In all three cases, and for most human beings, the problem of suffering poses no difficult problem at all: one has a world picture in which suffering has its place, a world picture that takes suffering into account.
The doctrine of original sin claims that all men sinned in Adam; but whether they did or whether it is merely a fact that all men sin does not basically affect the problem of suffering.
Life ceases to be so oppressive: we are free to give our own lives meaning and purpose, free to redeem our suffering by making something of it.
It is widely assumed, contrary to fact, that theism necessarily involves the two assumptions which cannot be squared with the existence of so much suffering, and that therefore, per impossibile, they simply have to be squared with the existence of all this suffering, somehow.
Those who believe in God because their experience of life and the facts of nature prove his existence must have led sheltered lives and closed their hearts to the voice of their brothers’ blood.
Here an attempt is made to explain suffering: the outcaste of traditional Hinduism is held to deserve his fetched fate; it is a punishment for the wrongs he did in a previous life.
Thirdly, even if we assume that the world is governed by purpose, we need only add that this purpose – or, if there are several, at least one of them – is not especially intent on preventing suffering, whether it is indifferent to suffering or actually rejoices in it.
When Hegel later became a man of influence’ he insisted that the Jews should be granted equal rights because civic rights belong to man because he is a man and not on account of his ethnic origins or his religion.
To try to fashion something from suffering, to relish our triumphs, and to endure defeats without resentment: all that is compatible with the faith of a heretic.
The deepest difference between religions is not that between polytheism and monotheism.