Saturday, July 11, 2009

Internalize the Values of the Good

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One of the arguments that I make and of which I am most proud (I really believe God showed it to me) is my soteriolgocial drama. That is my version of the free will Defense. Why does God allow evil, pain,and suffering? It's because we have to have free will and means we run the risk of wrong choices and wrong choices lead to evil, pain and suffering. My argument is a bit different than the conventional one because turns on the idea that we have to have the sort of world in which we live, one where we must search for truth in our hearts, because that's the only way to internalize the values of the good. Here's a run down on the argument:



Basic assumptions


There are three basic assumptions that are hidden, or perhaps not so obivioius, but nevertheless must be dealt with here.

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.


The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.


(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.

That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.

(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.

The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.

The argument would look like this:


(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices

(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.


This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:


(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultimate goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.

(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us

(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.

(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.


In other words, we are part of a great drama and our actions and our dilemmas and our choices are all part of the way we respond to the situation as characters in a drama.

This theory also explains why God doesn't often regenerate limbs in healing the sick. That would be a dead giveaway. God creates criteria under which healing takes place, that criteria can't negate the overall plan of a search.



So the pivotal point is this bit about internalizing the good. That's one point that atheists steadfastly reject. Why do we need to internalize values? What does it mean to internalize values and so on? Of course it means that when we internalize values we really believe them. They are our own, we taken into our psyche's and we make them ours because in internalizing we really get to know them. We have to defend them and think them through we come to really know them. What are values of the Good? Love, forgiveness, reciprocity, compassion, to name a few.

I have now found a study that links internalizing values with meaning in life. International values is a means of transforming one's life and moving into a position of growth, progress, and personal enlightenment.


Loretta Do Rozario’s hermeneutic Phenomenological study of those with disabled people indicates the value of peak experience or self transcendence, the transformative power of religious experience. The study was conducted as serious of interviews with respondents chosen for disabilities and hardships that they faced (more about the mythology in chapter four, “studies”). The study proceeded based upon two major procedures, analysis of interviews done with respondents and autobiographies the respondents wrote. The findings indicate a set of over all strategies and paradigms that people use to enable them to move forward and survive and deal with their conditions. The major results show that the states of hardship and joy can coexist in the same life at the same time but these depend upon strategies. Mystical experience is not a panacea through which all problems vanish just because one has this experience. But the study does show that the transformative power of religious experience as a whole and mystical experience in particular, is a vital and integral part of making the strategies work. The sense of spiritual unity involves transcendence of the self, thus making suffering bearable. Spiritual awareness (which is clearly an aspect of experience) fosters hope through belief in some greater aspect such as the divine or a cosmic force; religious assurance as a value of traditional beliefs; religious experience along with rituals provides order and meaning; adds to the sense of an existential journey in which the sufferer is growing and progressing, and the idea of purgatory enables one to separate oneself from suffering.

The findings of this study put the experience of having an illness or disability into an overall context of a person’s universal search for meaning and self transcending. This can be likened to Victory Frankl’s belief, based upon his experience of living in a Nazi concentration camp, that ‘suffering ceases to be suffering in some way at the moment it finds a meaning…and that through suffering one is given a last chance to actualize the highest value to fulfill the deepest meaning…’ People in this study concurred with this personal and contextual interpretation of illness and disability, by reaffirming that the process of meaning making was similar to that of the mythology of the hero and heroine’s journey, which depicts a universal journey from a separation of self to a return to ‘true self…’ The inner awareness of wholeness despite all the odds points to an implicit experience of life which can transcend form and matter. This experience of wholeness or consciousness extends and challenges the view of disability and illness as only a meaning making and revaluing opportunity in the lives of people. Instead, the model of wholeness and reconstitution point to the possibility of an implicit order of consciousness or wholeness in which people who have undergone some crisis or critical incident in their lives may be able to access and experience a ‘deeper reality’ or ‘flow’ in life…similar to the insights of the great religions (author points to social psychologist Csikentmihalyi).




