Suffering caused by mankind
Note - (numbers in brackets refer to the sections in the "Further Information" section at the end, where you can find more information.)
Wars and persecution
We sometimes ask the question, "If there is a loving God, why has He allowed people to inflict so much suffering on other humans?"
When we think like this, we should remember that if we want our Creator to intervene, He could well intervene in our lives and stop us doing things which cause suffering. Many of us would resent such restrictions in our lives. We all have a selfish streak which wants its own way (1). That being so, it should not surprise us that from time to time our self-interest causes suffering.
In the Bible, Jesus has an interesting comment about suffering inflicted on innocent people. Relations between the Roman governor Pilate and the Jews at the time of Jesus were never very good. The tension from time to time resulted in blood being shed. The people pointed out to Jesus a recent incident:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Luke 13 v 1 to 3
Jesus answered their question by assuring his listeners that those killed were no more wicked than other people. The interesting point for us to note is that he is showing that such events should make us stop and think about the fact that we shall all die eventually. Such events disturb our routine and remind us that it could be our turn next. Like suffering caused by injuries, we are being warned that we have a problem that requires thinking about. This should encourage us to look into what life is all about.
Almost all of us choose to do things which we know cause suffering. The way we cause pollution is just one example. We make the choice to pollute and must take the consequences of illnesses such as asthma.
If we were to expect a loving God to prevent all suffering, this would include that caused by pollution. This would affect most goods and services in industrialised countries.
All suffering caused by people should make us stop and think. We are being reminded that something is not as it should be. We should think about the consequences of what we are doing in relation both to other people and to the planet on which we live.