Posted by: Dan | October 29, 2008

On Not Reconciling Suffering with Faith in God

In response to my last post, the urbanmonk asked me how I reconcile the problem of suffering (with my faith in the Christian God).  The fact of the matter is that I don’t.  I can’t.  The presence of suffering and evil in the world is utterly baffling to me.  I cannot make any sense of it, nor can I find any satisfactory explanation of it.  All I can do is resist it.  Perhaps being unable to explain it away is part of that resistance.

Naturally, the subsequent question is why, then, I persist in believing in the Christian God.  The simply, albeit unsatisfying (at least for others), answer to this question is that I believe in God because God has come out to meet me.  I believe that I have been met by God in Jesus Christ, so it is impossible for me not to have faith in this God.  Apologists and intellectuals may be uncomfortable with such and experiential response but, as far as I am concerned, such an experience is the sole foundation for persistent faith in God.  Apart from being met by God, it makes no sense to believe in God.  Indeed, even after one has been met by God it may still make no sense to believe in God… but it is impossible not to believe in God after such an event.

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Responses

  1. With out wanting to piss in your pocket, thats one of the more satisfactory “answers” to suffering I have come across, precisely because it is on a certain level, a “non” answer.

    “even after one has been met by God it may still make no sense to believe in God… but it is impossible not to believe in God after such an event.”

    Indeed. Lord knows Ive been trying:)

  2. given that a no-answer is nonetheless a type of answer, it seems to provide more substance to consider that the shape of “God’s” no-answer is Jesus being crucified. this, in your sense, also has an apophatic silence, but the silence has a shape.

  3. chris:

    Good to hear from you. I read, and enjoyed, the book you co-authored with Shane, and am hoping for more from you. Working on anything?

    As for what you say here, I’ll grant your point, but I’m not sure that I’m left feeling any more satisfied by this silence with a shape.

    Oh, and I don’t know if I would say that Christ crucified contains an “apophatic silence”. Rather, I think it contains an inarticulate scream (Mt 27.50).


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