Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Suffering for faith

It's been almost a week, and I'm still in some degree of pain from the wisdom teeth extraction. So I turned to my friends at Beliefnet to see what various religions have to say about suffering. For the most part it boils down to "suck it up, it makes you stronger."

Buddhism began when the Buddha saw that suffering is unavoidable and set out to find a way to overcome it. His path of ridding yourself of earthly desires became a new religion.

Some traditions such as Hinduism or some varieties of Christianity that feel that suffering is somehow punishment from God.

Other varieties of Christianity and Islam somehow through suffering we can grow closer to God. The Beliefnet article quoted St. Augustine, "God would not allow any evil to exist unless out of it he could draw a greater good. This is part of the wisdom and goodness of God."

Judaism seems to chalk suffering up to the mystery of God. Job is often held as the model of suffering after God allowed his children and livelihood to be taken from him. After he was afflicted with painful sores from head to toe, his wife is ready to give up and tells Job to "Curse God and die!" He replies "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?"

How do you reconcile the idea of God who allows suffering?

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