`Epub ↠ The Problem of Pain ⇯ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

ON POINT This book was a really interesting and poignant analysis of pain and the Christian response to it I read it alongside A Grief Observed because I wanted to know if Lewis s intellectual answers stood alongside his emotional ones That is one of the greatest oversimplifications of either book I could possibly make but that is how I started out I quickly realized the two are almost incomparable They aren t intended to be comparable While A Grief Observed was a heart wrenching and yet inspiring read, The Problem of Pain was almost so His description of heaven and hell really impacted my understanding on a subject I thought I was pretty comfortable in It isn t a 5 star book I disagree with some of his conclusions and theology It wasn t a book that necessarily blew my mind , yet at the same time it challenged and restructured a lot of my thoughts One of my favorite thoughts in the book is this from page 116 The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy It is not hard to see why The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. It says something that after so many years C S Lewis is still one of the foremost Christian apologists of our time The Problem of Pain is a difficult question every religion has to deal with, and one which has been especially difficult for Christianity Some religions have the luxury of explaining pain as something deserved a result of bad behavior from a previous life, or perhaps pain and suffering are caused by a malevolent deity in opposition to a good and loving God Christianity has no such option If God were good, he would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished But the creatures are not happy Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both Lewis presents a very readable and widely accessible solution to this problem, covering the origins of human suffering, incurred in the fall, what divine omnipotence and goodness really mean, and why they allow for the existence of pain in creation, heaven and hell, and a topic not often treated but important the existence of pain in animals who are in every sense innocent Particularly useful is Lewis distinction between kindness and love Lewis reminds us that real love, a love that looks out for the best interests of the beloved, sometimes requires the inflicting of painful experience From the perspective of the one undergoing the experience, this may not seem like love, but any parent, teacher, or anyone tasked with the guidance of the young will understand that this sort of tough love is often necessary if one does not want a spoiled child to grow into a spoiled adult. SPOILERS AHEADPain posted a serious objection to Christianity and to Heavenly authority in general , aggravated by claiming that Love is the essence of God The Problem of Pain focuses on one question, but thoroughly argues on every aspect If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy, and if He were almighty He would be able to do what he wished But the creatures are not happy Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both In other words, why would an all knowing, all powerful, and all loving God allow people to experience pain and suffering Firstly, Lewis set his arguments by identifying God, as conceivable as possible, and his purpose through the subject of divine omnipotence and divine goodness He argued that since we are beings of free souls and have the luxury of free will, we take advantage of the fixed laws of nature to hurt ourselves and one another Yet, even though God is omnipotent and can do whatever he pleases, removing pain leads to a meaningless universe Nonsense remains nonsense even if we talk it about God Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you will find that you have excluded life itself God s idea of good is unlike ours His moral judgment must, therefore, differ from ours Where God means love, we only mean Kindness But love is not mere kindness Let us have a mental note how much confusion between love and kindness is related to our modern thinking Kindness cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering , while Love would rather see the loved ones suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes Recognizing the distinction between love and kindness illuminates what it means to be the object of God s love Because God loves us, he will not rest until we are purely lovable To not want pain, therefore, is to not want His love Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved that the mere kindness which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love Next, he establishes his argument for the total corruption and the sin nature of man, as without a sin nature there is no reason to be corrected How a bad creature could come from the hands of a good Creator The most obvious answer is that it did not man, and the rest of creation, was initially good, but through the abuse of freedom, man made himself an abominable, wicked creature he is now The world is a dance in which good, descending from God, is disturbed by evil arising from the creatures, and the resulting conflict is resolved by God s own assumption of the suffering nature which evil produces The doctrine of the Fall asserts that the evil which thus makes the fuel or raw material of the second and complex kind of good is not God s contribution but man s Pain, through trials and sacrifices, teaches us to rely on God, to act out of spiritual strength, to act for purely heavenly purpose and to accept our discipleship Human will becomes truly creative and truly our own when it is wholly God s, and this is one of the many senses in which he that loses his soul shall find it If distressful feelings disguise itself as thought, all nonsense is possible faith in God is challenged, we object to His goodness, and worse, we doubt His existence All of those seemed valid to a suffering soul, due to the sway of unbearable pain We are not merely imperfect creatures that need improvement we are rebels that need lay down their arms In conclusion then, pain is not a mere influence to make a creature s submission to the will of God easier Remembering Prophet Isaiah s words in the Bible, chapters 46 53, God has called him prior to his birth He was molded and polished through physical pain, trials and humiliation