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Rejecting God By Renouncing The World

1621 words - 7 pages

Ivan Karamazov rejected God by rejecting the world, which is corrupted by suffering and cruelty. In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s book-chapter “Rebellion,” Karamazov showed complexity and depth in their understanding and analyzing of human suffering. The question that led him to reject God focused on God allowing suffering to exist in the world, especially that of children who have not sinned. Karamazov rejected a world founded by suffering and cruelty, therefore rejecting God in light of catastrophic suffering, especially concerning innocent children. Karamazov is deeply troubled by the injustice displayed alongside the existence of a benevolent God, and questions how a Just God can permit such ...view middle of the document...

Educational suffering serves to teach us a lesson through the mistakes we make, and through the sacrifice and self-discipline that human beings are sometimes forced to endure. This type of suffering encourages growth, empowerment, and personal progress. Educative suffering teaches us something we are meant to learn; it has a well-defined and distinct purpose. In catastrophic suffering, there is no learning in the after-math, and no well-defined ultimate lesson for those who suffer, therefore it serves no greater purpose to human kind. Catastrophic suffering happens when children are abused, tortured, and severely impoverished. It also includes those who suffer from mental or physical illness, murdered, raped, abandoned, and enslaved. This gives rise to theodicy, leading many to question God’s existence in the face of evil. However, Karamazov’s argument extends beyond educational suffering because he does not see a point in any suffering.
In addressing these traditional responses, he focused his argument purposely on children because they do not know evil. He argued that children cannot be punished for their parent’s sins, and for future sins, they have not yet committed because in many cases they do not even live past their genuine age. He tells of several stories of great injustice and suffering in attempt to strengthen his argument for rejecting God. Among those stories, is the story of the Turks who took pleasure in torturing children and of a Swiss man named Richard, who in his story is both the victim and oppressor. Richard’s story is worthy of elaboration because it contains an important Christian ideal, repentance and conversion. Richard was an illegitimate born child whose parents gave him away to some shepherds in the Swiss mountains, whom taught him nothing, and neglected to feed, clothe, and love him. In contrast, the shepherds abused, overworked, and nearly starved him to death because he was given to them as a slave; he wasn’t even allowed to eat the pig’s food without being beaten. When grown, Richard became a drunk, a brute, and a crook, and eventually he killed an old man. While in prison, he found God and converted to Christianity, but only to die in the name of the lord. The story follows that he converted so he can go to a better place as promised by God, the kingdom of heaven (3). This is bothersome to Karamazov because he wondered about Richard’s justice for all his suffering. He argued that Richard was only a child who did not know the meaning of sin, and whose mistakes were only due to unjust rearing of the Swiss shepherds.
An anecdote such as the one mentioned above is what leads Karamazov to argue that theodicy is not justifiable in this world. He claims that catastrophic suffering such as Richard’s have no purpose since Richard endured so much suffering throughout his childhood and adulthood. Even after accepting Christ as his savior, the pastors and members of the church (who helped him Richard accept Christ as his...

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