Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

"If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.
If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.
If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?
If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?"

The Riddle of Epicurus

If there's a school of thought which best encapsulates my worldview, it's Epicureanism.

My elderly grandmother was recently assaulted and robbed by a strong, strapping Malay male ostensibly in his early twenties. She work afternoons at my mother's shop and she usually gets a lift home after that (and she did) - but on this particular day, she had absentmindedly left a packaged lunch at the shop, which she usually buys for one of my littler cousins who lives with her. So, she walked all the way out to the shop again under the lethal noontime sun to retrieve it. It's a ten-minute walk, give or take. As septuagenarians go, she's in excellent shape.

There she was, picking up lunch for her granddaughter when this monster on his bike slowed down and sidled beside her, apparently to ask for directions. He was asking directions to the neighborhood he's already in. My grandmother, who was already mugged once in the not-too-distant past, caught on pretty quickly and tried to make a break for it. He was having none of it and latched on to one of her bracelets. And then he hit her. He hit this tiny, skinny old lady right in her left eye, snapped his prize and rode off. Just like that. That's an inch of cruelty and inhumanity I don't think I can fully comprehend in this lifetime.

Anyhow, my grandmother did bring lunch home for her granddaughter. She spoke about this incident to no one. It's only in the evening when she was dutifully cooking dinner for the entire household that my mother noticed that the old girl was wearing a massive black eye and some nasty cuts on her knees.

So, my mother roused me from my cave and asked me to take a look at her and I found, to my horror, a drop of blood was rolling slowly out of her nose as I was examining her shiner - this was a couple of hours after the blow. Oh crap. We rushed her to casualty immediately, in spite of her protests and insistence on finishing her cooking. It could be nothing but it could just as easily be something treacherous like a skull fracture. The X-rays came back clean, fortunately. She did, however, finish making dinner. She would have gone to work that night too if my mother didn't make her stay home to rest. This woman, I must remind you, is pushing eighty.

Why do bad things happen to good people? If you believe in the laws of karma or that the universe is under the gubernatorial purview of a benevolent God, this is a philosophical question which should bug you. It doesn't bug me. I believe in neither. Either there's a God and he's an evil son of a bitch - or that there's no God and human beings are scum. Either way, there's no reason to worship and grovel at the feet of a Holy Spook. Do you feel indignant, angered, repulsed that a young man would raise his fist against a frail, defenseless little old lady who still toil daily for the comforts of her children and grandchildren?

My grandmother is by and large apathetic on the question of religion, but she is culturally a Taoist. After she dies, she will be tortured for eternity by either the Christian or Muslim God. This is what billions of people on this planet agree will happen to her. Do you feel indignant, angered, repulsed that an All-Powerful, Ever-Merciful cosmic being would inflict everlasting torture on a frail, defenseless little old lady who toiled daily for the comforts of her children and grandchildren?

This is an unbridgeable ocean of cruelty and inhumanity I don't think I will ever understand no matter how many lifetimes I live.

Someone's grandchild,
k0k s3n w4i


Schadenfreude said...

I know it doesn't amount to anything tangible but I would still like to wish your grandmother a speedy recovery.

And here's wishing the fucker who assaulted her a massive case of the cock rot.

Zzzyun said...

i hope your grandma is doing okay...

and yes, i hope karma will come and bite this guy's ass off. ARGH.

yuhhui said...

hey, hows your grandma now? Hope she's all right. Damn that bastard that did that to her.

'Do you feel indignant, angered, repulsed that an All-Powerful, Ever-Merciful cosmic being would inflict everlasting torture on a frail, defenseless little old lady who toiled daily for the comforts of her children and grandchildren?'

Love this line. =)

Azygous said...

Sorry to hear what happened to your grandmother.

That guy has to prepare to suck the cock of karma when the time comes.

Why do bad things happen to good people

Can't agree more.
Or better still,

Why do the righteous suffer?

Hope your grandmother is doing fine.

Jen said...

Hope your grandma is alright! She sounds like a really tough old bird and I take my hat off to her!

That bastard. Who knows what'll happen to him, but I hope it's nothing good! Hmph.

The Epicurus quote is a total win.

février said...

jen's last line is awesome.

i found someone believes in jehovah's witnesses yesterday. obviously i brought up food, and he said he couldn't eat blood. then i asked if he ate steak, and he said yes. i pointed out that rare-cooked steak is super bloody, and medium-done has some squishy red bits. but he seems to only have eaten well done, and i said but the blood is all cooked, it's not drained. he didn't know that. -.-

then i asked him stuff on masturbation and sex and girls. and he wants to be a missionary. sigh. lost a cute guy to religion.

Phoebs said...

SAVE HIM BEVE!!!! T__________T

k0k s3n w4i said...

Schadenfreude: thank you. i just realised that i haven't wished the mugging prick any ill will myself. frankly, my heart isn't in it.

Zzzyun: if karma is real, my grandmother wouldn't have been hurt or robbed :/ she's perfectly alright now :)

yuhhui: thanks for asking. she's doing great and is telling everyone how she got the black eye. that line is a modification of a popular theophilosophical thought experiment; "is anne frank currently burning in hell now?"

