Evil And Suffering

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Does suffering have a purpose?

  • We need suffering to tell us when something is wrong( e.g. when we have a toothace we can go to the dentest about it and get it fixed so the suffering lets us know when we have to get something sorted.)
  • suffering can make us appreciate things more that we may have taken for granted. (e.g. temporary blindness can make us appreciate sight)
  • suffering makes us stronger as we have to show courage and determination to get through the suffering
  • Suffering tests our faith to see if we will stand by god and keep our religion like praying even when times are difficult.
  • suffering could be part of Gods mysterious plan.
  • some people suffer to acheive goals (e.g. climbers are willing to put their life at risk and suffer from hardships just to get to the top of the mountain which was their goal.)
  • suffering is seen as a form of punishment and we need to be punished so we know the difference from right and wrong.
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God can not be living and let people suffer?


  • inncocent people suffer for no good reason as they havent done anything wrong
  • unfair treatment why do some innocent people suffer but some people who are evil and may cause sufferig dont?
  • theists who strongly agree with God would say that he doesnt want to make people suffer but he has to.


  • he would make people suffer because of past life that we may not know about.
  • he has to make people suffer as a punishment for the actions otherwise they would never know that what they did was wrong.
  • makes people suffer to teach them a lesson 
  • has to make some people suffer to help others.
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Different types of suffering.


  • caused by natural events that people may blame God for.
  • tsunami
  • hurricane
  • floods
  • earthquakes.


  • caused as a result of people acting in a way that hurts themselves or other people
  • could be an accident
  • murder
  • theft
  • ****
  • abuse
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Free will.

Having the ability to choose or determine ones own actions.

some people would argue, if god created humans why did he give them free will? Why did he not make humans perfect so that we will always choose to do good instead of evil? if God is so good why does he not stop people from doing evil before it causes anyone to suffer?

Atheist may reply by saying free will is part of our nature. People should think logically and can make decisions themselves about what is right and wrong.

Humans are not programmed like robots to good, we are free to make our own minds and be our own person, therefore we make mistakes.

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Christianity explanation for suffering.

  • Suffering is a result of human freedom to choose actions that cause suffering.(Adam and Eve show the concequences of free will)
  • some christians believe suffering is a punishment for sin.
  • it teaches a lesson so that people can grow spiritually.
  • some people think that the devil who tempted Adam and Eve, still tempts people today.
  • christians belive that Jesus broke the power of evil and suffering over people by inncocent suffering and death on the cross. by rising from the dead and returning to his father in heaven, Jesus gave christians hope that death is not the end.
  • God has given people free will – the ability to choose between right and wrong for themselves. God has shown people how they should live (eg the Ten Commandments (a list of religious and moral rules that were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai); Jesus’ life and teaching), but it is up to them to decide whether or not to follow God’s instructions.
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Islam explanations for suffering.

accoring to the Qur'an, Allah gave Adam the world to look after but also gave him free will. This means that humans can choose to sin.

They also have free will, and they must choose between right (the guidance of Allah) and wrong (following the temptations of Shaytan, the devil).

  • Everyone is born with a natural instinct to understand the difference between right and wrong (fitrah).
  • Iblis, who is sometimes called Shaytan, said that forever he would try to tempt humans to chose wrong rather than right.
  • Muhammad warned Muslims: "Beware of Shaytan, he is desperate to divert you from the worship of Allah, so beware of him in matters of religion"
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Sikh explanation for suffering.

Sikhism teaches that selfish behaviour causes suffering. 

Suffering is a result of karma.

actions performed now affect rebirth, so it is important to do good.

why some people suffer more than others is a mystery but sikhs do not believe god put suffering in the world for people to turn on him.

  • Suffering is not inflicted directly by God but is permitted by God as a test of courage and faith. Suffering is appreciated for the good that it often brings out in humanity eg, compassion. It is a person’s own actions that are responsible for their suffering.
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Christianity responses for suffering.

Trusting in God helps people endure personal suffering as part as Gods mysterious  will but they will try and help others who are suffering.

the teaching 'Love your neighbour as yourself' means that christians should not only feel compassion for those who suffer but should also take active steps to help them.

christians should follow the example of Jesus who helped the needy and sick.

Suffering is a necessary part of life.  You cannot have life as we know it without some kind of suffering.  Suffering presents a challenge to human beings to search for inner strength.

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islam responses for suffering.

people who cause others to suffer will be judged on the day of judgement.

muslims should show compassion towards people who suffer.

one of the 5 pillars of islam require people to give a small percentage of their wealth to other people in need so relievering the sufferng of the poor is a important belief to muslims.

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sikh responses for suffering.

sikhs try to rise above suffering . Selfless service should be used to help anyone in need

they exphasise quality and believe sharing is important, particularly with those who have little.

the langar (kitchen) is where the gurdwara serves two meals a day to every visitor (rich or poor).

  • sharing
  • rise above
  • help each other (selfless service)
  • langar
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Christianity explanations for evil.

Everything God made was perfect.

evil came into the world by the original sin (adam and eves disobedience)

when people rebel against Gods laws eveil reults.

people need rescuing fron sin

christians believe jesus was like the second Adam who restored peoples broken relationship with God.

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islam explanations for evil.

Allah created the perfect world.

shytan tempted adam and eve to disobey Allah

one the day of judgment, evil doers will be judged an punished.

Allah is merciful and compassionate so those who truly repent will be forgiven

muslims dont believe in the original sin.

Everyone starts with a clean slate.

Must resist temptation.

allahs plans for humans means nothing can happen unless he wills it.

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Sikh explanation for evil.

believe God created human kind and there is a spark of himself in everyone so everyone should be respected.

humans are not evil by nature but they are ignorant and self centred.

they forget to see god in others.

god is the source of both good and evil.

it is up to each person to overcome the five evils.

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Christianity responses for evil.

jesus commanded christians to love god and their neighbour.

he taught people to overcome their enemies and turn the other cheek if they commit evil.

people, must forgive others so that God an forgive them as well.

"forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins againt us, and lead us into no temptation."

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islam responses for evil.

muslims live by the five pillars.

Allah wll judge them on judgment day so muslims try to live in complete submission to his will and peace in others.

the holy books teach them to stand up for justice and what is right.

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sikh responses for evil.

the gurus taught sikhs to practice self service.

put god in the centre of their lives.

prayer and meditation

self control, truth, patience, perfect faith and compassion.

guru nanak opposed evil.

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