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Toward Understanding Suffering

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Nick Moser, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. Nick Moser

    Nick Moser Member

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    Unavoidable pain seems the most undeserved. The pain of birth, sickness, and death, or pain caused by others, or by some disaster. Some people, including children, go through extreme pain and suffering. We feel for such people, and the complications of their pain can leave us confused when the causes are not clear to us. In a society that defines happiness as a lack of suffering, this is a tragedy.
    M. S. | 31 OCTOBER 2008




    Suffering and pain are an unavoidable part of sentient life. Suffering is viewed and understood in many different ways by people. Anything that has to do with human experience, like pain, is very complicated. Suffering is a frequent topic in scriptures, the Holy Fathers, sermons, and theological journals. Orthodox Christians, like the rest of humanity, are very concerned about suffering. Orthodox Christian views on suffering are guided by the experience of suffering in the life of the church and its narratives. We can’t fully understanding suffering—this common human experience—without first understanding who we are ourselves.







    Suffering can be physical pain, psychological (emotional) pain, and spiritual pain. Pain is the result of some sort of harm. Pain is unpleasant. Fear, or mental anguish over pain, can cause just as much, or even more, suffering then the pain itself. Pain makes people unhappy, while pleasure does the opposite.
     
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yup.
     
  3. LiquidCat

    LiquidCat New Member

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    What about people who take pleasure in pain and self suffering. Is it caused by demons? We see in scrupture that there was man who was cutting himself with rocks untill Jesus removed demons who were inside of him.

    I wonder if the man cut himself because he felt hopeless and wanted to die and be done with it or he cut himself because demons told him to do so and controlled him
     
  4. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    This is actually false and the paradise proves this.
    If you add the word „sinful” somewhere in there we are all set.

    In fact pain is the way of learning in this fallen state.
     
  5. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    Depends:

    In the way in which you meant it, it is a distortion. Hence a sin. Hence demons.

    However there is a heavenly pleasure in self suffering but in the sense of sacrificing oneself for the others and also there is a comforting pleasure in self-suffering as a proof of repentance but this is an entirely different thing.
     
  6. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    Can you look in the face of an innocent and tell them their suffering is just and holy? And for the reason of our egotistic knowledge? It's not worth it. Not even freedom is worth it. There is no celestial balance at my disposal to make it reasonable or rational. God created this world out of nothing, in forethought realized it would bring such afflictions and yet his hand did not shake. Why?
    Christ never directly addressed the theodicy, the problem of innocent suffering. I am very moved by it. I don't care for my suffering, neither for most adults. But why should babies, who have not developed an Adam's apple go through so much pain to the fatality of death? For what purpose? Is there a purpose? These truly are the greatest questions since the fall, and the book of Job proves it's not a modern phenomenon or my particular sensibilities speaking. It is the biggest reason why most people turn away from God, I believe. I think man is ready to denounce God himself before he is truly satisfied with a reason for it. If there were no God, no problem or reasons; only pain. It is not solved, but at least it is quieted in the impious delusion - that we all know in different stages of life.
    You see, it was never innocent suffering that turns people from God, it's the faithful who try to justify it with reason. The only proper answer to suffering is not justification, no knowledge or pious words can help others or our doubts, only active compassion.
     
  7. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    Isn't self-flagellation part of the Orthodox history?
     
  8. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yes, but it's unique and under a very different understanding than the West (and usually not flagellation).
     
  9. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    How it is different? Isn't it given to weak the flesh to resist the passions?
     
  10. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    in our tradition, when it's been done, it's been done to subdue the flesh, not beat up the flesh to imitate Christ's suffering or because the flesh is bad.
     
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  11. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    Is it bad to imitate Christ's suffering?
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, but we don't do it by physically tearing our bodies apart. suffering comes on its own. when it comes, we bear it with faith and love as Christ did.
     
  13. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    It isn't good to say to an innocent this thing because, being in a fallen state, he could not comprehend this.

    Can you look in the face of an innocent and say that the perfection for him and all of us is to die on the Cross, perfectly naked and beaten the most shameful and painful death from history?

    Hmmm... Read St. John Chrysostom on the massacre of innocents.

    Yes. Sure: deification. The aim of God is NOT to have a „happy life” here. We are eternal - do not forget this, and that's why we know when and why we die.

    Btw, the babies have already the Adam apple which is the wrong way to know. The true knowledge is something else.
     
  14. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    Neither Christ did.
     
  15. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    what do you mean here?
     
  16. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    By suffering I do not mean mere discomfort, though I agree on what you meant. On the lack of love, even that of painful sacrificial love, I say only that it is mystery, not that it is for deification or that my ticket to eternity is bought with tears of innocents. Why must you go on further than mystery? What soothes you, makes my skin crawl. Is the opposite true?
     
  17. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    Christ didn't tear his body limbs apart in order to „suffer”. As you know this is condemned by the Church. The creation is good, our fallen (gnomic) will is bad.
     
  18. JohnTh

    JohnTh Newbie

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    You started to ask „why”-s and I just answered your questions. That's all. :)
    Also, I should note that we go further „than mystery” because Holy Fathers did and we walk on their tracks. It isn't „original research” here.
     
  19. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    gotcha, when you said "neither Christ did" that can be read as there being more than one Christ, which I know you didn't mean. thanks!
     
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