Notwithstanding the pain / horror of the experience, existence of a victim for me is a major philosophical problem.
My song Forgiver In The Rough lays bare my struggle with this.
My problem begins with my conviction that not a blade of grass moves without the sanction of God. The all powerful and benevolent God
- If this is true then the idea that the victim is purely a random recipient of adversity, with no cause beyond their being at the wrong place at the wrong time, is obviously unacceptable.
- If this is true then the experience of the victim is therefore sanctioned by God. After all God could stop it. God not stopping it means God is implicated. How does that sit with the concept of God as being benevolently inclined to the individual souls? Surely we would expect to see something positive in the plan. But where is it?
- Add to this my further conviction in the divinity of the individual soul … how is being a victim any sort of expression of divinity?
Sensing the problem, believers through the ages have sought to somehow distance God from the plight of the victim and deny the divinity of the individual … with ideas like punishment for sin / karmic reaction for past misdeeds / misuse of independence / fallen soul, etc. However, even if there is truth in amongst these notions, they do not go on or come into being outside the sanction/intention of God. Therefore God remains implicated.
My philosophical solution is perhaps a little daring. Best therefore if I present it in terms of my personal story, and leave it to the individual reader if or not they see fit to apply it to their own life.
From my point of view at least I was a loving, supportive, dedicated and loyal husband to my first wife. We had two beautiful sons and I felt my life blessed. Then she woke up one morning and decided she had fallen out of love with me … a few months later she had left. I felt betrayed and dismayed that I would not be able to deliver the stable loving family environment for our boys to grow up in.
Feeling betrayed is much like feeling a victim. It seemed like it was forced upon me against my will, and everyone said I didn’t deserve it. I wondered if had done something bad in a past life and now I was getting a reaction. I spent some time absorbed in such thoughts, and there was little anyone could say to move me to a more positive frame of mind. I remember someone told me ‘there are many more fish in the sea’ … ‘but I want that fish’ I thought!
Over time my life moved on and outlook changed. I began to cultivate a less resentful attitude toward my former wife. Gradually I saw how a stage had been set for my learning to be a forgiving person. The past reverse was a starting point from which to make my journey to forgiveness. Being a forgiving person … now that’s a really positive thing … something worth struggling for … something worth undergoing a bit of pain for …
Now I think that I was neither abandoned by God, nor punished by God, nor got any reaction for past sins … but I am loved by God … and God is therefore setting things in place for me to thoroughly experience something I value deeply … and in this case my playing victim (as opposed to actually being victim) is the necessary backdrop that enables positive expression and exploration of a particular aspect of my divinity.
NOTE TO SELF: next time go for something more modest 😉