Thus the “shared” aspect of the experience is not in terms of physical navigation the world, not shared perception of objective objects, but the “inter-subjective” similarities of navigation in life. RE is an integral aspect of the spiritual and psychological wherewithal that we all need to “make it” to bear up under the material trammels and horrific disappointments and tragedies that life brings our way. Just as the same kinds of experiences, the same emotional and para-senstory features are experienced by people the world over so the same coping ability and meaning and journey to wholeness is also experienced through RE.

This is the important bit:and that through suffering one is given a last chance to actualize the highest value to fulfill the deepest meaning…’ What that says is that through suffering, though living in the kind of world in which we live, we internalize the values of the good (higher values) and through that process develop a sense of personal fulfillment, growth and transformation.

This study has triple impact for three of my arguments:

(1) For the soteriological drama

it proves the validity of internalizing the values of the good. It shows hat living in the kind of world we have internalizing the values is the upshot. This demonstrates the justification for this sort of world. We have to have it in other to make spiritual progress. Of course atheists will argue God can just create us that way but that's not the case. We have to go through this process or it's not Us learning! That's like a little kid wishing to be an adult instantly; if the wish was granted he wouldn't have any experience of growing up and learning for himself.

(2) Religious experience arguments.

Demonstration of the life transformational nature of religious experience. That far outstrips any rival experience atheists offer.

(3) Arguments about sin in heaven.

At times they argue, will God allow sin in heaven? The theory is that if we have free will we can sin in heaven, and of course we would want to. But this disproves that nonsense because heaven is only made of people who choose to be there. since they will have experienced this internalizing values of the good the wont want to give up their progress and return to the infantile state of sin.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uh uh. What about the price innocents pay for the drama? Children killed in war or the Holocaust? Are they victims so that the rest of us can make choices? No thanks.

J.L. Hinman said...

Uh uh. What about the price innocents pay for the drama? Children killed in war or the Holocaust? Are they victims so that the rest of us can make choices? No thanks.

Not that kind of Drama. Doesn't mean a theater for entertain ment. Don't you know the meanaing of the term?

Wars are done by people who choose their own way against God, like Stalin, and other atheists.

Kristen said...

From G.K. Chesterton's story, "The Man Who Was Thursday," I offer this retelling of what you have been saying, Joe:

Mr. Syme has endured much hardship as a spy with the code name "Thursday." He is surrounded by other spies with code names for other days of the week, all acting on the orders of the one with the code name "Sunday." At the end of the story Syme is accused of never having suffered, because he works for the government; he is one of the ones in power. His accuser's words, followed by Syme's rebuttal, follow:

"I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe! You sit in your chairs of stone, and have never come down from them. You are the seven angels of heaven, and you have had no troubles. Oh, I could forgive you everything, you that rule all mankind, if I could feel for once that you had suffered for one hour a real agony such as I--"

Syme sprang to his feet, shaking from head to foot.

"I see everything," he cried, "everything that there is. Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist. So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good a man as the dynamiter. So that the real lie of Satan may be flung back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may earn the right to say to this man, 'You lie!' No agonies can be too great to buy the right to say to this accuser, 'We also have suffered.'

"It is not true that we have never been broken. We have been broken upon the wheel. It is not true that we have never descended from these thrones. We have descended into hell. We were complaining of unforgettable miseries even at the very moment when this man entered insolently to accuse us of happiness. I repel the slander; we have not been happy. I can answer for every one of the great guards of Law whom he has accused. At least--"

He had turned his eyes so as to see suddenly the great face of Sunday, which wore a strange smile.

"Have you," he cried in a dreadful voice, "have you ever suffered?"

As he gazed, the great face grew to an awful size, grew larger than the colossal mask of Memnon, which had made him scream as a child. It grew larger and larger, filling the whole sky; then everything went black. Only in the blackness before it entirely destroyed his brain he seemed to hear a distant voice saying a commonplace text that he had heard somewhere, "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?"

