Bahai view? "Why bad things happen to good people?"

All research or scholarship questions
British_Bahai
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Bahai view? "Why bad things happen to good people?"

Postby British_Bahai » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:24 am

If someone asks you this
Why do bad things happen to good people
what should a Bahai response/viewpoint be?

I'm a fan of quotes - however long they may be - so dont hesitate, JUST POST! (so long as they are relevant)
____________________________________________________________

Please no going off on a tangent or random chit-chat!

These answers can help any other Bahais who are not sure what the correct/wise answer should be.

************************************************************
:klugscheisser: If you include any quotes, you *MUST* include a reference, otherwise it wont be useful to myself or anyone else and you will be purposely inhibiting us from doing further research which we are originally asking for in this thread. Thankyou.

added on 13th July 2007
-british_bahai.

curt
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When bad things happen to good people.

Postby curt » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:12 pm

The following prayer by the Bab is a profound meditation on why bad things happen to good people. At least I have observed so.

Thou knowest full well, O my God, that tribulations have showered upon me from all directions and that no one can dispel or transmute them except Thee. I know of a certainty, by virture of my love for Thee, that Thou wilt never cause tribulations to befall any soul unless Thou desirest to exalt his station in Thy celestial Paradise and to buttress his heart in this earthly life with the bulwark of Thine all-compelling power, that it may not become inclined toward the vanities of this world. Indeed Thou art well aware that under all conditions I would cherish the remembrance of Thee far more than the ownership of all that is in the heavens and on the earth. - Selections From the Writings of the Bab, pg 214-215.

Curt

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:27 am

thanks, curt

i also remembered a quote just now

its one of abdulbahas, and goes a little something like "the weed which is most pruned will put forth the goodly fruits...."

BruceDLimber
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Postby BruceDLimber » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:33 am

Greetings!

I'd say the answer to this question falls into three parts:

    Some tests are indeed God-sent to evaluate us and to help us grow spiritually. As various scriptures say, "Do men think when they say 'we believe,' they will be let alone and not put to proof?!" and "God verily will sift them and test them."

    Some are simply random events, such as tidal waves and tornados.

    But many are in fact SELF-IMPOSED through our own bad decisions and misdeeds!


Some of this isn't necessarily all that comforting, but I think it is in fact pretty accurate.

Regards,

Bruce

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:29 pm

heres a hidden word, which is kind of related to this topic

O SON OF MAN!
For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.


(The hidden words of Bahaullah, number 48 from the arabic,
http://bahai-library.org/writings/bahaullah/hw/)

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:07 pm

BruceDLimber wrote:Greetings!
I'd say the answer to this question falls into three parts:
  • Some tests are indeed God-sent to evaluate us and to help us grow spiritually. As various scriptures say, "Do men think when they say 'we believe,' they will be let alone and not put to proof?!" and "God verily will sift them and test them."
  • Some are simply random events, such as tidal waves and tornados.
  • But many are in fact SELF-IMPOSED through our own bad decisions and misdeeds!
Some of this isn't necessarily all that comforting, but I think it is in fact pretty accurate.
(^i slightly modified the formatting of your original post by boldening and adding bullet points)

i liked the way you categorised them into those 3 areas


im not too bothered about #3 (self-imposed), coz thats obvious. i think thats whats richard's second quote was about (i havent read it properly yet)



im more concerned with the top two categories, as they are more difficult to answer, hence why i want to do more research into these areas.

(Im sure other people on this forum are also interested in how to answer such a question).

