Slight problem with justifying the existence of suffering by saying that it is a "teaching tool": there are other ways that we could be taught, other ways to add character, other ways to deepen understanding, that not only exist and are available to us, but are also ideal possibilities for an omnipotent, loving deity, that all do not involve unfair, excessive, debilitating, and occassionally outright destructive pain that characterizes our reality. I agree that suffering does allow for the best in people to shine, and for people to develop, but, I think that the cost is greater than the benefit, honestly. Not exactly the best setup of reality that God could come up with.
Life on Earth is finite. Human beings have immortal souls. In the scheme of things, I suppose any suffering we endure is as finite as our lives on earth in comparison to the eternity we will spend with God. Suffering is a teaching tool for us, a way to expand our understanding and depth of character, adding to the richness of our relationship with one another and with God. It enables us to serve one another, to understand our own mortality and to see God in one another.
Suffering also exists because we do have free will and we do live in a flawedYes. We definitely do. I just wonder why a powerful, loving, wise, and intelligent God who apparently has a fondness for a certain form of sapient primate didn't do a bit of better job.
If you take the Gnostic view, the world was created by a flawed godlingThat's a rather interesting view, since it detracts from one of the major components of the Christian idea of God. While explaining why existence is less friendly towards us than it otherwise would be, it just makes one wonder what significance God has if he was not responsible for creation, and cannot override its flaws.
called the Demiurge rather than the ultimate God.
If you take the classical Christian view, it's all due to the sin of man againstWhich is simply ridiculous if you do not also explain the several problems that arise from this particular argument.
1. How would an all-knowing Creator God not be aware that this "sin" was going to occur?
2. Why would an all-loving Creator God want to allow his favored creations to suffer, regardless of their supposed crimes?
3. How is an all-powerful Creator God not responsible for the nature of man, his tendency towards committing the sin that He punishes them for, or the existence and nature of suffering [as a consequence of collective or individual sin or not]?
This particular argument tries to seem like more of an explanation than it actually is by being intentionally vague. But, it still fails for the same reason as any other explanation involving the Christian perspective of God.
There are all kinds of philosophical and religious traditions that try to
explain it, undoubtedly not to your satisfaction.
I have no idea who this person saying this is, or who he directed this statement towards, but let me just say that he is rather prophetic.
I find it impossible, in fact, to look at the world and the universe and not see
the hand of the Deity in creating it.
And I find it impossible to look at the world and the universe and think that it would be intentionally constructed in this fashion, especially of life (specifically human life) was supposed to be of high priority in its formation. Yes, the universe is very pretty, and seemingly complex. But, unfortunately, I just don't see any compelling argument in positing that a human perception of design means that a designer had to be involved. We tend to be overzealous in our pattern seeking as humans, and I think that that is at work here.
Science has never been that good at explaining the "why" of things or theI sort of agree with the first two sentences (save the idea that "why" and "how" are essentially the same kind of question, but "why" has some bizarre implication that you are playing on here, so I'll go with it).. Except, I would disagree if you positted that religion explained the "why" at all. It tries to, certainly. But I would hard pressed to find evidence that any succeed at giving anything more than a few aphoristic sentiments that hold little water in regards to the "why". Sure, it serves to satiate the common man on the street, and gives them something to embrace as an answer, but in reality it is just a glorified guess, wrapped in false authority and appeals to ego and emotion. As such, it is obvious that science is quite compatible with religion: as long as religion remains to be a security blanket with no basis in reality or rational thought, it will never be impeached by scientific knowledge. When it tries to be something more than that though, not so much...
ultimate beginnings. It's fascinating when it explains the how. I find science
quite compatible with religion.