Suffering as we know it is an emotional agony that runs deeper than physical pain. All through the world almost every living individual will endure suffering in any event at least once in their life. When there is joy, there is pain waiting to happen and as humans we try to avoid the pain. People are constantly looked with hardships throughout their life, and alongside those hardships come emotional distress and torment. Humans endeavor to comprehend the reasoning for suffering, the delivering agony and stress that they must persevere. As humans we will continue to question the meaning behind suffering. I’ve explored to get a better insight on the meaning of suffering through Soren Kierkegaard’s philosophies and the story of Job.
Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher in the 1800’s and his outlook regarding human suffering and why it exists can be compared to the religion of Christianity. Kierkegaard rather than avoiding or denying suffering, you must be willing to confront it and investigate it. Kierkegaard regards we suffer in these ways only because we have some awareness that we are spiritual beings who are related to God, and that in many ways we fail to be true to this religious relationship. Kierkegaard suggests that when we’re not faithful to our God-relationship, we are unfaithful to ourselves. He suggests that we tend to lose ourselves and this loss, together with the suffering it brings. He also suggests that our tendency to lose ourselves is bound up with a tendency to avoid suffering, to ignore our spiritual being and instead let ourselves be consumed by ‘the world’. In Kierkegaard’s view, this strategy of avoidance is doomed to fail, because we are spiritual beings, and our very evasiveness only confirms this fact. Kierkegaard’s emphasis on the virtue of courage. Courage means confronting what one fears, instead of fleeing from it. A courageous person is prepared to suffer when one knows that this is required of them. In Fear and Trembling, for example, he praises the courage of Abraham, who did not attempt to avoid the suffering involved in taking the decision to kill his son. Kierkegaard suggests that the ethical is incommensurable with the religious, killing your own child cannot be mediated with obeying God. Therefore, Abraham had to perform a leap of faith when he obeyed God but still maintained faith that Isaac would live. In the story of Job, Job had suffered horrible things and could not find the reason why, but he still managed to remain strong didn’t change his faith towards God for he knew that he it would all make sense in the end.
Since suffering is simply unavoidable, it is a matter of responding to it in the right way. In fact, Kierkegaard suggests that by courageously confronting suffering, a person can find great content in life. Kierkegaard points out that one way of maintaining religious belief in the face of suffering is to give up hope of happiness within this life, deferring such hope to an afterlife and he acknowledges that it is possible, but not easy to relate to God in this way.
Many people regard suffering as an obstacle to religious belief, they ask how we can believe that a loving, all-powerful God created a world like this one, so full of suffering. For instance, Job was a blameless and upright man, yet he suffered more than he could even fathom. Through of all Job’s torment he would question why God would allow for him to suffer so badly, he wanted to know the reason for his torture. Kierkegaard argues that the Christian’s highest and most difficult task is to endure suffering while continuing to believe that one is loved by God that God cares about the smallest details of their life and to regard this painful, difficult life as a gift from a loving God.
Maybe we suffer because God wants to test us on his faith and love towards him. It could be possible to love others and not suffer for them, but if we are not wiling to suffer for them do we really love them? It difficult to understand why God would allow us to suffer. We as humans will always question “why do I have to suffer?” Maybe we hope that, if we can understand why we suffer, we might be able to lessen the pain. The complex nature of human suffering is difficult to get a grasp on due to its infinite forms, which makes it hard to escape from.