Why innocent children are allowed to suffer? e.g. Hamzah Kham, his siblings and much more thorough the world.

(167 Posts)
Hopemore Sun 06-Oct-13 03:11:51

I just find it so hard to keep my faith strong when I see innocent people suffering so badly.
I try to be good, helpful, generous.
I try to cause no harm, etc
But that is not enough for me, I need to have faith.
But it is hard to keep strong, it really is.
I don't want to be an hypocrite, I really want to have a solid faith but sometimes I think I just can't have it.
Not because of my life, I am grateful for everything I have, but I feel 'angry' for so much suffering in the world.
Sorry if I don't make any sense.

1919 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:02:55

May I ask why you feel bound to faith when it conflicts on some level with your moral compass and experience of the world? You can be a good, moral person without religious belief; morality does exist outside of religion.
The universe is indifferent, people suffer regardless of whether we perceive them to be 'good' or 'bad'. Of course this is not a reassuring world view either but why should it be? No doubt suffering is terrible but we can only strive to act according to our morals and reduce it as much as we are capable.

crescentmoon England Sun 06-Oct-13 11:32:26

well, faith or no faith OP, at some point instead of putting increasing resources into constantly fishing people out of the river, we have to walk upstream and find out why they fall in.

and examine for ourselves whether all those individuals and their children who fall through the net for the sake of individualism, 'choice', materialism and the orthodoxy that 'capitalism is the only way to go', whether it is worth it to us as a society.

on a global level too,its much easier to blame starving african children on a God or even just the indifference of the universe, than to examine the human influenced climate change that causes Asia to flood and Africa to starve.

www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/06/19/what-climate-change-means-africa-asia-coastal-poor

...and our own individual contribution to that. i ask, on my own behalf, for forgiveness for that.

but one god, no god, loads of gods, lets take that out. is a continuously growing economy based on rampant consumerism worth it? on children? on human relationships? on a social level? on people here? on people abroad? on a political level? on an environmental level? alot of people say its worth it, even if it takes the human race to worldly hell.

Hopemore Sun 06-Oct-13 11:45:39

I like to congregate for God. I like to follow Jesus preaching. That is what make me happy. I don't party, I don't drink, not because it s sinful, I used to like doing that, but always been very much spiritual, I've been to lots of different religions, looking for the one I identify myself with most. For me it is just a necessity, possibly escapism, when I am not linked to a spiritual group, I feel lost and unhappy.
But when I question God's love I feel weak in my faith and therefore an hypocrite. So it seems I can't be happy with or without religion.

Gingerandcocoa Sun 06-Oct-13 12:03:13

Hi Hopemore. The wonderful thing about God is that he hates pain and suffering and sin so much more than we do. The horrible suffering we see in the world today is caused by men and sin and not by God.

Sometimes it does feel like God is just watching and not doing anything - but that's not true. He has already rescued men and humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And so a great salvation is available for all those who suffer today.

The Bible is full of examples of where God rescued the needy and the oppressed. It's just that God's time is different from our time. Sometimes it looks like God is not doing anything but it's just not time yet.

And of course the Bible teaches us that there will come a time when God will judge all people - those who cause suffering included.

And finally - it's important to remember that institutions like hospitals, orphanages, and concepts like human rights have all been disseminated by Christians - because of the teachings of Jesus and his love for the poor & the ones who suffer.

So believing in God is in no way contradictory to hating the suffering in this world - and to doing something about it. It is exactly what He wants us to do!

Hopemore Sun 06-Oct-13 12:13:40

It is just so confusing - to me -
I can't even describe how I feel.

1919 Sun 06-Oct-13 15:38:37

Gingerandcocoa your view of sin and suffering is repugnant to me.

The wonderful thing about God is that he hates pain and suffering and sin so much more than we do.

Humans recognise independently of religion that suffering is terrible and try to lessen it where possible through providing aid and support.
I don't think that an entity which hates suffering but does nothing to stop it is wonderful in the slightest (an entity which condones murder, oppression and violence, even less so).

