Atheists, Catholics, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and many other religions seem to not have a lot in common most of the time. Many people like to throw many religions in the same basket with the comment “All Christians are basically the same cause they all go to church”, and while that statement holds some truth in it and it is also true that Jesus would want us to come together and identify as the same, many would argue that each and every religion and spirituality is quite different.
However, one question that I find being asked of people from all different walks of life, religions and spiritualities is the question “If God is so good, then why does ____ exist”. Adversaries of God will use this question to disprove the existence of such a being. People struggling with God will constantly ask themselves this question. People who have had family members die will ask themselves this question. It is in fact, a very good question. The blank can be filled with so many options, so… from a Catholic perspective and with help from resources such as YOUCAT, I will attempt to answer these as best as I can.
If God is so good, then why does suffering exist?
This question here is one of the most asked questions of the Catholic church. Lex Luthor from Superman brings up a good point. If you say God is all powerful and all good, how can suffering exist? Surely, you must accept that either, God is all good, but not all-powerful, therefore suffering can exist OR that God is all-powerful, however, not all good and refuses to take away the suffering. There is another alternative, however, and that is that God does not exist at all. “Checkmate God believers!” atheists would say at this point. To answer this I would pose the dark room theory. If a room is pitch black you cannot see it or what is in it. However, if you turn a light on, you reveal the room, begging the question, does darkness really exist, or is it simply the lack of light that exists. No amount of darkness can take away the light, but a small amount of light can conquer the darkness. This is quite similar to suffering. The lack of good in this world causes suffering, so suffering in itself is just a lack of a good thing. God made a good thing, and when there is a lack of this good thing, suffering rears its ugly head. So suffering only exists in the sense that a lack of good can exist. The idea that God sends suffering down upon us, is one that is so wrong. God conquered death, the ultimate suffering and saved us from it. However, due to free will and the lack of good that can exist, suffering can exist.
If God is so good, then why did Queensland lose the state of origin?
Probably the second most asked question that I have come across. This is quite similar to the suffering question as many had to suffer during this event, however, while suffering can exist through the lack of good, while God did not create it, God urges us to learn through our suffering. Through the state of origin, we can learn humility, sportsmanship and give everyone a fair go. The Maroons will learn from their mistakes and come out swinging next year.
If God is so good, then why does death exist?
For those who have lost a family member, this is a question that is asked frequently. While no one likes it I tend to answer this by using the example of a birthday party. Birthday parties are so fun, wouldn’t it be great if they lasted forever? On the surface yes, but underneath, perhaps not. Every moment at the party is a special one, the blowing of the candles, the eating of the cake, the fun with friends, those funny things that happen that no one plans. Each and every moment is special and the reason why is bittersweet. It is special because it won’t happen again. The fact that the party only lasts a short amount of time, gives it an urgency and a sense that it is special. If the party went on forever, moments wouldn’t be special or meaningful, because they would just happen again eventually. At the end of the party, we go home and this is like life, at the end of it we go home, to heaven. Am I saying that God wants us to die? No, most certainly not, God mourns the death of every single person on this earth, he gave us the gift of life and is sad to see it pass. But just like a birthday party, life must pass, it makes life special and at the end of it we go home, into the loving embrace of the lord. So eat that cake, see that friend you said you would catch up with, God didn’t give you the gift of life to be sad about the prospect of it being taken away from you.
PART 2 Coming soon!