• Shawn
    10.8k
    You’re not fooling me. With all atheists it starts out as personal. Only after finding reasons to hate God do they then rationalize that there is no God.Noah Te Stroete

    So, what's the rationale of "gratuitous suffering", then?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    I’m not going to repeat myself. Go back and read what I said.
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Are you up to the challenge?Noah Te Stroete

    What's the challenge?
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    With all atheists it starts out as personal. Only after finding reasons to hate God do they then rationalize that there is no God.Noah Te Stroete

    That's not true Noah. Some atheists... the militant ones... may hate God, whatever that means. Not all.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Spiritual people are open to the universe (or God) and know that we all have a purpose. The universe (or God) will reveal yours to you when it’s your time. You just have to read the signs. Don’t be so hubristic to think that you’ve got it all figured out already. Then you won’t hear it or see it. Life has meaning. Life has purpose. The universe has purpose (how else could we discover its laws?). If you remain open and loving, soon enough you will know your purpose with certainty.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    That's not true Noah. Some atheists... the militant ones... may hate God, whatever that means. Not all.creativesoul

    Well, the atheists who didn’t even start out hating God first before denying His existence are a rare breed. You are a rare breed. It seems to me that Wallows wants to blame something or someone.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k


    I'm not an atheist. I'm agnostic on the matter in the sense that we cannot know anything about something that exists beyond space and time.
  • Qwex
    366
    Suffering implies not getting through, struggling implies getting through but uncomfortable.

    You'll much appriciate that a lot of what's classed as suffering doesn't include some pain.

    I think the healing/harming of the time, is a good prospect, in relation to not getting through the ultimately good prospect, and getting through. A lot is to be discovered.

    You obviously like to think, measure the value of thought, at least in some regard.
  • Tzeentch
    796
    So, there's no point to it then? I mean, if we can call it as "gratuitous suffering", then the presupposition is that it was in excess to some rationale. Yet, God remains silent, so what's the rationale here?Wallows

    Perhaps our idea of suffering is faulty. This is what I hinted at in your last thread.

    Suffering isn't factual. It's subjective.

    If a god exists, there exists presumably an afterlife, and everything we regard as 'suffering' is nothing more than an overreaction to meaningless stimuli, because if god exists the soul is most likely immortal.

    There's ways of approaching this type of thing with or without god, but since the thread seems to focus on the former, I stuck with that.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    I don't think that in before modernity it was ever assumed that suffering was something that could be completely avoided. If you can imagine what our forbears went through going through the European Ice Age, the sheer amount of suffering and hardship that they/we would have had to go through would seem incomprehensible from our viewpoint. And that went on for tens of thousands of years. We're now so used to being able to shield ourselves from that, we're insulated from it by electrical power and structures and medicine, that we can't understand how the world could be that way. It's what I call the 'hotel manager theodicy' - 'hey, whose in charge here! Can't you see people are suffering? How is this right?'

    But I think one answer is, it is an inevitable aspect of physical existence. From a realist point of view as we evolved from simpler life-forms, what makes suffering so much more unbearable to us is that fact that we anticipate it and fret over it. (That's why a Roman philosopher said that if man were only an animal, then he would be the most miserable of them.) An animal might suffer physically, but it never feels sorry, as it has no self to feel sorry for (to put it bluntly). A flock of antelope will be split up by a lion, one of them will fall prey, the rest will bolt, but in half an hour they'll be grazing peacefully. Only humans can really have that feeling of the dread of it in anticipation of loss, and imagine how it could be some other way.

    I think you could trace the lineage of that to having possessions and language which enables a sense of what is yours, and so what can be lost, and a way of conceiving of the meaning of loss and grief. In other words it is something which evolves with the human condition.

    In ancient cultures, the ritual and gesture of sacrifice was fundamental - giving back to God or the gods what we have been given. It is a way of trying to assuage or appease the power that has created the world so as to gain favor or maintain the cosmic balance. I don't think modern culture has much sense of that, but maybe it will be imposed on us.

    In any case, the religions teach that to 'rise above' suffering is not simply to be anaesthetized to it, but to realise a higher identity. That's associated with the 'myth of the fall', the notion that physical birth is a misfortune in the first place. Suffering isn't gratuitous, it goes with the territory. Hence in Buddhism for example the aim is to escape the cycle of birth and death (except in the case of the bodhisattva who is voluntarily born out of compassion.)
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Suffering isn't factual. It's subjective.Tzeentch

    Arguably, it's a brute fact of life!
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Sounds interesting. I do like the Hotel Manager Theodicy point. Care to elaborate on it?

