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(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Theodicy



My aunt-in-law had a hard life.  She was brought up by a very strict Calvinist family, and it left her unable to have loving sex with her husband, leading to an unhappy marriage and ultimately divorce   She studied to be a radiographer, and worked hard all her life.  She was always mounting charity drives or cake sales or knitting bees to help those less well off than herself.

She suffered terribly from ill health towards the end, and in the last two weeks of her life was completely senile, abusing her helpers and throwing shit at them: this prim, restrained, polite woman.

My father died in agony from cancer.

My adorable little dog went through hell in the last day or two, and his pain was ended only when we took him down to the vet and had him painlessly killed.

Millions of people spend huge parts of their lives alone and lonely, even though humans are social animals and need other humans to make life worth living.  And then they go through a long decline, in pain and suffering until they die.

Now theodicy is strictly speaking the "explanation" of why God permits evil.  But I'd extend it:  why is there so much suffering?  Don't tell me it's for our own good.  That's feeble.

There is no explanation in my view.  Life just is filled with pain and suffering and evilness.  It's not God's fault, because there is no God.  It's up to us to try and reduce the suffering and evil we see around us.  Heaven and Hell are right here on Earth.  And it's up to us, each one of us, which of those two it is.  And even then, we can't fend off Death or Pain or Suffering.  All we can do is care and comfort.  And love.


[And note how learned these 17th and 18th century intellectuals were:  Leibniz wrote his book in French, though his home language was German.  He could read and write Latin.  How many modern intellectuals could write a thesis in their second language?  And what lovely, kind, intelligent eyes he has!]

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