Tim Keller | November 11, 2001
Open Forums are specifically designed for skeptics or those wrestling with the claims of Christianity. Each Open Forum included a brief concert by guest artists followed by a talk and open mic Q&A with Timothy Keller. This audio recording includes the talk only.
Everyone experiences suffering, and it’s a challenge we all face. There are three main ways people see suffering: the secular way, which says suffering is just part of life because only the physical world exists; the Buddhist way, which believes suffering can be beaten by focusing only on the spiritual; and the Christian way, which says both the physical and spiritual are real, and that suffering will eventually be overcome.
1. The secular way
Those with secular views think that suffering and evil can’t really be solved because this physical world is all we have. This perspective finds it hard to explain the problem of suffering and evil. Even the best arguments atheists use to prove God doesn’t exist because of suffering don’t hold up. On the flip side, believing in God gives us a reason to be upset about injustice, even though it’s tough sometimes.
2. The Buddhist way
Buddhism sees suffering as a basic part of life, caused by the gap between what we desire and what we have. The proposed solution is to get rid of desire and follow the eightfold path. Christianity agrees with Buddhism that worldly solutions aren’t enough and that transformation is key, but it has a deeper understanding of suffering. Jesus’ teachings give us a fuller picture of suffering than Buddha’s.
3. The Christian way
Christianity doesn’t see suffering as just a bad thing, but as a necessary step towards glory. This is different from secular beliefs, as it shows the importance of suffering in creating depth and authenticity in us, and reminds us of God’s love and presence during hard times. Ultimately, Christianity promises that our suffering and brokenness will be transformed, leading to even greater glory.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer