When Bad Things Happen to Good People

When Bad Things Happen to Good People 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 From t

  • Title: When Bad Things Happen to Good People
  • Author: Harold S. Kushner
  • ISBN: 9780307702234
  • Page: 471
  • Format: Audio CD
  • 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.From the Hardcover edition.

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      Published :2019-09-27T16:51:28+00:00


    About “Harold S. Kushner

    • Harold S. Kushner

      Harold S Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is the author of than a dozen books on coping with life s challenges, including, most recently, the best selling Conquering Fear and Overcoming Life s Disappointments.



    325 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen to Good People

    • Yet Another Anti-Semitic TropeRecently another GR reader criticised Rabbi Kushner’s theodicy and called the contents of his well-known book “insulting to God” and “bad theology.” It is of course neither. In addition to being a highly edifying personal story about the suffering and death of his young son, it also has broader cultural significance in demonstrating the struggle that many have with the residue of our Western philosophical past.Kushner, in his family’s crisis, was confron [...]


    • When Bad Things Happen to Good People is Rabbi Harold Kushner's examination of life, why things happen and the role of God in all of it.Kushner wrote the book because his son was born with progeria, a disease where his body aged much faster than it should, and he died young. It shook Kushner to his core. "Tragedies like this were supposed to happen to selfish, dishonest people whom I, as a rabbi, would then try to comfort by assuring them of God's forgiving love. How could it be happening to me, [...]


    • Rabbi Kushner's position is that, because suffering exists in the world, only three options are possible: (1) God does not exist. (2) God exists but is not good, or (3) God exists and is good but is not all-powerful. He chooses explanation (3). Explanation (4), that God exists, is good, and is all-powerful, but for reasons we cannot now fully comprehend, chooses to allow suffering, is not an option. Despite its unsatisfying theology, I was reminded of three very important things from this book, [...]


    • Yesterday, while I was trying to compose this review in my mind, I saw this headline in The Philippine Daily Inquirer: Corona Leaving Fate to God. For my foreigner friends, this impeachment trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines has been one of the favorite topics for discussion nowadays among us Filipinos. Our Chief Justice is facing 8 Articles of Impeachment. Among these are failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets and liabilities, partiality and su [...]


    • Savvy Spiritual GuidanceI often recommend this book to psychotherapy clients because it gives me peace of mind when struggling with the pain of life. Written by Rabbi Harold Kushner, this collection of philosophical wisdom is not tied to a particular religion.Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does a loving father die of cancer when a murderer lives? How can a young, innocent child suffer a disfiguring injury? This book attempts to answer such questions.Sometimes well-intentioned indiv [...]


    • Honest review: this is a book about the author, not about God. Kushner was crying out against God, just like Job, and - in a contrived way - he expressed his anger by presenting in this book a totally self-made theology, where God is not perfect and all-powerful. In a nutshell, this book is Kushner insulting God for the death of his young son, while pretending to be rational about it. This means that, as a rabbi and a theologian, he comes up with a customized concept of God that, while valid on [...]


    • I wish I could say that this book answers the question posed by its title. Instead, it is more of lesson on how "God" doesn't cause bad things - humans do. If this a concept unfamiliar to you then you might find this book mind opening and perhaps relieving. On the other hand, if you already felt this way, then this book might seem a bit elementary and disappointing. However, I give this book four stars for two reasons. One, the author seems like the coolest rabbi around. He seems to "get" it - s [...]


    • The best I can do to explain this book is to quote it:"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." Harold Kushner, p. 79. I think a lot of things come down to choice. And this book explains it really well. I really liked this bo [...]


    • God is not all powerful. God does not inflict suffering. Suffering is not a divine means to punish, to test our faith, or to teach us a lesson. These ideas fly in the face of what most every believer has been taught, and the ideology that is embedded and reinforced by the Judeo-Christian folk religion of the larger society. And yet, read Rabbi Kusher's reasoning and you, too will gain a broader understanding of God and what it means to be human and to endure pain, suffering, and joy. I have come [...]


