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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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:icontheabyss1:
TheAbyss1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
"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"
It does not matter if we are making new forms of Nihilism or not. All that matters is how we deal with Nihilism. We deal with them in 2 main ways Active or Passive Nihilism

"There are many types of values, but I don't see your point. You're saying Christians take value to be univocal."
Not quite univocal, since I believe univocal means that everything has only one value. I would say that Christians would say that God is the ultimate value and that all else is unimportant when confronted by God. What im trying to say is that they demean life for no good reason. Also earlier you seemed to think that Nietzsche's philosophy ending in Nothingness is bad. Its really quite fine, but I thought you were going to be one of those people that seem to think that refutes Nietzsche/ promotes the idea that without God life has no value.

"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 transformative as well."
But wouldn't the transformation only be good if it made you closer to God or more Godly? So the value would still become "closer to God/ More Godly" I would also say that the idea of Christofied suffering is still limiting, since it just makes you rely on faith instead of yourself. Also we could say that all suffering has purpose, since the Christian would say that it gets us closer to God or makes us have a transformation. As a Nietzsche fan I would just say suffering makes me stronger and sometimes even more rational.
The reason why suffering for some deity is bad, is because it mainly limits me and tells me that im below God and thats the farthest I can go. Mainly it comes down to Nietzsche's "Death of God" theory. Mainly when you use suffering as an excuse to grow closer to God, you limit yourself, which I would argue is bad.

"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."
When it comes to great minds of the Church I tend to think John Calvin and Martin Luther, of course I am sure there are heaps of others, but lets talk about those 2. Calvin doesn't affirm life, since he says we just live out of Gods grace and you cant even affect the outcome of you going to Heaven or Hell. What he was like as a person idk. Im 16 and in High school so my information on him came from a paragraph in a history book. Martin Luther was anti-semetic and at one point even allowed bigamy at one point. Can't really say he sounds all that delightful, though I will admit Nietzsche might have been a sexist, so most "great" people have their flaws.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Sigh. (about the last section)

It does not matter if we are making new forms of Nihilism or not. All that matters is how we deal with Nihilism. We deal with them in 2 main ways Active or Passive Nihilism

You think so? I think you need to study philosophy more.

Not quite univocal, since I believe univocal means that everything has only one value.

In this case univocal means speaking of a single term in the same way, not necessarily the same value.

I would say that Christians would say that God is the ultimate value and that all else is unimportant when confronted by God.

Well, all--in a sense--is important if and only if properly prioritized.

Also earlier you seemed to think that Nietzsche's philosophy ending in Nothingness is bad.

Not really. Rather, as an idea it's inferior and for a person it's bad.

But wouldn't the transformation only be good if it made you closer to God or more Godly?

It's purpose it not being closer to God just personally but bringing everyone closer to God, if you need a brief answer.

I would also say that the idea of Christofied suffering is still limiting, since it just makes you rely on faith instead of yourself.

Ha ha ha, then you don't understand faith well--or you didn't read my most recent piece closely enough. It's actually not limiting at all.

As a Nietzsche fan I would just say suffering makes me stronger and sometimes even more rational.

At 16, give it some time, my friend.

Mainly when you use suffering as an excuse to grow closer to God, you limit yourself, which I would argue is bad.

As I've said, that's your formulation and you critique a phantom because that's not really what Christians say. Nor have I affirmed that in any of my words above.

When it comes to great minds of the Church I tend to think John Calvin and Martin Luther, of course I am sure there are heaps of others, but lets talk about those 2.

Sigh. Double sigh.

1) Let's not.
2) Seeing as they are not Catholics, no they are not great thinkers of the Church.
3) They were very intelligent and historically minds with great merit, but at the end they are not great thinkers of Christianity like the other men and women I posited.

Calvin doesn't affirm life, since he says we just live out of Gods grace and you cant even affect the outcome of you going to Heaven or Hell.

Which is not Catholic so it doesn't concern me.

Can't really say he sounds all that delightful, though I will admit Nietzsche might have been a sexist, so most "great" people have their flaws.

Well my friend, I can say that if you just read modernity, and even if you read the classics through the lens of modernity (which will probably be the case) it will only be to your intellectual detriment.

