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When bad things happen to good people by…

When bad things happen to good people (original 1981; edition 1981)

by Harold S. Kushner

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Title:When bad things happen to good people
Authors:Harold S. Kushner
Info:New York : Schocken Books, 1981.
Collections:Your library, Philosophy

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

  1. 00
    Where Is God When It Hurts? by 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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It took me a while to get to this book; I was so immersed in grief that reading about grief seemed pointless. Now that I've gotten to it, I realize that I came to Kushner's conclusion on my own, and his wisdom wouldn't have been misplaced during any of the terrifically rotten last few years.

I'm not a theist, but I have grown up in a predominantly Judeo-Christian culture, and people tend to reach out to that when attempting to comfort the bereaved, and often come up with the same extremely un-comforting platitude that "things happen for a reason." Ugh. Kushner lays out a very intelligent argument about three things that everyone would like to believe:

1. God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens in the world. Nothing happens without his willing it.

2. God is just and fair, and stands for people getting what they deserve, so that the good prosper and the wicked are punished.

3. I am a good person.

When the subject of (3) suffers loss, people often throw him under the bus so that they can preserve the other two beliefs. But perhaps the more comforting (and maybe the more theologically sound) conclusion to draw is that 2 and 3 are true, but not 1.

Kushner talks about the power of a religious community to comfort, not by preventing grief and loss, but by affirming life and community in spite of it. This book is rightly part of the canon of western wisdom on how to live. ( )
  bexaplex | Oct 16, 2016 |
  StPaulsChurch | Jul 19, 2016 |
This is a go to book, that I buy for others. It came to me during a time in my life when I really needed it. I learned that I was not alone in my despair, and that my despair was really nothing compared to others. ( )
  Robin_Miller_Cresci | Jul 6, 2016 |
About the author: quoting from Wikipedia, ". . .Kushner was educated at Columbia University and later obtained his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 1960. [He was] awarded a doctoral degree in Bible in 1972. Kushner has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taught at Clark University and the Rabbinical School of the JTS, and received six honorary doctorates. He served as the rabbi of Temple Israel of Natick, in Natick, Massachusetts for 24 years and belongs to the Rabbinical Assembly. About the book: quoting from Wikipedia, "[This] best selling book on the problem of evil was written following the death of his son, Aaron, from the premature aging disease progeria. The book deals with questions about human suffering, God, omnipotence and and theodicy. Aaron was born in 1963 and died in 1977; the book was published in 1981. Kushner has written a number of other popular theological books. . ."
  uufnn | Jul 5, 2016 |
This would be helpful in providing comfort to those religiously inclined who are seeking an explanation after suffering illness, grief or other devastating loss. Struggling with why bad things happen when one has led a good life, presupposes a belief that an all-powerful deity who knows about, cares about and is capable of influencing the human condition. ( )
  varielle | Jun 10, 2016 |
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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)
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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380603926, Mass Market Paperback)

Rarely does a book come along that tackles a perennially difficult human issue with such clarity and intelligence. Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, deftly guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, then provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?"

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This book features Rabbi Kushner's perspective on how people can better deal with evil that enters their lives.

(summary from another edition)

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