    But I think one answer is, it is an inevitable aspect of physical existence.Wayfarer

    Compared to the past, yes, we have come a long way. The sentiment seems to point towards a future, where suffering is completely eliminated. So, I think it's a good thing that we get rid of suffering, as nobody likes to suffer or the majority of humans don't like seeing other people suffer.

    I think you could trace the lineage of that to having possessions and language which enables a sense of what is yours, and so what can be lost, and a way of conceiving of the meaning of loss and grief. In other words it is something which evolves with the human condition.Wayfarer

    Notice, the previous point. Suffering is something everyone hates. The anti-natalists, think the world is so full of suffering as to not procreate. I'll let that sink in.

    In any case, the religions teach that to 'rise above' suffering is not simply to be anaesthetized to it, but to realise a higher identity.Wayfarer

    That's really interesting. But, there's nothing that will supplant the stark reality that suffering seems to be part of the human condition.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    You’re almost being religious in your stubbornness. Did you ever want to be persuaded, or are you trying to persuade others?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    You’re almost being religious in your stubbornness.Noah Te Stroete

    Being stubborn is alright for the right matter. :halo:

    Did you ever want to be persuaded, or are you trying to persuade others?Noah Te Stroete

    Not sure, I'm quite satisfied with just a discussion, not to get my hopes too high.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Being stubborn is alright for the right matter. :halo:Wallows

    Not sure it’s you who is on the right side of the matter. With my belief system, I know that I will suffer many, many times in my life and it doesn’t bother me too much because I have a higher purpose. With your belief system, you are in continuous agony and fear of suffering. Suffering owns you. You are not free.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    With your belief system, you are in continuous agony and fear of suffering. Suffering owns you. You are not free.Noah Te Stroete

    What do you mean by that?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    I mean what I say and I say exactly what I mean.
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    985
    The sentiment seems to point towards a future, where suffering is completely eliminated.Wallows

    Revelation 21 King James Version (KJV)

    21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

    2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

    4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

    5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    985
    What do you mean by that?Wallows

    I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free

    Nikos Kazantzakis.
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    That touched me. But, the fawn still burned alive.

    Why?
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    985
    But, the fawn still burned alive.Wallows

    The fawns are always (always) burning, for no reason.




    the bells ring for no reason
    and we too
    we will rejoice in the clank of chains
    that we will sound within us with the bells

    Tristan Tzara
    Approximate Man
  • Possibility
    1.5k
    I don't see value in pain and suffering. This sort of ties back into one of my old threads, about the inherent worth of suffering, if there is any. I don't think God suffers along with the burning fawn, or does He? One might even be inclined to agree that God is quite cruel.Wallows

    I think perhaps ‘God’ does ‘suffer with’ the fawn - just not in the way we expect or intuitively understand.

    I get what you’re saying, but just because you don’t see value in pain and suffering, doesn’t mean there is no value in pain and suffering. There isn’t value from the fawn’s perspective. There isn’t from your perspective - indeed, from the perspective of much of humanity, there is no value in the pain and suffering of the fawn. I agree with you there.

    I have tried to look at the notion of pain and suffering from a broader, universal perspective - and my philosophy tends towards a form of panpsychism, so the idea that all matter has some level of awareness (ie. relation to the world) is a key part of my thinking, as well as the notion that ‘God’ is the most objective relation to the universe and all existence that we can imagine.

    The way I see it, pain is an awareness that the system requires more energy, effort or attention allocated to a particular area of its existence than it has predicted, in order to manage change. Pain from exercise, for instance, has value in that it informs the system that additional energy, effort or attention is required here in order to manage change to the structure of the system, including change to predictions of change. When energy resources are limited, the capacity to manage this change is limited.

    Pain is not necessarily ‘cruelty’. It’s information about our relation to reality, to which we attribute value or potential according to a collated response of the system. Where the ‘system’ is the present observable or measurable organism, that response or internal affect from pain is more often than not going to be negative. Where the ‘system’ is the relative life or potential of the organism as it changes and interacts across time, then some pain is more valuable than others, long-term. Where the ‘system’ is the community, nation or humanity as a species, reaching beyond a singular lifetime, then the pain of a person or animal might serve the value structures of the system (think punishment or nutrition, for instance) - and our efforts to minimise the extent of this pain or loss of life where we have enough information to do so becomes an important factor.