A Hermit said...

"Wars are done by people who choose their own way against God, like Stalin, and other atheists."

Because only atheists (being "less than fully human") start wars, right Joe? ;-)

But those wars are, according to you, consistent with God's plan. You can't dodge God's responsibility for the carnage in your precious drama if He's the one who set the stage.

Kristen said...

By that reasoning, Hermit, it's my fault when my kids argue and fight with each other. I'm supposed to control them to the point where they never have a chance to do anything wrong. But they wouldn't appreciate that much.

I'm glad I don't have kids that would blame me both for letting them get in a fight and for not letting them get in a fight.

A Hermit said...

"By that reasoning, Hermit, it's my fault when my kids argue and fight with each other. I'm supposed to control them to the point where they never have a chance to do anything wrong. But they wouldn't appreciate that much."

But you are there to break up the fights, to prevent them from getting out of hand and actually hurting each other and (and this is the important part) you will do so when you can.

If we pursue your parental analogy God is like a parent who lets his children pull the pot of boiling water off the stove so they;ll "internalize (to use Joe's conception) the idea that stoves are hot.

"I'm glad I don't have kids that would blame me both for letting them get in a fight and for not letting them get in a fight."

When your kids fight do you let each one believe that you're on their side?

The parental analogy is a weak one, anyway; the God in Joe's drama isn't just a parent; He's allegedly the one who established life itself and all the conditions of life deliberately in order to produce the kinds of conflicts we see around us. Do you deliberately set up conditions in which your children will come into conflict with each other and then stand back to watch the battle unfold without intervening so they can "internalize" the lessons of that conflict? That's what the God of Joe's Soteriological Drama does...

I hope Ive been a better parent to my children than that.

J.L. Hinman said...

Kristen:By that reasoning, Hermit, it's my fault when my kids argue and fight with each other. I'm supposed to control them to the point where they never have a chance to do anything wrong. But they wouldn't appreciate that much."

HermitBut you are there to break up the fights, to prevent them from getting out of hand and actually hurting each other and (and this is the important part) you will do so when you can.

You are reasoning from analogy again. God is like a parent in some ways but he's not a literal parent. the situation is not analogous because God is not big father in the sky> It's absurdly absurd to expect to argue from analogy which is a fallacy and then act like you said something logical.

If we pursue your parental analogy God is like a parent who lets his children pull the pot of boiling water off the stove so they;ll "internalize (to use Joe's conception) the idea that stoves are hot.

wait a minute didn't you introduce the parent analogy?

awh Kristen, you got to be cautions with analogies.


"I'm glad I don't have kids that would blame me both for letting them get in a fight and for not letting them get in a fight."

When your kids fight do you let each one believe that you're on their side?

The parental analogy is a weak one, anyway; the God in Joe's drama isn't just a parent; He's allegedly the one who established life itself and all the conditions of life deliberately in order to produce the kinds of conflicts we see around us. Do you deliberately set up conditions in which your children will come into conflict with each other and then stand back to watch the battle unfold without intervening so they can "internalize" the lessons of that conflict? That's what the God of Joe's Soteriological Drama does...

I hope Ive been a better parent to my children than that.

but you haven't estabished that the balance sheet doesn't tally up on the side of allowing the drama. yes there' pain and suffering and evil but it would a thousand times more so where there no free will. We can't even understand the steaks but just with what little I do understand i would rather take all the pain I've had in life (I've had my share) and more than to save all that but have no free will.

Without free will life would be totally meaningless.

So the balance sheet does tally and we don't have the knowledge or the insight to say it doesn't.

now can we lay wars at the feet of God as though human responsibility does not exist. This is just another ploy by those fully human atheists (human all to human) to evade their responsiblity for moral failure.

you are just saying "why did you have to make so I have to use self control? why can't you just force me when I want to be forced?

A Hermit said...

'wait a minute didn't you introduce the parent analogy?"

No, Kristen did. I'm saying it's a poor analogy.

