The age old cry–how can there be a loving God, or any spiritual universe when the innocent suffer ?
I’m not referring to the usual day to day struggle we refer to as adversity but to the truly horrendous–the acts of violence, abuse, murder, 9/11s genocide etc. We know these terms all too well. And what about diseases striking down the innocent? What about children born with horrendous birth defects? Or sudden death?
The philosophical term theodicy addresses this concept. But it is too sterile, too intellectual to satisfy the broken heart, the deep cry of despair and chaos that comes from a world without meaning.
Just consider this response and judge for yourself—- We live in a universe in which human beings are capable of making their own choices–this is free will. Free will ‘allows’ for all of these horrendous acts I mentioned .
But why can’t God intervene and save the innocent? Because then our actions would not be totally free. As unsatisfactory as that answer may be, free will also means that our acts of kindness, empathy, compassion have real meaning as well.
Where is God when mankind suffers? The reply is God ‘sends’ other people. In truth God doesn’t ‘send’ anyone. It is our choice to act as we do.
What about punishment and reward for our actions? Why do the good suffer and the evil-doers seem to escape retribution?
In order to rationalize further we must accept two other notions: 1] a form of ‘karma’ in which our souls eventually recognize their mistakes and often seek to compensate by experiencing the suffering they caused others, and 2] reincarnation in which we all return over multiple lifetimes in order to progress spiritually.The suffering reflects the difficulty of choosing to come into this world. Can we ever rationalize an innocent child’s suffering? Could their souls ‘sacrifice’ their life in order for others to learn humility and compassion?
In a sense, each lifetime is a ‘survival weekend’. But this can only be understood in the context of karma & reincarnation.
Why should we believe any of this? Do we need to accept the teachings of a religion in which we were NOT raised ?
NO ! But–now for the evidence…..that requires reading, listening and speaking to the ordinary individuals who have had their own personal extraordinary experiences of awareness.
Do the hard work of exploring these deep and confusing metaphysical issues–the rewards may be to begin to find meaning in chaos and suffering.