Quote from donmurray
Working in psychiatry, it's a commonplace to encounter psychotic ideation with a religious component. Hence my signature.
That is true, I know. But I would venture to guess that all over the world in all religious traditions there are cases of psychotic ideation (schizophrenia for one) and that would include hearing the voice of whoever they think God is. And that certainly doesn't mean that nursehardee gets to paint with a broad brush that the fundamentalist's idea of God causes people to murder.
One of the hardest things for me to understand in my long quest towards God was the question of suffering. Especially child abuse and molestation. I understand that we have free will and if God intervened to the point of stopping all pain and suffering we would have to be merely pre-programmed robots. But at the same time, how can He let a child be bludgeoned to death with a rock? Or sexually molested time and time again? All hard questions.
Philip Yancey (Disappointment with God, Where Is God When It Hurts?, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made) is a great author who deals with the questions of pain and suffering. As does C.S. Lewis, who is an intellectual powerhouse. I also spend alot of time in the bible because one of my friends bought me one of the "read the bible in a year" bibles and it helps to have it laid out in daily readings (old testament, new testament and then proverbs and psalms).
I don't have all the answers still and never will. But I can't fall back to believing in nothing when I see the beauty and logic of the way the physical world was made, when I look the intricacy of DNA or just one human cell, when I see the compassion that is poured out from one human being to another, when I see another new life born. There is definitely evil in the world, horrible things happen but for me to believe that we are all just an accident and there is no purpose to life would be worse than having to struggle to understand why God allows suffering.
I veer toward the authors who admit to not knowing all the answers. Who struggle with their own demons and admit it. Lots of folks like that in the bible, in fact all the folks God used had many many faults. He wasn't looking for perfection.
As to evil and suffering . . .I'm still searching for the answers but at least for me I'm still searching.