Suffering and Flourishing
Although we sometimes praise a person who suffers for not sinking under his suffering, we still suppose that the sufferer is to be ranked more among life’s losers than among life’s winners. The disability rights movement is an exception to this general attitude—it wants others to see that those with disabilities are people to celebrate. The Christian tradition has held an analogous position as regards suffering in general: those who endure serious suffering are not the pitiable losers of life or even the heroic overcomers of tragedy but rather are those specially loved by God. This lecture looks closely at the relevant Christian doctrines to explain this attitude towards suffering and to distinguish it from the neighboring perverse attitude that sees suffering as an intrinsic good.