Why do good people suffer?

First, my apologies for the delay in new posts. Some personal matters needed to be taken care of that took up more time than I anticipated.

One of the hardest things for me to accept when we talk about a “loving God” is how it seems that so many good people suffer calamities through no obvious fault of their own. At the same time, people who are — for want of a better term — “evil” seem to succeed and have good things fall into their lap.

It’s a lack of justice in this world that sometimes I have trouble dealing with.

Decent, loving people have their children taken from them–by random acts of violence, illness, etc. Maybe they’ve waited years to have a child and when they do, the child is mentally or physically handicapped. People with their whole lives before them are killed in a car crash. Innocent children in poor countries contract Ebola or other diseases that result in a painful, ugly death. Wars kill thousands of people who want nothing but to live their lives in peace.

So where is God? Why so quiet? If this were ancient Biblical times, God would have raised up prophets, smote the evil ones with plagues and destruction.

We attempt to make a answer that works for ourselves, but ring hollow:

1) “The ways of God are mysterious”. — Watching a child die in pain from disease does not justify a mysterious God allowing or His making this happen.

2) “God never gives us more than we can handle”– So, in other words, God is a sadist who likes to see how much suffering and heartache we humans can take. Such a God is simply not worthy of being worshiped. It’s like a line from “God’s Song” by Randy Newman :” I burn down your cities, how blind you must be. I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your trust in me….”

3)  “He’s (she’s) in a Better Place Now” –  While I would not argue that someone dying a long, painful death is not better off dead— this “better” place is just a matter of faith, since no one’s ever come back to tell us definitely what awaits after that.  Remember, that if you believe in Hell (which I don’t – since I don’t believe that a Supreme Being would be punishing His creations), then maybe “He’s (she’s) in a Worse Place Now”!

4) “It’s not for us to challenge the ways of God” – Why not?  I’m suffering, yet I’m supposed not to confront the source of that suffering?  That may seem noble–to suffer in silence, but it’s also rather stupid.  Again, a God that would treat us like his playthings is not a God worthy of worship, except out of fear that God will just send us more suffering.  Hardly a loving God!

5) “You’ll get your reward in Heaven”–What?  A bale of hay for being a jack-ass?  I would certainly like to believe that only good things come to us after death. But, if that’s so true, why aren’t people just killing themselves to get there?  Oh yes, suicide is a mortal sin.  Catch 22.  The other problem with this one is that it’s one of the great ways people with power can keep other people suppressed–“Don’t worry that I keep you near starvation, and I rape your daughters and kill your sons….just be faithful and you’re get your reward in the afterlife.”

You either have to take this on faith, some “Holy” book claiming to be the word of God (according to “Who”? –  which is one reason why the book “I’m God and You’re Not” is being written), or you make your bets and wait for the wheel to stop.

There really is no way of knowing.

So, what do we do?

If we really aspire to the holy, to bring whatever God is into this world, then it is up to us to  work to alleviate suffering, starvation, war, disease, etc.  Waiting around for God to enter the world through some Deus Ex Machina, while we go on living lives of lip-service to our religious beliefs—sorry, but Superman, (oops-Father in the Sky) isn’t coming to save the day.

You want to bring the Kingdom of God to earth?  Start with bringing it inside yourself.  What are you waiting for?

More on this at a later time.

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