"Without free will life would be totally meaningless."

Free will is already limited in all kinds of ways. Making people just a little bit more empathetic so they wouldn't kill each, doesn't destroy free will any more than making some people genetically predisposed to homosexuality does.

"So the balance sheet does tally and we don't have the knowledge or the insight to say it doesn't."

We don;t have the knowledge or insight to say that it does, (or that such a "tally sheet even exists) either, so what good is it?

"now can we lay wars at the feet of God as though human responsibility does not exist. This is just another ploy by those fully human atheists (human all to human) to evade their responsiblity for moral failure."

On the contrary, I put all the responsibility on humanity; it's you who want God to be responsible for the circumstances in which your "drama" plays out. I'm just pointing out that if God indeed set the stage then He has to take at least some responsibility for the pain and suffering and evil inherent in the drama.

you are just saying "why did you have to make so I have to use self control? why can't you just force me when I want to be forced?

Kristen said...

I was not making an argument from analogy-- if you notice, I never said, "God is like a parent and we are like kids."

I was simply taking the reasoning that human war is the responsibility of someone other than the humans who started it, to its logical conclusion. If whoever has any authority is responsible for every action made by those under his/her authority, then I am responsible for my kids' getting in a fight. And I am also responsible for over-controlling them so they don't get in a fight. Either way, I'm to blame and they have no responsibility for their own actions.

Hermit then took my reasoning and turned it into an analogy which he then carried much further than I ever intended-- making adult humans the same as children and God the same as a human parent.

I was simply making a point about free will and responsibility. If you have free will, you have responsibility, and you shouldn't blame someone else if you misuse it.

Kristen said...

Actually, scratch that. Taking the argument to its logical conclusion, I'm not responsible for my kids getting in a fight; and I'm not responsible if I over-control them to where they can't fight either. God's responsible for MY actions too. God's responsible for every bad or good thing that anyone does at any time throughout the whole world. Only let's not give God credit for any of the good things we do-- it's much more fun to pat ourselves on the back for those, and blame God for the rest. (grin)

A Hermit said...

It was your analogy, Kristen, don't blame me for its shortcomings...

You still haven't answered my objection here; going back to Metacrock's analogy. If God set the stage and established the rules for his "drama" then He is accountable for how that drama plays out. Can you explain why he wouldn't be?

"God's responsible for every bad or good thing that anyone does at any time throughout the whole world. Only let's not give God credit for any of the good things we do-- it's much more fun to pat ourselves on the back for those, and blame God for the rest."

Of course I'm not saying that at all; I'm saying we and we alone are responsible for our behaviour, good or bad.

Of course not all disasters are of our making; some are caused by nature and are beyond our control. If you think God created nature how do you absolve Him of natural disasters?

Anonymous said...

Hermit is raising the issue of natural evil, which, unfortunately, both Meta & Kristen have been avoiding. Meta's example of war is highly problematic--Stalin & Hitler start the wars, and innocents suffer. Diseases and genetic problems cause deaths. Sure, this may teach us lessons about peace over war or applyiong our brains to medicine and engineering rather than building nukes, but this is an awfully high cost--and thus an inefficient God. Simply claiming "you don't know the meaning of the term 'drama'" or arguing about parental analogies has done nothing to address this bigger issue that sticks in many people's craws.

J.L. Hinman said...

Hermit is raising the issue of natural evil, which, unfortunately, both Meta & Kristen have been avoiding.

are not! 'm avoiding Hermit altogether because we had a blow up on CARM. I am sure he'll be back and I hope he is. I really think he's a good guy and he adds something to the place. The loyal opposition and all that.



Meta's example of war is highly problematic--Stalin & Hitler start the wars, and innocents suffer. Diseases and genetic problems cause deaths. Sure, this may teach us lessons about peace over war or applyiong our brains to medicine and engineering rather than building nukes, but this is an awfully high cost--and thus an inefficient God. Simply claiming "you don't know the meaning of the term 'drama'" or arguing about parental analogies has done nothing to address this bigger issue that sticks in many people's craws.