to be equipped for God s divine purpose.When I first considered reading this book, I asked myself if I am lucid enough to absorb Lewis arguments I ended up quoting him and taking notes than I usually do But then, I realized that I am merely to review, not write an abridge version The Problem of Pain is a difficult read it is not for the casual reader and you should expect to be intellectually challenged But the big difficulty is much smaller compared to the bigger lessons within. This or.. This orthis I lean towards the latter camp Lewis does at least make a good, solid, and sophisticated effort to address the problem of Why does God allow so much pain and suffering, if He is really a loving God, and if He really does exist which is why Lewis gets 3 stars, even if I don t completely agree.I remember quite liking his argument at the time I read it, which was quite some time ago He seemed to be saying that pain is sent to test a person, to make you stronger, to help you grow spiritually so that you could become a spiritually evolved and aware person.But, I have in the meantime started wondering on the other hand, what kind of cruel deity would devise such a system, that includes such horrible suffering as the world has seen Even if it is to make them stronger , or cause them to grow spiritually.Lewis s argument, IMO, would hold water better if you reckoned re incarnation into the system Then it would make sense to throw obstacles into the path of a soul in it s evolutionary journey towards Nirvanabut in the Christian world, where the most common doctrine I have heard, is that all you need to do is to proclaim Jesus as your savior to win an automatic seat in heaven, no need for you to grow spiritually, it doesn t seem to fit in quite 100% I must admit that I do like the idea of spiritual growth, such as presented in this book, and in The Pilgrim s Progress, for instance.Unfortunately, now that I am older, wiser, and seen suffering in both myself and others, I m not quite as inured to Lewis s arguments, and not quite so eager to welcome pain and suffering.PS After reading a bit of Thomas Aquinas, I realized that Lewis borrows a LOT from him. Apology for the existence of pain and suffering Lewis s comfortable, easy style speaks to me in most all of his books This is no exception.Memorable quotes Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved that the mere kindness which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love When we fall in love with a woman, do we cease to care whether she is clean or dirty, fair or foul Do we not rather then first begin to care Does any woman regard it as a sign of love in a man that he neither knows nor cares how she is looking Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost but not because it is lost Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them but Love cannot cease to will their removal Love is sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain Every race that comes into being in any part of the universe is doomed for the universe, they tell us, is running down, and will sometime be a uniform infinity of homogeneous matter at low temperature All stories will come to nothing all life will turn out in the end to have been a transitory and senseless contortion upon the idiotic face of infinite matter C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain CS Lewis is held by many to be the premier Christian apologist of the 20th century Unless one is morbidly naive, or has yet to encounter the counterarguments to Christianity in particular and theism in general, I honestly cannot see where his appeal lies.How CS Lewis should have died.http www.youtube.com watch v A9EQS The Problem of Evil is an insurmountable one for Christians and all other theists who believe in a perfectly loving, all powerful and all knowing god There have been intense and motivated efforts over the past two millennia to defend such a position rationally, and they have all failed Miserably Utterly And in many cases, dishonestly.Some approached involve invoking an unknown greater good defense which throws god s omnipotence under the bus An omnipotent deity could simply actualise a desired goal without needing to use suffering as a middle man Attempts to shift the problem by asserting that human happiness is not the goal of life but knowing god is removes the omnibenevolence and omnipotence of god if you love someone, you don t want them to suffer It really is that simple On page 104, Lewis concedes that not everyone suffers equally He does not give a reason for this, and indeed, admits that our puny human minds cannot understand why god would allow some to live decades in comfort and luxury while others suffer for months or years on end To quote Lewis himself The causes of this distribution I do not know but from our present point of view it ought to be clear that the real problem is not why some humble, pious, believing people suffer, but why some do NOT emphasis Lewis , in italics Our Lord Himself, it will be remembered, explained the salvation of those who are fortunate in this world only by referring to the unsearchable omnipotence of God That s not an explanation Lewis is falling back on the ancient and ubiquitous appeal to ignorance God s mysterious ways are beyond us Well, by that logic, he could send all Christians to hell and everyone else to heaven, and Lewis, by his own admission, would just have to suck up an eternity of torture.The old canard of free will is often invoked Unfortunately, free will is meaningless unless everyone has an equal amount of it This is undeniably NOT the case Not everyone is given the same lifespan, physical strength, mental acuity, political clout, financial resources, and so on Lewis is pontificating from the luxurious confines of his residence, funded by conveniently gullible sheep This has certainly damaged his ability to empathise with the billions who live on less than a dollar each day And the thousands who starve to death every time the Earth completes a full rotation.Lewis also, perhaps unwittingly, advocates a social Darwinism in which the rich and physically powerful are able to murder, rape and steal from weaker individuals and are therefore less able to exercise their own free will to prevent their own suffering Lewis worships a cosmic pedophile who revels in granting freedom to abhorrent individuals