Death and suffering can’t matter nearly as I think they do. Since they are so common my taking them seriously must mean that I am insane. I must try to be Saber.Kurt Vonnegut in Palm Sunday
Mother Teresa while living the high life encouraged the sick in Calcutta to suffer with Jesus or god whatever the case maybe arguing in the process that suffering has redemptive value.
If this argument is taken to its logical conclusion, we should be expected to increase the suffering of those already suffering so that their redemption should be greater. It would, by this logic, be cruel to attempt to reduce the suffering of a neighbour or anyone for that matter.
Question then is, why is this not happening? Is it the case that people don’t think suffering is redemptive or they are afraid to see it to its very logical ends?
Enquiring minds want to know.
I have mentioned Saadawi once on this blog and a quote from her book, Diary of a girl called Souad, is our Sunday reading.
She has Soaud express her feelings thus
Souad feels some sort of joy and thanks God because he loves them and did not create them poor beggars in the streets like the limping old man that she sees everyday on her way to school and is afraid of. She imagines that God hates the poor because He did not give them anything, but she wonders why God hates the poor. And if God hates them and did not give them anything, then why does he want us to love them and give to them from what he has bestowed on us?
And we join her in asking why should we go against God’s will who by making poor people desired that they suffer. The first response would be that god does not create anyone poor but that poverty results from policies and actions of men and women. While this is true, the next question would be why does she let such a situation to remain?
In the Garden of Gethsemane, a terribly worried Yeshua fell to his knees, and pleaded with YHWH. The following conversation ensued:
Yeshua: Father, if it is your will, relieve me of this cup of suffering.
YHWH: Can’t. It is your destiny to drink from that cup.
Yeshua: Make it such that it becomes my destiny to fight that destiny, then.
YHWH: If I did that, you wouldn’t be able to resist the destiny to fight your destiny. And if you thus fought your destiny, my plans for mankind’s redemption would be foiled.
Yeshua: But what if I fought the destiny to fight my destiny by not fighting it?
YHWH: You are starting to irritate me with your word play. Not very wise of you. I’ll make your cup of suffering bigger. I’ll make it into a mug of suffering.
Yeshua: No! Please don’t do that. The cup is fine, dad. Actually, if you could make it even smaller, I’d be ever grateful. Say, a thimbleful of suffering.
YHWH: A thimbleful of suffering is not enough. The minimum amount of suffering you should drink is a cupful. We are trying to wash away the sins of ALL mankind, remember?
Yeshua: But isn’t it all symbolic? The cleansing?
YHWH: It IS symbolic, yes. But even symbolic gestures have to scale in relation to the reality they represent. In this particular case, cleansing the entire human kind requires you to drink at least one cup of suffering.
Yeshua: I think your scale of reference is arbitral.
YHWH: Keep talking like that, and my arbitral scale will arbitrary award you with an entire pot to drink the suffering from.
Yeshua: What if I can’t drink an entire cup of suffering? What if the cup proves to be too much, and I drink, say, half the suffering?
YHWH: Then only the Jews will be cleansed. You’ll have to drink another cup for the gentiles later on. AND ride the donkey once again, into Jerusalem.
Yeshua: Whoa. I’ll drink the entire cup of suffering at a go, then. Didn’t like the donkey ride at all. People started calling me “Ass-Rider” from that day.
YHWH: Wise decision, son. Drink the entire cup at a go.
N/B: For access to all anecdotes in this series, check out List of all “Chronicles of YHWH” notes.
