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Old 10-06-2004, 10:42 PM   #1
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bad things happen to good people. so who is in control?

last fall around this time, i had a friend of mine die in a car accident. him and a few of his TKD friends were on route to n. carolina for a martial arts competition when they were cut off by a department of transportation truck, slid through the median strip of one of pennsylvania's busiest interstates and then were struck by two tractor trailors. one of 4 survived. i only knew one of them, but he was honestly one of the nicest persons that i have ever met. polite, sincere, friendly, and he had an air of innocence about him that is so rare these days. it wasn't his time to die, he had a whole life ahead of him. who is in control?

tonight i received news that one of my best friend's mom passed away last night from cancer. another tragedy almost exactly a year from the car accident. i don't even know what to say to console my friend, she's been there for me when i needed her...but i can't even imagine what it's like to lose a parent when you're only 22 years old. i have nothing to say to her other than that i love her to death and that i will do whatever i can to help. i just feel like that isn't enough. it's frustrating. she doesn't deserve to lose her mom at this point in her life and her mother sure didn't deserve to be eaten away at by that terrible disease. who is in control?

i am a former believer (christianity) and left the faith for many reasons i won't go into here, but these sort of tragedies coupled with the pathetic state of the world today convinces me that god is not playing an active role in our universe. i see the handiwork of an incredible intelligence in creation, but its presence escapes me. so i ask each of you , who is in control?

don't sorrow, no don't weap for tonight at last i am coming home.
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:52 PM   #2
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i am sorry to hear about these losses

my mother died of cancer when I was ten

i could go on about my losses.




in my darkest hour

i read Kushner's book.


"When Bad Things Happen to Good People"

It helped me a great deal.

It is available in paperback

it provides comfort and addresses the very questions you have asked.

There is room for belief in a world where bad things happen.

Tell your friend you are sorry for her loss. Ask if she needs anything.

It gets better. Again I encourage you to get this book.
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:03 PM   #3
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I don't think anyone's in control, and I don't mean for that to sound at all flippant. What I mean is I think bad things, and good things too, for that matter, just happen. I don't think your friend's mom dying of cancer was part of anyone's plan. I don't think it was to make your friend a stronger person or because God needed more angels, or any of the things you hear when people die, especially when they die young. I don't buy the God has a plan, we just don't know what it is, deal.

So I guess I just don't know. I guess what I mostly try to do when I wonder about this is just realize that I will never know why most things happen, but I just try to manage to live my life as well as I can.
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:08 AM   #4
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I'm very sorry for your losses. Don't worry about saying the right things to your friend...sometimes just being there is plenty.

I find it very discouraging that people will blame God for the actions of people. God is not capable of evil...we certainly are. It's our free will that gives us the option to choose. When it comes to sickness...yes sickness is a terrible thing and it wasn't part of God's plan for us either. Sickness came into the world when we gave God the finger and told Him we didn't need His help...the world is not as it should be, thankfully God has provided a solution. God's presence is visible Se7en...I have seen miracles and His Providence--unforetuantly there is evil visible in this world as well.

Psalm 73
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:16 AM   #5
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1st i'm sorry what hapened to them and nothing what i write now should justify that, nothing of this can make the pain you feel less..

Quote:
i am a former believer (christianity) and left the faith for many reasons i won't go into here, but these sort of tragedies coupled with the pathetic state of the world today convinces me that god is not playing an active role in our universe. i see the handiwork of an incredible intelligence in creation, but its presence escapes me. so i ask each of you , who is in control?
Sin is the distance to god - and because mankind choosed sin over the close relationship to god these things can hapen.
It has nothing to do with these lovely people you mentioned and their faith dosn't ensure that nothing hapens to them. God is no candy machine (you please him and get some candy (adorable life etc) for it. His plan is to cure us (Jesus) from this disease (sin).
So the important part in this is eternity not our current life.
Sorry i can't explain to you why some things in detail hapen, it's just sad and sometimes turns my stomach upside down. I think it's a kind of "Theatre of the Universe" and god let it hapen because we had the free choice to join him or to leave him (maybee we are like a small kid that continuosely wants to touch the hot oven), the rest of the universe can see now what hapens even to good men and women if they choose sin.
Anyway because i believe in god i'm sure death is the just the beginning of something bigger and better, not the end.