while getting his jollies from seeing the most vulnerable suffer and die in agony only to get thrown into even torture in the Christian vision of hell.Lastly, a loving god would take away free will from those who would willingly surrender it in return for a life without suffering Funnily enough, Lewis seems to believe in a heaven without suffering but with all the bells and whistles of freedom So why not create that universe from the get go and stick with it Why create a universe with even the possibility of corruption It certainly is not something a perfect god would do Then again, a perfect god would not blackmail beings he supposedly loves for eternal worship.While Lewis is usually a good writer, capable of spinning yarns to attract the attention of children and young teenagers, he also assumes that there is a deep, overriding purpose behind suffering This purpose is so important that it is critical to his god to NOT end suffering now, but to let things run their natural course until his plan is complete In service of this goal, he creates a short story that is akin to an essay on theistic evolution, and how man is ultimately responsible for the Fall and his own corruption If god knows everything, including the future, then he orchestrated the fall and everything else before setting his plan into motion Arguing that god exists outside of time is a lazy copout, nothing.As a loudspeaker for the Christian god, pain has done to drive people away from him than anything else An all knowing, all powerful and all good god would not allow any suffering, even in the service of a so called greater good And if such a god desires suffering for a greater good, then it would follow logically that his followers should cause suffering to convert people After all, that is god s best tool for getting our attention, is it not Fortunately, CS Lewis and most Christians today do not follow this logic to its end point Those who do open hospitals and hospices and waste money on bibles rather than food explaining why only 25% of tithes go to benefit indigent people around the world CS Lewis realised this, which is why he asserted, in chapter 7, that while evil acts can lead to greater goods such as pity and compassion, the individual who commits evil is not justified simply because positive benefits will flow.The hypocrisy here is glaringly apparent when Lewis moves on to depict his god as using good men as sons and evil men as tools to achieve his goals Such an obvious double standard is patently hypocritical and serves to do little except expose Lewis advocacy of divine fiat for what it is blind obedience which is the antithesis of sound moral reasoning.His childishly puerile attempts to justify hell are perhaps the only thing worse According to Lewis theology, pain is used by god as a teacher, a flag of truth in a rebel fortress p 122 This obviously misses the point an omnipotent god would not need to use pain If a tri omni deity knows good from evil without needing to suffer, why couldn t he have simply created humans who were likewise omniscient This is yet another obvious point that is glossed over by a highly overrated apologist. I absolutely loved this book I laughed, I blurted out loud HA s between classes and generally forgot about time and place It s very, VERY good book My only concern with this review is on my side I had a goal to get through it in three days, which I did Thus, there were some parts I read through without the attention I probably should have devoted to it I don t usually like writing reviews where the fault is with me but alas, here I am.As for content, CS Lewis has, as always, very well thought out arguments and a logical approach to his content There were a couple minor instances where I disagreed with ever so slightly, but I had no concerns even close to major If you want to compare this to his other works, I find it s slightly weaker than his later books But that does in no way mean this is poor craftmanship Surely, to improve with time is a positive thing, and you cannot hold that against him All in all, I loved it and I d recommend it to anyone who doesn t mind a theoretical approach to things. This was a beautiful, beautiful book C.S Lewis really dives into the topic of pain and suffering with Biblical focus Highly recommend to those questioning, Why must we suffer five stars Well, it s not like I really disagree with C.S Lewis s argument here I just think that the essential points are summed up rather succinctly in the first few minutes of Monty Python s Happy Valley sketch STORYTELLER Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lay in a valley far, far away in the mountains the most contented kingdom the world has ever known It was called Happy Valley, and it was ruled over by a wise old king called Otto And all his subjects flourished and were happy, and there were no discontents or grumblers, because wise King Otto had had them all put to death, along with the trade union leaders, many years before And all the happy folk of Happy Valley sang and danced all day long, and anyone who was for any reason miserable or unhappy or who had any difficult personal problem was prosecuted under the Happiness Act.PROSECUTOR Caspar Schlitz, I put it to you that you were, on February 5th this year, very depressed with malice aforethought, and did moan quietly, contrary to the Cheerful Noises Act.SCHLITZ I did.COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENCE May I explain, m lud, that the reason for my client s behaviour was that his wife had just died that morningAll except the accused laugh uproariously JUDGE Members of the jury, have you reached your verdict FOREMAN GuiltyAll laugh again JUDGEdonning red nose and trying to stifle gigglesI hereby sentence you to be hanged by the neck until you cheer upYet hearty laughter `Epub ↹ The Problem of Pain ⇯ For Centuries People Have Been Tormented By One Question Above All If God Is Good And All Powerful, Why Does He Allow His Creatures To Suffer Pain And What Of The Suffering Of Animals, Who Neither Deserve Pain Nor Can Be Improved By It The Greatest Christian Thinker Of Our Time Sets Out To Disentangle This Knotty Issue With His Signature Wealth Of Compassion And Insight, C S Lewis Offers Answers To These Crucial Questions And Shares His Hope And Wisdom To Help Heal A World Hungry For A True Understanding Of Human Nature