Does God allow pain and suffering?Answer


#1

Ok I am not sure if this would be considered the right topic for this forum but being its a family thread I am posting it if i am in the wrong please let me know…

This is one of the best explanations of why God
allows pain and suffering that I have seen.

It’s an explanation other people will understand.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and
his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they
began to have a good conversation. They talked about
so many things and various subjects.

When they eventually touched on the subject of God,
the barber said: “I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

“Well, you just have to go out in the street to
realize that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God
exists, would there be so many sick people? Would
there be abandoned children? If God existed, there
would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine
a loving a God who would allow all of these things.”

The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t
respond because he didn’t want to start an argument.
The barber finished his job and the customer left
the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw
a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair
and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and
unkempt.

The customer turned back and entered the barber shop
again and he said to the barber: “You know what?
Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber.
“I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on
you!”

“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist
because if they did, there would be no people with
dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man
outside.”

“Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people
do not come to me.”
“Exactly!”- Affirmed the customer. "That’s the
point! God, too, DOES exist!

What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not
look for Him. That’s why there’s so much pain and
suffering in the world."

If you think God exists, send this to other people,

Kind of makes you think about things…

Peace to all

          John

#2

I like that John…thank you! :thumbsup:


#3

It’s a nice little story except for the fact that even those who do go to God experience pain and suffering.

I think a better way to look at this is to say that God allows human pain and suffering because:

As fallen human beings it gives us the chance to demonstrate the grace of God by helping others in their pain and suffering.

God allows those he loves to experience pain and suffering so that they can identify with the suffering Christ and see him in themselves and others.

And that we are allowed to suffer pain and hardships to bring us to God who may or may not relieve our pain but who will make it redemptive and restorative to our souls and for the restoration of the souls of others.


#4

[quote=Della]It’s a nice little story except for the fact that even those who do go to God experience pain and suffering.

I think a better way to look at this is to say that God allows human pain and suffering because:

As fallen human beings it gives us the chance to demonstrate the grace of God by helping others in their pain and suffering.

God allows those he loves to experience pain and suffering so that they can identify with the suffering Christ and see him in themselves and others.

And that we are allowed to suffer pain and hardships to bring us to God who may or may not relieve our pain but who will make it redemptive and restorative to our souls and for the restoration of the souls of others.
[/quote]

ummm…but then why would God allow helpless animals to suffer? Surely they do not experience any kind of redemption in the process. (Sorry, I’m still thinking about that poor little mouse that the guy threw in the burning leaves :frowning: )


#5

There was a Priest on CA Live last week, Father John Triglio (I think he is on EWTN, I know he wrote Catholicism for Dummies and another book) - he explained it well:

He said there are two types of God’s will, Ordained Will and Permissive will. Ordained Will is when God takes direct action, like destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Permissive will is after he has put the laws of nature in place, letting them run their course. He said there is no foundation in Scripture that God is directing our every move like we are puppets, we are free to exercise our choices in a lot of cases. If you fall down the stairs because you did not turn on the lights, that is not God’s Ordained will - it’s subject to your choice and nature that God set in place - permissive will.

He also said however, that we don’t really know when God has chosen to exercise Ordained will - in making someone sick for some plan or reason we do not understand. But many times it’s just permissive will.


#6

[quote=Celeste88]ummm…but then why would God allow helpless animals to suffer? Surely they do not experience any kind of redemption in the process. (Sorry, I’m still thinking about that poor little mouse that the guy threw in the burning leaves :frowning: )
[/quote]

In the wild animals either hunt or are hunted. I watched March of the Penguin with my two daughters and their friend, a very sweet little boy of seven. When the seal ate the mama penguin and the narrator pointed out that the chick of this mama would die, the little boy was outraged. How could the seal do this he asked. I explained that the seal had to feed her babies the same as the penguins. Due to Disney, we often are not aware of how savage the wild is. But there is a wonderful balance. Seals keep the penguin population from getting to high, which helps the fish population stay balanced. In the wild what passes for cruelty is only our human interpretation on the events.

I don’t know the thread where a guy threw a mouse on a fire. I have had rodents before and they are nasty little animals. We had to set out poison which was not probably a pleasant why for the little mousies to die. My Cat catches mice and plays such a horrible-to me-game with the little creatures, dropping them, allowing them to run and recatching them only to repeat the process that I have actually taken the rodents from her. My cat is simply following her animal instinct.

We do live in a fallen world and people sometimes are cruel. Perhaps the man in question is just a sick person. In which case he should be punished. I don’t know the ins and outs of the story though.