In our continuing series of quotes, I will present two snippets; one on why there is so much sorrow and evil
The world is full of evil and sorrow, because it is full of lust. Men go astray because they think that delusion is better than truth. Rather than truth they follow error, which is pleasant to look at in the beginning but in the end causes anxiety, tribulation and misery.
and a second one that talks about consciousness. And those god people who keep saying an intelligent creator is responsible, the Buddha says shut the hell up. It is written,
In the beginning there is existence blind and without knowledge; and in this sea of ignorance there are stirrings formative and organizing. From stirrings, formative and organizing, rises awareness or feelings. Feelings beget organisms that live as individual beings. These organisms develop the six fields, that is, the five senses and the mind. The six fields come into contact with things. Contact begets sensation. Sensation creates the thirst of individualized being. The thirst of being creates a cleaving to things. The cleaving produces the growth and continuation of selfhood. Selfhood continues in renewed births. The renewed births of selfhood are the cause of suffering, old age, sickness and death. They produce lamentation, anxiety and despair.
Fellow sufferers, since yours truly is feeling quite lazy, I am going to share a few posts with you.
The first one is a letter addressed to god, but which I think the religious and especially those who are so opposed to LGBTs should read. It is entitled dear god and I hope the author will got answers from his/her god and share with the rest of us.
The next post, random post in case I die any time soon, struck me as quite interesting. I agree with her that the only way to immortality is through the works we leave behind. I don’t, however, allow any room for the existence of deities. It’s a good read, a personal promise to improve humanity, a hard task I reckon, it is much easier to improve oneself, but all the same, yours truly wishes her well.
The last post, why we suffer, fails miserably in its attempt to explain why we suffer. A brief stroll through the bible, one realizes that the authors of the bible were clueless on why we suffer. One notices many instances where the Israelites suffer for being faithful to their god and they also suffer when they disobey their god. In Job, this god doesn’t know why Job suffers unless if we accept that assuaging his ego must be one of the reasons. The author quotes one of my favourite books of the bible, Ecclesiastes,
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart not pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun….
So I hated my life…. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, 17)
but makes a wrong conclusion that without Jesus, whose existence is yet to be proved, the search will be meaningless. Our lives are not meaningless because we don’t have Jesus, life is meaningless in and of itself. If this wasn’t the case, boredom wouldn’t visit us. Faced with this absurdity, we must create meaning. We must rebel against this absurdity. To further claim that the suffering Jesus, if he lived, suffered on the alleged cross is even comparable to the suffering that our race goes through every passing day is to make a joke of human suffering! For, please tell, how can suffering, freely chosen by a god to god, be compared to children dying from starvation in the horn of Africa as a result of poor policy of their governments or inclement weather; how does this compare with a child suffering from cancer; or children who are everyday abused by those who should protect them; or those whose lives are shuttered because of earthquakes and tsunamis and many other disasters? No, the suffering of Jesus, if he lived, or for any deity for that matter cannot explain why we suffer. We suffer not because there is any cosmic dictator who sometimes is angered by how we have done stuff here, no, far from it. I don’t know why we suffer. Nature however is indifferent to how we feel and we must for that reason adapt to the circumstances it throws our way. Finally, therefore, fellow sufferers, many hung onto life going through unbearable suffering hoping they will get reprieve, for them I wish them well. Let us help each other as we suffer through this existence, let us make each one’s journey pleasant and above let us lighten the burdens of our fellow travellers as we travel to nothingness from whence we had come. No one person’s suffering can be compared to another, for each person walks his own road!
To most Christians, Easter marks the most important point in their calendar and as St Paul so aptly put it And if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is in vain [1 Corinthians 15:14] and so I find it ridiculous that one christian apologist says in much ado about resurrection that he for a long time didn’t get why it has to be included in the gospel story though that now he realizes the resurrection was inevitable and had to be included. I don’t know how many Christians feel the same way about the resurrection and if indeed there are who share his predicament, feel free to express it in the comments especially what the resurrection means to you.
To me, the resurrection of Jesus was no more significant than the resurrection of Lazarus. It was just one more miracle. The big deal was the death of Christ, not His resurrection.
