How Can God Be Good in a World Full of Suffering?

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In part 4 of “Exodus,” Jordan engages with religious scholars, writers, and artists to review chapters seven through nine. The primary topics discussed include power, desire to change/grow, the heart (seat of the will and mind), a life of freedom, the good, suffering, the plagues, and resentment.


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But I think God's goodness is a leap of Faith not God's existence right but I Think it's the leap of faith because it Is what you do is you decide that things Are good and you're going to act in the Service of the good In many ways despite the evidence yes Right right so that's why it's an Act of Faith it's like well yeah you know you Could you can understand Arguments for Nihilism and despair especially if you Meet people who've been brutalized Beyond belief but then now and then you Meet someone who's been brutalized Beyond belief and instead of being Corrupt and nihilistic they've pulled Out of that of goodness that's so deep That it's it's miraculous and you meet People like that pretty damn often and So and they've decided and really They've decided despite all this and It's sometimes not so brutal you can't Even listen to it despite all this I do Believe that things are good and I will Serve the good and that's Faith but That's yes but they're they're not in Those cases they're rarely doing so Without their own evidence I mean They're they're they're precisely the People who are able to to to illuminate To you you know the the abiding Underlying goodness because they're Actually connected with it it's not yeah People usually while it's moving

Associated with the burning bush idea I Mean I'm thinking of an artist that I've Worked with for a long time and was Brutalized beyond belief when he was Young and he he found his salvation Through Beauty and so it was like the Burning bush he noticed that despite how Catastrophic his life had been and how Tyrannized he was in the most Fundamental sense Beauty beckoned to him And he and he and he heeded the call and It completely transformed his life and His his character his career everything Right so it's not as if it's simply Against the evidence I mean there is Right right but he was he was yeah That's so interesting too because he was Still despite all that it was still open To the possibility that that there might Be something beyond the catastrophe Right but isn't part of the answer we Were saying yesterday in the nature of God you don't come to discover him Abstractly he's I will be who I will be In my actions delivering you caring for You you come to know he's good there is Evidence as Stephen is saying isn't that The answer Dennis to what you're saying We didn't say he's good because it's Theology principle number 15 or whatever But because but because Finnish because We've seen the goodness of God in his Actions in history or in our own Individual lives

Or whatever well it it it would seem To be a hard argument to make to a Concentration camp Survivor that the That he has seen predominantly the Goodness of God however having said that There is an interesting book written Long ago About the Theology of concentration camp Survivors and it found that and I I Don't I don't claim that this is Absolutely correct but I'm just telling You what it reported and it seemed to me To make sense That the percentage of Jews who went Through the death camps and I Specifically mentioned death camps Who came out The proportions of atheists and Believers was the same many switched Atheists became Believers and Believers Became it but the proportion remained Virtually identical So there is and there were people who Have only good in their life relatively Speaking who don't believe in God so I'm Challenging my own question because I've Wrestled with this because I I think the The hardest law in the 613 laws of the Torah is to love God with all your heart And all your soul I I long believe That's the hardest I have no problem Trying to control yourself into Existence fully as if it's good yes and That's a rough one look at it that's

Pretty rough that's right that's right Was struck in the concentration camps by Goodness though constantly and it was Out of that seed of the observation of Goodness that the whole Gulag Archipelago emerged and therefore in Some nose in no small partner And he said well he said that he viewed He he really noticed particularly and he Was atheistic when he went into the Camps that the The Devout religious Believers were able to maintain their Moral Integrity in Camp and physical yes Yeah not always because he said no like Let's not push this sometimes people Just got shot yeah but he saw people and He tells very compelling stories of People who Thrived and became healthier in the face Of the privation under the ultimate Moral authority of their own Shining Soul and the stories in the gulag Especially in volume two are Unbelievably compelling and Frankel said Similar things and souljahnitzen was Particularly careful not to say that Doesn't mean I'm saying that everyone Who failed failed because of their moral Flaws or that purity of heart would Necessarily save you you know he's a Complex thinker but that's one of the Miracles I think he saw when I was Talking about him earlier because he it Was you know he he talked about how some

People were Hardy and and robust and he Was careful to say it's like you can Secret your way to Health in a gulag Right he wasn't being flippant about it But he was noticing that some people who Had and they wouldn't resources they Wouldn't cooperate right Yeah they were never become trustees and They tell the it was Cool Hand Luke yeah Yeah yeah yeah it's also the epistemic The epistemic humility though the Difference between the presumption that You know all there is and it's bad and You're saying I don't have it all I mean You think those last words that job says At the very end of of of of the Book of Job Therefore have I uttered that I Understood not things too wonderful me Which I knew not right that at the end Of it all saying I didn't actually Understand the whole picture well it's Also hope in that you know because one Of the things is that If you're suffering terribly There's two options in front of you in Some sense one is you're suffering Terribly and it's unjust and you're Suffering terribly because the cosmos Itself is flawed in its fundamental Structure and that's really Kane's Complaint against God the other Possibility is you're suffering at least In part because you're not everything

You could be and that's a terrible Burden to take on to yourself because It's the burden of your own suffering But it's also unbelievably hopeful Because it could be that I think maybe Frankel recounts that story I don't Remember where I read it a woman Who who visited a psychiatrist and who Said to the psychiatrist I really hope There's something wrong with me and the Psychiatrist said why she said well if There's something wrong with me there's Hope because I might be able to fix it But if there's something wrong with the Structure of existence so I'm fated to Suffer in this way then why everything's Despair and the people that I have seen Who've transcended their Tragedy and malevolence that have Pursued them they did have that that Sense of their own ignorance even with Regards to the conclusions they drew About Their suffering and so Franco himself Has this very odd story at the end of The book where after this this array of Unspeakable Horrors he then talks about This particularly sadistic brutal figure Whom he'd known from some Clinic the Stein whatever in Indiana or something And then he says that he heard a story That this man this concentration camp Figure had been sent off to a Russian Camp at the end of the war and then

Heard from another colleague that this Brutal figure Um had actually been extremely Humane And supportive as an inmate of a Soviet Camp and and it's that very enigmatic Ending of Frankel's book where it's Almost as if to say even where you're Convinced that there's evil that's Irredeemable but maybe there's there's Still yeah for Redemption I know that's A bit it seems like a bit but it is Why is that idea considered so dangerous What idea this idea that because you Know even when we want it to be well we Want it to it immediately goes into Blaming the victim like even you even Went to pains to say he wasn't saying That anybody could ride through the Inner Light of their soul come out Positively in a gulag but there's such a Resistance against this notion it's like It's almost outside the Overton window To say you can alleviate some of your Own suffering by your orientation Towards the world it's almost considered A dangerous proposition now and and we Have to go to pains to make caveats About it when we even mention it yeah Well it's a tricky business when my Daughter was young and she was really Ill I told her when she was very young I Said to her don't you use your illness As an excuse ever because you'll confuse Yourself then you won't know what you

Can do you're going to have a hard time Doing things but if you use your illness As an excuse if you corrupt yourself Morally which you have in some sense Every right to do because of the depth Of your suffering and which would be Perfectly understandable under the Circumstances it will do nothing at all But make the situation far worse yeah

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