Updated: Feb 8
Had a research medical doctor ask my wife (after he found out she was a priest), “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
The doctor was from somewhere around India, if he was not Indian. Despite the possibilities raised by the fiction Life of Pi, I felt the question was an insult.
Perhaps you have heard that question asked before. In that particular case (likely atheist Indian doctor asking an female Episcopal priest) it was a bullshit question, asked by a Hindu to a Christian.
The obvious answer to that question is: “Jesus of Nazareth (born in Bethlehem) didn’t complain and he was as good as it gets.”
There was a popular saying in the nineties: “Shit Happens.” Those words of wisdom, just as history is always written by the winners, is what bad people throwing the shit on good people love to say.
The real question that really needs to be pondered, long, seriously, and often is: “Why do good thing happen to bad people?”
Everyone who is the recipient of a heinous criminal act, whether or not the person acted criminally upon is good or bad, the one who acted bad, thus a bad person, is granted the goodness of a system of law. The act demanding bad people be treated with goodness deflects focus on that criminal act being itself a bad thing happening to good people.
Suppose, a woman is brutally raped and murdered. Her body is hacked to pieces and buried deep in some wilderness that few people ever visit. The bad person has a good thing happen to him or her – life as if nothing bad happened. If there is evidence that leads to an arrest, the bad person is given the goodness of some prostitute lawyer that will blame the victim or plea bargain so a bad person gets minimal punishment. If a bad person is found guilty of murder and sentenced to die, then the legal system will automatically grant the bad person an appeal. If evidence is lost, or a witness dies, a second trial might not give the bad person the same verdict.
Often, the family of the woman never gets her body recovered for burial and closure. More bad things happening to good people, or at least innocent people who did not deserve this disgrace.
No one ever thinks the right thing to do is to torture the bad person into a confession and leading authorities to the body. No one ever thinks the right thing to do is execute a death penalty immediately. No one ever thinks laws should be written that punish lawyers that defend bad people. No one ever thinks a jury chosen from a pool of legal idiots (including some bad people) is an idiotic way to go about finding justice.
We live in a fucked up society that enjoys making bad things happen to good people.
We live in a sick society that enjoys the paradox of fighting for the rights of women to kill unwanted babies, and then turns around and fights for the life of convicted murderers. If all unwanted babies were allowed to be born, to immediately be given death sentences in a courtroom, where the babies would be ten to twenty years old before possibly being executed, I wonder if their mothers would burn candles outside the prison walls.
Fortunately, the message of Jesus Christ is the only salve in this ever present wounding of good people that life in America now freely hands out. The message is this: If you can put up with the bullshit bad things that are always directed at good people, in purposeful attempts to make good people change into bad people, then when you die there is a good chance your soul (if life in the flesh was ended as a Saint) will get to stand on the edge of the Great Abyss and peer down into the inferno where bad people go, hearing all the fuckups screaming, “Please! Just one drop of piss on the tip of my tongue to cool this eternal burn!”
Then, the good people get to make the “Sorry. I can’t hear you” gestures and walk away to sing praises to Yahweh for eternity.