffering.
Let's Talk about Suffering

This seems like a topic that's beaten to death, but I seriously want to talk about something that is close to my heart: Suffering.

It's a known fact: Everybody suffers, Everybody Hurts. It's all about How much you suffer.

Some suffer more than others. I know this personally to be true. Regardless of the drama that enters or had entered into my life, I realize that there are people that suffer more. It's one of the reasons I oppose the Christian God, and very much think that Suffering is a strike against his character. (If you are interested in seeing my letter to Jesus, which I think outlines my emotional views on Him or Suffering, click here, or you want to know my personal experience with suffering, and my feeling of guilt, click here)

Now, why did I link you to old threads? So that you could at least know my stance/experiences with suffering on a scale I doubt some people ever see. I think it's important to not only draw on my personal experiences with suffering in order to get where I am going with this.

I actually planned on making this thread a while back, but I got sidetracked with other stuff.

Anyways, that was off topic. So, why is suffering important? Because it's an argument against, and a main selling point of religion. Suffering is used by the church systematically to gain new followers. I've seen this method in practise, and have used this method to convert others to Catholicism when I was religious (and not a day goes by where I don't think about the incident I linked to you above).

It's strange that suffering, concerning it's obvious negative applications, is such a positive thing in the church. The more you suffer, the greater the reward. However, if the God, as commonly described by Catholic (and many mainstream Christian sects) exits, suffering WOULDN'T be a thing in this world. We are all aware of the problem of evil (which is covered excellently by Vosur and others in this thread: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...m-of-evil) so I will not go over it more to say that there is No such thing as necessary suffering if God (again, with the three omni-thingies he is usually credited with having) exits. There is no need to learn a lesson through suffering. There is no need to let children die and others suffer through the aftermath.

However, some religious see it differently, they see suffering as a necessary key to entering Heaven, and the more you suffer, the greater your chances are to get into heaven. Some Christians even go out of there way to suffer more than they really would. This is what I term 'The Martyr Syndrome.'

Suffering is also one of the many points I get the most emotional by. Whenever I talk to those that ask about my lack of religion, or why I don't worship their God, suffering usually makes it's way. When I talk about it, I do get angry, I tear up. Mostly because I know things that I mention (children dying, mothers crying, miscarriages, rape, murder, etc) happen REALLY REALLY FREQUENTLY. And I frankly pisses me off, because I was there. However, the people around me talk as if suffering is a good thing, and that God exists because of their life. Well, they have the luxury to think that God has blessed them, or that suffering is good.

These people do not understand how badly others less less fortunately suffer. They don't understand the hopelessness of a mother of a sick child. They don't understand the anxiety of waiting for a meal that might never come. The people around me seem to think that suffering is studying really hard. But who am I to judge their suffering? They could really hate their studies.

However, those two still don't compare, or are even in the same ball-park.

There was a point in my life where I could walk and did walk up to a starving child and held their meal hostage for Jesus. Now, I would never do so. There was a point in my life where I thought that their suffering was necessary for them to get into heaven. I am ashamed of myself to think that.

Whenever I talk to people, theists, I ask them if they could walk up to a starving, malnourished, near death child and tell them that their God loves them, and will take care of them. Can anyone do it? Would anyone do it? Could you lie to this kid? I know I couldn't. I did it once, and I can tell you that it was by far the thing I regret the most.

So theists, tell me how you can justify suffering, and how you could tell a starving boy/girl that their next meal hinges on a prayer or belief.

(This seems more personal now when I review it, sorry)

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21-08-2014, 02:35 AM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
The first noble truth of Buddhism: All life is suffering.

Learn that, and we get on with living our lives.

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21-08-2014, 10:12 AM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
(21-08-2014 02:35 AM)Diogenes of Mayberry Wrote:  The first noble truth of Buddhism: All life is suffering.

Learn that, and we get on with living our lives.
Would you care to elaborate on this philosophy.
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21-08-2014, 12:41 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
Excellent post Atothetheist. Related to suffering, I have always wondered about sacrifice too. If the sacrifice is a life, a limb, general health, or something similar, then that sacrifice is also suffering. I never understood why an all loving God would want so much suffering and sacrifice. Since I was Catholic, my god was Jesus (well, the Trinity), and even our salvation required suffering from God himself for some strange reason. But I could never understand the reason.

