Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Do bad things happen to good people?
let me post this link to a new spinoff website by Marshall Brain: God Is Imaginary.
Why do bad things happen to good people?"
This is certainly one of the most profound metaphysical questions of all time. In fact, how a person answer might say more about their metaphysical views then any other single question could (not to mention the me v. the universe idea and it's importance to personality psychology).
For most metaphysical schools of thought the answer in the cynical cliché that 'no good deed goes unpunished'. The implication here is that good deeds carry punishments rather than rewards. Thus, one could say that doing good and being a good person is it's own reward (if there is to be one at all). Taken further, one has to ask one's self if being a good person in the expectation of some reward is truly being good morally or just good strategically.
It is, in fact, an essential concept within most spiritual groups throughout history that one might deny one's self of earthly joys in order to prove one's devoutness. This is evident both in great spiritual leaders (Jesus, Buddha) and in various orders of monks and priests who take vows that inhibit their ability to enjoy the 'mundane' pleasures of life. It is saying, in essence, that the joy of faith and spirit is the only joy they need, and that they are willing to sacrifice anything for the greater good (typically peace, love, or enlightenment).
For the monotheistic, in particular, there is an additional complimentary element. That being, that god promises only his love. You are to love him/her as he/she loves you. This covenant will not prevent adversity, but rather give you the strength to overcome adversity. This is probably best demonstrated for the Judeo-Christian in the book of Job (one of my favorites).
Anyway, for the godless there is just as much to be learned from this concept. It's an idea that has been around forever, but only becomes clear upon one's own meditations.
"Virtue herself is her own fairest reward."
-Silius Italicus, Punica
"Nature does not loathe virtue: it is unaware of its existence."
It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better... while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more.
We see many who are struggling against adversity who are happy, and more although abounding in wealth, who are wretched.