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I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense. — Harold Kushner

Big Question: Why do bad things happen?

The flat statement that "stuff happens" seems to ask that we shrug, accept whatever fate befalls us and shuffle on, head down, through life. Sixth graders want more. They want to know why bad things happen, and especially why bad things happen to good people.

This session explores some possibilities, presenting a variety of religions' answers. Youth respond to a story from Hebrew scripture where God allows Satan to test Job by sending bad things his way. The group considers Unitarian Universalist ideas, especially the importance of putting faith into action by working to redress bad things, no matter why they have happened.


This session will:

  • Pose the Big Question "Why do bad things happen?" and explore Unitarian Universalist responses to it
  • Introduce youth to some traditional religious answers to the question
  • Present the story of Job
  • Invite youth to develop and share their own ideas about why bad things happen.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Understand a variety of explanations for why bad things happen
  • Consider the story of Job
  • Hear Unitarian Universalist ideas about the causation of bad events and a faithful response to them
  • Reflect on their own ideas about why bad and good things happen.

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