A couple questions for atheists on Suffering

by little_Socrates 102 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • GrreatTeacher

    Suffering isn't intrinsically evil. It just exists.

    A god who claims to be loving and all powerful, who is prayed to to relieve suffering and who is given credit when the suffering remits, yet who deliberately allows suffering to exist and doesn't allow suffering to be relieved for others, well that god is evil.

    Suffering is only a problem if you believe in an all powerful loving God.

  • freemindfade

    I think an even better question is how much less suffering would there be in this world without theism?

    If you get cancer and suffer from it that is awful, we are conditioned that it needs to be attached to something specific like God is causing it, or God is allowing it, or the Devil did it. Just imagine for a moment its none of those things. Then its just a bad roll of the dice.

    Now there is suffering inflicted upon people and animals.

    I think it's not a sweeping solution, but I believe in continuous improvement. If you have someone that hurts animals just for the sake of causing suffering, or people, like a child molester, they are a bad force in themselves and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Ideas can also be bad, such as islam, watch the Ben Affleck and Bill Maher argument. The ideas of it and its laws lead to a lot of human suffering, its a bad idea, it should be eliminated. Who knows over time how much "evil" or "suffering" could be eliminated with actually working on removing the true causes and not just saying it's and unknown evil force at play, like god and satan wagering over the suffering of Job. Thats my mom's mentality, I have suffered my life the devil did it, the devil did it, the devil did it. Everything. Persecution complex.

    I like this quote, the idea behind it is very good. Even though I am an atheist, I would have no problem quoting a teaching of Jesus if I feel it made sense, so likewise I am not advocating any religious group here, but the quote is good:

    “When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.”

    - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

  • GrreatTeacher

    The EXISTENCE of suffering is a problem for theists because it contradicts their worldview.

    The EXISTENCE of suffering is not a problem for atheists because it is compatible with randomness of the universe.

    That is not to say, however, that suffering cannot or should not be ameliorated. But, it is not intrinsically evil. Evil is a word with religious overtones. Suffering just is. And as humans who are empathetic to others' negative feeling states, we try to be as prosocial as possible and help others. We do this because humans are a strongly social species.

    Something doesn't have to be intrinsically evil for us to want to do something about it. Sickness isn't evil, yet we want to cure it. Having a dirty house isn't evil, but we want to clean it. Getting bad grades isn't evil, but we want to improve them.

  • freemindfade

    I agree, when you apply continuous (real) quality improvement to your personal life and the world around you, you will actually see changes. It does't bring world peace overnight, but living this Kaizan way is very fulfilling, something we were deprived of as JW's, they equate improving the world to bringing as many people into the cult as possible, it rarely causes any real improvement to the world, although when you are "in" you don't believe that.

    I agree that something like the bulk of the ten commandments are just factors lending to a strong social circle, which is needed to survive and adapt through evolution. Thats why if you find a tribe on an island that has never been touched by modern civilization as we know it, they practice similar moral codes within their tribe.

  • Ruby456


    Cofty I am not here to prove God. As absurd as the question is I want to know, for an atheist, what makes suffering evil?

    if the suffering happens because of willful exploitation then that exploitation is evil. The suffering is beautified if there is a fight for change even if the person does not see an end to suffering within his own lifetime. I don't think this is only true of atheists though, although there are many atheists who are fighting for change - check out Ed Millibands recent family video where his wife speaks out on his behalf anticipating some of the flak that is going to come his way

  • Ruby456

    everything has gone very quiet so let me take another stab at this little_socrates

    for an atheist (this would prolly be true of theists too) what makes suffering evil is idolatry. If a theist (or an atheist) has become an idolater then he is engaging in evil. example jihadi John and his crew. For me they are practicing an extreme form of evil though. This evil is also exploitation albeit in an extreme form.

    I think people can fall into this sort of evil and its related suffering accidently and unintentionally and even from what were good motives originally. but then if they don't fight it they become complicit. Although even while being an idolater a person may still be fighting idolatry because it is just that because of inexperience or because of being misled they have fallen into idolatry.

    Yes the world and what humans do and find in the world is beauty and this outweighs the evil because we have a knack for it (a knack for finding beauty in the world that is).

  • cofty
    for an atheist ... what makes suffering evil is idolatry


  • Ruby456

    okay what happened to my post?

    edit: okay its back - carry on

  • Ruby456
    cofty it is buddhist thinking via Nietzsche on evil that I am trying out.
  • cappytan

    Suffering is a part of life, but it is also subjective.

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