Perhaps life’s greatest challenge is coping with suffering — or how to suffer well. All religions address this, but not in the same way. Christianity uniquely gives meaning to suffering because of the redemptive suffering of its founder, Jesus Christ. Grace and Grit is a film by Sebastian Siegel (who wrote the script) about the suffering of a real-life young couple, writer Ken Wilber (played by Stuart Townsend), and his wife, Treya Wilber (Mena Suvari), who is diagnosed with cancer shortly after their wedding. The film is, among other things, a study of how one’s deepest convictions influence one’s approach to suffering. Since his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness (Quest Books, 1977), Wilber has defended the worldview that all is one (nondualism or monism) and all is divine (pantheism). He has developed an account of consciousness in which the highest state of consciousness is the realization of oneness with an impersonal god. While Wilber wants to integrate truths from all religions and philosophies and puts his theories into an evolutionary scenario, he is essentially a Zen Buddhist. Does Wilbur’s worldview ultimately provide both truth and hope in the midst of suffering and death? Longtime Journal author and Christian philosopher Douglas Groothuis, author of Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness—A Philosopher’s Lament, talks about Wilbur’s personal story and worldview.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Doug Groothuis about his online-exclusive article, “Grit Without Grace: Love and Tragedy According to Nondualism: A Review of the film Grace and Grit.

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