05 Apr 2015

“Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

Religious 25 Comments

Here’s one way of resolving the age-old question…

Bad Things Good People

25 Responses to ““Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?””

  1. Grane Peer says:

    This will come as little comfort to all those who have lost their children. This one does not fit the standard of fancy dinner party etiquette but I can appreciate a good joke, you are joking right?

  2. E. Harding says:

    In other words: Jews deserved Holocaust.

    • Mark Geoffriau says:

      No. In other words: Everyone deserves Holocaust.

      • E. Harding says:

        The whole includes the subset.

      • Tel says:

        Everyone deserves Holocaust, and yet some come out of these situations significantly better off than others.

    • Z says:

      The entire concept of ‘deserving’ is just a cultural construct with no basis in reality. The Jews did not ‘deserve’ the holocaust nor did they ‘deserve’ to be saved. The entire concept is meaningless.

  3. Yosef says:

    But that still leaves the question unanswered actually. Even if we accept that it only happened once, and Jesus volunteered, the question is still why did it happen. Why did God create a world in which it was necessary for bad things to happen to good people (or a good person)? Was He unable to create a world in which bad things to good people were unnecessary? Does He want bad things to happen to good people?

    • E. Harding says:

      And, really, what was the point of having Jesus executed in Roman-era Jerusalem, rather than at the earliest point in history feasible?

      • anon says:

        In my childhood circles, it was explained that Jesus’s blood flowed into the past and the future and all sins were covered by his sacrifice provided you accepted it, meaning that you jumped through the doctrinal hoops of belief or sacraments or whatever is unique to your particular flavor of Christianity. If you asked why the sacrifice had to happen in the first place, it was because “only blood can atone for sin,” as though that were some sort of meaningful answer. Press on, and there would be a lot of talk about humility and God’s ways being higher than your ways. The polite term for this is hand-waving.

        The answer to every question about theological weirdness is “because God designed it that way, and you should submit.”

        • Tel says:

          Blood atoning for sin is basically a fancy way of saying “revenge”.

          It is true that revenge has a long and elaborate history in human society, often with feuds going back many generations. Part of the problem of trying to build a really big society is how to handle the build-up of minor resentment and long tit-for-tat battles without having the whole lot fall apart.


          If you don’t get that sorted out, this sort of thing tends to happen as illustrated above.

          That’s presuming you want to build a “big society”, if you are happy living in a small village you can probably not worry about this until someone sends their army over to make you part of their “big society”. It’s all about getting a very large number of muskets lined up in the one place at the one time.

  4. anon says:

    And they call libertarians glib. If mainline Christians want to make Randianism look good by comparison, I recommend they continue saying things like this out loud where everyone with a conscience can hear them.

    Presumably all those infants, young children, and animals who die by the billions in a state of nature aren’t good in Mr. Sproul’s eyes. He is a Calvinist, so it would make sense that he’d view the entire world as wholly evil and deserving of the suffering it endures, whether it’s aware of its guilt or not. Merciless.

    • Carrie says:


      Rand: “The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”

      Pastors Sproul and MacDonald: Your nature is inherently sinful and you deserve to suffer and die.

      I pick door number one, and cannot fathom the degree of self-hatred that would allow anyone to accept the opposite.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Carrie wrote: “I pick door number one, and cannot fathom the degree of self-hatred that would allow anyone to accept the opposite.”

        Here’s another Rand quote that is apropos: You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.

        • Carrie says:

          Avoiding reality would mean failing to accept that life is the standard of value. Avoiding reality would mean accepting an unearned guilt (ie. believing that you are sinful for an act you did not commit). Avoiding reality would mean wanting unearned rewards (ie. believing that someone else’s sacrifice can compensate for your sins). Avoiding reality would be refusing to acknowledge that humans can attain moral perfection. It is NOT avoiding reality to have developed virtuous habits and the corresponding self-esteem that would make it impossible for a person to experience self-hatred.

