Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? 6 Possible Explanations

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why do bad things happen to good people

Have you ever asked yourself, Why do bad things happen to good people? I remember struggling with this question for many years. I may now be able to shed some light on the subject.

Why do bad things happen to good people? As I pondered this question during my lifetime, I would always fall short of a sensible answer.

Was it something about these people that I didn’t know? Were their skeletons so deeply hidden within the closet that I couldn’t see a reason for some “holier-than-thou” punishment?

So, why do bad things happen to good people?

There are several reasons this may happen, and the reasons are categorized by belief and non-belief of a higher power. There are reasons which vary greatly from the Jewish, pagan, atheist, and Christian perspective, just to name a few.

For now, we shall look at these answers from different belief systems in order to formulate a few conclusions for all. Why do bad things happen to good people? Let’s take a look at these 6 ideas.

The Pagan Perspective

Pagans believe in Gods, plural, and so they do believe in retribution or punishment from various deities. So, if you are considered a good person in your group, but yet, you are visited with bad circumstances, then to others, there must be something you have done to anger the Gods.

Friends and family may know nothing about these negative characteristics you hide, but according to Pagan beliefs, the Gods know. This is why it may appear that bad things are happening to a good person.

The Atheist Perspective

If you think that’s harsh, try this answer. The atheist’s perspective is simple. All circumstances, good or bad, is just random.

I have many atheist friends and some of them are quick to say that everything which happens to us is just chance and nothing is part of a punishment or reward system. So, this means if a good person is robbed, then it’s just random and doesn’t mean anything about who the person is or why this could have happened.

As you see, this perspective is depressing because it means that life itself will never be touched by Karma in its retribution. On the other hand, it leaves no questioning. Rather, it leaves a strange sort of peace of mind instead.

The Jewish Perspective

According to the Old Testament of the Bible, Moses told Aaron that good people encountered bad situations because they were good.

Now, this might not make sense to you, but it has a deep meaning. It closely resembles how one might view negative circumstances as a spiritual test. Only the best of the best people experience the hardest tests. Although this too seems disappointing as an answer, it does shed light on a sensible viewpoint to those who have faith.


This view makes good sense to many people. I think sometimes bad things happen to good people because of the lack of education and training. Bad circumstances occur because of lack of proper knowledge in how to avoid dangerous places, how to choose acquaintances wisely, and how to deal with toxic people.

These good people tend to experience round after round of bad circumstances beyond their control. In a sense, it’s not their fault, and knowledge is the key to making improvements in this area.

Unfairness and Hate

Also, in our day and age, we encounter situations that aren’t fair, due to our race, our sex, sexual preference or our skin color. These situations are considered hate crimes or discrimination. No matter how much you try to deny the fact, racism and sexism are alive and well today. These unfortunate mindsets make it difficult for good people to experience positive lives and outcomes.

In these situations, you might ask, Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, sometimes, and this is heartbreaking to say, things sometimes happen just because of who you are, how you look, and how you talk, among other things.

Sometimes, life is just unfair, not out of random chance, not because of some punishment, but just because of hatred in our society.

The Law of Attraction

There is one more way to look at why bad things happen to good people. It can simply be because of what energies they attract. Here again, we may touch upon spiritual aspects, but not in the traditional sense. We could be the best people around but still, attract negative circumstances.

This is because whatever energy we send out will the be energy we absorb. Those who think negatively, regardless of how good they are will attract more negative situations into their lives.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

The truth is, bad things will happen to good people, and bad things will happen to bad people as well.

I don’t quite believe it’s all just chance, but I lie if I say that I totally understand. My heart has been broken by bad things happening to good people, but over time, I’ve learned to focus on healing instead of trying to figure it all out.

Maybe one day, we can tip the scale in how we treat people, so we can make more good things happen for those who deserve it!


  1. https://www.chabad.org
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com
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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.

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By | 2018-05-19T19:56:02+00:00 May 19th, 2018|Categories: Food for thought, Spirituality|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments


  1. Don May 20, 2018 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Regardless of the beliefs I’ve had which all have changed over time, I can’t turn loose of randomness and coincidence. Without these two, it infers predeterminism which is something I’ll never be able to handle. I see no reason for existence in that scenario – we must be able to make choices. I basically do what you do – the best we can while here.

  2. Gary Hynous May 20, 2018 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Hello Don, I agree with your thinking regarding things happening to us that have nothing to do with predestination but are more likely due to the situations we find ourselves in while simply living our lives. Catholics talk about original sin which means that a new born is already sinful. I don’t believe in that either.I do believe that what goes around comes around. If you do bad things at some point you will have to pay for those choices. More or less evening the karmic score card. I had an experience yesterday while walking around checking out garage sales to see what junk I could take off someone else’s hands! While walking along I met a guy that I’ve know for about ten years.He and I started out friends but somewhere along the line we became unfriendly. It turns out that he was talking behind my back about me. He made a crude remark and I just ignored it but I found myself angry and I got caught in a mental loop in which I kept going over ans over the incident until I realized what I was doing and unplugged from my thoughts. You’re right, we have to keep doing our best in good or bad circumstances. Much healthier that way.

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