1. the "why me?" events - e.g. if someone is born with an incurable disease

2. random events (e.g. natural disasters - earthquakes, etc)
_______________________________________________________
In the kitab-aqdas somewhere, i read that God creates natural disasters to, basically, show them whos boss. (I dont have my book handy right now, and its difficult to find a particular phrase/paragraph in an electronic/online version of the book)


id just like to get a good discussion going, so that we can all learn something interesting

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:49 pm

richard wrote:---"In the matter of sickness and health, you should know that these bodily states are the result of material causes; health is not the smile of heaven, neither is affliction the frown of God.
^ this quote was traced back to: Urantia Book, page 1831, Paper 166: Section 4 - teaching about accidents http://www.urantia.org/papers/paper166.html
-british_bahai, 16th July 2007.



i liked this one, this was good

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:07 pm

richard wrote:Finally, since some afflictions are inevitible for us in this life"s experiences, it is helpful to understand that there is a purpose for afflilctions and if there are no major questions or objections regarding the above views, i would like to share some thoughts on the purposes of affliction in our lives... But first, i do welcome cordial discussions, even constructive comments of disagreement.


I came across this online, which may be of interest to people.
Please note, all quotations are from the Bahai writings -

Source: http://manvell.org.uk/warwick-leaflets/suffering.htm


THE MEANING OF SUFFERING

"I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall my loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best-Beloved."

Why do we Suffer?

Suffering comes to us for two reasons – either as a consequence of our own actions or as a test sent by God for our spiritual development. The suffering we bring on ourselves can be physical suffering: "If a man eats too much, he ruins his digestion. If a person gambles he will lose his money." Or it can be sadness or remorse caused by the way we have behaved or have treated others. Following the laws of God will free us from both these kinds of suffering: "The source of all good is trust in God, submission unto His command, and contentment with His holy will and pleasure."

Suffering Develops the Soul

"Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting."

"Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn... Tests are either stumbling-blocks or stepping-stones, just as we make them."

"Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility."

"Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit."

"Those who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection..."

The Purpose of Life

Our purpose here on earth is to develop our souls so that we are ready for the next world. Tests and difficulties are necessary for this development.

"The one in pursuit of anything must undergo difficulties and hardships until the object in view is attained and the great success is obtained."

"The same test comes again in greater degree, until it is shown that a former weakness has become a strength..."

"The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness... Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him..."

"To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. "

"Be not in despair, but rather smile by the mercy of your Lord; and be not sorrowful when meeting with worldly difficulties and depressions, for they pass away – and thine shall be immortality during ages and centuries, times and cycles."

Innocent Children

"As to the subject of babes and infants...who are afflicted...for those souls there is a recompense in another world...For those souls that suffering is the greatest mercy of God."

Patience and Acceptance

If we do not accept the problems which life presents us, and do not use them as means for our development, we will cause ourselves much unnecessary suffering.

"Be patient under all conditions, and place your whole trust and confidence in God."

"God hath never burdened any soul beyond its power."

"O Son of Spirit! Ask not of Me that which we desire not for thee, then be content with what we have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself."

"...Tests are benefits from God, for which we should thank Him."

This is from a Bahá'í prayer:
"I beg of Thee, O my God,...O Thou in whose hands are both the visible and invisible kingdoms, to ordain that my choice be conformed to Thy choice, and my wish to Thy wish, that I may be entirely content with that which Thou didst desire, and be wholly satisfied with what Thou didst destine for me by Thy bounteousness and favour."

Live in the Spiritual World

"Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no-one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we shall be helped...When our thoughts are filled with the bitterness of this world, let us turn our eyes to the sweetness of God's compassion and He will send us heavenly calm!"

"A man with his thoughts in this (spiritual) Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene."

Bahá'u'lláh's son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was in prison for 40 years because of His beliefs:
"But, thank God, during all those 40 years I was supremely happy. Every day, on waking, it was like hearing good tidings, and every night infinite joy was mine. Spirituality was my comfort, and turning to God was my greatest joy."
"I was happy in imprisonment. I was in the utmost elation, because I was not a criminal. They had imprisoned me in the path of God...I was happy that – praise be to God! – I was a prisoner in the cause of God, that my life was not wasted, that it was spent in divine service."