I'm sorry for you what hapened to your friends
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Old 10-07-2004, 04:55 AM   #6
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I am sorry for your losses too. I am also dealing with a loss this week as my stepfather passed away on Tuesday from cancer. He was 71 and my Mom is 61.

Why these things happen and why doesn't God prevent them from happening is a question I've had. I think it's a huge reason to question faith and question God. I do believe God isn't in control though. No one is. If God is Love and all good - then God isn't responsible for bad things.

In a time of sorrow - it is natural to question God. Of course, it's OK to be angry and question God and yell at God for untimely losses. God can take it! I think ultimately a person will be happier to have faith and look towards God for comfort than to go it alone. Venturing on a faith journey will fill your heart with comfort and compassion. Looking and finding the answers will be better than assuming God is in control and shutting the doors to faith.

Good things happen when a group of people get together and want to follow Jesus and serve. A Church congregation can be a great network to do amazing things in the world. Perhaps if we get together and pray and work on good things that can change the world we will be in a better place than giving up. With faith brings hope.
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:32 AM   #7
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Sin is just part of human nature as is good; to search for common humanity is a much nobler pursuit than the inherently devisive concepts of religion and nation. We are all human beings and we have too much in common to stay seperate. I dream of seeing a world where the hate is abandoned and all are free; a world where living is worthwhile.

We live our lives and we die. Bad things happen to good people and the most evil inflict it at their whim because the world is not pre-determined. Any one of us could be dead tomorrow and we may not have made a difference in the world. If there is no big meaning to all this, if nothing that we do matters, then the smallest acts of generosity can be the greatest thing.

There is no eternity, no elysium where those that suffered can live in perfect happiness for all eternity. We have one life on this lump of rock, all of us are mortal, and we must make sure that we have a world where millions are not dying from preventable disease. Where education is universal. Where human rights are reciognized and those that abuse them are prevented from doing so. We only have one chance, so make it count, all that matters is what we do.
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:36 AM   #8
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Everyone else has said some good things here, but I'll also second deep's recommendation of Rabbi Kushner. His When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough is also a very comforting read.
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Old 10-07-2004, 06:03 AM   #9
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When I had a rash of bad luck earlier this year--a friend was killed in a car accident, I got a painful stress-induced illness, my mother had a stroke--I wondered who was in charge myself. I believe in God, so I don't know why this stuff happens. There is always going to be stuff I simply don't understand.
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:52 AM   #10
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God is in control.


The whys are beyond our comprehension, as is the full nature of what is good and bad.

God knows when He will call us home. Not a second sooner, not a second later.

God does promise us a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is a promise for us today. He knows there are hurts in this world and He is the ultimate source of comfort. All we need to do is ask.

I am sorry for your sorrow and pain and I will be praying for you.
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Old 10-07-2004, 11:05 AM   #11
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first, i would like to say thank you to you all for your kind words. it is appreciated.

Quote:
Originally posted by indra
What I mean is I think bad things, and good things too, for that matter, just happen. I don't think your friend's mom dying of cancer was part of anyone's plan. I don't think it was to make your friend a stronger person or because God needed more angels, or any of the things you hear when people die, especially when they die young. I don't buy the God has a plan, we just don't know what it is, deal.

So I guess I just don't know.
i completely agree with you here and i admire anyone who has the courage to be able to say "i just don't know." the ability to be able to say that is what i'm looking for. there continues to be this longing for something more though. a relic from my evangelical days perhaps.

Quote:
Originally posted by starsgoblue

Sickness came into the world when we gave God the finger and told Him we didn't need His help...
this is one part of religion i am no longer able to accept. i never gave god the finger, but i am damned by the sins of my forefathers. where is the love?

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer

Sin is just part of human nature as is good; to search for common humanity is a much nobler pursuit than the inherently devisive concepts of religion and nation. We are all human beings and we have too much in common to stay seperate. I dream of seeing a world where the hate is abandoned and all are free; a world where living is worthwhile.

