Suffering and Transcendence

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 60 (1/3):139 - 148 (2006)
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Abstract

This essay explores the experience of suffering in order to see to what extent it can be understood within the context of the human condition without diverting the reality of suffering or denying the meaning of human existence and divine reality. Particular attention is given to describing and interpreting what I call the transcendent dimensions of suffering with the intent of showing that in the experience of suffereing persons come up against the limits of what can be accounted for in ordinary terms and point towards transcendent reality. In religious faith the transcendent dimensions of suffering may be understood to come together with other transcendent dimensions of experience in a more distinctive or focused encounter with transcendent reality. The conception of God that is suggested by the transcendent dimensions of suffering, however, differs from the model of God in western theism as an absolutely transcendent, all powerful, immutable and impassible being

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