Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Bad Things Happen

One of the questions I am inevitably asked when talking to people about situations like Rene’s is, “Why?” Why would a loving God take a young woman like that?

Well, actually, God didn’t do it. The tumor grew in her head without any help from Him at all. Good medicine and positive thinking kept it at bay for a while, but it was inevitable that it would come back.

But wait, what about miracles? Couldn’t God have done a miracle here? Well, actually, yes. I do believe in miracles. And maybe it was a miracle that Rene had 5 good years instead of only 6 months. But that is only speculation. I think we can put an interpretation to almost anything after the fact.

And the fact is, God doesn’t make things happen to people for whatever reason. He created us and the world we live in – at least some of us think so - but He turned control over that world to us. He could intervene on our behalf, and at time has done so, but most of the time He lets us chart our own course. He is not sitting up in heaven with a computer keeping track of how good we are – I think it’s only Santa and the Easter Bunny who do that – so he can bring down a terrible sickness on those who are sinning.

So many of us grew up in religious experiences where we learned that we had to be good to please God. And in some way that started to equate to “Be good so nothing terrible happens.” But as Rabbie Kushner points out in his book, “Why Bad Thing Happen to Good People”, personal tragedy is not linked to personal morality.

It is from Kushner that I learned about the workings of natural law that operates with no moral judgment. He believes that natural law is blind, and God does not interfere with it. God does not intervene to save good people from earthquake or disease, and does not send these misfortunes to punish the wicked.

Does that mean that we should stop being good? Or stop praying for miracles? Absolutely not. We should always be good to please ourselves. And I believe that God is dispensing miracles all the time. It’s just that sometimes it is not the miracle we asked for.

2 comments:

Pam in Colorado said...

I agree totally with what you have stated here. The question "why" tends to distract from the issue at hand. Perhaps that comforts those who need to have an answer, even if there is no answer, or none that fit the perspective they are coming from. Easier to place blame then to accept that, which has no reason or understanding this side of eternity.

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for your comment Pam. Your response is right on. We tend not to like mysteries in our lives.