The horrible suffering we see in the world is caused by men and sin and not by God.

What is your evidence for this?

The Bible is full of examples of where God rescued the needy and oppressed.

It's full of examples of oppression, violence, jealousy, anger, racism and misogyny on the part of God.

God will judge all people- those who cause suffering included.

and then 'sentence' them to eternal suffering?

Institutions like hospitals, orphanages, and concepts like human rights have all been disseminated by christians

Human decency precedes religion. On the other hand, religion has been responsible for the justification of a lot of harm and suffering.

Hopemore Sun 06-Oct-13 16:32:30

It is just like if he created everything, so sure he created evil too.
?
English isn't my 1st language so is difficult for me even to express myself

fizzoclock Mon 07-Oct-13 11:24:14

1919 - I think it might be difficult to both disbelieve in God and to blame God for evil. How do you hold those two parts of your point together?

Hopemore - It is hard for anyone of any faith position (including atheism) to understand the horrors of situations like the ones you mention. I think for Christians we often question God and that is fine and good really. It's part of our relationship with him.

My own thought is that God does do something about suffering. He sends Jesus. Jesus' death on the cross is like a full stop to sin because the love of the Father and the Son is not broken by the sin Jesus suffers under. The torture and killing of Jesus don't end the story. Instead Jesus is raised from the dead. God's love doesn't allow sin to have the final word, he promises he will end suffering and make all things new.

I guess in terms of the suffering you are talking about that means that the horrendous torture and death of that young boy are not the end of that story. God does not let his mothers sin win out but God promises that all things (including that little boy) will be made new, pain and suffering will end. He also promises mercy to the boys mother if she wants it. Sin looks like it has won out now, but actually we believe God's love and mercy will have the final word.

I think that's really hard to hold onto when we constantly see suffering beyond words and the horrors human beings inflict on each other. The Bible promises that we wait in order that more might be saved. I guess whilst we wait Christians believe we should be working towards the restoration of the earth that God promises. Whenever we are horrified by suffering, the answer is to get in there and start doing something about it. Send money to feed Syrian refugees, volunteer at your local home start/sure start centre, offer food to the homeless etc.

Gingerandcocoa Mon 07-Oct-13 18:53:25

1919 I am sorry I have obviously offended you with my views.

I think fizzoclock has probably explained my point much better. I believe that the goodness that's inside of men, the compassion towards the poor, the notions of right or wrong have been put in our hearts by God and not by some random gene we inherited from monkeys. Human decency may precede religion but it does not precede creation / intelligent design / evolution / whatever you call it.

headinhands Italy Mon 07-Oct-13 19:30:48

the notions of right or wrong have been put in our hearts by God

How come there is evidence of empathy in other primates? How come sociopaths have no sense of right or wrong? How come what's deemed right and wrong is often culturally and historically specific i.e. the issue of slavery?

and not by some random gene we inherited from monkey

We didn't descend from monkeys, we share a common ancestor.

Human decency may precede religion but it does not precede creation / intelligent design / evolution / whatever you call it.

Not sure what you mean, can you explain?

1919 Tue 08-Oct-13 07:15:52

Fizzoclock I do not believe in God therefore I do not actually believe he is jealous, or misogynistic or anything because he doesn't exist! I think there is a case to be made that the fictitious God depicted in the bible is flawed in many ways and so I am questioning blind belief in an idea which seems contradictory .

How could human decency precede the supposed 'creation' of humanity itself? That's logically impossible whether you believe in intelligent design or not. What does this prove?

If morality is innate (and put in us by God) I would probably follow that therefore babies must be at least as, if not more compassionate, moral and good than adults. I don't know if this is true.

You evidently do not understand evolution.

Gingerandcocoa Wed 09-Oct-13 19:01:05

headinhands and 1919, I'll try to explain myself a bit better...

How come there is evidence of empathy in other primates? How come sociopaths have no sense of right or wrong? How come what's deemed right and wrong is often culturally and historically specific i.e. the issue of slavery?
Your argument is only valid if I had claimed that God created men but not animals, which of course is not the case. If God created EVERYTHING then surely he can put the notions of good and bad in both man and animals. Also the fact that sociopaths or those without any understanding of good and bad just reinforced the fact that for most people, it's in us. We only know shadow because of light.