To some extent he is true, in the sense that if any of these things happened there is really no difference. We have been told, in theOT, that people were brought back to life, what we are never told is whether after being brought back to life, they die again which then leads me to question the point of bringing them to life in the first place. What was the point in raising Lazarus from his sleep if he was going to die again in a few years? Why not let him rest. The story of the resurrection is told differently in the gospels. Mathew talks about a violent earthquake, he seems to be the only one aware of the earthquake and he further tells us Jesus met the women, he even says the stone wasn’t rolled when the women showed up; Mark tells us they were three women[not a significant difference though but who do we believe], he says the stone was rolled and a young man was sitting by the right side; Luke tells us the women were wandering in the tomb then two men appeared and for good measure let us hear John who says the women did not go in neither did she talk with anyone one. She just ran away. When the apologist finishes reading the three versions, I will wait to be told the correct one and how he got to that conclusion.
There is little evidence to prove that Christ existed and even if he did how could the death of one man atone for sins committed and those yet to be committed?
We have been told Christ suffering is significant and oft-times you hear a person suffering being told that Jesus also suffered and they should bear theirs with courage. I got a few reflections on the matter. If Jesus was truly god, and god is passionless, unchanging, all-knowing and whatever quality the theist want to give god, he doesn’t know what it means to suffer. I agree to be nailed to a cross is a horrible way to die but here we have god on the cross, nothing could have been too much for god and he died the same day anyway. There are many people whose lives are a series of intense pain, untold suffering that what Jesus, if he existed, went through can all pale in comparison. To tell such a person to take comfort in Jesus’ suffering is to not understand human suffering.
Because of the resurrection, the grave is a passageway to eternal life!
I think anyone who believes in another life apart from this cannot live fully here and now. To them this life is but a preparation for a future life. How I find this to be really sad.
I think Nietzsche said it best, when he wrote in Human, all too Human
When on a Sunday morning we hear the bells ringing, we ask ourselves: it is possible! This is going on because of a Jew crucified 2,000 years ago who said he was the son of God. The proof of such an assertion is lacking. In the context of our age the Christian religion is certainly a piece of antiquity intruding out of distant ages past, and that the above-mentioned assertion is believed is perhaps the most ancient piece of the inheritance. A god who begets children on a mortal woman; a sage who calls upon us no longer to work, no longer to sit in judgment, but to heed the signs of the imminent end of the world; a justice which accepts an innocent man as a substitute sacrifice; someone who bids his disciples drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god atoned for by a god; fear of a Beyond to which death is the gateway; the figure of the Cross as a symbol in an age which no longer knows the meaning and shame of the Cross — how gruesomely all this is wafted to us, as if out of the grave of a primeval past! Can one believe that things of this sort are still believed in?
And as a gift from me to you, please visit Tell me the old story, old story…. not for the best Easter reflection I have read to this date.
I couldn’t come up with an appropriate title for this post since as you’ll realize it deals with several things. They are basically as random as they always have been when they come from me.
Friends, I have been meaning to continue with the journey through Exodus but have been quite busy the past few days. What with spending several hours at my barber for a shave, manicure/ pedicure, yes, don’t roll your eyes looking at me; site visits out-of-town; meeting deadlines at work [why do deadlines sometimes all arrive at the same time?]; visiting my brother; and reading some very interesting novels but I promise we will get on it very soon.
Our friends in NYC have been hit by a bad storm, I hear some of the Christian Right see it as an act of a god, their god, to what end I don’t know unless they mean their god is so destructive and lacks any sense of mercy, justice and decency! This a god who behaves like our city council askaris[guards] and their bulldozers who show up at night to flatten kiosks without any mercy or consideration to the people who depend on them[kiosks] for their livelihood.
I finished reading God’s problem: How the bible fails to answer our most important question– why we sufferby Bart Ehrman where he discusses the issue of suffering and with the storm in NYC
, I think we can have some perspective. What would god be doing causing so much destruction to property and leading to loss of lives? Does such a god deserve to be worshiped or rebelled against? Your take!
And while we wait, let us just sit back and listen to a priest who shares my view on hell and why the religious [the church in particular] insists that it exists.