Last month, I wrote about the problem Western civilization seems to have with pain as evidenced by the plethora of outlets we’ve created to avoid it. Central to part one is understanding the paradox of pain: that while pain certainly is no one’s friend, the laws at work on our planet are such that pain is everyone’s friend: Life depends on pain and without it, we wouldn’t be here.
It would be hard to maintain our humanity if we didn’t ask spiritual questions about pain. The Bible is loaded with “heroes” who did this very thing, including Christ himself, who from the cross issued the famous phrase found in Psalms 22: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Questioning in this way is not only natural, but also appears in both the Jewish and Christian texts as an affirmation of our human need to wrestle with the “why” of pain.
I have only one real issue with the questioning of God and pain in our modern world. It comes when a person has rejected the faith life because of the problem of pain and yet, simultaneously, accepts the story of evolution as a beautiful thing, despite the clearly painful history it details. I don’t believe these two world views are mutually exclusive and personally hold to both as examples of beauty rising out of pain. [Read more…]