    • I read this book when it came out! I heard the author speak.Its an old book. It was one of the books marked for a new friend here on .I 'think' the author has a more recent book out --(I'll have to check)About this book: It can be valuable to read if a person is going through a loss -a death of somebody close -(any tragic situation) --Personal tragedy is the context of this book --then the reader can look at different perspectives and beliefs.The topic of GOD is examined (not pushed down your th [...]


    • I did find parts of this book useful but, because I am a Christian, I had the constant feeling that the Rabbi was only looking at half of the picture. He bases his arguments entirely upon the God of the Old Testament because of course he does not recognise Jesus as the Son of God. Rabbi Kushner comes to the conclusion that God is not perfect, (a little presumptuous I think for a mere mortal) and says that it is no use praying to God to take away our suffering as He cannot do so. In the New Testa [...]


    • This is not a book written by a preacher who decides just to get up one Sunday and preach on Suffering and give you all the blah blah that you have got memorized by now too well No, this is a man who had to lose his beloved dear son to a genetic disorder and had to wrestle with the issue as a Jewish believing rabbi. I can hear Rabbi Kushner's voice on every page of the book and he is so compassionate. What is beautiful about him is that he is real and honest and never claims to have the ultimate [...]


    • I only finished this book by Rabi Kushner because I truly wanted to understand the author's position and therefore that of thousands in this world. I enjoyed his logical methodical manner of understanding trials and God's role, there are some points I agree with.1. God follows the rules and laws of nature.2. Many bad things happen because of the nature of the world.3. God is deeply saddened by the pain and cruelty of the world. However, I heartily disagree with a few main points. Here are some o [...]


    • The most important thing that rabbi Kushner really did is breaking the taboos of bad fate and destiny being all directly from God, and the silly ridiculous consequent statements it entails.-You must have done something horribly wrong and that's your just punishment, even we are pretty sure of one's goodness. Blaming the victim attitude! -God sends tragedies only to those who can bear them! “Does God "temper the wind to the shorn lamb"? Does He never ask more of us than we can endure? My experi [...]


    • I wasn't all that keen to read this book. I read it because my friend (who picked the book for our bookclub) is struggling with the question of why her husband is having to fight ALS, as well as the millions of other questions that impact her and her family.I realized that I have been asking myself those same questions, but about my mother. Let me tell you about her. My mother is truly a wonderful person, and I'm not saying that just because I am her daughter. Her many friends who have not aband [...]


    • This book has been in my personal library for many years, but I do not forget it. Although it is written by a rabbi, it is well suited for people of any faith. Rabbi Kushner, whom I have met, has had his own share of personal tragedy, so it is fitting to state that he is not just sermonizing. His words help in many ways to make sense of loss, grieving and turmoil. An important feature of his writing is that he enables a traumatized individual to shed guilt or fault-finding related to the problem [...]


    • This book has a religious structure, but it’s absent the kind of proselytizing that not only is of no interest to me but often makes me bristle with antagonism. In fact, the author takes a number of well deserved potshots at conventional religious pretense. With religion, Kushner says one question really matters: why do good people suffer? Actually, this is a question that has plagued not only theologians, but philosophers and regular folks throughout history. You don’t have to be a theologi [...]


    • I read this book when I was greiving the death of my husband. I was hurt, angry and was all alone - feeling abandoned by everyone, including God. A therapist jotted down "When Bad Things Happen to Good People", and I bought and read the book. I was still angry and said, but I want to know, "why"!It wasn't until several years later that I could accept Rabbi Kushner's message that bad things will happen to all of us at some time in our lives, but it's how we receive and process that event that wil [...]


    • When Bad Things Happen to Good People - Harold S. Kushner I've no desire to deprive the grieving of anything that might help: get through this unimaginable horror, and then later on you can deal with whatever problems your coping mechanism has created. Kushner chooses to believe in an imperfect god, which allows him to maintain his belief while at the same time exonerating his god for all the pain, suffering, and death which befall the most innocent of bystanders. It doesn't work for me. Either [...]


