The issue of suffering and poverty often comes up in reference to God in conversation. Extremes of wealth meet face to face with extremes of religion. There are some who no longer see a need for worship because they feel that they are fully in control of their own destiny, while others who feel they no longer have any hope are adopting so-called fundament- alism and violence in the name of religion. The former approach is borne out of a lack of accountability and of a lack of understanding of the balance of the Universe. They may be healthy and wealthy today, but things can change very fast, and a life can be lost in an instance. Sometimes these people lose compassion for those less well off than themselves. The latter use religion as a tool with which to launch their self- centred attempts to forcibly reclaim power and wealth for themselves, whereas the religious angle they claim to uphold actually goes against the fundamentals of the teachings they claim to represent. In both cases, the parties depict a lack of personal and real contact with God. The feature article this month demonstrates that suffering is actually a means to reformation, and not a form of cruelty. Those that have faced no hardship and made no sacrifices should worry about the spiritual progress they have made. Another article describes the nature of God based on the personal contact and experience of the Promised Messiah(as). It is this personal contact that shows that we will not take our current wealth and health, good or bad, with us in the next life. Therefore whether we are rich or poor, healthy or ill, it is what we do with our circumstances that will benefit or harm us in the end. Fazal Ahmad 2 The Review of Religions – September 2004 Editorial Sept 04.qxd 04-09-04 21:02 Page 2