Suffering god

A recent rape attack on a child in a temple raised the question on the various concepts of God. The days that followed cursing the perpetrators and criticizing nationalism, were the days to attack on God. Among them a post by my friend in his social network caught my attention. The premises brought forward as possible conclusions were three;

  1. There is no God.
  2. God is helpless.
  3. God is enjoying all these.

Reflecting on these, I added one more; God too is suffering with us.

A rape case is not an isolated case of suffering in this world. People participate in their own protest against the social evils in their own ways. Suffering is a phenomenon that has been witnessed in every phase of history irrespective of time and place. The case of syria highlights the aspect of suffering in our age. It must have been days or even years that they have slept a peaceful night. The events at concentration camps of Hitler, the World Wars and bombarded Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren’t unknown facts for us.

The problem of evil, described as one of the ever unsolved problems in philosophy, questions the existence of God in the circumstances of sufferings.

If God is benevolent and omnipotent, then why does suffering exist in this world

Thousands of arguments have been put forward throughout centuries and yet this remains a mystery.

Process theology demonstrates a God who is a great companion of all human experience. He takes the role of a fellow sufferer who understands the pain and problems of mankind. The holocausts at Auschwitz, persecutions at Iraq and Syria, world war etc. reveal one fact:

Either a lovable God who cares and shows compassion as a father doesn’t exist or such a God is not exempt from suffering.

If He really loves his creation, he must suffer; maybe more than any individual could ever endure. God has indeed more to suffer… he not only suffers for the victim but also for the perpetrator or the one who inflicts pain. The one who perpetrates a crime has indeed abused the free gift of intellect and will. This is like you give someone a book to real, but instead the person uses for some other purpose like burning the firewood for cooking. The significance of intellect and will has to be understood well for a better result.
Evolutionary science has been a starting point for various independent movements that lead to a concept of God who suffers with every creature of this earth. If each and every creature has to undergo certain pain in the whole process of evolution, then God can’t help himself to remain in the gallery and watch the show.

There needs to be a Reconciliation of divine power of God with that of human sufferings. A God who has a great desire to be with the people and suffer with them has a great importance in all religion. Thus, we have the daśāvatār (10 incarnations of lord Vishnu) in Hinduism. A striking aspect of Christianity is that they have a God who not only becomes word incarnate but also dies for the sins of the people. Here, God becomes an aspect of mockery and failure in front of mankind. But, at the same time, in reality He becomes the sacrificial lamb for the remissions of their sins.
The problem of today’s religion is that it pinpoints a God in the golden tabernacle and forgets that he is accompanying the beggar at the streets. I doubt how many churches still have Christ in them. It appears that He has left those treasuries long time ago. St. Lawrence realized this… and when he was asked to submit the wealth of the church he brought before the emperor all the poor and disabled and told ‘this is the wealth of the church.’ Sacred is seen even in the begging bowls…sacred are even the wounds of an injured… sacred are even the difficulties of common man.

Our discussions on the rape victim led to an anxiety from my friend; “I feel there is no God in a temple.””Should we continue our religious practices?” Instead of a direct answer, I would like to counter question; “Does God, who is the creator and sustainer of all this universe, and who is the owner of everything material and immaterial, need a building made of bricks and measures few square feets?”

Churches, temples and mosques are made for humans. They point to God, of course. But they too aren’t the untimate truth. Step down to the human realities; walk with the needs of the poor, be empathetic towards the victim. Without slightest doubt I would say you will meet God; the tortured, victim God. If you really declare your love to God, then its time to serve him; not in golden altars or high temples, rather in the suffering realities.


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