What Is Suffering?

It frankly surprised me to find that the original meaning of words translated as “suffering” in some sacred texts simply meant to be affected by things outside of oneself.  It did not indicate whether it was good or evil.  It simply was.

Moral value can be placed on actions done by a personal exercise of free will.  It should not be placed on things that were not an exercise of anyone’s free will.

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, animal activity and even viruses do not occur based on any activity that can be given a moral value.  The sooner we learn that the better off we will be.

Looking at the history of the world religions it is appalling to see how much evil (yes, a moral value) has been done by human beings to other human beings based on the mistaken belief that natural phenomenon are moral judgments.  Human sacrifices to appease the gods were not done only by “primitive” pagan believers.  Christian Europe for centuries killed heretics, Jews, Muslims, witches and homosexuals based on a belief that these minorities brought about natural phenomenon like plagues, droughts, quakes or climate changes.  The killing was evil.  The natural phenomenon were not.

Even in this era we still hear people blaming the suffering from natural phenomenon on the existence of certain people.  The suffering may be bad, severe and hard, but it is not evil in itself.

I think to “suffer with Christ” is to accept the external things that affect us without choosing an evil response of condemning others.  We should confront those who willfully act violently against others, but not try to find a moral cause where there is none.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.