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"Who Sinned That This Man Was Born Blind?"

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"It is not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:3

Almost every culture—whether it be ancient or modern—possesses a common superstitious belief that whenever anything bad happens to someone, it is because the person has done something to bring about the tragic event. It is common for people to ask themselves (or even ask others) what the victim did to cause God (or fate or karma) to bring the calamity down upon them. The underlying assumption here is largely correct: bad things happen to bad people. But the conclusion is not correct: that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between bad things and specific sins. The fact is that the one questioning why something bad happened to someone else is equally guilty before God as the person about whom they are wondering. Two examples from Scripture come readily to mind.

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Kim Riddlebarger is pastor of Christ United Reformed Church (Anaheim, California) and co-host of The White Horse Inn radio broadcast. He is author of A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times and Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth about the Antichrist (Baker, 2006). Kim blogs at

Issue: "WHY?" March/April 2014 Vol. 23 No. 2 Page number(s): 24-27

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