If morality is innate (and put in us by God) I would probably follow that therefore babies must be at least as, if not more compassionate, moral and good than adults. I don't know if this is true.

That's funny that you mention babies, because I remember reading about some recent research showing that babies actually know right from wrong.
www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7699927/Six-month-old-babies-can-tell-right-from-wrong.html
Of course it's just a research, but there you go.

How could human decency precede the supposed 'creation' of humanity itself? That's logically impossible whether you believe in intelligent design or not. What does this prove?
I didn't say that. I said that human decency preceded religion, not creation. Religion, whether judaism, christianity, whichever one you mean, came after creation. Human decency came with creation.

Also when I say creation I don't really mean creationism. I'm not claiming God created the world in 7 days. Whichever way he chose to create us, whether via a big bang, then evolution, whatever, what I am saying is that he designed us and made us - and whatever is good in our hearts is from Him.

Of course, if you don't believe in God then this discussion has little use. Your comment you evidently do not understand evolution is spot on. I really don't. I understand micro evolution, but there is zero, absolutely no evidence of macroevolution in the world (evolution from one species to another). I love this video about this debate as it really funny, but I'd caveat that it is made by a Christian guy so no need to watch it if it makes you uncomfortable. www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ

headinhands Italy Wed 09-Oct-13 20:31:34

So why would god put a little bit of his values in primates? Does that mean they can be a little bit christian? Will they go to heaven? Did he put a little bit of his spirit in fleas and head lice too? Or that worm that lays it's larvae in another animal's eye, even humans, and then the larvae hatch and eat their way out of the eye rendering the host blind. Is there some of his spirit in viruses and bacteria too?

The way I am working is looking at the world and seeing what there is, it seems Christians work backwards in that they look at the reality, and then ask how 'can I fit it into my belief that there is a loving god? Hence the 'god made the animals therefore that explains why primates sometimes display empathy.' What about organisms that display no empathy? Where and why is there a cut off point?

headinhands Italy Wed 09-Oct-13 20:34:18

as for the sociopaths, you seem to suggest that there are some people that god didn't put empathy in? Why would he do that? Would he hold them accountable for their actions? Would that be fair? Why would he not put it in them and then allow them on earth knowing what they are capable of?

Gingerandcocoa Wed 09-Oct-13 21:40:12

Those are all very good questions. I wish I could tell you a definitive answer to all of them, but of course I can't.

I can't tell you why God chose or didn't choose to do this or that - He is God - i am not! God created all things - from men to dinosaurs to bacteria. How much of Him he chose to put in each of them, and why, who knows?! Knowing or not the answer to this kind of question makes no different to the argument of whether there is a God or not.

I have absolutely no idea why sociopaths are the way they are. Again, this does not prove or disprove the existence of God. I don't know whether God will hold sociopaths accountable or not for their actions. I know that God hates sin and he will judge all of us after we die. The difference, is that God sent Jesus to die for us (and Jesus is the key in all of this), so that we could have our sins forgiven - sociopath or good-doer, we've all sinned and all need to be forgiven.

All of us will stand before God. Whether we believe in God or not. Not believing in God does not gives us a free pass. But exactly who God will choose to forgive or not, luckily it is not up to me to know!

I'll leave this thread now - happy to continue the conversation if you'd like to PM me.

1919 Thu 10-Oct-13 00:16:59

I think you misunderstood me. I know you were not implying that human decency precedes our existence because obviously that's ridiculous. I was questioning why you were making the statement in the first place because it really doesn't prove anything outside of its own logical accuracy, let alone a creator from which we derive our 'goodness'.

I'm finding it incredibly difficult to debate when you're relying on blind faith and not justifying your beliefs with actual evidence. You are explaining what you believe not why you believe it to be true.

