The Other I

June 16, 2010

The problem of evil doesn’t go away

I was quite young – well, young by my standards now – when I realized I had a problem with God because of the problem of evil.  It seemed to me that suffering and injustice suggested either that God was not as powerful as he was supposed to be, that he didn’t care, or that there wasn’t a God at all.

My problem now is that eliminating God from the equation doesn’t solve the problem of evil.  I still don’t know what to make of what looks like so much meaningless, unjustified destructive suffering.

Buddha said what looks like evil to us is really incompleteness – it is the manifestation of which is unfinished.

Another alternative is that suffering and injustice do not pose a problem because the universe simply follows the immutable laws of physics.  “Evil” is no more a problem than why ice melts or why apples fall off the tree.  The laws of nature are impersonal and inexorable and suffering results the way soft things are crushed beneath the weight of a heavy stone rolling down the mountain.

I do not know if I cannot accept this bleak alternative because I lack courage.  Or is it because my sense is based on some authentic insight that a place as incredible as the universe is not meaningless.

I am inclined to think, though, that it is we who must give it meaning.  It’s not just already out there ready made for us to somehow find.


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