In his book “Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals”, philosopher John Gray looks at the epidemic of drug use and addiction in Western societies, “Drug use, he writes, “is a tacit admission of a forbidden truth [in Western culture.]” What is that truth? It is that “for most people happiness is beyond reach.” Human life is unavoidably hard and unhappy for the vast majority of people and always will be. In the secular worldview, all happiness and meaning must be found in this lifetime and world. To live with any hope, then, secular people must believe that we can eliminate most sources of unhappiness for the majority of people. But that is impossible, The causes of suffering are infinitely complex and impossible to eliminate. In a startling admission, the nonreligious Gray argues this very point, that religious cultures were able by the nature of their beliefs to be far more realistic about how inveterate human misery is:
Religious cultures could admit that earthly life was hard, for they promised another in which all tears would be wiped away. Their humanist successors affirm something still more incredible– that in future, even the near future, everyone can be happy. Societies founded on a faith in progress cannot admit the normal unhappiness of human life.
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering
by Timothy Keller