In response to my post, “Thom Darc’s Sadistic Christian Theology Prefers a World of Suffering,” Darc has posted on his LiveJournal Blog that my characterization of his position was mistaken. In his latest blog he writes:
Darryl, I never said I prefer suffering just for the sake of suffering. Therefore, I’m going to us the words of C.S. Lewis in his The Problem of Pain to respond to you:
Before we get to that, Thom, let’s give correspondence some context. In your statements that I took, I accurately quote you saying, “… I don’t wish to live in a world of non-suffering. I prefer a world that has suffering and pleasure and hatred and love and peace and war, life and death.”
Further down this post you will read that Thom Darc prefers a world of suffering over the quaint and terrifying notion that suffering leads to “spiritual growth” and gives “meaning” to life. This Pain = Meaning” is an ancient trope. If we ask Thom what his definition of the meaning of life, he must say that it is spiritual evolution through physical and mental suffering. I wonder then if the names of Satan or the Devil should be placed in Heaven’s Hall of Fame for the indispensable service they provide for the Suffering Department. But alas, God, as the Creator of Heaven and Hell, must take responsibility for this fuckup of this world, at least in some part.
That part may ultimately Man’s responsibility, anyway, given that Man Created God in the first place. We will touch on that later, but for now, it is important for you to know that Thom Darc does accept suffering as a necessity. I wonder if that means he’s also willing to inflict suffering on others, since, according to Thom’s perspective, suffering is to everybody’s benefit. Once an abuser, always an abuser. Thom has stated many times that he is against Equality and indeed, this places him in the camp of the abusers. He should have chosen life instead. But to each their own.
“By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness – the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all”. [pg. 20]
Lewis refers to God’s “lovingness.” I would like to see some evidence of that in a world where countless millions (probably billions) of children have been left to suffer in this history of mankind. Realize that Lewis wrote this screed within the privileged comfort of his life as an Oxford don. It is largely speculative reflections of an Anglican trying to address the problem of suffering through theodicy – the vindication of the “lovingness” of God in a world of suffering. When Lewis says, “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?,” understand, such a perspective could only come from a being already living a satisfied life. This view has nothing to do with the tragic human suffering experienced in the world – Lewis is speaking to fellow First World citizens sitting in their overstuffed leather chairs in the study. Not to a child laborer in India. I dare say the thought never, ever crossed Lewis’ mind. I’m sure children in this world living lives of suffering, pain, hunger and disease would appreciate such a universe that Lewis mocks as “a good time had by all.” The fact is this, according to the Christian belief structure of Lewis, God did not want his creation to be happy. God wanted His creatures to suffer. Refer to the book of Genesis and you will quickly find God cursing His creatures to eternal suffering. So much for God’s “lovingness.” Lewis’ speculations read like quaint, if discredited and irrelevant, parlor room fluff.
I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don’t, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless; that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction. [pg. 21]
Yes. If a world of suffering descended from God’s Lovingness, I reckon a reappraisal of “love” is warranted.
If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most memorable sense. [pg. 21]
This assumption that God is Love has no foundation to support it, save for being a sentimental statement expressed within living a comfortable life. I’m sure if I was living a financially and academically satisfying life like Lewis did, I would carry similar sentiments. But I have to disagree with Lewis and point out that God actually did regard His human beings with contempt when He cursed them to live lives of pain and suffering. God cursed the ground (the Earth?) and condemned Adam to painful toil “all the days of your life.” (Gen 2:17) It is not surprising to state that half of humanity still lives under God’s curse. If such suffering is God’s “intolerable compliment of loving us,” I would hate to see what God’s active hate would look like. But I guess what we have will do until that cosmic hate gets here.
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment”. Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life – the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child – he will take endless trouble – and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. [pg. 22]
Lewis at the zenith of his speculative Yahweh ass-kissing apologetic powers, here. How about depicting God as an amused child doodling a scribble of his Divine Work of Art, and then after “endless trouble” to try and “get it right.” But we have no evidence that God even exists, let alone He has some Cosmic and Divine Plan that is silently working in the background. What Lewis is doing here amounts to self-deception and the deception of others who will believe in his speculative mythologizing as “true.” Lewis is just giving an opinion based on his belief structure. He is not telling the “truth.”
When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some “disinterested”, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the “lord of terrible aspect”, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. [pg. 24-25]
“When Christianity says God loves man, it means God loves man” but that Christians don’t have to. Actually, Jesus Christ says Love your fellow man, but when have Christians as a group ever done that? The countless denominations that divide them has to suggest that Christians can’t even agree among themselves. How in the hell are they going to be the paragons of virtue proclaiming God loves man yet cursed the Earth we all live upon because God does not forgive? A Christian cannot have it both ways. If it says in the Bible that mankind lives under the Curse of Original Sin and under the curse of the Earth itself, then it can only proclaim a Gospel of Maltheism, a theology that states that God is essentially evil and derives pleasure or benefit in seeing humanity suffer. If such a thing existed, it would exactly as things look in this world right now. In the New Testament, Satan is said to have power over the Earth, which is a curious thing to say because it means in effect that this world is a God-free zone. When Jesus cried on the cross that God had forsaken him, Jesus was with humanity for a brief moment, he understood for one terrifying moment what human beings go through every day – living in a world where no one answers your cry. When we suffer, we suffer alone and God does not hear or intervenes.We are hung on a cross, suspended between earth and sky, forsaken and hated by those who believe our suffering is just. But Lewis did not see that when he wrote this book. He did not suffer until much later in life (explained here).
