This is unconvincing:
Any philosophy that claims that there exists nothing supernatural cannot grant purpose to suffering….
The secular cannot answer the problem of suffering (as I’ve spoken in depth elsewhere), but suffering is still a problem we naturally want resolved. (If you don’t believe it is, develop leukemia, have a close family member die, and then try being content with not having any answers, meaning, or purpose….)
Since Christ became all sin, and suffering is the result of sin, Christ took upon himself all suffering. Since his act was for all earthly time, this includes our current suffering. If this is true, no suffering is apart from the suffering of Christ. All is his. I am a Christian because I can acknowledge the reality that my suffering is in fact the suffering of Christ, and thereby “offer it up” with him, giving it meaning and the most glorious of purposes: The end of all suffering….
This changes everything: To see the child with leukemia is to see Christ suffering in that child, suffering to bring the world back to Perfection. To experience agony is to cry out with the strain of lifting this fallen world to Paradise.
Uh-huh. The funny thing is this is a post entitled “An Attempt to Explain Christianity to Atheists In a Manner That Might Not Freak Them Out.” Well… thanks. Nothing says “I’m trying to communicate respectfully with you” like exploiting the image of a child with cancer.
But it’s unconvincing mainly because it rests on the argument, “You should believe because belief fills your life with meaning, while atheism does not.” Even if both premises were true, it’s not a logical argument for the existence of anything. It just means that the lack of that thing sucks. It sucks that stormclouds don’t rain delicious jelly doughnuts, but… they don’t.
This, a response to the above, is much, much better:
When it came to human suffering, Jesus always kept his eye on the ball. “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” he said. Not, “For I was hungry, and you gave me an explanation as to how the existence of hunger could be reconciled, philosophically, with belief in an all-powerful and all-loving God.” The latter gift is unlikely to be appreciated unless it accompanies the former.
Hungry people want food. That is the meaning of hunger.
If I were ever to be religious again, it would be through that interpretation, which elevates what’s truly sacred without even requiring a creedal “belief in God.” Fred quotes Wendell Berry as saying “Love is never abstract.” Goddamn right.
Meanwhile Jezebel presents another kind of theological argument: “Tom Hanks Performed a Full House Slam Poem So, Yes, There Probably Is a God.”
I didn’t like that show, so I think this is wasted on me. But it’s still better than half-baked theodicy.
Anyway, if you want a faux-beatnik performance to show that our universe is wonderful strange and that adds up to God, why not this one?