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Christianity by florendo09


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March 2, 2012
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If one denies suffering, i.e., a greater purpose for suffering, he removes one weight—the lighter weight of the suffering itself—and in turn places the heavier burden of nothingness upon himself. All life tends towards death, nothingness.

And the cousins of these feelings of nothingness are skepticism, bitterness, and despair.

The one who subscribes to nothingness may not be a skeptic, bitter, or in despair, but the problem of suffering forces that one to become as such. This is because if all of life ends with a final breath, then everything between that first and last breath is judged by how happy we are. Suffering—deep, sorrowful, lasting suffering—is a sign of the end, and approach to nothingness.

Perhaps this is why Christ says that "my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11:30). He was ridiculed, tortured, and nailed to a tree—abandoned—and yet he says this still?

The one who suffers may be sorrowful or may have some joy because he understands that suffering has its place (in retrospect). He, therefore, bears his suffering, he feels his suffering more deeply, and moves forward—even if he trudges.

For the one who denies suffering, who sees all human suffering as a sign of nothingness, of random cruelty, is likely one who sees life as an endless cycle of suffering. There is no purpose to unjust suffering—and thus when they suffer themselves they tend to flee and hate suffering.

The one who rests in his suffering does not rest there forever. The one who flees suffering is forever a fugitive.
This is another one of my bite-sized reflections, dated on Feb 9th of this year.

I will soon be taking a class on suffering, titled "The Theological Significance of Suffering."

This piece, perhaps, will be both a good indicator of where my spirit is and a good waypoint to see where I've gone from here.


Suffering is a difficult subject, and hardly one that has many answers. Why do the just suffer and the unjust flourish? Men of great learning have attempted to tackle the issue, such as Plato and the writer of Job. For both the Greek intellectual and the faithful Jew, and eventually the Christian (and perhaps many more), true justice and Truth can only be sensible if there is something more to us than just this world--our brief existence and our quick end.

This is hardly complete, and I had more to say, but I felt that leaving it here was good enough for now.

Comments, questions, and discussion welcome.

M
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:iconroxas1296:
roxas1296 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This one hits home for me. I know the truth of this very well.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. I hope to do more bit sized stuff in the future....if I could learn to shut up!
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:iconroxas1296:
roxas1296 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Heh, I know what you mean.
My number one weakness in writing and speaking is conciseness. I hate to cut stuff out. :)
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I do too, but I know that sometimes I should just be brief and explain when necessary.
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:icontheabyss1:
TheAbyss1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
Suffering is good as Nietzsche will preach, but saying that it has a inherent purpose is bad in my opinion. 1) I will probably be commenting on some of your other works, since im bored and you seem to be intelligent. :D 2) When we give suffering ultimate purpose like Christianity does (the ultimate purpose being getting closer to God or something along those lines) we take away the life affirming aspects of life. Mainly we try to reject suffering and turn it into a boogieman. Suffering must be taken into an atheist point of view in my opinion, since when life has the ultimate ending of going to heaven or hell, then suffering loses its purpose. At that point suffering is given a value instead of letting it value itself, since the highest value in Christian Ethics is to get closer to God thats all we see in suffering. Mainly we would be limiting and denying suffering when taken from a Christian standpoint. 3) Do you read Soren Kierkegaard at all? I imagine you being a fan of him
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, but ultimately Nietzsche's philosophy leads to nowhere. It either ends in darkness or a vicious circle. For him there is no 'end' per se, perhaps because he believes that since we are always in an intermediate stage the end can never be experienced.

1) Boredom does that sometimes, I suppose.

2) I think you've identified the role of suffering in Christianity incorrectly for a number of reasons. For starters your very limited understanding of what Christians actually say about suffering.

Among others there are the following:
1) Suffering is natural to us
2) Suffering helps us grow closer to God and others
3) Suffering is trasformative, ultimately, only if it is seen through the Cross.

So, I don't agree or believe you can substantiate that Christianity denies life-affirming aspects when you look at its history of art, music, architecture, scholarship, literature and more.

Mainly we try to reject suffering and turn it into a boogieman.

Some do, but that is not Christian (i.e., Catholic) teaching.

Suffering must be taken into an atheist point of view in my opinion, since when life has the ultimate ending of going to heaven or hell, then suffering loses its purpose.

That has nothing to do with suffering and more to do with sin and grace.

At that point suffering is given a value instead of letting it value itself, since the highest value in Christian Ethics is to get closer to God thats all we see in suffering.

Yes, but that idea divorces ultimate value (oneness with God, closer union with God) from intermediate values/goods (prayer, family, friends, charity, etc).

There is no redemption without suffering, but suffering does not equal redemption either. Suffering occurs on many different levels for many different reasons and Christianity has never denied nor diminished it, so I don't see where you got these ideas.


3) I can't say I've read him extensively, i.e., all of his books. I've read a number of his essays, Either/Or I (and part of II), and Fear and Trembling.

I used to like him a great deal but have found him to be less desirable/important as time has gone on. I still respect his critiques a great deal, but what he puts there in its place is inferior.
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:icontheabyss1:
TheAbyss1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
"Yes, but ultimately Nietzsche's philosophy leads to nowhere. It either ends in darkness or a vicious circle."
Nietzsche advocates active Nihilism. Mainly that life will lead to nowhere, since we die and thats it, but thats actually fine since it allows us to give life true and rwal value.
Among others there are the following:
1) Suffering is natural to us
2) Suffering helps us grow closer to God and others
3) Suffering is trasformative, ultimately, only if it is seen through the Cross.

