Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
By: Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale
FaithWords; Reprint edition (October 6, 2015)
The book Why Suffering? asks just that. Why is there pain in the world? Why is there evil? If God is good, why does he allow pain and evil? And what is evil anyway? This book stands out because it fully tackles some of Western culture’s most commonly asked philosophical questions. While this book addresses suffering from a Judeo-Christian point of view, I think some skeptics might enjoy examining some of the philosophical implications. Where do you agree? Where do you not?
Two of my favorite quotes:
Think for a minute of one of the greatest lives ever lived. It might be the life of someone you’ve known personally or of a historical figure you’ve studied. Consider this life in detail. Think of the person’s character and how it was formed through his or her free choices. Think of the person’s moral convictions and the principles that he or she lived by. Think of the various cultures and subcultures that framed what she valued and what she experienced. Think of the person’s relationships. Think of her great triumphs, her sacrifices, her steadfastness for what is good and true. Take a bit of time to reflect on these things. Now try to subtract from that person’s life all of the suffering—the suffering that shaped the culture and family she was born into, the suffering that formed her character and convictions, the suffering of her loved ones, the suffering she fought against. What happened? All of a sudden those lives don’t look anything like the great lives that we were initially so inclined to celebrate. Could we even sensibly speak of them as the same people?
“Getting to Mars is a problem,” Peter Kreeft adds, but “falling in love is a mystery.” Why is that so? Because a mystery is a problem that encroaches upon itself. What does that mean? It means that finding a solution to a problem of which we ourselves are inextricably a part is difficult if we do not recognize our own role in it. That makes it a mystery. A problem just needs a solution. A mystery needs an explanation.