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    Suffering and belief in God – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. How can anyone believe in God when there is so much suffering?

    sad suffer loneliness alone bridgeA. A British philosopher, Dr CEM Joad, was an agnostic for many years but turned to religion during World War II. He said that previously he could find no room for God in the world because of the vast problem of suffering. Then he began to ask a different question: what gives human beings the power to survive and rise above all their suffering?

    He came to the conclusion that there had to be a higher Power that sustained people in times of adversity and enabled them to believe that there would be light at the end of the tunnel. This might help to answer your question. For more information about Joad’s metamorphosis, read his book, “God and Evil”.

    Let me add something from another British writer, GK Chesterton, who was no great friend of Jews or Judaism. Chesterton once said, “When men cease believing in God, they do not believe in anything.” One can criticise Chesterton for many things, but this observation is amply proved by history.

    Jews tend to say a similar thing, though the Jewish way of expressing it is more likely to be, “Hard as it may be to understand the world with God, it is infinitely harder without Him”.

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