Why would God want sacrifice and suffering? It seems God should want learning, growing, good behavior, etc. Why is the answer to every misdemeanor punishment? Suffer or make a sacrifice in order to repent. When my kids step out of line, I usually only have to scold them, remind them, or educate them. It has to be pretty bad before I need to resort to punishment (taking away privileges or whatever). God is supposed to be smarter than me, but he supposedly resorts to cruelty at the first opportunity.

And then there is the one I really can't understand. YOU can suffer and it can help ME somehow. In fact, Jesus did it for all of us... suffered and died to save all of us. Huh... how does that work again...? Ohmy And the Catholic church teaches that all the souls in purgatory are suffering to save each other as well as the souls still on earth. Huh again...? Yeah, that wonderful gawd, he just loves suffering. Dodgy

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21-08-2014, 01:07 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
It is an unanswerable and inescapable truth that the world in which we live is not compatible with the kind of all benevolent deities so often preached of by monotheistic religion. I find that those who would deny this either have no understanding or experience with any serious suffering, just as you pointed out, or they are unwilling to face the facts because they believe their continuing hope is contingent on their self deception. In other words, if they admit that the world is unjust, they do not possess the personal strength to take the place of their fictional god and deliver what relief they can to the suffering.

My innate and inevitable response to suffering is an immediate visceral empathy followed by a strong desire to do whatever I can to alleviate the suffering. This innate understanding of human pain has led me to conclude that I am more moral than the ridiculous and brutal manufactured fictions preached to me so often from the street corners. Even if I were to give them a single millimeter of room to breathe, and take their god at face value, I would be forced to ask why a being of such supposed perfection fails to experience the same innate response as such an imperfect being as myself? While I am driven to intervene, "god" does nothing. Of course, the painless answer is that a fiction can perform no action, and shouldn't be expected to. Better still we have no need of such a being at all. No need to waste emotional energy with extra entities, we are enough to alleviate suffering among our fellows. If the faithful sacrificed even half the energy they currently squander on wishful thinking and fervent prayers to no one, ostentatious displays of pious fervor or angry and bitter condemnations of their fellows, and an endless and impossible need to fill every necessary explanation with supernatural tripe, they might have collectively alleviated a continent's worth of suffering by now.

If we examine human history as a progression, there is one conclusion which I think is inescapable. Our current common myths and religions contribute to suffering and destruction far more than they alleviate them.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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21-08-2014, 08:15 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
(21-08-2014 10:12 AM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  
(21-08-2014 02:35 AM)Diogenes of Mayberry Wrote:  The first noble truth of Buddhism: All life is suffering.

Learn that, and we get on with living our lives.
Would you care to elaborate on this philosophy.

Joy is all around us, but we are blocked from it by our inability to accept the reality of suffering.

When one accepts and embraces the suffering, one becomes open to joy.

Or something like that. Consider

It's a bit like staring into the abyss without flinching, then laughing.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-08-2014, 08:30 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
(21-08-2014 10:12 AM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  
(21-08-2014 02:35 AM)Diogenes of Mayberry Wrote:  The first noble truth of Buddhism: All life is suffering.

Learn that, and we get on with living our lives.
Would you care to elaborate on this philosophy.

My elaboration is for you to meditate upon this concept. Repeat after me: aum...aum...

Aumkara

The 3 great mysteries of life (Hindu proverb):

Air to a bird
Water to a fish
You to yourself

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21-08-2014, 08:37 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
And now for something completely different, meditate upon this wisdom:

Tai Kwan Leap

"Patience, ya ya ya, how long will that take?"

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21-08-2014, 08:58 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
(21-08-2014 12:38 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  Let's Talk about Suffering

This seems like a topic that's beaten to death, but I seriously want to talk about something that is close to my heart: Suffering.

It's a known fact: Everybody suffers, Everybody Hurts. It's all about How much you suffer.