#7

Never mind the mouse, how about infants, etc., who are our fellow humans? This is one of my biggest quandaries.


#8

Has anyone read (or heard) Kirk Douglas’ book, “My Stroke of Luck”? It is about his experience as a stroke victim. He counts his stroke as being the single thing that shook him into a meaningful life.

Mr. Douglas is among those who are acquainted with pain and suffering who will tell you that being stuck in unreality, in your own little made-up world where you imagine suffering and death are far away and unrelated to you, is a greater affliction. That is not to say he is saying suffering is a good thing, only that many people are satisfied to live with much worse.

The animals are innocent and have a different experience of consciousness than we do. None of them experience suffering or death in the way that we imagine. Be very careful not to project your thoughts and feelings about their experience onto them, and then get angry on their behalf. In their innocent relationship to God, they may not see it that way at all. When we set out to alleviate their suffering, we need to keep these things in mind, and tailor our efforts to their actual experience, and not our own imaginations.

As far as the “mousies” go, know that when they are in the grip of a cat, special endorphins kick in. Scientists now think that their brains no longer experience the wounds inflicted as they would when they are less seriously injured. It would seem that once the pain no longer serves the purpose of warning the animal that it has been injured and keeping it from abusing an injury, the endorphins largely take the pain away.

At any rate, it is entirely possible that the mouse’s experience of being a cat’s plaything is nothing like you or I would experience. Higher consciousness brings its own sorts of suffering, something mice know nothing of.

I guess I am saying two things. One is that we should not project what we imagine a certain experience would be like on someone else and especially not on some other sort of being entirely. We need to keep to what they most likely experience. Also, we should not think that pain and death are the worst things that can happen to a person. Look at all the people in the world who sail through without physical pain or suffering to wake them out of their stupor. Who is to say they are not worse off than those who suffer?

Consider also, that the world is not Eden. It is a vale of tears, and by our choice it is so. How much of this world’s suffering do we blame on God, when we do nothing about it ourselves? How much of this world’s suffering could have a redeptive effect, if we availed ourselves of that?

Pain and suffering–and the circle of life and death, for that matter–are not simple things, but part of a deep wisdom. Think what you will, but know that both the questions and the answers are bigger than we can know in one lifetime. Both the questions and the answers are far beyond words, and especially far beyond explanations. Even myth, music, and ritual can barely touch them. But if it were not for them, would we travel so often or so deeply to where only myth and music and shared ritual can take us? Would we have any idea what the sacraments mean, what the Pascal Mystery has to say?

Some think “What kind of God would allow animals and little children to suffer?” Perhaps another way to look at it is, “If God, whose Love and Wisdom is entirely trustworthy, allows animals and little children to suffer, is there more here than what I understand? If I trust God, will God teach me? If I listen, could I learn it?”


#9

[quote=Celeste88]ummm…but then why would God allow helpless animals to suffer? Surely they do not experience any kind of redemption in the process. (Sorry, I’m still thinking about that poor little mouse that the guy threw in the burning leaves :frowning: )
[/quote]

From all evil, pain and suffering comes great good.

I don’t know, sometimes,what kind of good will come from the type of act you described but that’s where my faith has to come in - you know?

Also, I had knee replacement surgery one week ago and I guarantee you that believing in God and trusting in the Teachings of the Holy Mother Church does NOT eliminate pain and suffering - may I simply say OW OW OW OW OW OW and pass the pain pills…:whacky:


#10

[quote=katy]Never mind the mouse, how about infants, etc., who are our fellow humans? This is one of my biggest quandaries.
[/quote]

reason4living.com/articles/totw0076.htm


#11

Questions like this are always interesting, and can generate a drawn-out discussion among mortals. This question is raised either because we want to know about God more, or in order to make sense of his/her experienced pain.

Many theologians have already studied this and continue to do so, with much depth and breadth over the years than I can even imagine. As a theological exercise, it is fun but not fruitful for me.

To ask the question because I am suffering puts me in a precarious position of scapegoating God for my pain. I might be lucid enough not to do so, but still, it would be very tempting to blame God for my suffering. The next step, like the barber in the above story, is to then deny God.

So, for my day-to-day guidance, I have made irrelevant why God ordains/permits pain and suffering of all sorts. I am too busy with my duties to be a good theologian. So, I refuse to ask the question.

In any personal experience, whether of pain or joy, I simply trust in God’s infinite love for me.

When that trust is there, I am able to ask: What gifts is He giving me with this suffering?

I think this is a more fruitful question, in terms of using pain, like joy, as one pathway to closer friendship with God.


closed #12

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