Evolution, broadly speaking is about as much of a scientific fact as is possible. I have clicked the link to your video (contrary to what you assume, I do not find listening to differing beliefs uncomfortable or personally offensive) although I can't get it to start so I'm unable to comment.

I do not know whether you will read this but talkorigins.org has a lot of information about evolution. This section seems relevant : http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

If it is not up to you to know, please do not make sweeping judgements about the nature of our existence and morality without providing evidence. Personally I think we should strive to know as much about the universe as we can and not rely on a 'God of the gaps' type system to explain what we do not currently understand.

fizzoclock Thu 10-Oct-13 10:34:03

1919 - I guess your earlier points about God's nature make me think of a parent-child relationship... Parents create their children and love them unconditionally. They give them boundaries and rules to help them grow and mature. Some children despite this 'go off the rails' become addicted to drugs, commit crime, hurt those closest to them.... Would you suggest the parents should have kept those children at home in strait jackets at the first sign of trouble or perhaps from birth? Or do you think those children have grown up, they should have free choice and be able to make their own decisions even if they are destructive and hurt others? Isn't the best option for the parent to remind the child that they are always there always loving them and ready to help them make a new start as soon as they choose? I think most people would say the second course is the right course to take. I think that's what God does.

On the point of 'human decency' preceding creation that is actually what Christians believe in that we believe God is love. The definition of God is all that is good. So anything good in us does precede creation because it is of God.

fizzoclock Thu 10-Oct-13 10:41:00

Also I guess on the subject of rationality.... Faith is beyond rationality. I mean in the sense that rational argument should be able to take you so far as to say God is a rational possibility. But the very idea that rationality (which is defined by and limited to the scope of the human mind) should be able to define God who must be a being beyond and in excess of human capabilities is irrational.
Faith is a step beyond rationality in the same way that love is. We have good evidence that love might exist from family relationships, perhaps even brain scans, but love isn't able to be pinned down by rational thinking. We believe it exists because we feel it. We believe in God because for believers not only do we see enough evidence for it, but, the final step of faith is that we also 'feel it' we know God and God's love just as we know and trust other intangible things.

BangOn Thu 10-Oct-13 10:46:45

What Crescent Moon said.

Trying to remember where that quote about fishing people out of the river comes from - one of my heros, I think. Caroline Lucas? Tony Benn? Keir Hardie?

Hopemore Thu 10-Oct-13 11:07:29

I understand what you say fizzoclock but how to explain that God as a 'parent' would let one of their children - innocent and vulnerable - suffer (only as example) in order to let the other children exercise their free destructive will?

Why can't he stop this?
Let people harm themselves but not others. At least not so painfully.

fizzoclock Thu 10-Oct-13 11:33:30

Hopemore - yes I know really this is hard stuff. I guess these are the thoughts which make sense to me and the rest I take on trust because I have faith. I think I was just trying to illustrate that we ourselves prioritise freedom and free will over safety and an end to suffering. We release prisoners when we think and hope they are rehabilitated. It would obviously be safest not to do that but we do because we think it better to hope for goodness than to oppress others in order to ensure safety. I think we reflect something of God's point of view when we do that.

I also think that God has placed a limit on suffering and that he will restore all that human beings manage to destroy.

Hopemore Thu 10-Oct-13 11:38:20

Do you believe in:
Reincarnation?
Life after death?
Paradise/Hell/Purgatory?
What happens after we are gone?

crescentmoon England Thu 10-Oct-13 12:04:33

hey bangon,

the fishing people out of the river comment is a paraphrase of the Reverend Desmond Tutu of South Africa, whom Jack Monroe of the Food poverty blog "A girl called Jack" quoted at the TUC conference early last month (she quoted him at the end of her speech). it really stuck in my mind too, and it made me think of the philosophical differences between different religious and philosophical traditions.

crescentmoon England Thu 10-Oct-13 12:17:09

sorry the last sentence was meant to read 'the differences between the different religious and philosophical traditions'. to me, especially, the differences between the faith tradition of Jesus (pbuh) (fishing people out of the river) and the faith tradition of Muhammad (pbuh) (making sure people dont fall in).

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