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When Bad Things Happen to Good People –…

When Bad Things Happen to Good People (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1981; vuoden 2004 painos)

– tekijä: Harold S. Kushner (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2,739273,840 (3.94)30
Offers a moving and humane approach to understanding life's windstorms. Raises many questions that will challenge your mind and test your faith regarding the ultimate questions of life and death.
Teoksen nimi:When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Kirjailijat:Harold S. Kushner (Tekijä)
Info:Anchor (2004), Edition: Reprint, 176 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

When Bad Things Happen to Good People (tekijä: Harold S. Kushner) (1981)

  1. 00
    Where Is God When It Hurts? (tekijä: Philip Yancey) (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: Kushner's book just commiserates, Yancey offers a more uplifting message. He has studied pain and sorrow and tries to make sense of it.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Read this some years ago and thought it was one of the very best expositions of emotional pain & the role of God in our lives.
Written by a rabbi pondering the life-long disease that lead to the death of his son at age 14. ( )
  librisissimo | May 11, 2021 |
This coming Sunday I will teach some young men the topic "Why do we have adversity?" This book is often mentioned regarding that topic. I've had a paperback copy of the book for years, but was not sure if I had ever read it. I intended to take along this book as a visual aid, but really, how can I take it and have nothing to say about it's contents. It is a short book, so I set out to read it tonight.

Having read it, I learned that the contents are much different than I had imagined. It does not give a simple canned answer, but reasons through the process. I will not try to replicate that path. It took the author 15 years to write the book (Page 132), and I can't hope to cover the territory he did. I can only make a few notes of things that felt meaningful to me.

Page 9 has some scriptures that promise good to the righteous and punishment to the wicked. Page 20 "For whom the Lord loves, He chastises, even as a father does to the son he loves." This leads to a lot of grief when we give that advice to people who just suffered a tragedy. I won't try to elaborate why it is harmful, but just to say that much of what we say when a person has had a tragedy is on the order of justifying God, and does not help the afflicted feel better.

We start to get to the heart of the matter "Would this be a better world, if certain people were immune to laws of nature because God favored them, while the rest of us had to fend for ourselves?" (Page 59)

"to be human ... means being free to make choices instead of doing whatever our instincts would tell us to do. It means knowing that some choices are good, and others are bad, and it is our job to know the difference. ... But if Man is truly free to choose, if he can show himself as being virtuous by freely choosing the good when the bad is equally possible, then he has to be free to choose the bad also. If he were only free to do good, he would not really be choosing. If we are bound to do good, then we are not free to choose it." (Page 79)

"To say of Hitler, to say of any criminal, that he did not choose to be bad but was a victim of his upbringing, is to make all morality, all discussion of right and wrong impossible. ... But worse, to say 'it is not his fault, he was not free to choose' is to rob a person of his humanity," (Page 83-84)

And here is the heart of the book: "Job needed sympathy more than he needed advice, even good and correct advice... He needed compassion, the ssense taht others felt his pain with him, more than he needed learned theological explanations about God's ways. He needed physical comforting, people sharing their strength with him, holding him rather than scolding him." (Page 89)

Page 110-112 contains a meaningful Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. (English version of course.)

Like me, he has found that "telephone have a special, ominous way of ringing late at night," (Page 113)

"But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often find their prayers answered. ..." (Page 125)

"being against other people, setting out to find a villain, accusing other people of being responsible for your misery, only makes a lonely person lonelier. Life, he concluded, has to be lived for something, not just against something." (Page 137)
( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Harold Samuel Kushner is a prominent American rabbi schooled within the progressive wing of Conservative Judaism. (What?) In this homily drawn from his personal ordeal with the suffering of his own son doomed by a rare disease, Rabbi Kushner finds a God who does not abandon us, but weeps WITH us, and brings comfort to the anguished heart.

Like most who study the recurrence of suffering and view it as problematic, Kushner faces it directly, and is forced to, by the fact that his son was diagnosed with progeria. The rare, fatal, and nasty little disease visited upon children making them age and die rapidly. Aaron died at 14, having suffered for ten years.

