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Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

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 Why Bad Things Happen to Good People Empty Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Post  Admin on Fri 04 Mar 2011, 9:34 pm

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (685.4)

Two dear friends were inflicted with the soul-searing, heart-rending pain of death. One lost her lifelong companion and soul mate, a gentle man who lived a good life of 70 years. The other had to say goodbye to her innocent newborn son, the victim of a neurological anomaly.

I've tried to process these personal tragedies in the context of notorious homicides including the killing of Ed Thomas, a beloved teacher-coach in Iowa who was shot by a mentally ill former player, and the conscienceless murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings, a Florida couple revered for caring for and loving 19 children, including a dozen with special needs. How can we explain the deaths of the good and the innocent?

In his book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," Rabbi Harold Kushner, whose young son died of a rare disease, shares his struggle to understand undeserved suffering and to keep his faith. He found no comfortable answers, thoughtfully discussing and ultimately rejecting classic answers given by religionists: God has a hidden purpose that we cannot and need not understand; suffering is a test or a lesson, or death leads our loved ones to a better place.

Rabbi Kushner writes that he finally found peace of mind when he gave up the idea that everything happens for a reason, or that God causes or purposefully allows everything to happen. It's futile and foolish to expect the consequences of natural forces and human nature to conform to our notions of fairness. "God doesn't send us the problem," he says. "He gives us the strength to cope with the problem."

If we want to move beyond our grief and find continuing meaning in our lives, we shouldn't ask, "Why did this happen?" but "What am I going to do with the life I have now?"

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

(c) 2011 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further information visit www.charactercounts.org.

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