Monday, September 20, 2010

L 5.4

One of the most profound truths about suffering is that without God, pain and suffering have no meaning. They exist merely to torment us. This is one of the greatest shortcomings of the non-theist position. There is no meaningful way to deal with suffering outside of God’s purpose in it. Non-theist systems, such as Buddhism and some forms of Hinduism, attempt to maintain the belief that suffering is illusory. Ideas like suffering, good and bad are to be overcome in order to reach enlightenment. In these systems, concepts like suffering are mental states that prevent enlightenment (moksha in Hinduism and nirvana in Buddhism). Once these limiting ways of thinking are overcome, a person can reach enlightenment where the mind has no boundaries and there are no more barriers between a person and the ultimate reality. Ultimately, these systems are untenable because they philosophically fail to acknowledge that suffering exists while existentially acknowledge that suffering exists. If suffering doesn’t exist, what is it that needs to be overcome? Why is there so much focus on meditating to rise above something that doesn’t exist? Even non-theists know that to cause someone else suffering is immoral. To the Hindu, doing so would negatively affect that person’s karma. How can something be immoral if it doesn’t exist? So, even the most sophisticated attempts to deal with suffering outside of God’s allowance and purpose for it utterly fail.

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