Why People Suffer

Every now and again someone asks the question, if there is a God then why is there so much suffering in the world, why does he let it happen?

What we believe about God is in some cases a personal thing and thus variable from person to person, but for others it is based upon what they were taught.

Atheists use the above question when trying to demonstrate to theists that there is no God.

But really this question can only be directed at those that were taught that God is responsible for all the good and bad that occurs in the world. It is not a question for me.

I do believe in an interfering presence, I call this God. I am not however religious and I do not attribute every occurrence on this planet to that God. But my belief system is not the subject here. The subject is

Why is there suffering in the world?

Let us first consider whether suffering has a purpose and if so:

What is defined as sufferring?
What suffers?
Why do they suffer?

In brief

There are two primary types of sufferring:

Physical sufferring which is mainly pain and discomfort and emotional sufferring which can be depression, anxiety, grief, stress, paranoia sadness etc. Sentient creatures are defined as creatures which can ‘suffer’.

So Animals (this includes humans) suffer

Why do we experience pain?:
Pain alerts us the fact that there is a problem that requires attention. Some humans are born without the ability to feel pain they have a condition called familial dysautonomia, the result is numerous fractures and injuries and reduced life expectancy, early extreme disability.

Why do we suffer emotionally?:
An adverse emotional reaction can be initiated by a reaction to something that is generally not good for us so that we steer away from it, avoid it, eliminate it. If a deer were not biologically predisposed to being ‘paranoid’, when it hears a twig snap in the distance, rather than fleeing to a place of safety it may remain and be attacked by the lion who is stalking it. Stress is an emotional trigger for our fight or flight response which requires us to take action in a stressful situation. Sadness is necessary for us to act to avoid situations where it may arise. These negative reactions also tend to prompt us to more positive actions, such as courage, bravery, kindness, generosity, empathy towards others, altruistic behaviours.

These are social neccessities which help ensure our species survival.

So in answer to why is there suffering in the world:

Because experiencing pain and discomfort is necessary for our survival.

Why is there bad stuff happening though ?

Well that’s all a matter of perspective and what side of the fence you happen to be standing. If thousands of animals die in a storm, that’s a terrible thing for those humans and animals affected, but for the ecosystem in general is it bad? I have not given it any thought.

Why do some people do evil to others?

The religious (depending on their religion) may deem good and bad things in terms of our actions, as being attributable to the influence of the Devil and God. Good things attributed to God and bad things attributed to the Devil. Well then there is a God and Devil in all of us, for none of us are either all good or all bad, just differing in degrees.

Good v Evil why?

Without bad there can be no good for the concept of it would not exist.

We are what we make ourselves, and fortunately over the passage of time, we have made ourselves increasingly tolerant, patient and with a higher sense of conscience with regard to humans and creatures other than ourselves. We are now accutely aware of the sufferring of others and we question it. We want it to end. I want it to end. I want my God to make it end. I ask him to infact. But do I blame him….No. Do I expect a result from my requests? Well….as I always say……………

no harm asking