The PROBLEM of EVIL and the MEANING of LIFE

A short review

How can there be a benevolent God when the wicked prosper and the just suffer?
What is the meaning of life?


Here are short summaries of how some have answered these questions.

ECCLESIASTES
I’m going to die!
You’re going to die!
We’re all going to die!
Whine, whine, whine.
So I better fear God.

BHAGAVAD GITA
This guy is ready to battle his cousins and teachers to gert a crown or to die.
He doesn’t want to kill them–he realizes it would be wrong.
The god Krishna says it’s O.K. to kill them because it’s part of his bigger plan, and don’t worry, they’ll all be reborn anyway.
So the guy says O.K. and kills them.

The RUBAIYAT
We’re all going to die!
So let’s get drunk.

JOB
Job: It isn’t fair, the wicked prosper and the just suffer.
God: Who are you to complain?
CRASH! Fear me.
Job: OMG! O.K.

DOCTOR FAUSTUS
Power! Riches! Lust!
Enjoy it for a long time.
Then you’ll go to hell.

SERMON on the MOUNT
Be kind.
Be generous.
Do no violence.
Love God.
And if you do, your suffering will be redeemed in heaven.
And if you don’t, you’ll go to hell.

An Analysis:
If you are wicked, then you will suffer.
You are suffering now. Therefore you are wicked.
Bad reasoning (affirming the consequent).
Need: Only the wicked suffer.
Only the good prosper.
[The mediocre just get by?]
This goes against our experience.
So 1. The wicked really do suffer–they just don’t realize it.
or 2. You’re looking at it too short term. The wicked will suffer in the afterlife, and the good will be happy in the afterlife.
So against our experience, either we should be satisfied because “suffering” doesn’t really mean what you thought, it includes unconscious suffering, and/or believe in an afterlife that redeems justice.

The BARK of DOG
Be kind.
Be generous.
Count not the giving and taking but give unconditionally.
Harm no human.
Harm no dog.
Put from thee all thought of power save the power of a loving heart.
All sentient beings have the chance to learn to love.
But there is no deep love without suffering.
There is no heaven above the earth: heaven is here, giving and sharing.
There is no hell beneath the earth: hell is here, knowing you could have helped but didn’t.

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