I am not saying that God allows this stuff because we need specifically to learn form war per se. I'm saying the idea of living in the kind of world where we have to search in our hearts for truth is the point of it all, that's what teaches us the values of the good.

Particular evils like war can always be avoided, and as we all know, what is war good for? absolutely nothing!

Kristen said...

A few thoughts about "natural evil."

Living in a physical world is necessarily going to have dangers. The fire that warms can also burn. The water that quenches can also drown. The winds and pressure systems that bring rain can also bring tornadoes.

Even if it were possible for God to build a physical universe that cradled us all as in a nursery, where we were always completely safe, would God do so? If there really is such a thing as eternal life, then death from God's point of view is a very different thing than death from our point of view. I think Metacrock's idea of suffering and uncertainty being necessary in this world to cause moral beings to develop, is a good one-- particularly in light of the idea that this world is not the only one we are going to experience.

The thing about "natural evil" is that, like Job's friends, we have a tendency to think that bad events in life have to be deserved to be just. But if the Book of Job tells us nothing else, it tells us that the question being raised is thousands of years old-- people have been wrestling with this since the beginnings of recorded history. And the conclusion that the ancients came to in the Book of Job was that it's just not that simple-- bad things aren't always deserved, but it's possible to have faith and trust in God anyway, knowing that our understanding is limited and God's is not.

For me, with the goodness of God that has been a very real presence in my life, that simple idea is enough.

A Hermit said...

"Even if it were possible for God to build a physical universe that cradled us all as in a nursery, where we were always completely safe, would God do so?"

Who's asking for complete safety? If you want to return to the parental analogy, I certainly let my children take risks, but I wouldn't fill the nursery with sharp knives and caustic chemicals for them to play with...Neither you nor Joe can explain to me why letting millions of helpless children die of AIDs serves to edify the human race, and I'm just not impressed with appeals to ineffable plans that we "just can't understand..."


But of course that's not the argument I'm making, anyway, I'm just just asking why you don't think a God who created these natural conditions shouldn't be considered to be responsible for their consequences? Even if we accept that He exists and has some purpose in mind it's still, according to Joe, His drama.

Anonymous said...

"I am not saying that God allows this stuff because we need specifically to learn form war per se. I'm saying the idea of living in the kind of world where we have to search in our hearts for truth is the point of it all, that's what teaches us the values of the good.

Particular evils like war can always be avoided, and as we all know, what is war good for? absolutely nothing!"

You contradict yourself, or at least your wording suggests as much. God doesn't allow suffering to teach us vs the point of living in such a world is to search for such answers. If God does not allow suffering, why is it there? Don't say free will. Do non-elites have free will in starting wars? Do people have free will in deciding whether their children will have genetic disorders that kill them? The a typhoon or tidal wave will wipe out a community?

You could argue that the best we can do is search for lessons and answers in this context--that's perfectly valid, but then you have not solved the issue of why such suffering exists in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"And the conclusion that the ancients came to in the Book of Job was that it's just not that simple-- bad things aren't always deserved, but it's possible to have faith and trust in God anyway, knowing that our understanding is limited and God's is not."

Or the Book of Job had an answer--God is not all-powerful. In which case, many people's "faith" has to be reexamined.

So if God is not all-powerful, where does God fit in this picture? And what happens to Joe's entire framework? What do we do with "natural evil"? I don't see an answer here.

Anonymous said...

"Neither you nor Joe can explain to me why letting millions of helpless children die of AIDs serves to edify the human race, and I'm just not impressed with appeals to ineffable plans that we "just can't understand...""

Precisely

Kristen said...

The book of Job doesn't say God isn't all powerful-- it says that God does not always exercise that power, but lets other intelligences have room to act.

As for how the deaths of children edify the human race-- they don't, in this life. But there's more than just this life. If those children are now happy in the arms of God, knowing that in the end all injustice will be rectified, who are you to tell them they shouldn't be happy and that they should be accusing God the way you do?