Christians cannot proclaim a “God of Love,” unless that “Love” is a sinister malevolent curse. Save me from God’s “love” for it is a curse that destroys and obliterates.
The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest “well pleased”. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God [pg. 25]
When Lewis says, “God does not exist for the sake of man,” he is mistaken. “God,” in fact, is the creation of Man, There is no evidence at all that God created man, but there is ample evidence that man created God, for God always exists first within the minds of men that is later transferred to books written by man. It’s been like that all over the world – even in cultures without formal alphabets or writing. God was created by man to explain suffering. The idea of a “God” only makes sense if the idea is placed within the relationship of man’s suffering. God has been called “Love” because it is thought or believed that love is the only thing that can take the suffering away. Actually, the only thing that can take suffering away is forgiveness. That’s why man continues to suffer. There was a flaw in the Design of God. God was not created to forgive.
All arguments in justification of suffering provoke bitter resentment against the author. You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it. You need not guess, for I will tell you; I am a great coward. But what is that to the purpose? When I think of pain – of anxiety that gnaws like fire and loneliness that spreads out like a desert, and the heartbreaking routine of monotonous misery, or again of dull aches that blacken our whole landscape or sudden nauseating pains that knock a man’s heart out at one blow, of pains that seem already intolerable and then are suddenly increased, of infuriating scorpion-stinging pains that startle into maniacal movement a man who seemed half dead with his previous tortures – it “quite o’ercrows my spirit”. If I knew any way of escape I would crawl through sewers to find it. But what is the good of telling you about my feelings? You know them already: they are the same as yours. I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. That is what the word means. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine of being made “perfect through suffering” is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design. [pg. 59]
I read this passage twice. It failed to invoke anything but an incredulous gasp that someone could be so intelligent and so clueless at the same time and not even realize it. People are not made “perfect” through suffering. They are destroyed and obliterated by suffering. It’s obvious, isn’t it? I would dare state that a drug addict, for example, does not become perfect through the destruction of her body. Even if an addict placed Jesus and God at the center of their life, they will not be made “perfect.” They will only become perfect Christian robots, if the programming is effective. Children who are sent to fight wars or sold into slavery are not made “perfect” through suffering, even if somehow Jesus would enter their lives. They have already been destroyed for life, if they are “lucky to live. That one child should suffer in existence is intolerable when there is Divine Lovingness of an omnipotence that never shows up. What God has done to the littlest of us, He has done to all of us.God has been an unworthy servant for man for too long. It is time to get rid of the fucker once and for all.
(Thom Darc) Therefore Darryl, I see suffering as a necessary ingredient for spiritual development and growth. Like C.S. Lewis I have no wish to see a world where abuse continues without any reason and for nothing more than the delight of suffering. However, what is Desteni’s prescription Darryl? You wish to remove the systems which perpetuate abuse. However, you and the rest of Desteni constantly practice abuse against yourselves and people outside of Desteni. Your solution is the Equal Money System with the Desteni Process. It is a proposition which is hallow and offers nothing except wishful fantasy based upon jealousy. If Desteni were to implement its vision on a grande scale and if it were to work as desired, what would be the outcome except a world where everything has no meaning? Like I said before, a world where I simply shovel food in mouth but can’t live is something I’m simply not interested in.
Yes, Thom. We know you see suffering as necessary for spiritual growth.Too bad it is just an opinion that does not take into consideration all the points. It doesn’t take into consideration that you may be wrong. Or that you’ve been brainwashed by flowery words or naked fear into believing a lie, or that there is no such thing as “spiritual development.” Perhaps you think you’ve evolved spiritually, but in what demonstrable ways? Has it grown more love of your fellow-man. Has it made you more humble or patient? Has it made you a better person? Has it expanded your life in ways you never considered or realized?
I have to question that you have evolved spiritually. It would mean, if it were true, that you defined yourself as a specific point that may not be what is best for you. If you believe that only suffering can give your life meaning, then you condemn yourself and others into living that. Suffering has no “meaning.” Suffering is a consequence. It is a consequence of man’s inhumanity to man. That’s all. There’s not Divine Reason or explanation needed to discover what suffering is. To apply a “meaning” to something means you’ve formed a mental construct about something. And it seems you are backing a God where suffering has meaning. This means you do not love a God that loves humanity, you love a God that hates humanity. You love a God that let Jesus die without changing one goddamn thing in this world. It is not that the removal of suffering, which is something God is either unwilling or unable to do, that is the cause of meaninglessness, Thom. It is your divination of suffering is what is meaningless. An unfounded opinion that is meaningless and unnecessary. Better get onboard the Train of Life before you get left behind.