One of the problems concerning those who believe in an all powerful, good God, is reconciling that belief with the existence of so much pain and suffering in the world. The problem is known as the Problem of Evil.
We’ve all heard it before:
The theist says, “God exists.”
The atheist says, “God does not exist.”
The agnostic says, “I’m on the fence, undecided so I suspend judgment.”
As far as the vast amount of pain and suffering in the world—some of the thinking is:
If God exists and he is all powerful and all knowing, then he would get rid of all unnecessary pain and suffering in the world.
But, there is unnecessary pain and suffering in the world. So, does that mean God does NOT exist?
I watched a film recently that dealt with this subject. It was called, “The Seventh Seal”. The story goes:
In the 14th century, in Sweden, when the Black Death was sweeping the continent. People wanted to know why God was inflicting on them so much pain and suffering.
A knight who returned from the Crusades has a game of chess with Death in hope of getting some answers to why God puts up with all this pain.
The knight tells Death he can’t grasp God with his senses. He calls out to Him but there is silence like no one is there!
Death answers: “Perhaps no one IS there!”
We humans have an inclination to rely on our senses:
“Seeing is believing.” But you can’t see God.
So, how do the theists counter the argument—why does God allow pain and suffering in the world?
The defense is: pain and suffering are necessary for the production of GOOD.
GOOD requires the existence of BAD. You couldn’t have compassion or courage if someone wasn’t suffering or threatened with harm. So, to get GOOD you have to have BAD. Do you agree?
The knight, in the Seventh Seal, seems to think that the enormous amount of pain God allows in the world turns religion into a farce.
Another defense that the theist uses is that suffering is necessary to be a CONTRAST to good, so we can see GOOD as GOOD!
It’s like we don’t appreciate health as good until we get sick.
But others would say they don’t need pain to appreciate health.
So, why do we have this suffering in the world? Or is there no God?
Another of the many philosophical questions to mull over.
On a lighter note: Philosophy is common sense in a dress suit!
Also published on Medium.