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Comments by Maynard S. Clark
22 Oct 2001
Sven et al.
Many sensitive folks have anguished over the suffering of sentient beings who are at the mercy of circumstance, as the Psalmist lamented. "Time and chance happen to them all."
Various philosophies of religion and scores of "theologies" have emerged to come to terms with "the problem of suffering" and "the problem of evil". Books and treatises have been written.
This is one area in which the animal rights movement and religious and spiritual thinkers are moving towards common ground. Hopefully discussions will continue.
But whether we can WISH "justice" into being seems naive, at least to many of us. And surely there are those who suffer at least as acutely as, and perhaps more than, many animals suffer. Whether bewildered Afghanis suffer more than cows in slaughterhouses seems, at least to compassionate folks, to be no justification for perpetuating suffering on either.
I think, though, that where farm animals have the moral edge over humans is that very few farm animals are strategically positioned to cause ANY grief to nonhumans by their overt actions. Humans can, by virtue of rationality and intelligence, become very grievesome towards others.
Whether or not the same rules SHOULD apply towards all persons under all circumstances is an issue which, to my knowledge, has never been resolved on this list, nor on any others. Many have spoken, have affirmed or asserted, but the issue has never IMO been fully resolved to the satisfaction of all persons.
But whether or not human beings SHOULD be compassionate where there is no conflicting moral obligation (such as to prevent further suffering which could result or continue from not intervening forcefully) seems to be a much more readily accepted position.
Your BELIEFS from your EUROPEAN position would be most interesting, and I hope that you will express them and delineate how you understand the foundations of morality and good will.
But many skeptics would think that WANTING a heaven for those who suffer in this life seems groundless, if not blatantly unchristian, particularly if there is no further reason or evidence that mortal life survives its natural demise.
Maynard S. Clark
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