loveroflife wrote: What is their recompense for being subjected to such cruelty and horrors?
For Theologians and other god-modelers, probably even more problematic than the "problem of evil" is the Problem of Unfairness. Unlike the Garden of Eden, the Real World is horrifyingly unfair. Some of us live our lives blessedly sheltered from direct exposure to palpable evil, while others live from cradle to grave in an environment on the outskirts of Hell. So the childlike question naturally arises, "why doesn't God play fair?" Which often translates to "why doesn't God intervene on my behalf?" or "why doesn't God succor my suffering?"
But such questions are irrelevant if God is not actually moving the chess pieces, and playing both sides of the board. That's why I must assume that God is not actively controlling the disposition of good & evil in the world. Instead, our paths through life are controlled by three forces : 1> deterministic natural laws; 2> rational natural selection; 3> personal choices (free will). With that scenario in mind, I have come to view this world metaphorically as a computer-game program running on auto-pilot; which led me to the Deist notion of a hands-off Creator, who sets-up a dynamic program with tricky feed-back loops, and quirky personal choices, to keep the final outcome from being predictable, even for Omniscience. Having set the world in motion, S/he then sits back to see what happens as the players enjoy the thrill of victory (good) and the agony of defeat (evil).
However, most people seem to believe that all the injustice in the world should be counter-balanced by perfect justice in the next life. Then, if there is a heavenly afterlife in our future, we will get our just desserts (recompense) in the form of Karma : evil-doers in this life will suffer evil in the next, while sufferers will enjoy pure goodness. That theory makes some sense to the human mind, partly because our social brains are especially sensitive to fairness and equity. But in reality I haven't seen any reliable evidence to support the Karma hypothesis. So I'm not counting on unhatched eggs, but merely learning to accept whatever comes my way with equanimity. The Greek Stoics, who didn't count on a fair & balanced afterlife, called such this-life accommodation to the ups & downs of life : apatheia
, maintaining balance between positive and negative passions. That way, we get our recompense right-here right-now in the form of a noble life. Reason & Freedom :
<< Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. . . .
The idea was to be free of suffering through apatheia (Greek: ἀπάθεια) or peace of mind (literally, 'without passion'), where peace of mind was understood in the ancient sense—being objective or having "clear judgment" and the maintenance of equanimity in the face of life's highs and lows. . . .
Following Socrates, the Stoics held that unhappiness and evil are the results of human ignorance of the reason in nature.>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism