EXPLORING THE THEME OF SUFFERING IN SOREN KIERKEGAARD'S PHILOSOPHY
The problem of suffering which is connected with the problem of theodicy, has to do with why a good God would permit humans to undergo physical, mental and spiritual afictions. Human suffering, which is an indisputable fact of human existence that raises many questions, remains a mystery. Why is there suffering and what is the purpose of suffering? What should be the attitude of man to suffering? Kierkegaard sees suffering as essential in the life of man in order for him to actualize his potential. His treatment of suffering is of great importance in understanding the role of suffering in human existence. This essay attempts to approach suffering from the Kierkegaardian perspective. Kierkegaard, a 19th century Danish philosopher and existentialist thinker, sees suffering as the essential expression of the existential pathos which the religious individual understands as something essential. Suffering, which is a dying to immediacy, is an essential expression of the relationship to the Absolute. The religious person is one who is reected inward and understands suffering as essential and is ready to confront it in all its ramications. This approach to suffering has the capacity of encouraging an individual to face all of life's dangers, to embark joyfully upon the necessary challenges of life and to cultivate a positive attitude to suffering.