Of course I agree suffering is natural to everyone. Suffering helps us grow close to God and others, there in my opinion lies the problem. Christians will say that is the main and best purpose of suffering, am I correct there? Being a Nietzschean I can't really dig that idea, since it once again limits suffering as to having a limited purpose. "I don't agree or believe you can substantiate that Christianity denies life-affirming aspects when you look at its history of art, music, architecture, scholarship, literature and more."
Will you please expand on that more? I think I get what you're saying, but do expand please.
I would say that suffering loses value when the end equals heaven or hell, because then we don't feel the need to suffer or truly suffer, since a Christian in suffering will just cling to God and then their faith becomes stronger, but not them.

"There is no redemption without suffering, but suffering does not equal redemption either. Suffering occurs on many different levels for many different reasons and Christianity has never denied nor diminished it, so I don't see where you got these ideas."
Okay, of course suffering doesnt equal redemption, since everyone suffers. I would say Christianity has diminished its value, by giving it this inherent value and making life just a pursuit to God. The value mainly becomes "closeness with God"
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Nietzsche advocates active Nihilism. Mainly that life will lead to nowhere, since we die and thats it, but thats actually fine since it allows us to give life true and rwal value.

If that's the case I've yet to see that value produced from it other than something already done a million times before.

Christians will say that is the main and best purpose of suffering, am I correct there?

Not really, or it's a very weak understanding of an elaboration on the subject.

Will you please expand on that more? I think I get what you're saying, but do expand please.

It's hard to expand on a whole history of literature, culture, theology, and philosophy.

I would say that suffering loses value when the end equals heaven or hell, because then we don't feel the need to suffer or truly suffer, since a Christian in suffering will just cling to God and then their faith becomes stronger, but not them.

Well, since that's not actually what Christians, or more properly speaking, Catholics believe I can't help you there.

I would say Christianity has diminished its value, by giving it this inherent value and making life just a pursuit to God. The value mainly becomes "closeness with God"

Again, that's an oversimplification and not actually what is being said. You reduce one of the goals from the necessary and deeply involved intermediate stages. In the sense you are speaking of you are talking about a devaluation that actually isn't there.
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:icontheabyss1:
TheAbyss1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
"If that's the case I've yet to see that value produced from it other than something already done a million times before."
Even if something has been done a million times before, that doesn't matter. At that point you just become a passive Nihilist, which can also be called Negative Nihilism. Also I imagine you value your family, friends, music, culture and so on. There is some value, that does not need God


"Christians will say that is the main and best purpose of suffering, am I correct there?"
Tell me what is true then, so that I can be informed

"It's hard to expand on a whole history of literature, culture, theology, and philosophy."
Okay, well anyways will you at least expand on the line of argument you were making with that?

"Well, since that's not actually what Christians, or more properly speaking, Catholics believe I can't help you there."
Inform me on the truth then

"Again, that's an oversimplification and not actually what is being said. You reduce one of the goals from the necessary and deeply involved intermediate stages. In the sense you are speaking of you are talking about a devaluation that actually isn't there."
What is being said? How am I reducing one of the goals and how am I taking part in a devaluation that isnt there?
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Even if something has been done a million times before, that doesn't matter. At that point you just become a passive Nihilist, which can also be called Negative Nihilism.

Not my point, exactly. What I mean is that what is formulated as any branch of nihilism isn't anything new, nor anything that follows. It's just something rehashed from a previous generation with a new paint job.

Also I imagine you value your family, friends, music, culture and so on. There is some value, that does not need God

There are many types of values, but I don't see your point. You're saying Christians take value to be univocal.

Tell me what is true then, so that I can be informed

it's hard to describe in full detail because the nature of suffering is not something that can be fully understood. My issue is your diction, especially the use of "the best" purpose of suffering. To say that is just making your own argument as to why we siphon personal suffering as 'existing for the sake of something else' but in a narrow manner.

Suffering can exist for no purpose or it can exist for some purpose. Purposeful suffering requires that suffering both be seen as what it is (in the measure that it is) but it also must be seen as what the suffering can become. When suffering can be recognized as something more than the moment (since suffering is something that happens to us and we, in turn, are more than what we suffer).

You also claim we "give" suffering a value, which is true in a very specific sense (Christofied suffering) but false in other senses (we just 'say' that it's nothing in itself).

Okay, well anyways will you at least expand on the line of argument you were making with that?

All I'm saying is that you have only to look at the great minds of the Church who lived and were influenced by Catholic Christianity in their respective fields and ask, critically, if they didn't affirm life at all.

Inform me on the truth then

Again, it's hard to write a whole long thing responding to a misconception without the fear of running into another misconception. So, I will be brief in order to root out those further misconceptions in hopes of coming to the origin or (a) pillar of that line of thinking.

Your claim is "I would say Christianity has diminished its value, by giving it this inherent value and making life just a pursuit to God. The value mainly becomes "closeness with God.""

This I can simply say is false. For starters I'm not sure how I can combat your claim "we diminished its [suffering's] value" since I don't see how it's true. You've reduced the Christian meaning of suffering to "just a pursuit of God" when I already stated that that's not the case. It's personally trasformative as well.

How am I reducing one of the goals and how am I taking part in a devaluation that isnt there?

You reduce it by saying 'all it is is growing closer to God' among other things.
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