By Brian Robinson.
When talking to people who suffer from anxiety disorders, I take the view that it is a positive thing if they have some sort of spiritual belief. It helps them endure: it helps them keep going. However, talk often turns to pain and suffering, and that can stand in the way of belief. Indeed, it is often the argument against a belief in a God.
In perhaps a far too simplistic sense, the answer to pain and suffering is straightforward. If you stood before God and posed the question, the answer would have to be, “Because there is no other way.” It is difficult to see how a good God could answer differently.
That may be an answer, but it offers little in terms of explanation. We also need to know what God’s purpose is. And why that purpose should demand suffering? Perhaps that is the more important question?
Some suggest life is a battle between good and evil. Others say we are here to experience a form of moral training. There are many other explanations. The closest I have come myself, is to see life as a form of test, and we clearly are being put to the test in many respects. My approach is simply to ‘say what you see’. Purpose is life: and life is purpose.
I worked for the Samaritans for a number of years, and I learned the lesson there to never argue the case for life, even when people are hopeless and despairing. If you do, you will soon come across a person where you too believe their life has become hopeless. The only reason I came up with to continue with life’s test: was curiosity. Why wish life away, when curiosity is inviting you to see what is around the next corner. Curiosity doesn’t have to kill the cat: curiosity can keep the cat going.
I should add, that I do not belong to any particular religion myself so this is not an argument for religion. But I think it is both healthy and relaxing to have a belief in something. And to try and draw strength form that when the going gets tough.