Why do bad things happen to good people?
Many religions teach that good things happen to good people who worship their God and who are therefore loved by their God. Of course, that means that if something bad happens to you it must be because you are a bad person. The notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people is foreign to Wayism in that we don’t know whether a person is acting to the best of his or her soul’s abilities, appropriate to the soul’s level of development—so we cannot judge whether it is good or bad, in that sense. Only the Way knows that.
However, we can judge whether a person’s actions are good for us or for others. Like the bull in the china shop—we can judge that the bull is not good for the china but that doesn’t mean the bull is bad. Therefore, the way that justice works is to remove the bull from the china shop to save the china. Wayists have no problem judging that Osama bin Laden was bad for American society and removing him was prudent justice. Whether the man was in fact bad—that does not concern us because it is a matter between him and karma.
Nevertheless, according to the type of theology that lays down definite good and bad guidelines—we believe it leads to problems in explaining why God allowed bad things to happen to ‘good’ people. People run into problems making sense of life. Having money is good—therefore the richest person in the world must be the happiest and the best person in the world. The poorest man in the world must therefore be the most miserable man. Pain is bad. Therefore not being able to feel pain must be good. Life is not like that. Life is about balance, yin and yang. There is a little bit of yin in the yang and vice versa. A gentle balance is often considered better than an extreme—or is it? Wayists believe that only the most mature spirits can know enough about the difference between good and bad—and teaching is that even they reserve judgement.
We like to say that a tsunami or earthquake is a bad thing because it killed so many and wiped out so much of creation—but do we really know that? Do we know what would have happened if that seismic plate did not collapse but pushed the pressure elsewhere? Do we know that creation is in process, and evolution is in process, and where it is headed? We don’t. We can always only judge by the immediate or short term effect that we experience, so we are reserved in our judgement about good and bad.
However, when it comes to things that people do to other people and neighbor creatures it is a little bit easier. We can say that it is bad for humankind to treat cattle for flesh eating the way we do, but can we fix it? We think about it, while eating their meat, and the dilemma remains.
Reality attest to the fact that the richest people in the world are not so rich because of their pious affiliation to a particular God’s rules and religious observances—or even because they are such ‘good’ people. Some of those rich people are not even in the same religion and have different Gods.
On the other hand, people like Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi did not particularly have a lot of money. Many of the things that happened to the Mahatma (beatings, murder, etc) cannot be said to be blessings. Many would say that Jesus (whom some call the Christ) and his disciple Stephen were ‘good’ people but death by crucifixion or stoning cannot be said to be a good thing that happened to them. This dilemma is a failing in the theology of these traditions and it came about because they moved away from the Wayist foundation.
Wayism understands the difference between good and bad to be the essence of learning about the human condition. The essence of wisdom. It is not a trivial matter. There is often a good potential in and bad, and bad potential in any good. We can talk about something as wrong because it is contrary to some or other purpose, but there is always some good in there.
As an example: It is wrong to simply state, ‘people who worship this or that God are good people and the others will be tortured by the God for not worshipping’. That statement, like so many religious statements, leads to possible circular reasoning. A ‘good’ God will not torture people. Therefore, it must be a ‘bad’ God. Therefore, the people who worship the God (for its qualities and powers) sympathize with the God’s bad ethics. Therefore, it can be deduced that the people are bad, like their God.
Wayists understand that one must be careful with good and bad statements because it leads to trouble—especially if left unchecked. That is what Wayists do—they check.