    This is where the notion of God’s supposed omniscience comes into play. An omniscient, all-powerful God as a being would appear to be culpable, for sure. We judge that if someone has sufficient information and capacity to reduce the potential for pain or loss of life in a situation, they are morally obligated to act. But to isolate a fawn in a forest fire is to ignore the rest of the information contributing to that situation - including decisions the fawn and its parents made prior to the incident, the events leading up to the fire, etc - most of which you may not be aware of. It’s also possible that the fawn’s mother had been recently hit by a car, or that the fire had been deliberately lit by an arsonist or a carelessly tossed cigarette. With this information, is God cruel or are we simply ignorant of our own capacity to minimise pain and suffering?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    I don't see value in pain and suffering.Wallows

    But you see value in the faun. Do you think there can be a faun that does not grow old and die, or dies young? Is not the fragility of the faun, the vulnerability, that gives it value? An eternal indestructible mechanical non-suffering faun would not have the same value. No one would care about it.

    Shall we then turn every living thing to stone, so there shall be no more suffering? That, I believe, is the devil's kindness.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    I get what you’re saying, but just because you don’t see value in pain and suffering, doesn’t mean there is no value in pain and suffering. There isn’t value from the fawn’s perspective. There isn’t from your perspective - indeed, from the perspective of much of humanity, there is no value in the pain and suffering of the fawn. I agree with you there.Possibility

    Hi! Quite a lengthy post. I'm not sure where to begin. I suppose my point is the simplicity used to deny any notions that suffering is justified in regard to the burning fawn.

    I have tried to look at the notion of pain and suffering from a broader, universal perspective - and my philosophy tends towards a form of panpsychism, so the idea that all matter has some level of awareness (ie. relation to the world) is a key part of my thinking, as well as the notion that ‘God’ is the most objective relation to the universe and all existence that we can imagine.Possibility

    Yes, I like panpsychism quite a lot. I think, the issue is that at what point is suffering apparent to a living entity. Like, the hard question restated in regards to consciousness. Not sure if that's clear.

    Pain is not necessarily ‘cruelty’.Possibility

    Well, I view a deity who instills the sense of cruelty towards his own creation, whilst devoid of experiencing it himself, as somewhat abnormal from a human perspective.

    We judge that if someone has sufficient information and capacity to reduce the potential for pain or loss of life in a situation, they are morally obligated to act.Possibility

    Yes, so we are in agreement about the utility of pain from a moral perspective. Is there any to begin with? If it's promised that heaven is a place where nobody suffers, then why not just create a universe where everyone is guaranteed access to heaven regardless of their moral "worth"?

    But to isolate a fawn in a forest fire is to ignore the rest of the information contributing to that situation - including decisions the fawn and its parents made prior to the incident, the events leading up to the fire, etc - most of which you may not be aware of. It’s also possible that the fawn’s mother had been recently hit by a car, or that the fire had been deliberately lit by an arsonist or a carelessly tossed cigarette. With this information, is God cruel or are we simply ignorant of our own capacity to minimise pain and suffering?Possibility

    These are all rationalizations, don't you think?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    But you see value in the faun. Do you think there can be a faun that does not grow old and die, or dies young? Is not the fragility of the faun, the vulnerability, that gives it value? An eternal indestructible mechanical non-suffering faun would not have the same value. No one would care about it.unenlightened

    So, you're basically saying that suffering and pain has its own value? Relative to what, and why should anyone care about the relativity here?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    So, you're basically saying that suffering and pain has its own value?Wallows

    No. I'm saying that to value something is to be vulnerable to suffering. To value nothing is to be indifferent to suffering. Only a sado-masochist values suffering, but only the dead do not suffer.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    No. I'm saying that to value something is to be vulnerable to suffering.unenlightened

    I don't know what this really means. If I have no conception of pain, then whoopitty-do, does that mean that my struggles are inferior to another being that experiences pain? Don't we all learn the same?

    To value nothing is to be indifferent to suffering.unenlightened

    I never thought the thread would digress to some form of Stoical nihilism; but, I can see a happier world where there is no pain and suffering. If pain and suffering are so important, then does God experience it too?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    I don't speak for God.

    If I have no conception of pain,Wallows

    One doesn't need a concept. The fawn suffers. You and I see the fawn, or just imagine the fawn and we suffer vicariously, and that depends on a conception, the fawn lives the pain directly. I see from your writing that you care about a fawn suffering as a stand-in for all the countless billions of innocents that suffer. And the mere understanding that that suffering exists causes you to suffer.

    So I think this is the condition of life, that there cannot be a life of caring without suffering, and there cannot be life without death. Now if you want to talk of God, the Christian tradition is that the Creator of all this life has taken that suffering upon himself voluntarily, to demonstrate if you like that life is worth the price.

    Now if your suffering is great or your view of suffering in fawns or holocaust victims or whatever is great, I cannot from my comfortable privileged position presume to tell you you are wrong. I go a bit crazy with the occasional toothache. But without some penalty, gambling wouldn't be gambling, and life wouldn't be life. You know the simplest childish thing - climbing a tree - would be nothing even interesting without the real fear of falling and being hurt.
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