Azygous: thanks, she's okay. the sad thing is, he probably will not get what he deserves. life's like that. what's important is that the old girl's safe and hale.

Jen: ah the apatheist! i was beginning to wonder if you've fallen right off the face of earth. wha, too cool to blog now? and yeah, epicurus is boss :D

beve: uh, jehovah witnesses. they should have the custody of their kids taken from them. they would let their children die rather than allow them to receive blood transfusion or organ transplants. i'm curious... are you still christian? or have you already joined a lesbian coven of witches or something now you're in teh artz?


Schadenfreude said...

My grandfather passed away this morning. I did not grieve. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for nearly a decade, and I view his passing as a relief for both himself and all those who loved him. This is a horrible disease that strips the individual of all human dignity, and inflicts unimaginable mental anguish on close family members.

As you've mentioned, my grandfather, being Buddhist, will now spend the rest of eternity being tortured by either the Christian or Muslim God. 3 out of 4 of his children are Catholics, and apparently have no trouble accepting this, nor do they seem particularly inclined to question this view. It baffles and infuriates me that billions of people DON'T have a problem with this.

février said...

ahahah, feebs. i dunno, he's pretty intent on his religion.

poes: i'm whatever religion i want to be at the time. :D most convenient.

Phoebs said...

beve: but he's cute T____T actually whatever's most convenient works for me too xD

schadenfreude: im sorry your grandfather passed away >_<

k0k s3n w4i said...

Schadenfreude: i'm really sorry to hear that. my great grandmother had post-stroke dementia, and my grandfather also suffers from dementia. here's a passage from a commenter in an atheist blog which i found beautiful and admirable,

How does an atheist child face her father's death? As bravely as I have seen anyone face anything. There was genuine beauty in the things his daughters said, and none of it relied on an afterlife, or a heaven, or a god. None of it denied the hurt, the heartbreak, the incredible pain of losing a father at such a young age. Death's impact should not be denied; claiming he is in a better place is a slap in the face of the daughter who knows his best place is back home, helping with homework, mowing the lawn, reaching the things on the high shelf.

i hope you like it.

beve: you remind me of a high school mate i had who said, "i believe in the god of whichever girl i'm wooing at the moment."

mg said...

sorry to hear that.. hope she's better getting better now. Will i be seeing you around next week in mgh? lol.. ahhh... :)

février said...

yes but that's different. he was influenced by girls. i am influenced by whatever non-living thing is around me at the moment, time of day, the things i learn about bits and pieces and how i decide to sum it up for the moment. tis VEEEERY different.

Narintia sounds like a perfectly good name for a fantasy world, what chu think?

k0k s3n w4i said...

mg: thanks for your concern :) you'll see me if i decide to pop in for practice on some days, haha. good luck jumping into the labour pool!

beve: so, what are you at the moment? narintia reminds me strongly of narnia.

c3rs3i said...

I don't think I will ever understand how cruel people can be and are. Wishing your grandma a swift recovery.

Liz ^^, said...

Oh no. I just read this. I am so sorry about what happened to your grandma :( And "monster" is putting it rather mildly, don't you think?

I dare not comment on the "why bad things happen to good people" issue. It's something I, a Christian (albeit weak :P), can't comprehend either.

Hope she's okay. At least she has a doctor(-to-be) grandson like you to take care of her :)

Anonymous said...

Why do BAD things happen to GOOD people? That never happens, so it's really a hypothetical question. The only time something BAD happened to a GOOD person is when we crucified JESUS, but He [JESUS] chose to love us in that way.

Psalm 14:3
They are all gone aside, they have all together become filthy; there is none that does good or right, no, not one.

Have you ever lied? Have you ever lusted for someone or something that wasn't yours? Have you ever lost your temper with someone, plotted revenge, or hated them? Have you ever committed fornication(even self stimulation)? Have you ever gossiped? Have you ever ridiculed another person at their expense? If you have done any of the above, then you are not a good person and the above acts just showed what you are really like inside. You have violated GOD's law and He says that you must go to hell for even ONE violation of His Law. The only exception is if you will receive the payment that Jesus provided for you when He (GOD) came to earth to die for you His creation. Would you be willing to die in the place of someone who had discredited your family and spat upon you while they go free? That's what Jesus did. If you are truly good, you would be kind enough to treat others as He did and lay your life down for others. Only Jesus is good, because Jesus is GOD. Accept His provision of payment, made in blood, for your many sins and then you can escape heaven and go to hell. We all deserve hell and anything less is only GOD's grace, so if you're whining today about bad things happening to you as a good person, keep in mind that you aren't, and the only ONE who is, willingly gave Himself for you, knowing in his foreknowledge that many humans are so evil, they would still reject this payment. That's because He truly is good. We aren't. We would never show the love that He did.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Anonymous: thanks for helping me prove my point on how christians have completely broken moral compasses. couldn't have done it better myself.