We live our lives and we die. Bad things happen to good people and the most evil inflict it at their whim because the world is not pre-determined. Any one of us could be dead tomorrow and we may not have made a difference in the world. If there is no big meaning to all this, if nothing that we do matters, then the smallest acts of generosity can be the greatest thing.

There is no eternity, no elysium where those that suffered can live in perfect happiness for all eternity. We have one life on this lump of rock, all of us are mortal, and we must make sure that we have a world where millions are not dying from preventable disease. Where education is universal. Where human rights are reciognized and those that abuse them are prevented from doing so. We only have one chance, so make it count, all that matters is what we do.


i think that our lives should be focused on this life, relegating any afterlife to afterthoughts. when people focus on the afterlife over this one i can't help but be reminded of marx's criticism of religion: it is the opium of the masses; it is a projection of the longing for material security in this life into hope for security in an immaterial ideal; it perpetuates inequality and injustice by turning our eyes upon a god and away from each other.

i think that there is a higher intelligence out there somewhere. creation seems inconceivable without it. but i think it is clear that its presence is absent. we've been given all we need, intellectually and materially. maybe we're in control.
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Old 10-07-2004, 11:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en
this is one part of religion i am no longer able to accept. i never gave god the finger, but i am damned by the sins of my forefathers. where is the love?
The love is there, just read the Bible. The one theme from cover to cover is redemption. That is the love.
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en
first, i would like to say thank you to you all for your kind words. it is appreciated.



i completely agree with you here and i admire anyone who has the courage to be able to say "i just don't know." the ability to be able to say that is what i'm looking for. there continues to be this longing for something more though. a relic from my evangelical days perhaps.



this is one part of religion i am no longer able to accept. i never gave god the finger, but i am damned by the sins of my forefathers. where is the love?





i think that our lives should be focused on this life, relegating any afterlife to afterthoughts. when people focus on the afterlife over this one i can't help but be reminded of marx's criticism of religion: it is the opium of the masses; it is a projection of the longing for material security in this life into hope for security in an immaterial ideal; it perpetuates inequality and injustice by turning our eyes upon a god and away from each other.

i think that there is a higher intelligence out there somewhere. creation seems inconceivable without it. but i think it is clear that its presence is absent. we've been given all we need, intellectually and materially. maybe we're in control.

i understand and agree with much said here.

i only reccomend the book because it offers a way for belief without all the irrational stuff* (my thinking for me) people throw at you.
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Old 10-07-2004, 04:41 PM   #14
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OK, I'm posting something I added to Dread's gift thread [which you should read] and I think it's appropriate here.

" I remember a neighbor coming over to our house. We had a monsignor [big Catholic priest guy] over and we're talking with him. She asked this monsignor why bad things happen to good people. He said it was because God loves us. Because you never know how important love is until you don't have it or how important happiness is until you are sad. I remember a friend bringing me soup and a card when I had bronchitis in college. The card read "You never realize how blessed you are to be healthy until you are sick." Indeed."

I believe this may be similar to Rabbi Kushner, deep, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Se7en, I know this sounds like total crap but I truly believe things happen for a reason. Looking back on this next year or five years from now or whatever, you may realize you've become stronger than you ever were, more courageous, more loving, living life more fully, whatever. What you get it out of it is for you. You will have more hardships in life, this is unfortunately not going to be the last, but these things are learning experiences that shape you as a human. It sucks, it really does, but sooner or later it gets better.
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:31 PM   #15
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One thought:

The terms "bad" and "good" imply you have an objective standard to measure which is which. Otherwise it would be "things I do not personally prefer" and "things I do." But to say something is "bad" objectively means you have transcended your subjectivity and have weighed this event somehow and have labeled it "bad." What is the objective standard you are referring to?

Example: to the allied forces, Hitler's actions were "bad," to a Nazi soldier, they were "good." If both views are equally valid, in the absense of an objective standard beyond both, you can only say that we destroyed Hitler because we did not "prefer" his actions, the way you might "prefer" vanilla ice cream to chocolate. So before you negate the Divine from the equation, at least realize how your very argument against Divine Justice is entirely dependant upon it.
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