I should know, since I tried Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, and Kierkegaard and thought I knew everything and could critique anything about former systems and ways of thought. As it turns out I was just an idiot who indoctrinated myself with pride and the pride of thinking that this was real philosophy--in reality, my studies have ever so slowly revealed that what I hated was more sound and complete than what I had once enjoyed a great deal, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard among the top two.

Not that they or modernity is bad, but in the end I feel that the history and philosophy I have studied for some time points to their false assumptions, which are more more assumptive than any proper Christianity (primarily housed in Catholicism).

It's easy to have opinions when you're young and have only read a little bit. It's tougher to throw out opinions about these matters when you've spread the whole history of thought in front of you. Even if my knowledge isn't perfect in that regard (and whose is?) having done it I can say it with some confidence nevertheless.
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(1 Reply)
:iconatheistlogician:
AtheistLogician Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
I think there are instances of suffering where it's reasonable to make the noseeum inference and conclude they have no greater purpose.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
noseeum
?

Well, of couse. Whether it's a stubbed toe or a hurricane it's hard to see their purpose--and yet both are natural and, who knows, perhaps necessary.

Often time purpose isn't seen until you've arrived somewhere as opposed to travelling there.

A bitter failure in the moment feels terrible, but a future victory may have depended upon such suffering. Here I speak boradly.

But, human beings are, in a sense, made to suffer--it's in the fabric of our being----but this needs to be expanded more as well.
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:iconatheistlogician:
AtheistLogician Featured By Owner May 6, 2012
Yes, William Rowe has greatly illuminated a certain kind of inference that he dubbed the 'noseeum inference'. Essentially, it goes:

1. I do not see (observe, experience or whatever is relevant) X. 2. Therefore, there is no X.

In other words, we no see 'um, so, they're not there. We make this inference, for instance, when before crossing a street we form the belief that we see no cars and infer from this that there are none, and proceed to cross. As the skeptical theists have pointed out though, it's only a good inference if we should expect to see (observe, experience or whatever is relevant) X given that it's there. e.g., it's not reasonable for me to look at the night sky and reason: 'I don't see galaxy X, so, it's not there.' I shouldn't expect to see galaxy X like that, given that it's there.

I completely agree with your last remark. P(Suffering|k) seems >> 0.5.
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:iconjohnfaa:
JohnFaa Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student Writer
In short: embrace Stockholm's Syndrome.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
In short: no.
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:iconjohnfaa:
JohnFaa Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student Writer
Yes it is. To impose meaning on suffering is the removal of the self in all it's ways. There's no meaning other than utter submission.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
How, again?

First you say Stockholm, when I still talk about living with personal suffering (of a specific kind).


Are you saying suffering is utter submission or?
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:iconjohnfaa:
JohnFaa Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student Writer
Utter submission to unjustice, that is.

Tolerating suffering only harms people. We should fight to prevent it, not to just accept it.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Try and escape suffering if you like. The last line talks about that.

We should always fight injustice.
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:icontheseventhofseven:
TheSeventhOfSeven Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
I already had a vague idea that trials help us lean on Jesus, but this has increased the depth of my understanding of suffering, so thanks :)
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
much appreciated. I'll be writing more on the subject soon, so I hope you can take a look!
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:iconpeekeeboo:
Peekeeboo Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Who wants to suffer? It's not something to ever look forward to in life but sooner or later each one of us will have to suffer some way. I've lived for close to 63 years and so I've had more than enough suffering to deal with. Watching my best friend die of cancer and not being able to alleviate her suffering. I suffered along with her and still suffer the loss of my dearest friend in the whole world. I've been in major depression many times and when one reaches despair where can one hold on to life? God disappears or seemingly so. Watching my community dwindle to a few older members and knowing that we may have to close our doors in a few years. If that happens it will be like tearing the flesh right off my bones.
Was God there is my friend's death, was God there in my most despairing moment, will God be there if the door closes for the last time? I'm not only sure I'm certain God was there and will be with me through all this and even more. When one falls deeply in love with God nothing can seem too hard to bear. We make up in our own bodies what is lacking in the suffering of Christ. We become other Christ's in our sufferings if we so choose to give our all to God.
There has to be something to look forward to at the end of life. There has to be a God who will bring us home to be with Him forever. I couldn't imagine not seeing my friend, my parents and relatives once again. Death is never the end but a new beginning.
We don't suffer because we have sinned. My God wouldn't think of doing that to me or anyone else. Suffering is part of life and if I can learn to give this to God as a prayer without words then maybe I can do more good than if I went to a foreign country and helped the poor. Suffering can bring healing to one's own heart and a turning to the God who has suffered and died to bring us life. I believe in Life here and hereafter. I know this is one gift that I treasure beyond anything in this world.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
this seems like a good reflection on the subject matter
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:iconpeekeeboo:
Peekeeboo Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope your professor will be able to give you some examples of his own life's experience. Some people talk about what suffering is but it's in the experience that one knows what it is about. Suffering isn't head related but heart and gut related. If he has walked the talk then he will be able to give you a glimpse of it. Suffering continues to be the most baffling mystery of the world. God knows suffering through the incarnation of Jesus. When one contemplates Jesus on the Cross - one can be transfixed by the horror and the love that is poured out on all of us.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I agree.