          • Bob Murphy says:

            Right Carrie, we obviously disagree on our metaphysical views. But your original comment sounded very close to, “It would disgust me if the Christian story were true, so I do not believe it. I prefer to think we live in a universe where there is no God.”

            • Carrie says:

              Ah, I see. That isn’t how I meant it. I think Christianity is false for reasons that have nothing to do with how I judge its moral teachings. When I read anon’s comment about Randianism looking better in comparison to the quote in the meme, my mind went to the idea of marketing, and thinking about why many people are swayed by negative tactics (you are awful and need this product/idea because of your vices) vs. being swayed by positive tactics (you are wonderful so you deserve this great product/feeling). This weekend some friends were discussing how to get people interested in politics and philosophy. Often, people are first drawn in by how the ideas make them “feel,” which is later followed by an investigation into the accuracy of the philosophy’s claims. So anon’s comment reminded me of this discussion, and how it is interesting that the quote you posted marketed to people’s negative feelings, whereas O’ism would attract people who already feel pride. I agree that the facts are the facts regardless of how I feel about them.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Fair enough, Carrie, and I know from your previous comments that you would of course be able to mount a strong defense of your position. It is not erecting a strawman though for me to say that some people really have put forward arguments to the effect of, “If that’s the kind of God I’m asked to believe in, I want no part of it.”

  5. knoxharrington says:

    I think R.C. needs to check his Bible. See Genesis 6:9 and Job 1:1. According to the Bible both Noah and Job were blameless, i.e., perfect. Jesus, according to the Bible, was never the only “good” person.

    “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” Gen. 6:9 NIV

    “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1 NIV

    • E. Harding says:

      Good point. The book of Job does soundly refute the claim in the poster.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      knox wrote:

      I think R.C. needs to check his Bible.

      And not just R.C., but Jesus Christ and Paul. We can find quotes from them saying that only God is good, and that only Jesus was without sin. You would think Jesus Christ and Paul (formerly Saul the Pharisee) would know the Mosaic tradition at least as well as Knox Harrington, but nope.

      • E. Harding says:

        Eh, another Bible contradiction, I guess.
        “We can find quotes from them saying that only God is good, and that only Jesus was without sin.”

        • Bob Murphy says:

          E. Harding, here is Jesus saying only God is good. And here is Paul saying all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

          Right, if you want to argue that there is a prima facie contradiction between the Bible’s discussion of Job and the statements above, fair enough; I would be interested in hearing my pastor for example discuss it. (I have a guess what he would say, but I am sure I would learn something to hear him discuss it.)

          But for Knox to act like this is an easy blow-up and that Sproul doesn’t understand the Bible is absurd.

          • knoxharrington says:

            I think you are being a little harsh Bob. Whoever created the little meme, I’m assuming it was not Sproul himself, obviously thought it was very pithy. It just happens to be wrong. I’m sure Sproul knows his Bible and I guess, knowing the nature of these type of memes, that I shouldn’t have directed him personally to study his Bible. But, it was in fact, an easy blow up of that meme – Sproul’s understanding of the Bible notwithstanding.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Last one and I have to stop: Knox, the meme rests on the view that Jesus was the only truly good person who has ever lived. There is ample support for that view in the New Testament, including from Jesus Himself. So when you are saying it was easy to blow up that statement, you are not indicting its Biblical support.

              • knoxharrington says:

                This is my last one also. I’m not being snarky when I say this – but there is the Old and the New Testament which make up the Bible. If I use the Old Testament, which states that Job and Noah are blameless and therefore “good,” then I am simply using the Bible to invalidate a non-Biblical statement made by a minister. This doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t good – it just means Sproul’s statement is without foundation in the Bible.

                “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

                I know what the quote is meant to say, it is just wrong. Sproul, as a teacher, should be aware that he will be judged more strictly for making non-Biblical claims about Jesus which are proven incorrect by the very book used to justify the assertion.

Leave a Reply