As for ineffability-- those people who refuse appeals to it, never stop to consider that this may be due to today's complete lack of reverence for God and the arrogance of the modern mind. It is always God who is on trial in this day and age, and never us. It is always God who has to answer to humanity, and never humanity needing to answer to God.

I really don't care if you're not impressed by God's ineffability. You've never had to face God the way Job did at the end of the story. Maybe if you ever did, you'd understand why Job felt that he had, indeed, been answered.

A Hermit said...

"It is always God who is on trial in this day and age, and never us. It is always God who has to answer to humanity, and never humanity needing to answer to God."

I think you badly misunderstand me, Kristen. I don't blame God; I don't believe in Him. I'm just pointing out an unavoidable consequence of Metacrock's argument; IF God existed and IF He created this Universe with it's potential for such suffering than you can't avoid assigning responsibility for it to Him. Yes we would still be responsible for our choices within that universe, but ultimate responsibility rests with the one who set the whole thing up that way. You and Joe might not want to face that, but I don't see how you can avoid it.

Of course, I don't believe in God, so I hold humanity responsible; we have to answer to each other and to ourselves; it's certainly not the case that I am trying to avoid human responsibility here; on the contrary I'm putting more of a burden on humanity because I'm saying ALL of the responsibility is ours and ours alone. We can't blame God, but neither can we be complacent about the suffering of our fellow human beings; we can't ignore the suffering of those children, or pretend that it's OK because they're "with Jesus" now...

This isn't arrogance, and it certainly isn't an attempt to avoid responsibility; it's the humble recognition that WE and WE ALONE have to take responsibility for our lives. If you get nothing else out of this discussion I hope at least that much sinks in...

Kristen said...

Again we misunderstand one another, Hermit. Of course I understand that you don't believe in God-- but your arguments that the existence of suffering means I shouldn't believe in God, don't work for me. They come across as blaming God that the universe wasn't made according to your liking. That God didn't do it the way you think He should have-- therefore He doesn't exist. But you can't show that the suffering outweighs the good, or that the suffering has no meaning, particularly in light of eternity-- so you're not going to convince theists using this argument.

However, I'm all for humans taking responsibility for their own actions; nor am I claiming it's ok to be complacent about children suffering because they're "with Jesus." If you get nothing else out of this discussion, I hope that at least sinks in (grin).

A Hermit said...

"...your arguments that the existence of suffering means I shouldn't believe in God, don't work for me."

I never said that; I'm explaining why Joe's Soteriological Drama is unconvincing to me.

"you can't show that the suffering outweighs the good, or that the suffering has no meaning, particularly in light of eternity-- so you're not going to convince theists using this argument."

And you, on the other hand, can't show a good that outweighs or justifies the suffering.

I have yet to see an explanation of how, for a child raped and murdered in some ethnic cleansing rampage, there is a good that could outweigh their suffering. It would be nice to imagine there is such a good, but that;s wishful thinking I'm afraid.

"However, I'm all for humans taking responsibility for their own actions; nor am I claiming it's ok to be complacent about children suffering because they're "with Jesus."

But you are claiming that their suffering is ultimately serving a greater good; in fact according to Joe's formulation that suffering necessary;

Now, I might think suffering in a natural universe is unavoidable, but I can't think of it as the kind of utilitarian necessity Joe is proposing here.

Kristen said...

You know, I like believing my own suffering is ultimately serving a greater good. I like the idea that it's not all just meaningless-- that in eternity I will keep my scars as Jesus did, because I will know that they have eternal value.

I really don't see what's so callous or utilitarian about the idea of real meaning and value in suffering. And if I were raped and murdered by a group of terrorists, or even by some thugs in an alleyway-- I believe the Spirit of God would be there, suffering and weeping and raging at the injustice right there with me-- and that in eternity, when all the wrongs are made right-- then, looking back, I would be able to say, "even this was not in vain."