Some suffer more than others. I know this personally to be true. Regardless of the drama that enters or had entered into my life, I realize that there are people that suffer more. It's one of the reasons I oppose the Christian God, and very much think that Suffering is a strike against his character. (If you are interested in seeing my letter to Jesus, which I think outlines my emotional views on Him or Suffering, click here, or you want to know my personal experience with suffering, and my feeling of guilt, click here)

Now, why did I link you to old threads? So that you could at least know my stance/experiences with suffering on a scale I doubt some people ever see. I think it's important to not only draw on my personal experiences with suffering in order to get where I am going with this.

I actually planned on making this thread a while back, but I got sidetracked with other stuff.

Anyways, that was off topic. So, why is suffering important? Because it's an argument against, and a main selling point of religion. Suffering is used by the church systematically to gain new followers. I've seen this method in practise, and have used this method to convert others to Catholicism when I was religious (and not a day goes by where I don't think about the incident I linked to you above).

It's strange that suffering, concerning it's obvious negative applications, is such a positive thing in the church. The more you suffer, the greater the reward. However, if the God, as commonly described by Catholic (and many mainstream Christian sects) exits, suffering WOULDN'T be a thing in this world. We are all aware of the problem of evil (which is covered excellently by Vosur and others in this thread: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...m-of-evil) so I will not go over it more to say that there is No such thing as necessary suffering if God (again, with the three omni-thingies he is usually credited with having) exits. There is no need to learn a lesson through suffering. There is no need to let children die and others suffer through the aftermath.

However, some religious see it differently, they see suffering as a necessary key to entering Heaven, and the more you suffer, the greater your chances are to get into heaven. Some Christians even go out of there way to suffer more than they really would. This is what I term 'The Martyr Syndrome.'

Suffering is also one of the many points I get the most emotional by. Whenever I talk to those that ask about my lack of religion, or why I don't worship their God, suffering usually makes it's way. When I talk about it, I do get angry, I tear up. Mostly because I know things that I mention (children dying, mothers crying, miscarriages, rape, murder, etc) happen REALLY REALLY FREQUENTLY. And I frankly pisses me off, because I was there. However, the people around me talk as if suffering is a good thing, and that God exists because of their life. Well, they have the luxury to think that God has blessed them, or that suffering is good.

These people do not understand how badly others less less fortunately suffer. They don't understand the hopelessness of a mother of a sick child. They don't understand the anxiety of waiting for a meal that might never come. The people around me seem to think that suffering is studying really hard. But who am I to judge their suffering? They could really hate their studies.

However, those two still don't compare, or are even in the same ball-park.

There was a point in my life where I could walk and did walk up to a starving child and held their meal hostage for Jesus. Now, I would never do so. There was a point in my life where I thought that their suffering was necessary for them to get into heaven. I am ashamed of myself to think that.

Whenever I talk to people, theists, I ask them if they could walk up to a starving, malnourished, near death child and tell them that their God loves them, and will take care of them. Can anyone do it? Would anyone do it? Could you lie to this kid? I know I couldn't. I did it once, and I can tell you that it was by far the thing I regret the most.

So theists, tell me how you can justify suffering, and how you could tell a starving boy/girl that their next meal hinges on a prayer or belief.

(This seems more personal now when I review it, sorry)

yes well that is because they hold death as their standard of value. My philosophy holds life as the standard and teaches that suffering is a sign that you are doing something wrong. It teaches that life is to be lived and enjoyed not endured until that glorious day of death.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

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21-08-2014, 09:06 PM
RE: Let's talk about Suffering.
Quote:At a preview of John Huston's last film, The Dead, based on a story by James Joyce, I thought again of Campbell. One of his first important works was a key to Finnegans Wake. What Joyce called "the grave and constant" in human sufferings Campbell knew to be a principal theme of classic mythology. "The secret cause of all suffering," he said, "is mortality itself, which is the prime condition of life. It cannot be denied if life is to be affirmed."

Once, as we were discussing the subject of suffering, he mentioned in tandem Joyce and Igjugarjuk. "Who is Igjugarjuk?" I said, barely able to imitate the pronunciation. "Oh," replied Campbell, "he was the shaman of a Caribou Eskimo tribe in northern Canada, the one who told European visitors that the only true wisdom 'lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone open the mind to all that is hidden to others.'"

Introduction by Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth

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