Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why do great things happen to unbelievers and even bad people?

In Church there is talk about blessings of the Lord for those who love Him, etc.

But what about those that are blessed that don't love him? How does that work?

share|improve this question
4  
I'm not sure what the question is here... –  Ward Mar 17 '12 at 7:30
1  
I should also ask here: which Christian doctrine? There are many (by sub-division of Christianity), many of them incompatible –  Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 8:26
    
Please see this, which is also considered a duplicate question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/5017/… –  user1054 Mar 17 '12 at 16:45
1  
Re the edit: again, the whole "striking down" thing seems largely to be OT; in NT, most things relate to the next life, not this one. –  Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 22:32
1  
I think this a great question, the same question that Asaph asks in Psalm 73, and a point that Job's 'friends' rub in his face throughout their discussion. Shortened, 'Why do good things happen to bad people'. I hate down votes due to what appears to me to be ignorance. Just because you don't understand a question, does not mean that it is not a good question. –  Nathan Bunney Mar 22 '12 at 2:39
show 5 more comments

3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You could take the word "atheist" here and replace it with any group. Any religion, including (yes, really) Christian has people who fit that description. And there are people from every religion, and atheists, who that description fails to describe. You could also use labels such as political alignment, county of origin, gender - and you'd get the same hits and misses.

I believe you are very deeply confused about the relationship between what people believe (in terms of religion), and how people act, and whether they are successful / constructive / whatever. And I have no idea how "good looking" plays into this question!

But: if the question is "why don't atheists live according to Christian teachings"... Er, because they don't believe them. I could equally ask "Why don't Christians live according to the teachings of Hindu/Islam/Zoroastrianism/Norse-Mythology?".

Re "living by different rules"; you may be aware of something in your location called "local/national/international law". Most people live according to their society's laws, which are usually based along the lines of "don't harm eachother" - do not steal, do not kill, etc (aside: please don't think this means these laws come from the Bible; these same laws have evolved in every successful culture, including those completely separated from the Bible; it seems such laws, and things with health implications ("don't eat each other", "having kids with your sister is not a good idea") are a pre-requisite, for self-evident reasons, for a successful culture). As it happens, this is often fairly compatible with many religions. Indeed, there are many laws in the Bible that are largely disregarded even by believers (most Christians in Western cultures are happy to use contraception, for example (citation: Catholicism). A reasonable case could be made that many Christians are primarily also following the society law, rather than Biblical law.

Finally, Christianity does not, AFAIK, claim to make you rich, healthy, successful or attractive. Any claims of such are usually limited to the afterlife. Which is convenient.

I'm not entirely sure what the question is, but hopefully I've touched on some of it?

share|improve this answer
1  
"Any claims of such are usually limited to the afterlife. Which is convenient." Oh ye, of little faith! :) –  Wikis Mar 17 '12 at 10:35
3  
@Wikis very literally, indeed :p –  Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 11:02
    
Yes you did hit some of the question, thanks. The example was to say these are people who live by society laws (good people) but NOT by Biblical laws. they live in Biblical sin, yet they are NOT struck down, or suffering and even live what is considered a blessed life. The rules I am referring to are the Biblical rules, and it seems it may not really hold merit to some individuals in this world. Now if it means they can't get into heaven that is a different issue, but here they follow their own needs and are just fine. –  Greg McNulty Mar 17 '12 at 19:51
1  
Christianity does not, AFAIK, claim to make you rich... You haven't been watching enough TBN :) –  Flimzy Mar 17 '12 at 19:58
1  
@Greg well, "follow their own needs" might be an over-simplification; non-Christians can be just as considerate of the needs of others as Christians –  Marc Gravell Mar 17 '12 at 21:21
show 1 more comment

In short- God loves all people- (even the guy trolling on this site saying he'd raped my mother!); that does not mean he loves their sins. I also believe (and this is one area of thought that is open to dispute) that God=joy and thereby all who truly seek joy, whether in this life or in the next, will be redeemed. This makes me a Universalist but I am not entirely alone in that belief. Seeking God means seeking the light.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The problem of theodicy is present throughout the Bible, and so I am not going to give an exhaustive answer. I will say, However, that even Jesus said that His Father caused "rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike," (Matthew 5:45)), meaning that in this present age, the wicked will, in fact, be seen to prosper.

Some of what the Bible says on the matter can be found here.

One of the better answers to theodicy is to remember that God is both just and merciful. A formulation that is used throughout the old testament is that God is "slow to anger, but abounding in mercy.". That God would give the wicked every chance to repent is in His nature, and a blessing for all sinners who choose to repent.

To your point that the wicked must be punished in order for Chrisianity to mean anything, well, May I suggest Jesus has a story you need to hear?

One of the most famous parables - called alternately the parable of the Produgal Son or the Parable of the Loving Father, is completely against the idea that the righteous should expect or take any solace in the punishment of the wicked. After the Prodigal returns, the older brother is, to put it mildly, pissed. After all, why should the young brother be forgiven? When the Father takes the older brother aside, he encourages the older brother to rejoice in the return, not worry about the evil that has been done.

It is against the Pharisees this parable is directed. the story is a picture of God's loving response towards sinners, and a warning against the righteous not to be annoyed that repenting sinners are received with open arms.

In short, as a sinner myself, I am to rejoice at God's forbearance. I regularly praise God that I didn't get "what I deserve.".

But, as Galatians says, do not be deceived, God is not mocked. What a man sows, so shall he reap.

share|improve this answer
    
thanks...I guess I struggle with the question, does it make any difference in this world to be a Christian, then? –  Greg McNulty Mar 19 '12 at 18:37
1  
See the last line of what I wrote :) –  Affable Geek Mar 19 '12 at 19:23
    
Good answer. Psalm 73 too. –  Nathan Bunney Mar 22 '12 at 2:19
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.