1) What is the "Problem of Evil (or Suffering)"? Compare how the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Hindus, and Buddhists answered this question in the framework of their worldviews. i.e., EXPLAIN THEIR RELIGIONS. Why did they differ in their answers? Support your views with evidence from the readings and discussions.
Problems of evil
According to their purposes and laws, Mesopotamian deities were personifications of various aspects of reality and the world's guidance. They sacrificed animals and humans. They believed evil brought guilty and ignorance of the offense. There was no sharp distinction between the care of the body and the care of the soul, unlike the modern society, which sees religious faith and medical treatment as inseparable (Leick, 2010) .their illness and suffering always had mysterious causes. Another factor in the problem of suffering is the human healing elements, those who practiced medicine. Magical methods healed people, and people were treated with plants, herbs, and some animal parts. The general offense to the gods or sin was seen in cult form and ritual (Blank, 2010). The only proper recourse the supplicant had ‘was not to argue and complain in the face of seemingly unjustifiable misfortune but to plead and wail, lament and confess his inevitable sins and failing.
Evil was associate with morality and ethics, and to understand it, one had to familiarize himself with the word “ma-at”. This word was the ethical concept of truth order and cosmic balances. They had a goddess named Ma-at, who provided divine harmony and balance of the universe (Heisey, 2000). According to the Egyptians, there were many crimes and were categorized as follows;
The key to understanding the Hinduism concept of suffering and evil is by understanding the concept of karma. Karma tries to imply that when a person does something, it has an effect, the good deeds had good effects, and the bad deeds had bad effects ( Meister 2012). They also believed thoughts had an effect and followed the same concepts. They believed that he did many deeds during the lifetime of individuals and had countless thoughts (Reventlow, 2004). When one died, he was added up his seen, and if they added up into good deeds, it would lead to a positive rebirth and vice-versa.
They believe that the cause of sin and suffering is desire. They have the four concepts of noble truth. The truths include;
The truth of suffering comes in the belief of life as a circle in that there is rebirth after individuals' death. But the Buddhist belief to end this circle is by believing there is no self, no atman (Blank 2010). If there is no self, then there is nothing to reincarnate, nothing to end to endure the endless circle. Buddha believes in suffering in the form of sickness, aging, losses, and many more.
As seen in the four types of suffering, they differ very much. This is because each religion believes in something very different from the other. For example, you can’t convince the Buddhists that they have a false god. They have grown knowing there is a god. It would also be hard to convince the Hindus that there is no rebirth after death since they have known there is rebirth after death since the start of their existence.
Meister, C. (2012). Evil: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Bowker, J. (1990). Problems of suffering in religions of the world. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Reventlow, H. (2004). The problem of evil and its symbols in Jewish and Christian tradition. London [u.a.: Clark.
Leick, G. (2010). Historical dictionary of Mesopotamia. Lanham: Scarecrow Press.
Blank, K. (2010). Dostoevsky's dialectics and the problem of sin. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press.
Heisey, N. R. (2000). Origen, the Egyptian: A literary and historical consideration of the Egyptian background in Origen's writings on martyrdom. Nairobi, Kenya: Paulines Publications Africa.