This GCSE RE Christianity quiz focuses on suffering. The problem of suffering, in a world supposedly created and loved by an omnipotent God, is one of many challenges faced in principle and practice by Christians on a daily basis. They may know they are assured of eternal life, but there are still the ‘here and now’ to be got-through and made the best of, which is a salutary corrective in the face of any temptation to over-smug assurance.
This quiz reviews the Christian understanding of how evil and suffering came to be in the world and exercise such baleful sway; what Christians (and others) can seek to do about it, how and why.
In the Book of Common Prayer ~ that classic bedrock text of the Church of England and its associate organisations over several centuries ~ stands a comprehensive and resonant General Confession.
This Confession is still regularly recited in many traditional churches at the early stage of a service, to deal with past and recent sins before congregants can approach God in worship with a cleansed conscience. It refers to mistakes by which we have harmed others ‘through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault’. There are probably few people alive who awake each morning with the prime and explicit intention of harming others, but even those who do (online fraudsters, people-traffickers, murderers and drug-dealers) are not beyond the love of God.
Christians have faith and hope in the longer perspective of eternal life, beyond what the Prayer Book ruefully calls ‘the changes and chances of this fleeting world’: in the Book of Revelation (the last in the Bible), John the Divine can only describe his glimpse of heaven in terms of its lack of the sad earthly landmarks of war, famine, sorrow and disease: for the blissful and positive phenomena that replace them, he simply cannot find any human words, since ‘down here’ we have never yet had need to coin them.
Against this perspective, here is our quiz on Christianity and suffering.