Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Pain Hurts

All arguments in justification of suffering provoke bitter resentment against the author. You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it. You need not guess, for I will tell you; I am a great coward. But what is that to the purpose? When I think of pain--of anxiety that gnaws like fire and loneliness that spreads out like a desert, and the heartbreaking routine of monotonous misery, or again of dull aches that blacken our whole landscape or sudden nauseating pains that knock a man's heart out at one blow, of pains that seem already intolerable and then are suddenly increased, of infuriating scorpion-stinging pains that startle into maniacal movement a man who seemed half dead with his previous tortures--it 'quite o'ercrows my spirit'. If I knew any way of escape I would crawl through sewers to find it. But what is the good of telling you about my feelings? You know them already: they are the same as yours. I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. That is what the word means. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine of being made 'perfect through suffering'* is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design.
~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Chapter 6: Human Pain (1940)

*Hebrews 2:10

Totally Unrelated Link of the Day: If you study this map and table, you will understand why people in Indiana have no idea what time it is.

Continuing the Indiana Bashing: (hey, I live there, I can bash it!) Alternate Suggestions for the Indiana State Motto

5 Comment(s):

At Wed Nov 17, 08:56:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I just wanted to add a comment this morning about the program that aired on PBS awhile back, called "The Question of God". It was a detailed look at the lives of both C.S Lewis and Sigmund Freud and included panel discussions about Christianity and atheism. I found it very interesting and poignant when one of the panel members, a physician from Harvard, (and a staunch supporter of C.S. Lewis and his writings) admitted that of all the teachings about God, he still could not come to grips with the "problem" of pain and suffering. He still could not reconcile his views of a loving God with the suffering that his patients went through. The story in the Book of Job came up and he still said, "I can't understand this book (Job) and there is no answer to this question".

If you are interested in learning more about the program, here is the website link: The Question of God.

I think if you follow the link to "Nine Conversations", you will find the transcript of this panel discussion.

At Wed Nov 17, 11:26:00 AM EST, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

Arevanye, I too saw that program and found it very interesting. There is a lot we don't understand, isn't there? As Christians, our suffering should make us more sensitive to the people around us that are hurting, and, hopefully, we will reach out to them with compassion.

I do find it intriguing when someone uses the argument that evil exists and therefore there is no God. Because, if evil exists, then they have to obviously know there is good to know that there is a difference. If good exists then that means there is a moral law by which we can measure good and evil. And if we have a moral law then there is a source, a moral law giver. There is God.

I enjoyed your post today.

At Wed Nov 17, 12:11:00 PM EST, Blogger CarolynVB said...

"The heartbreaking routine of monotonous misery"...whoa! No more blogging on laundry day! ;-)

Laundry is like pain, isn't it...there's no escaping it! Perfection through fitted sheet folding!!

The Indiana links are great! The same could be said about certain parts of upstate NY...

Does anyone have the time??

At Wed Nov 17, 01:07:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Hi Pilot Mom. The one complaint that I had about "The Question of God" was that it seemed they could have found better spokespersons than the two women that were on the panel. To me, they seemed to ramble and had difficulty stating their points well. I did think that the atheist was very articulate, and rational, and it was interesting to hear his take on things. I always like to hear from all sides of the issues, so it was great to hear the give-and-take on these thorny topics.

Did you notice that the program was sponsored in part by the Aslan Foundation? I wondered if they had any input into the editing of the discussion panel segments.

And Carolyn, regarding your "Question of Time" in Indiana. Today I am in the same time zone as you. In a few months, that may change as once again the Indiana Legislature has taken up the topic of whether or not to observe Daylight Savings time, and whether the entire state should observe Eastern or Central Time. I'm hoping they opt for Eastern Time, but I don't have any illusions that this will be settled once and for all. Each year, in the six years I've lived here, the legislature takes up the issue both in the spring when everyone else "springs forward", and in the fall when everyone else "falls back". They've yet to agree on anything.

Now, I'm going back to the monotonous mysery of folding laundry. ;-)

At Wed Nov 17, 01:53:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Wow, pain hurts. No kidding. ;)

I guess the only thing that I can say, really, is that it must take an incredible amount of insight to be able to list all the different types of pain--and there are many, not just the physical kind.

I too watched The Question of God, and, I must admit it, I didn't really like it (I only saw the first part), but then I couldn't really pay attention. I think the way that they presented the talks was very distracting. On the other hand, the vintage costumes were really cool! Lewis, you are stylin'... **Ducks**

And, Arevanye, of *course* the atheist would be rational... ;) Rational to a point and, open-minded as I like to think muself to be, I wanted to throw the remote at the TV screen a few times...


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