    • The byline of this book is “for everyone who has been hurt by life”The author, a rabbi by the name of Harold S Kushner, wrote this book because he had been hurt by life. His only son was born with progeria, “rapid aging”. His son died two days after his fourteenth birthday and When Bad Things Happen to Good People was the result of the pain and hurt the author felt. But, more importantly, it was the sharing of how his faith was tested to the extreme and the conclusions he made in the end [...]


    • An old book that I never read until my friend Maureen Stemmelen lent it to me last weekend. She had just come from the Unitarian Meeting House and checked out some books, because Walter's dad, Irving, was dying. She said she had read it when she was a Speech Pathology student and found it enriching.I had avoided reading it in the past, fearing it was "preachy". It is a bit, but in a good way. He speaks from sad personal experience. His 14 year old son died from progeria, a disease of premature a [...]


    • In this short book, Rabbi Kushner gives his reader a very simple message. When something bad happens to you, don' blame yourself. There was nothing you could have done. Don't blame God, there was nothing he could have done.When you see something bad happen to someone else, rush to comfort them. Do not judge and do not offer advice. Kushner cites as an authority the great sociologist Emile Durkheim who argued that the basic purpose of religion was to put people in touch with each other not God.Ku [...]


    • It did not bring me the comfort that I was looking for, but did have some pearls of wisdom to impart and food for thought.


    • Someone recommended this book to me after my younger sister (age 33) was killed by a car that no-one was driving. The 18 year old owner of the car had forgotten to put her car in park, left it in neutral and ran in to her house. My sister, who had never hurt a flea, mother of 2 young children never saw or heard the car coming. The day before this tragedy she had qualified for the Boston Marathon. Needless to say, I was completely devastated by these events. And I was ANGRY! Not at the girl who's [...]


    • So maybe I missed the point here but the logic of this book doesn't seem to make sense to me. Kushner says in the last chapter (to sum up his answer to the question that the title poses), "God does not cause our misfortunes. Some are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people, and some are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible and natural laws. The painful things that happen to us are not punishments for our misbehavior, nor [...]


    • Rediscovered on my book shelves. This is not my first copy which had been a library book when it was first published in 1981. This copy was used as assigned reading to classes of high school juniors studying morality and the nature of good and evil. It was a springboard for some incredible discussions about the meaning of life, responsibility and other questions which fascinate soul searching teenagers. But it wasn't till 10 years after my first reading when my life fell apart that I really valu [...]


    • I read this book against my better judgement as it is the selection of the library book club and I found it lacking in so many ways that it would be impossible to enumerate them all. Kushner has experienced suffering, without a doubt, but his approach to suffering in this book is not authentic and rational in terms of theology. He humanizes God to the point that he is more like a concerned neighbor than an almighty creator. He effectively incapacitates God by stating that God has no control over [...]


    • Excellently written and compelling. Managed, in my opinion, for a much more convincing and believable explanation for why bad things happen to good people that C. S. Lewis's "The Problem of Pain," which I thought was good at the time, but after more reflection, found to be relatively disappointing. It also contains some brilliant insight into the Book of Job, and a fantastic exegesis of said book. I really enjoyed the Jewish perspective on things. I look forward to reading more books by Harold K [...]


    • First introduced to this book, by a professor of mine who taught a Child Life class. As part of the Child Life profession, we are forced to come to terms everyday about our beliefs on why children and families suffer so much pain that they don't seem to deserve.This book has especially helped me these past 2 years as I've been in my own personal health crisis and struggling to understand how and why my life fell apart so hard and so fast. It provides wonderful insights about life's trials. Recom [...]


    • I read this book in my early twenties during a time when I was just starting to give myself permission to question my religious upbringing. I didn't necessarily agree with Kushner's conclusions, but I was touched by his story and the way he crafted answers for himself that he could live with. I'll never forget this book.


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