The Problem of Suffering
Dr Alan Billings comments on the sheer precariousness of human life. He argues that to put your trust in God is to abandon all hope that life will go well simply because you are a person of faith. Drawing upon the experiences of those in Italy Dr Billings links the problem of suffering with the experience of Christ on the cross.
Billings argues that religious people are taught to put their trust in God. Some are mistaken and believe that this action protects them in someway from misfortune. It is clear thought that their faith will fail at their first misfortune or that you will try to convince yourself that all suffering will eventually turn out to be good. Billing however argues that all too often suffering has no purpose.
It is here that Dr Billings draws upon Christ’s experience upon the cross, choosing to focus upon Jesus’ sense of complete abandonment, with everything in ruins. Christ does not even die with the comfort of the Father, but rather a sense of rejection. He lacks the confidence or consolation of the martyrs who go to their deaths knowing that God is with them. According to Billings to put your trust in God is not an invitation to subscribe to illusions about life going well, but instead a realization that God will have been to the depths of despair with you.
If one thing can be learned from suffering then it is that the consolation that Christianity can offer in times of suffering is that of comfort rather than protection from the harsh reality of life.
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