Includes material from Why Do Bad Things Happen? by Charlene Brotman, Barbara Marsh, and Ann Field (Brotman Marsh-Field Curriculums, 1975). Used by permission.
Answer 1: In the land of the ancient Hebrews, the first two people ever, Adam and Eve, ate some fruit which God, who made them, had told them not to eat. This disobedience was the first sin ever. God made Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden to punish them. Now bad things will happen to all people—the descendants of Adam and Eve—forever and ever.
Answer 2: In the land of the ancient Greeks, Pandora opened a box and let evil into the world. Now bad things will happen to people. Pandora knew she should not open the box but curiosity got the better of her. She has said she is sorry, but that did not change the situation—evil is in the world forever.
Answer 3: In the land of Iroquois Indians, an Evil Spirit named False Face has brought pain and suffering into the world. Now the world needs medicine men to speak with good spirits and work against the evil.
Answer 4: In the land of the Hindus, bad things happen to people who have lessons to learn from a previous life. If they do their duty and learn their lessons this time, they will have better lives next time. If they are perfect, they will unite with God forever and, once they die this time, will never have to come back to human form on Earth.
Answer 5: In the land of Buddhists, people say the answers are inside us. People can stop our own suffering by letting go of wanting anything, because all suffering is caused by desire for something. If we choose right thoughts and words and actions, we will find the path to peace inside our own minds.
Answer 6: In the land of Science, the entire universe is constantly in motion and events can have random causes. A tiny little change can happen to a tiny little particle smaller than an atom. That changes something else and the something else can change another something else. Bad things—or good things—can happen to people as a result.
Answer 7: In the land of Humanists, bad and good things happen to people, sometimes because of other people's actions, sometimes due to a natural cause, and sometimes for a combination of reasons. The important thing is, even though bad things do happen, people have the power to think and care and act to make the world a better place and ease others' suffering.
Answer 8: In the land of UU, you have learned that bad things do happen, but you have discovered that you can make a difference all by yourself! If you act angry or mean, you can actually be the cause of bad things happening to someone else. That is bad. If you act with compassion and fairness and help other people, you can help prevent bad things from happening to people or make things better when they do.