Why do bad things happen to good people?

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Why do bad things happen to good people? There is one question that everyone asks but to which no one knows the answer: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" The misfortunes of good people raise problems not only for those who suffer, but also for everyone who wants to believe in a just and livable world and in a fair and compassionate God. Rabbi Kushner, author of "Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People", attempts to bring light to this difficult question. In doing so he evaluates past attempts to explain suffering, offers his own approach to the justification of suffering in today's society, and makes suggestions for how one can deal with suffering and continue his or her journey into the future. This essay will examine these rationales and will conclude with an analysis on how Kushner handles the four foundational sources for understanding the will of God through scripture, tradition, history, and modern context. Kushner evaluates past attempts to explain suffering and discusses why they are not satisfactory. One way in which people attempt to make sense of suffering is to assume that they deserve what they get, and that somehow their misfortunes come as punishment for their sins. This idea portrays God as a righteous judge who is all loving, all-powerful, in total control, and gives people exactly what they deserve. However, Kushner sees major limitations in this idea because it teaches people to blame themselves for their suffering and creates unnecessary guilt. In addition, he argues that it may even turn people away from God and cause them to hate themselves. Victims of misfortune also try to console themselves by believing that God has his reasons for making them suffer, reasons that they are in no position to... ... middle of paper ... ...the scriptures in the Bible. Moreover, Kushner negates the traditional beliefs of scripture by using modern ideas of evolution to undermine the creation story, "In a description of Creation which is astonishingly similar to the evolutionary process as scientists have come to unravel it." (pg 72). This statement undermines God's supremacy and promotes Kushners idea of randomness and lack of control. Lastly, Kushner goes against tradition and historical practices of prayer when he insists that asking God for help and asking God to change things is wrong. Instead he suggests that people should change their understanding of what is means to pray and what it means to have one's prayers answered. Nevertheless, Kushner attempts to address the issues of suffering with deep insight and relies heavily on modern context to help people understand the painful events of this life.

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