I think he'll have some good insights:

Jesuit priest, chaplain in the military in the jungles of Vietnam for 4 years, hospital ministry for 40 years, retreat and spiritual director for alcoholics for a number of years, among other things.

Suffering is heart related and gut related, but when studying it and understanding it, a good spiritual director, say, must be able to interpret symptoms, signs, and the like.

But we can, as Father says, "Christify our suffering and join it to the suffering of Christ, and make it redemptive."
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:iconpeekeeboo:
Peekeeboo Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, redemptive suffering is the only way that makes sense of suffering. Sounds like your professor will have more than enough to enlighten those whom he teaches. Have a blessed and peaceful day!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
My thanks and the same for yourself.
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:iconlordofallhumans:
LordofallHumans Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I sorta like suffering, it's grounding, tears shed and blood bled, Not like I'll jump off a tree into a pit of nails and centipedes. But it keeps me alive in a weird way. It's teaches where as love is blind. The greatest lesson learnt from suffering is compassion, Understanding and patience. I found this every enlightening and thank you!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hm, I suppose.

I don't think "love is blind." That line is better left to The Room than serious life discussions. Love is a process and progress towards. It is always communal is it's true love. But suffering is always a sister to love in a number of ways. Suffering and love are both forms of growth, and there are many growing pains.

Thank you for commenting and the fav!
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:iconlordofallhumans:
LordofallHumans Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I see love being blind, a reason for war and deep reflection. Compassion is Intelligent and not all deserve it or need it. I'd love to take Jesus' place on that cross and let man die for man.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
So you're saying Jesus wasn't man.

I don't know about that compassion bit either. God forgives in the measure we forgive. No one deserves compassion, and yet God has compassion anyhow. That's why it's a gift.
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:iconlordofallhumans:
LordofallHumans Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know Jesus, but he's a pretty cool guy. God's son???? Not sure, A man, Not sure, existed I'd say yes. Faith in God for me is strange, I feel pulled in all direction, Many have said many wise words, I choose to follow none but listen to their words. As long as I have love for myself and everybody else, act compassionately and listen--->(which is my lifes lesson and don't do enough) I am happy.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, wisdom, even our own, is 1 part walking in the path left for us by wise men and 1 part is finding the path itself.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is Himself Wisdom, for he is the Word.

I think there's much to be gained by following Him.
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:icontomoko-karahime:
Tomoko-Karahime Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
this s a pretty good view on suffering. I like it :)
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
thank you.
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:icontomoko-karahime:
Tomoko-Karahime Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
ur welcome :)
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:iconcalleighblack:
CalleighBlack Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ooh. You never fail to amaze me. I have not given the subject of suffering a whole lot of thought, but I've always believed that there is a good reason.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. At the moment I'm taking a class specifically geared around reflections about human suffering (from a Catholic perspective and theology) which, I think, will be pretty illuminating. It will be good to see what insights come my way.
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:iconcalleighblack:
CalleighBlack Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I hope you enjoy the class and learn a lot.
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:iconmkmarie:
mkmarie Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Student
Very well done. I agree completely and most utterly, and understand your points. I also enjoy reading the comments and your responses. Such logic is so invigorating for me.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you.