The Example of the Messengers of God

Each Messenger of God suffered for the sake of bringing His Message to humanity. Each One sacrificed His self totally to the will of God. Bahá'u'lláh described His own sufferings as follows:

"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness. This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most-Merciful."

"I sorrow not for the burden of My imprisonment. Neither do I grieve over My abasement, or the tribulation I suffer at the hands of mine enemies. By My Life! They are My glory, a glory wherewith God hath adorned His own self, would that ye knew it!"

The Desire for Suffering

If we really understand the purpose of our suffering in this life and how to use it, we will reach the stage where we long for tests in order to show our love for God and to draw closer to Him:

"The true lover yearneth for tribulation even as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy."

"O Son of Man! If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?"

"O Son of Man! My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy. Hasten thereunto that thou mayest become an eternal light and an immortal spirit."

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:15 pm

british_bahai wrote:thanks, curt

i also remembered a quote just now

its one of abdulbahas, and goes a little something like "the weed which is most pruned will put forth the goodly fruits...."

(im in a rush, im going out right now, but i will post it later on when i come back home!)

this is the one i was thinking of:

"Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit."


(reference= 'Paris Talks' by Abdul Baha, page 51)
or
http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PT/pt-14.html (3rd paragraph from the bottom)

British_Bahai
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Postby British_Bahai » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:43 am

richard wrote:P.S. Your many recent quotes from the Baha'i teachings are excellent--spiritually resonant with other teachings, including the UB, and supportive of the possible spiritual unity between all religions, in some ways.

im just (enlightening!) you, since u said youre not a bahai so am giving you the bahai viewpoint

all religions ARE spiritually united. They all come from the same source (God).
All religions are chapters of the same book - thats what we're trying to stress to the world.

Each religion which originated from God has two types of laws:
spiritual laws (e.g. dont steal, kill, love thy neighbour, worship God, etc)
& social laws (e.g. wearing headscarf, etc)

social laws change according to whats the best thing to do at that particular era (e.g. in islam, by having more than 1 wife allowed men to protect the women at that time, who were being brutally treated and were looked down upon). But the social laws of religions is always different to the one previous, because the world changes and it only makes sense for social laws to fit the society during which the religion has been revealed in.

spiritual laws are, and wil always remain, constant.
Prime example: "the golden rule" (look at how its been said in all the religions, for example, "do unto others [christianity], "blessed is he who preferreth his brother before his own self" [bahai faith], etc).)

(but lets not digress - lets keep to the topic of this thread please).
i was giving you a basic bahai viewpoint, to add to your knowledge

BruceDLimber
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Re: Bahai view? "Why bad things happen to good people?&

Postby BruceDLimber » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:53 am

Hi again, BB! :-)

The passage you mentioned about disastrous events may well exist, but I'm not aware of it offhand....

As to God-sent tests, the scriptures of multiple religions say:

"Do men think when they say 'we believe,' they will be let alone and not put to proof?!"

and

"God verily will sift them and test them."

Peace,

Bruce

British_Bahai
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Re: Bahai view? "Why bad things happen to good people?&

Postby British_Bahai » Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:42 am

BruceDLimber wrote:Hi again, BB! :-)

The passage you mentioned about disastrous events may well exist, but I'm not aware of it offhand....

(??) i dont remember mentioning that :-k where did i say that?

British_Bahai
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Re: Bahai view? "Why bad things happen to good people?&

Postby British_Bahai » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:07 pm

BruceDLimber wrote:The passage you mentioned about disastrous events may well exist, but I'm not aware of it offhand....


this is the paragraph i was referring to. Please bear in mind that the interpretation of this passage, is, ofcourse, my own, so it might have another meaning, or another meaning in addition.

On the appearance of fearful natural events call ye to mind the might and majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all, and say "Dominion is God's, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation".
(Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 11, page 23)

available online http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KA/ka-4.html
(scroll down a third of the way for paragraph 11)


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