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The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
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The Problem of Pain (1940)

by C. S. Lewis

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain was heavy going for me. I found I needed to read it in small portions and then ponder what he had to say. This work is intellectual and complex, but I was comforted that he could explain so fully at least one point that I had always dimly understood: when we are content in the lives we believe we have made for ourselves, we often feel we have no need of God. Only when we've lost much do we decide to rely on our creator. Of course the book has much more to say and he says it unapologetically and with great focus. Lewis' non-fiction calls for re-reading. I'm sure I'll refer to it as a reference in the future. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
I couldn't really finish reading this because my copy had a serious problem: you got to page 50 something and all of a sudden pages 23 through the same 50 something were inserted in place of the right pages.
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
By far one of my favourite of all Lewis' works on Christianity, which, in spite of the title explores far more than just the topic of pain but also examines such subjects as forgiveness, and the nature of belief.

It does not so much seek to provide clear cut or definitive answers to the 'big questions' but rather examines the nature, purpose and basis of the questions themselves in the wider context of the subject of pain and physical suffering, and the purposes and attitudes towards this itself.

Thus the book may disappoint to those 'looking for all the answers', but for those in search of an interesting and thought-provoking examination of a 'tough subject' this may be a good choice ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
Review was first posted on Booklikes:
http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/703121/the-problem-of-pain

I first read The Problem of Pain when I was an impressionable teenager in search of the meaning of life. How I got to C.S. Lewis, however, is a long story that I'll reserve for another post/review.

Anyway, I loved the The Problem of Pain when I first read it. I couldn't put it down.

When I started clearing my bookshelves last year in attempt to de-clutter, I came across my old and dusty copy of the book again and started to re-read.

What I love about The Problem of Pain - actually, all of Lewis' books I've read - is his use of language and his use of similes, which make it easy to follow his argument.

In The Problem of Pain, Lewis elaborates on the meaning of divine goodness, human pain, animal pain, heaven, hell - not necessarily in this order, though - and tries to explain from his Christian point of view what divine love is, what pain is, why humans can feel pain, and that there is a divine purpose to suffering.

When I first read this almost twenty years ago, I could accept the possibility that there may be a substance to the arguments he puts forward. Having re-read this now, I still admire Lewis' use of language and the elegance of his argument but I find it very difficult to be persuaded by it. Now, the argument that there is a purpose to suffering that allows the individual to grow or improve spiritually seems little more than wishful thinking.

Of course, my take on this may sound rather pessimistic. However, where Lewis draws from Thomas Aquinas and other sources of formal religious Christian teaching, I feel much more aligned with other schools of thought that would choose kindness towards living beings over the particular form of patriarchal tyranny of divine love that Lewis describes.

(Sidenote: Btw Jack, how dare you say that the newt has no self! For all we know, he might.

Seriously, I'm not impressed by an argument that starts with the notion that we cannot know what God's intentions are or indeed know anything that is outside of the human experience, and which then categorically denies that non-human living beings have a notion of the "self". )
( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
C.S.
  StPaulsChurch | Jul 19, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Havard, R.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pesonen, MarittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simmons, JamesReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitfield, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.'
— George MacDonald,
Unspoken Sermons, First Series
Dedication
To The Inklings
First words
Not many years ago when I was an atheist, if anyone had asked me, "Why do you not believe in God?" my reply would have run something like this: "Look at the universe we live in.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060652969, Paperback)

The Problem of Pain answers the universal question, "Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?" Master Christian apologist C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than he does. "Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere 'kindness' which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect at the opposite pole from Love." In addressing "Divine Omnipotence," "Human Wickedness," "Human Pain," and "Heaven," Lewis succeeds in lifting the reader from his frame of reference by artfully capitulating these topics into a conversational tone, which makes his assertions easy to swallow and even easier to digest. Lewis is straightforward in aim as well as honest about his impediments, saying, "I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design." The mind is expanded, God is magnified, and the reader is reminded that he is not the center of the universe as Lewis carefully rolls through the dissertation that suffering is God's will in preparing the believer for heaven and for the full weight of glory that awaits him there. While many of us naively wish that God had designed a "less glorious and less arduous destiny" for his children, the fortune lies in Lewis's inclination to set us straight with his charming wit and pious mind. --Jill Heatherly

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:28 -0400)

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The author explores the intellectual questions raised by mental and physical suffering.

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