Posts Tagged ‘Michael Baughen’

Suffering

February 17, 2011

The One Big Question - Bishop Michael Baughen

The One Big Question - Bishop Michael Baughen

Suffering is part of the human condition. — Bishop Michael Baughen

Why do we suffer? Why is there suffering in the world?

In The Alchemist, Santigo learns that people suffer when they do not follow their dream, they listen to people around them rather than listen to what their heart tells them. [see The Alchemist]

People who fail to follow their dreams eventually learn to accept their lot, eventually they even forget their dreams, forget they ever had dreams, but their lives is the worse because of it.

In The Zahir, Paulo Coelho puts into words how you feel when the one you love, who you thought loved you, leaves. Having felt that pain, his words describe what I could not.

Why are there people starving in the world whilst others have obscene amounts of wealth? Why did the thug security in Bahrain fire on unarmed protesters? Why twenty years ago on St Valentine’s Day did the Americans bomb a shelter in Baghdad? Why is it that the decent people seem to suffer whilst the evil ones prosper?

If there is a just God, why does he allow these things to happen?

It was to address these issues, maybe the most difficult issue for people who want believe in a just and loving God, that Bishop Michael Baughen (former Bishop of Chester and Rector of All Souls Langham Place) gave a talk at St Peter’s Church.

Suffering is the BIG question. It is the killer question. Why? Why? Why?

Suffering is the great divider. It either drives us into the hands of God or makes us hate God. There is no sitting on the fence.

Why did my brother die before me, die a very painful death?

We pray to God, please God, make it a nice sunny day, I am having a picnic. Please let me pass my exams. Please get me a sexy girlfriend.

God is not a kindly old man, handing out the sweets.

Why did God not intervene when something bad was going to happen?

God is not a control freak. But let us assume God did intevene. What then? Something worse may then happen, we have set in motion a different path, the law of unintended connsequences.

In The Valkyries, Paulo Colho describes a different path being set in motion. We should pause and reflect, it happened for a reason.

The trenches in the First World War, is that not a good reason not to believe in God?

No, it is a reason not to believe in Man. It was Man in the form of Generals and Politicians who sent men in their hundreds of thousands to their deaths.

God gave us free will. Or would we rather be robots or automatons?

In My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk the devil says he is bored. There is little for him to do, as Man can do evil without his intervention.

Many people died in Haiti. That was due to an earthquake yes, but is was also due to bad housing. People were killed by houses collapsing, not by the earthquake.

A ship is safe when it remains in a port, but that is not why we build ships.

Earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates. Without the movement of these tectonic plates and various other Gaian control mechanisms there would be no life on Earth.

Why am I being punished? What have I done wrong?

Why am I not being healed? Is that not the power of prayer?

Man sets up God in his own image, then uses that image to deny the existence of God as God does not fullfil his expectations.

To suffer is part of the Human Condition. It is what we do, how we handle suffering, that determines the depth of our faith.

A sword is tempered by going through fire.

The One Big Question
– ‘I Thirst’
The Role of Science and Faith in the Development of Civilisations
What’s So Amazing About Grace