I still have to develop this more, but that's why I'm taking a class specifically about suffering! It'll be nice to see if I've changed my tune in that process.
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:iconmkmarie:
mkmarie Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Student
I look forward to see the final/fully developed results.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
awesome. Hopefully they get better with some age.
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:iconelendurwen:
Elendurwen Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Really like the idea behind, we need both suffering and pleasure, because none of them alone make sense. Thank you, I keep to forget this in prolonged periods of depression.
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TESM Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yea, I suppose that's true.

I don't quite want to make a yin-yang out of it all, but I don't know exactly what you're going through either, so perhaps that way makes a lot more sense.

I think rather than pleasure (because pleasure can be empty also), happiness can be had with either pleasure or suffering. That old proverb "the softest pillow is a clear conscience" is a better fit. I think someone can still be "happy" to a certain degree when they suffer if that suffering is happening.

Don't get me wrong, suffering sucks, but if we're oppressed it's better to be upright and oppressed than suffer the consequences of our being jerks or idiots.

Well, that probably doesn't explain it well either. It's still all very much a mystery, as I see it.

Let me know what you think. Maybe some of your words will help me think more clearly on the matter.

Thanks, and I hope all is well, too.
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Elendurwen Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, it's not that bad actually :) You words helped me find happiness in suffering again. I totally agree that both pleasure and pain can bring happiness in a sense that you still feel very alive. As you say if you are empty, no matter whether you are suffering or experiencing pleasure, you become unhappy.

I don't know why it is so but it's good I would say and also not a given for all people. Maybe it has to do with intelligence? You definitely see many people living empty lives and still being (or at least seeming) happy. But just like you, I would rather be suffering and happy than empty.
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TESM Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ha, well I can say that there were many times where I have suffered phsyically or not and was not happy at all.

I offer you this little tangential story:

Even at my lowest lows, where I felt like giving everything up, I, for my own part, thought of everyone who loved me including God. I could just recall even saying "There is nothing good or satisfying in doing good. I'd rather just live for myself and forget everyone."

At that moment it was like I was hit with a wave or a moving wall. I could never commit to that statement, I could never give into despair, not through reason by by the persuasive and powerful force of love that had been given to me by family, friends, and even more so by God.

Make of that what you will, but few people have really had the pleasure of feeling God intensely in their lives, not in the way fanatics and maniacs babble. I think you can find me calm and articulate--not bragging, but by comparison to those who say "I've met God."

I've not only felt Him very intensely, but had through prayer the moving experience of hearing His words for me.

It wasn't something like "convert everyone" or "kill the infidel" but I'll never forget the very few times God spoke to me in a manner that left me awestruck and actually pretty afraid.

the first:

In my dream/vision I saw myself standing amid a crowded street with businessmen and women, men, women, children, etc. all walking with their faces down covered as if in a shadow.

"Do you see my children here? Do you hear the cries of my children? Who will comfort them?"

The second was just Jesus, surrounded by light, saying to me

"Matthew, you know that I love you."


Those are the only two times that I can say I felt as if God spoke directly to me in words in that manner. And most people don't get the opportunity. Sure, my prayer has granted me insight, and experience have come where I felt as if God spoke to me. But in regards to direct, powerful, unsettling experience in perfect privacy, only twice.




Well, maybe that means nothing to you.

I don't think it has to do with intelligence. I think it comes from knowing that someone loves you and loves you in the right way. There's no fear of a delusional love, but a deep and lasting love that can last any fire or any depression.

I'm not sure if that's elucidating, but it seemed right to write at the moment.
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Elendurwen Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well as you might have guessed I probably understand your 'visions' and your 'love' differently than you do. I'm not judging you because you believe you saw God, that is your decision to make to interpret what you saw / experienced as a touch of God. It is however interesting to me that something like this could occur in the human brain through normal prayer - was there anything special you did? Did you pray for an exceptionally long time? Were you having some intense positive / negative feelings during that time in your life?

Also, to comment on the 'deep love' - I currently don't understand the kind of love Christians (and other religions) talk about. That's why I don't think it is always necessary for happiness to come from this love - I certainly don't like people generally. On the other hand - I think you need the feeling of being content (or happy, depends on the interpretation) in order to love :)
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