Why Pain and Suffering?

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The purpose of this site is to provide some information, encouragement and support for those who are struggling with pain, chronic illness, death, and personal tragedy. This is not a heavy philosophical discussion, but a practical discussion coming from experience and practical considerations. This material is a part of the “Does God Exist?” ministry and is written by John Clayton, his family and friends.  We have had to deal personally with chronic illness, death, multiple birth defects in a child (including blindness and mental retardation, and pain). Not only have we had to handle the problem, but also to deal with why God allows these tragedies to happen and why this does not invalidate the Christian belief system. What we will do on this website is share some understandings we have come to while dealing with these personal problems and provide some personal accounts by ourselves and others as to how all of this has worked out in our own lives.


One of the claims that atheists like to make is that the existence of pain and suffering eliminate the existence of God.  This claim assumes that there is no purpose in our existence, and that there is no positive purpose in the struggles that we have.  We will discuss these two points later.  The point we need to make right now is that denying the existence of God does not remove the pain and suffering we experience and does nothing to make problems in life any easier.  If there is no God and we have no purpose in existing, then the only answer to chronic pain, suffering, birth defects, cancer, and all of the other things that afflict us is suicide or euthanasia.  “Survival of the fittest” may sound good as long as you are fit; but when old age, disease, and injuries set in, “survival of the fittest” is a destructive and pessimistic mantra.  Atheism offers nothing. It has no encouragement to give, and no solution to offer.

DID GOD CREATE EVIL?The following is a quote that appears on a number of atheist web sites. It has been in atheist literature for the forty years that this program we call “Does God Exist?” has been in existence:
Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot
…or he can but does not want to,
…or he cannot and does not want to,
…or lastly he can and wants to.
If he wants to remove evil, and cannot, he is not omnipotent.
If he can, but does not want to, he is not benevolent.
If he neither can nor wants to, he is neither omnipotent nor benevolent;
But if God can abolish evil and wants to, and if evil still exists, then God must not be God.
God does not exist.

How do we answer this argument? (more...)

DO NATURAL DISASTERS DISPROVE GOD'S EXISTENCE?One of the frequent challenges we hear is the question "if God created the world, why didn’t He do a better job?"

People look at the world around them and they see a lot wrong with it. Babies are born with birth defects. People die tragically of cancer, leukemia, and a variety of genetic diseases over which they have no control. Earthquakes kill thousands of innocent people. Humans battle depression, loneliness, all kinds of mental illnesses and disorders. We suffer from drought, insect infestations, war -- the list is endless. Why didn’t God create an earth where bad things, misery and pain simply could not happen?
Why didn't God do a better job? (more...)

IS OUR SUFFERING ALWAYS BECAUSE OF OUR SIN?Many of the problems we face fall into the category of problems created by people -- sometimes ourselves and sometimes other people. But not all pain and suffering is a direct result of human actions. The disciples of Jesus asked him a question about whose sin caused a man to suffer blindness... (more...)

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH CANCER?Chemotherapy. Been There -- Done That! (Tips from one who's been there.) Let's face it, people, these next few months will never win your "My Favorite Period of My Life" Award. The best you can hope for is to get through it with... hmm... perhaps just to get through it will suffice. The Whiner's Guide to Chemotherapy. (more...)

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH DIABETES?"Control your diabetes to live, not live simply to control your diabetes." Dr. John Warvel. "Diabetes is what the medical profession calls 'the silent killer.' It is difficult to get all your patients to realize that, even though they 'feel good,' their bodies are silently pushing them closer to death if they refuse to keep themselves in control." Dr. D. Logan Dunlap. These statements by two outstanding doctors have helped Phyllis Clayton to be a survivor of more than 50 years of insulin-dependent diabetes. (more..)

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH A BABY BORN WITH BIRTH DEFECTS?Why should a baby be born into the world with defects that alter the normal course of life? How can a loving and merciful God allow such things to happen? I do not pretend to have an easy answer that will satisfy all who ask this question. My own life, however, has been marred by this very problem. To have your own child born without usable sight, retarded, and with a serious neurological disorder forces you to look at the reality of life. .. we are still learning. (more...)

DOES GOD CARE ABOUT THE PAIN OF PARENTS OF A HANDICAPPED CHILD?... the obstetrician looked at me and gave a pained look. ... The doctor laid Chet on Judy's stomach and announced softly, "Now, Judy what we have here are some congenital anomalies." I leaned down next to her ear and told her plainly as much as I could about Chet's appearance. I told her that our baby boy, had no arm on the right side, a short stub on the left, and short legs as if the thigh section was missing. (more...)

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