Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

One of the major complaints from atheists, agnostics, and even religious people is that God should not allow bad things to happen to people, especially good people.

Now, I would like to start our investigation into why this is a ridiculous complaint.  First of all, bad things happen to everybody, whether they consider themselves as good or bad.  And why do you believe that you are a “good” person, anyway?  If you consider yourself as being a “good” person, you are certainly less than humble, and most likely your pride has taken you to the “bad” side.  In other words, there may be no “good” person on our planet.

Perhaps, you would like to change the title of this article to “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen, At All?”  This certainly avoids the difficult proof that you are a good person.  It focuses on God as being the culprit who allows bad things to happen to all of us.  We certainly cannot accept any of that blame!

Well, this takes me to my second point.  God, the Creator, more than likely, does not exist in His creation.  One of the few scientific laws is that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe.  In other words, creation occurred outside the boundary of our closed universe.  If all this is true, God can only create outside His creation.  And it is likely that God does not want to intervene or interfere in the evolution of His creation.

And my third and final point is that there should be consequences for “bad” people.  Why would God need to change that?  My guess is that God created the universe with “free will” and He allows us to make poor choices every day.  He does not prevent us from making bad decisions and also experiencing “bad things” because of those decisions, and most likely God will provide additional consequences outside the universe, if we are lucky enough to enter His kingdom.

Asking for relief from “bad” things that will happen to you is the same thing as asking for forgiveness for future bad acts.  It is a bit premature to request avoiding consequences in advance of your committing sins.  It is a much better act to thank God for the “bad” things that happened to you, hopefully making you a better person.  And also thank God for the “bad” things that will happen to you, reminding you to avoid those bad choices.

All this is the preliminary stage during your life, leading to the final judgment.  And again if “bad” things happen in the afterlife, then I will accept that as my fate because I was a “bad” person during my lifetime.

Now, many Christians will say that I am not a Christian because I believe that we all will face a day of consequences for our poor choices.  Christians say that Jesus died for our sins forgiving the bad decisions that we made during our lives, giving us safe passage to heaven.  I believe that too, except I must add an adjective… “…giving us safe passage to the first heaven.”

I am a Christian existentialist.  I believe that Jesus died for our sins so that we could enter the first heaven, which probably separates the believers from the non-believers.  Unfortunately, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:2, there are three heavens.  The Bible is very clear about there being a Judgment Day with consequences, which probably will be associated with one or both of the other two heavens.

Walk a Month in Their Shoes

It might prove interesting to live another person’s life for a month.  I wonder what it would be like to move from your comfortable three-bedroom suburban home into a one-room apartment with a common bathroom that you share with three other tenants.  Would your new neighbors consider you an easy target for robbery or rape?  Would you be able to survive for a month?

With drugs and alcohol in widespread use, society’s protections are breaking down even in the suburbs.  But moving into a neighborhood with very high crime and drug use will raise red flags even higher than you could have imagined, coming from your middle-class background.

Now, liberals might say that this is exactly what you need to experience for empathy, while conservatives might say that this is exactly what you need to experience to throw these people in prison.  However, the truth is more likely that you need to experience this new type of living in order to understand why you are not liked.

We typically want to be liked, so we work hard to be kind and generous, expecting the same treatment in kind from those recipients.  But after living in the seedy side of town for several weeks, you will come to resent those who live better than you do.  And if they come into your neighborhood with free food and warm clothing, you will see some of them patronizing you.  Instead of liking them, you will despise them.  They will appear to act like they are better than you.  That does not leave a good taste in your mouth.

If you walk a mile in a poor person’s shoes, you will return home with blisters because your feet probably weren’t tough enough to use their cheaper shoes.  And if you see others walking with better shoes, you will not be happy for them.  You will dislike them and their shoes.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, perhaps it simply means that good people on earth should not expect those who continue to commit sins to like them.  Why should they?  The good people remind them that they are leading a bad lifestyle.  And since the bad people may have an ugly future ahead in the afterlife, they should at least have the best of times on earth during their lifetimes.  They should be able to sin as much as they want on earth, because if they are already sentenced to be punished after death, the consequences will not be that much different by continuing their sinning.

And sinners should be able to torture and make the good suffer on earth if the opposite applies after death.  Why should the good get the best of both worlds?  If the good go to Heaven and the bad go to Hell after death, then the bad should be able to experience Heaven during life and the good would experience Hell as long as they live.

And please understand:  I am not saying that is the way it should be.  But  I am saying that if the good stood inside the shoes of the sinners, they might have a completely different perspective of how bad people view good citizens.  They not only don’t like them, but they sometimes want to hurt them and make their lives miserable.  Walk a month in their shoes and you may find out why.

So, why should the sinners stop sinning?  If you have committed sins, it may even be easier for you to continue committing those same sins and even higher sins.  So, why stop?  Well, I suppose that the best answer is because none of us know what happens after death.  The best case for a hardened criminal is that nothing happens at death.  Everything just stops.  However, that is not likely in a recycling universe that has no end.

So, assuming that something happens when we die, what could it be?  Well, most likely we will still be aware of our surroundings.  It probably will be different than what we experience during life, but we may still be thinking.

And if we are still thinking, what will we be thinking about?  We probably will not be distracted by television, family problems, work issues, spousal demands, or whatever else fills your day.  We may be thinking about all the bad things we did during our lives.  Thus, if we had stopped sinning, we at least could feel good about ourselves.  And of course, if we believed that Jesus died for our sins, then we might not think about them at all.  Quite frankly, many Christians would still regret and recall their sins.  It is natural to carry remorse for your bad acts.  But you should still turn all your sins over to God and thank Jesus for His sacrifice.

Even if you gave all your sins to God and did not recall the bad choices you made during life, you would still have to appear before your Creator on Judgment Day.  Nobody knows how this judge-alone trial will proceed, but there most likely will be consequences.

So, the bottom line is that we all should examine ourselves and not our neighbors in order to prepare for both the rest of our life and our afterlife.  It is much more important for you to walk a month correctly in your shoes.  And however you walked in the past may have consequences, but you can minimize that punishment by the way you walk in the present and future.  And if you unify with God, you can walk with God.