Friday, August 23, 2013

The Issue of Suffering, AKA Part of Why I Quit Catholicism

I was raised Roman Catholic and for most of my life, I attended church in school and then again on the weekend (because the school attendance doesn’t meet God’s weekly quota, I guess).  I went to religion classes, which then later passed off as philosophy classes.  All of it the same information molded and forcefully thrown in our faces. JESUS LOVES YOU.  Yada, yada.  And since he was my shepherd, I followed like a sheep.  Eventually, once I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and opened my eyes, I started to really disagree with things.  

Let me say, anyone who has religion in their life, this is not an attack on you.  Unless you use your religion to be an asshole, in which case, yeah, I am attacking you.  But this disagreement for me is not about having a religion, it’s just about this particular religion I took part in while I grew up.  I’m not saying having a religion is bad.  I’m not even saying this religion is bad.  All I am saying is that I don’t agree with what this religion believes.  Okay?  Have I disclaimed from offending people?  Good, I shall continue.

We are taught that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.  Ok, I get that premise.  God is our creator and we are created in his image.  He loves us for everything we are, even though we fuck up A LOT.  That whole free will business.  So here is my issue: suffering.

There is that whole saying “When bad things happen to good people.”  Good and bad are subjective terms.  Also what might be bad for one person can inspire good in another.

And then there are little kids dying of cancer. What the hell is that, God?  

There is no good that comes out of that.  Maybe someone is inspired to do something great from seeing someone die, but why a kid?  Why create this piece of beauty in your image to then destroy it in a heinous and painful way only a few years later?  WHY?!

I’ve watched three women I care about deal with cancer.  Two women lost the fight, and the third is in remission (sigh of relief).  I watched my Great Aunt Carol, one of the brightest and liveliest women I’ve ever known, sink away from us while the terrible disease invaded her body and mind and eventually robbed her of her ability to speak.  Where is the good in that, God?  If you’re all-knowing, it means you know it is happening.  And if you’re all-powerful, why let it happen?  Why let this gift of a woman die slowly and painfully?

I can’t believe in a god that allows that.  If God truly loved us, I don’t think he would want to hurt us.  I think we hurt ourselves with our free will.  But cancer is not the result of free will.  Cancer comes from somewhere else. Because if cancer comes from God, how does he have the authority to make shit like that happen?  Because he made us?  If that’s the case then any mother or father has justification for torturing and murdering their offspring because they made them.  

The only way I can believe in a God and wrap my head around the idea of suffering is a God that is all-knowing but not all-powerful.  I won’t believe in a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful who lets people suffer and die just because he can.  

Because if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then he’s a sadist.


Mike said...

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

- Epicurus [341–270 B.C.]

C_Vin said...

'm going to say the the biggest part I have about the whole O3^B God (omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and benevolent) is the last piece. It's an assumption that God is not only good, but also ONLY good. Maybe God is like the rest of us -- fucked up a whole lot and just trying to make do?

I don't know. And I don't really buy into anyone who pretends to, which is where my issue with most religions comes in.