If there is a God, why do such terrible things happen? This question has haunted my thoughts for a long time, and going to catholic school, I have never found a sufficient answer. The most common response I get from my theology teachers is that we can learn from the pain and loss that was caused. That’s fine and dandy, but why do those things happen?

Most religions believe in some sort of higher power which controls all things, be that directly or indirectly. In Hinduism, Karma is the ruler which gives each person what is due to her. Islam has a similar belief to Karma; bad things happen because of something else done before. Christianity states that any bad inflicted by a person can be forgiven if that person wishes to repent. Again, the answers aren’t quite hitting the nail on the head for me.

I want to know why natural disaster ruin livelihoods and tear families apart. I want to know why there are so many poor and vulnerable people in the world who can’t find the help they need. I want to know why my best friend died before she could legally drive. What my research showed me was bad things happen, and there isn’t any justification behind it. Maybe Karma carries over from a previous life. Maybe it’s just terrible luck. But maybe there is a method to this madness, and I need to keep looking.

  1. Hunter 3 years ago

    I really liked this post. I can relate, since I’ve been going to Catholic and other denominational private schools for my entire life. I’ve always been dissatisfied with the answer of “everything happens for a reason”, and “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle”. If we are truly God’s children, why can’t some of us handle our trials?
    I can’t speak specifically to any kind of answer, but this question has been so influential in my life that it caused me to lose my faith entirely. Loss is such a common human experience, and yet we cannot reason with it, nor can we accept it, a lot of times. I wish that I had these answers also, and I am glad knowing someone else can relate to the constant annoyance of not knowing.

  2. Josh 3 years ago

    Dear Cicely,
    This is a wonderfully complex question to be asking and I commend your initiation to ask it. I cannot give you a straight wrong or right answer but I can attempt to explain the way I would like to see it.
    Think about a time when you only ate one kind of food for an extended period of time. it was a kind of food that you enjoyed but because it was the only thing you ate, your appreciation for it dwindled. This isn’t because the food has changed or that it doesn’t taste the same, but is instead it is because you forgot about the alternative. Now apply this to the pain in your life and the bad things that happen to others. every time you had a birthday or celebrated an achievement, it only means something because of the pain that is the other option. Or how when you talked of the people you spoke of that are hurt by natural disasters, will have a better love for the grace of a cloudless day than any of the rest of us. If God (as I assume you believe exists) was to remove all “bad” things from the world, we would have no measuring stick to understand what good really was. So, in short, every time you fall, you get a better appreciation for standing without wavering. And every person who treats you badly, gives you a reason to love the ones who don’t. And every father that leaves, a stronger love for the one who will always be there. I hope this makes sense and I hope you understand what I think.

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