Kushner asks, "Why do the Righteous suffer?" and suggests that this is the only theological question that really matters. [6] And when will Religion stop trying to quote Isaiah "Tell the righteous it shall be well with them", after Auschwitz. [11]

Kushner writes that "How could God do this to me?" is the wrong question to ask--although it is almost universal among those who suffer. He unfolds the Book of Job. Quite helpful note on the difficulty of translation where the ancient and elegant Hebrew is filled with so much nuance (and the largest vocabulary of any poem from the ancient world). For example, one key verse, which means either "I will fear God" or "I will not fear God," and no way of knowing which is intended.

In the story, Kushner tells us that Job eventually sees God "as being above notions of fairness, being so powerful that no moral rules apply to him". [41] Then Kushner concludes that if we acknowledge that there are some things that God cannot control, but God wants to, and many good things are possible. "We can be angry at what has happened to us, without feeling that we are angry at God." [45] It is in God's teachings that we see goodness, not in the outcomes. Out indignation is proof of God's goodness, in that our outrage at injustice is God's anger at unfairness working through us. [45]

Kushner follows this with a chapter which spells out the fact that sometimes "things happen which have no reason". [46] Even random events, because of chaos, is a form of evil, and "saddens God even as it angers and saddens us". [55] He makes a point of noting that "nice people" are not favored. [57] Perhaps if nice was an immunity, it would create more problems. He suggests that the experience of pain is "instructive" and adds meaning to life. He ties this to Homer's Odysey where Calypso, the immortal princess, becomes fascinated by Ulysses and envies his mortality. [69] He understands the futility of trying to comfort the grieving by telling them "death is good". [71] But we can rise above the "why did it happen?" to ask "what do I do now that it has happened?"

The Rabbi then teaches that God has "left space for us to be human". Like the theologian Dorothea Soelle, he finds God with the victims. Having given man freedom to choose, there was nothing God could do to prevent the Holocaust: "Hitler was only one man, and even his ability to do evil was limited. The Holocaust happened because thousands of others could be persuaded to join him in his madness, and millions of others permitted themselves to be frightened or shamed into cooperating. It happened because angry, frustrated people were willing to vent their anger on innocent victims as soon as someone encouraged them to do so. It happened because Hitler was able to persuade lawyers to forget their commitment to justice and doctors to violate their oaths." [84]

The Rabbi fairly concludes with a Chapter entitled "What good, then, is Religion?" He declares, in spite of this book, the suffering he has witnessed, and his own son's progeria, "I believe in God". He recognizes that God is limited by laws of nature, including the evolution of human nature and moral freedom. He excuses God for the tragic, as if it is not God's will. [134]

"We could bear any burden if we thought there was a meaning to what we were doing." [135] Here, Kushner does not mention his debt to concentration-camp survivor, Viktor Frankl, who cited Nietzsche for the concept. Kushner cites another survivor, Martin Gray, author of "For Those I Loved". Gray points to the question of What shall I do next, rather than poring over the past and the pain. [136-137]

For Soelle, it is not the circumstances of death or suffering which matter. It is our being witnesses, and it is our reaction to that suffering and death which is important. [138] We can act positively in the face of tragedy. Or as a 19th century Hasidic rabbi once put it, "human beings are God's language".

I just listened to a YouTube of Bart Ehrman debating the loose Canon Law of Joseph D'Souza, the brilliant plagiarist and libelist who is now reigning over King's College. Bart mentioned that it was theodicy which "converted" him from Christian apologist to Agnostic. He could not stomach cruelty, and the infinite tolerance the Christians seem to have for hypocrisy and torture, whether by human agency or even the "natural" awfulness of earthquakes and disease. D'Souza conceded nothing but clung to the ever-receding "mystery" of the empty and immoral God. ( )
  keylawk | Jun 15, 2019 |
classic self-help guide by the respected rabbi explains how to find comfort and strength in the face of tragedy and the challenges of life and how to understand God's role in recovery.
  StFrancisofAssisi | May 20, 2019 |
"When Harold Kushner's three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative
disease that meant the boy would only live until his early teens, he was faced
with one of life's most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi
Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and
fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a
parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When
Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and
consolation in times of sorrow."--back cover
  collectionmcc | Mar 6, 2018 |
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And David said: While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me and the child will live. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. (II Samuel 12:22-23)
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In Memory of Aaron Zev Kushner
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There is only one question which really matters: why do bad things happen to good people?
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Offers a moving and humane approach to understanding life's windstorms. Raises many questions that will challenge your mind and test your faith regarding the ultimate questions of life and death.

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