WHY MUST PEOPLE
"Why must people suffer?" This is a question mankind has asked themselves since ancient times
in both religious and none-religious coherence. In religious coherence, people try to look at the suffering as a test of their faith. When Abraham had to sacrifice his son to God, and was stopped at the last second by an angel who said he mustn't do it, but that God had set him a trial to test his faith, is a good example
People who aren't religious cannot, as easily as religious people, look at all the suffering in the world as a test of their faith, because they have no believes of another reality in addition to the material world that mankind live in.
Another reality where "heaven" and "hell" resides. People who have no religion choose a far more critical view on this question than religious people do. They choose to ask questions like why God lets there be so much misery in the world, and lets so many innocent people suffer. If God is what the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims says he is, an all-powerful God of creation, why cannot he end all the suffering, just as easily as he, according to Christianity, created the world?
For people who believe, it is hard to give a good explanation to why God lets there be so much misery in the world. They try to explain it by saying that the Earth isn't just God's work, but that huge parts of this work, is made by mankind. But if God has all power, why cannot he just delete those sides of mankind that causes there to be so much suffering in the world? If he is powerful enough to create an entire world for mankind to live in, (it is true that he did it in seven days, but still) he should be powerful enough to let mankind exist without letting the people who are living alonside them suffer. Personally, I think that God is an irresponsible, unfair being, who lets all this continue centuries after centuries without doing anything about it.
I've seen more mentally and physically handicapped people than any other student who goes to my school. (I'm the only handicapped boy there, something that should give you some idea of how I can say this) On the handicap-riding I go to, there is a group of mentally handicapped people who attends riding classes, and they are so mentally damaged that they cannot understand the difference between riding a carrot, and riding a horse with four legs. They cannot manage what most people call "talking". They can only manage to make wordless sounds to express their feelings, and these feelings aren't always what most people would call "ordinary feelings". Once, when I went to the handicap-riding, I witnessed a mentally handicapped child who stood there howling, and made noises to do the best he could to express his feelings. The ones who watched over him, told me that he made these sounds because he had become accustomed to that it was cloudy outside, and when the sun suddenly shone again, he got upset because he then had to get used to something different. You cannot try to explain the suffering of such people as some kind of test. There is nothing religious such a mentally damaged human can be tested in by living with such severe brain damage. If God has all power, why cannot he make an end to such brain damages?
There are many physically handicapped people who has it a thousand times worse than I. On the climbing I go to, there is a girl with a handicap that makes her unable to live nearly as independent as me, and us who just use crutches. I cannot imagine that the reason why she has to go through this, is because "God wills it", which is the answer some religions give people when they ask why life is as it is, or that it is to test her faith, or that her handicapped has anything to do with religion at all. I think that she was just unlucky, who was born with such a physical handicap, but I have absolutely no belief that it has anything to do with religion.
Once every year, I and the Norwegian Handicap Sport Team go to a handicap camp in Denmark. My two best friends there, are two people who are just like me, they both use crutches, have the same interests as I, and they also share my views on ethical questions. Last time we sat on the bus to go to that handicap camp, we had an interesting conversation about why people suffer, and what it means that God is "all-powerful". Both Audun and Stine agree with me in that it doesn't exist a FAIR god up there, who has created the world.
"Just look at us." Said Audun one time. "And look at all the millions of completely healthy people that exist in the world. It is not fair that some people are born with either a mental or physical handicap, or in worst cases, both while there exists people who can run around and play ice hockey just as easily as it is for us to play handicap-ice hockey. We have a really good time when we play handicap-ice hockey together, but it's not always easy to see life from the bright side when we are at school as the only handicapped one there, and see how the others run around, playing football all the time. And when they cannot play football, because it's too cold or slippery outside in the winter, they do other things that we handicapped people cannot participate in. In the winter, it is not easy for us to be outside in the playgrounds, since it is hard for us to be outside at all when it is slippery with all the ice, and the sand that's supposed to keep us from falling, is not there. If anyone are to tell me that the reason why we have to go through all this has anything to do with God at all, then they don't know what they're talking about."
I believe that when I, Audun and Stine have such opinions about religion as Audun talked about, it is because we cannot imagine that God has anything to do with the lives of the people on Earth at all.
When I, Audun and Stine talk together like that, it is because we have no belief in any kind of religion at all, because we don't at all think it is soothing to imagine that the reason why we were born with a handicap, and didn't get the same chances in life as you people who aren't dependent on the aid from crutches, wheelchairs, walkingchairs or anything to allow you to walk without exhausting yourselves completely, is because it exists a being up there that tests our faith. Especially since we have absolutely no belief in any religion.
I, Audun and Stine don't believe in any of the religions' answers to why people have to suffer, or the Christianity's explanations to why God lets it be that way. Even if I had been born a believer, for example in Christianity, I most likely would've lost my faith in the end, and gotten tired of never getting any decent answers to why I went to a school with only completely healthy people, without anyone to compare myself to the way I can at handicap camps.
I believe that this question about why people must suffer, is a question people can never agree upon.
With so many different cultures, so many different ethical opinions and views on this matter, I believe that not ALL people will be able to come to a common agreement around this question. The fact that people have different views especially about everything that's ethical, I believe, is an important part of being human. If all people thought alike about such ethical quetions, I believe it would've in the end resulted in that people would've forgotten to think for themselves and express their own ideas around such questions.