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View Diary: March of the wingers (258 comments)

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  •  Kos brings up a point (none)
    about religious belief that has puzzled me for years.

    Assume you can cobble together an explanation for the suffering of innocent children and good people. It's usually some combination of the following:

        Suffering allows us to make reparation to God for our sins. God is just like a parent, who can only be appeased by the extreme suffering and even death of  his/her children when they disobey. What, you parents don't feel that way? Never mind, on we go.

        Suffering ennobles people by increasing their empathy for the suffering of others. Of course if others weren't suffering would the empathy be needed? Never mind, on we go.

        Suffering is all caused by human sin, and God can't stop it without depriving us of free will. What, you don't think people are responsible for earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, birth defects, chemical brain imbalances, aneurysms, bacteria, viruses, old age, etc, etc? Never mind, on we go.

        Suffering is a mystery that will be made clear when the good God welcomes us to the afterlife. We know that God is good, so there must be a good reason for suffering. How do we know that God is good when we look around at all the suffering? Never mind, we just know, and by definition only good things can come from a good God, so suffering must be good. We just don't understand how. Now shut up.

    Only the last explanation takes a shot at explaining the suffering of creatures other than man--just take it on faith that there is an explanation for everything.

    But suffering becomes mysterious indeed when one considers the suffering of animals. Anyone who has been around animals knows that they suffer physical pain, and emotional pain such as fear and loneliness. The food chain was "designed" to make it their fate to either be eaten alive, or to eat other creatures alive, or both. It's rare than an animal other than a pet dies peacefully of old age.

    Truthfully, that is our place in the food chain too. We have brains that now allow us to frequently thwart our predators and various natural menaces. We've concluded from this that we're under the special protection of an infinitely powerful superbeing who watches our every word and action, because our eternity hangs in the balance.

    So why do animals suffer just like us? Will they too get an explanation of the "mystery" when they enter eternal life?

    I do not see how there can be an explanation for animal suffering unless they too are headed toward eternal bliss. I mean, why would an Intelligent Designer deliberately create creatures who can suffer for no reason at all? Why not just put his "special" creatures--humans--on a world full of edible fungi and let them work out their mysterious fate?

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