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.

Dreamweaver

I have had many dreams over my 68 years.  Many of them seem like they are movies with me playing myself.  Some of them border on the strange side, but I had one the other day that was the biggest, baddest nightmare ever.  I don’t wish this dream on anybody.

It started like I was being enticed by third parties, most of whom were unknown to me, to do things that were out of character for me.  For example, I was asked to steal some items in a store, but I refused.  I was told that the storekeeper would not see me and there would be no consequences.  But I still refused.

After a series of attempts by others to get me to do certain things and after continuing refusals, I was told that I played a role in the attempted suicide of a NCIS agent that I worked with at the Navy Yard in Washington DC.  I visited the agent in an effort to find out what had happened, but I was not allowed to talk with him and was shuttled off to a dark room.  I saw a tunnel and I got in it.

Then the police came and told me to come out of the tunnel since I was under arrest.  I refused.  They came in and pulled me out.  Then they strapped me to a seat that was attached to a conveyor or train rail.  I started moving around like I was on an amusement ride at Disney World.  It took me to scenario after scenario, but they were hardly amusing.

In one scene, I was approached by a sinister figure who said that he would free me if I simply agreed to follow him.  I refused.  He hissed like a snake and told me I was a fool.  I would be tortured and would finally give in to him, so why not make it easy on myself and avoid the pain?  I refused.  He advised me that all I had to do was agree to follow him.  What harm was there in that?  I refused.

And then the pain started.  My back felt like it was breaking.  My arms and legs were stretched like a rubber band.  My eyes were burning like a hot poker was in them.  My skin was being burned off my body.  The nails were being pulled out one at a time.  The pain was excruciating.  I had never had pain like this in a dream.  It seemed so real.

Then I cried out for God.  I had attempted to fight this demon by myself and was losing the battle, so I realized that I had to bring God into my dream to save me.  It worked.  As soon as I called out for God to enter me, I woke up.  My wife was awake next to me since my calls for God woke her up.

The thing that really shook me up was the aches and pains that I continued to have all throughout my body.  It was like I had actually been tortured by some devilish creature.

I had never called on God before to help me in my dreams.  I suppose that was the lesson.  We cannot fight Satan and the powers of evil by ourselves.  We might believe that we can, but that is exactly why pride is a sin.  It is only by allowing God into your soul that you can fight the forces of darkness and chaos.

 

We All Have Sinned

We humans have a tendency to justify or rationalize the poor choices we have made.  But we all have sinned.  We may even convince ourselves that we are better than criminals or others who have sinned more.  But, unfortunately, we are not better.  We all have sinned equally.

One of my favorite stories is about an older man who approached a younger woman and propositioned her to have sex with him.  She immediately turned toward him down and in an offended voice asked, “What kind of woman do you think I am?”  The old man then asked her if she would have sex for a million dollars.  She turned toward him with a smile and said, “Well, of course I will.”  The old gentleman stroked his white stubble and said, “Well, now we know what kind of woman you are.  All we need to do is to negotiate the price.”

We may go through life without killing somebody, but we should not congratulate ourselves and think that we are better than those who have committed murders.  Just like the lady who believed she wasn’t a prostitute, we may think that we are not murderers.  But under different conditions, such as war or revolution or starvation, who knows what we would do.  Would you kill your neighbor who during a depression was trying to steal your last loaf of bread?  Or would you kill a stranger who was trying to shoot your spouse?

Never say never.  We are all capable to killing and, for that matter, committing any number of sins.  We are all sinners and are capable of committing any and all sins.  We should not delude ourselves by comparing ourselves to others who have committed more sins.  We are no better than any of the criminals given life sentences for their acts of depravity.  And it serves no purpose to weigh sins.  Your sin is just as heavy as those of others.  And for those of you who are proud that you have never committed a sin may have the worst sin to deal with:  pride.

I remember a discussion about ten years ago when a church member announced that he believed that it was not fair for a murderer to repent his sin one minute before execution for his crime.  He thought that the murderer should be treated differently than him in the presence of God.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how the Creator will provide consequences for our sins, but I do believe that He will look on us more favorably if we don’t spend our time judging others and simply accept the fact that we are sinners.  Just like Jesus said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

I also believe that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In other words, I believe there are consequences for our sins.  There may be consequences for our sins if they violate the laws of society.  Or we may provide consequences to ourselves if we feel guilty about what we have done.

But the potential for the most devastating consequences are out of sight and sometimes out of mind.  In a closed universe where matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed, there is a strong possibility that we will still be thinking after we die.  And for those of you who wanted to live forever, think again… and again… and again… in fact, think forever.  And without your senses to entertain you, you might indeed be in Hell.

But let’s be positive.  I am positive that we all have sinned.  I am positive that there will be consequences.  I am positive that we can prepare for the consequences, whatever they might be.  I am positive that if I repent of my sins and let God enter me and be a part of me, I will have an ally and guide through Hell.  Without Him, I will be lost in the chaos of Hell.