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Argument from Suffering
In his book Learning from Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy, Korman says that God could not allow suffering. It should be mentioned at once that suffering refers to physical and emotional pain and discomfort endured by living creatures. The main idea of the argument is that much hatred and injustice in the world do not harmonize with the image of God, who is omnibeing, loving, wise, and fair. The possible message is that the presence of suffering can mean that God does not exist. Thus, the main goal of this paper is to prove that the argument is false. Section 1 presents the argument and its reasons for existence, section 2 offers my critical points of view, and section 3 addresses and denies these ideas.
The argument under consideration is straightforward and easy to understand. Korman mentions that “if God would prevent all suffering, then there would not be any suffering.” Modern boys and girls are born and grow up in a cruel world. Earthquakes and other disasters that kill thousands of people have become commonplace. Wars and terrorist acts are almost the main topics of news. Numerous people lose their lives due to illness, crime, and accidents. When they have to face a tragedy, it is quite natural to feel the pain of loss, disappointment, and even anger. The question of why it happens is acute in such situations, and it is necessary to find the answer to understand the events.
It is wrong that death and suffering have become an integral part of human life. The Bible contains a promise of a new world in which righteousness will reign. Nevertheless, humanity must live in unprecedented evil until it becomes real. It is a challenging question of how long these difficult times will last, and the apostles raised it to their teacher. However, Jesus did not stipulate any precise time when evil would disappear entirely. Thus, the information above allows us to suppose that the presence of suffering means that God does not exist.
At this point, this idea evokes my critical points of view. Thus, it is said that it is necessary to teach people how to develop valuable character traits and strong personalities. It refers to the fact that various difficulties show people how they can overcome these challenges and other fears. In addition to that, the argument is opposed by the thought that suffering “is necessary for appreciating good things.” It is believed that people understand the difference between good and evil only in comparison. That is why the absence of suffering will depreciate the meaning of love, kindness, loyalty, and other positive phenomena. Finally, the notion of suffering as a necessary condition before good times is also against the argument. It is a popular thought that God will end suffering only when the appropriate time comes. Thus, the ideas above bring certain doubts to the argument from suffering.
The information above represents a few ideas and thoughts that can present criticism of the argument under consideration. At the same time, they can be articulated in three simple and straightforward sentences:
- God allows suffering because it teaches people how to be strong.
- Suffering is necessary because it helps people appreciate good things.
- Suffering is an essential condition before good times finally appear.
Finding the Truth about Suffering
Even though the criticism above seems to be convincing, some objections arise against my critical points of view, and they will be discussed in this section. Firstly, one can suppose that God would not want people to be strong personalities with decent characteristic traits. This idea is supported by the fact that He has always blessed His most intense followers to overcome severe obstacles in their lives. These followers were forced to deal with one difficulty after another, without any hope for the end of that unlucky streak. Since it was a typical case in the past, one can state that the same fate will be offered to further supporters. It means that suffering is considered an integral element of life. That is why it is not necessary to except for the end of this phenomenon.
In addition to that, the critical point of view that suffering helps people appreciate good things can also be objected to. It refers to the fact that if God existed, He could ensure that people would face gradual improvement of positive phenomena in their lives. It could be done so to teach people how to appreciate what they had without the necessity to introduce many negative things and events in their lives. Furthermore, a piece of criticism that a better world will follow suffering also is not convincing to object to the theory under consideration. It is said that if God could turn all challenges into significant benefits, there would be a few examples of this scenario. Since such cases are absent, it denotes that God is not responsible for suffering.
In addition to that, it is necessary to pay more attention to the supposition that suffering is designed by God to help people become powerful, both mentally and physically. One should note that an additional focus refers to the fact that various challenges become helpful for those people who have already had some prerequisites for further development. It does not denote that some people are more important to God than others. The main message of this thought is that suffering can result in positive outcomes for those only who can withstand some difficulties. In other words, various problems serve as a measure for God to identify His followers with decent potential. If a person is lazy and always capitulates in front of challenges, he or she will never become a better person. The idea that God could not allow suffering is said to be developed by people who do not want to make any efforts to improve their lives. Thus, God seems to introduce the notion of justice, according to which people should do something to get anything.
In conclusion, suffering is an eternal theme that is relevant in the 21st century. It is impossible to imagine the modern world without difficulties and problems, and it is a significant challenge for people to choose a way how they will handle these challenges. The struggle of living truth, with human notions of God, continues throughout life. Any disputes concerning the nature of suffering and God’s role in it are acute in the modern world. This paper has just presented different points of view concerning the given argument. However, it is not possible to state for sure which of them is more convincing without some further argument to prove one of them.
Korman, Daniel Z. Learning from Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy. 2019.