The biblical story of Job appears to represent a struggle to understand why bad things happen to good people. In the New Testament, the disciples asked Jesus to explain a man's blindness by telling them who sinned--the man or his parents. Jesus did not endorse either cause (John 9: 1-12). The story reveals an enduring belief among some religious adherents that people suffer because of personal or family sin.
Just world theory may explain why people blame the victims of sexual and other forms of physical abuse and various crimes. Rape victims and victims of sexual harassment have been accused of having a responsible role in the harm done to them. People who suffer from an illness or the effects of substance use disorders may be viewed as suffering as the result of poor choices. The theory may also explain the lack of concern for harm done to prisoners as if they deserve whatever they suffer in prison.
Lerner, M. J., & Miller, D. T. (1978). Just world research and the attribution process: Looking back and ahead. Psychological Bulletin, 85(5), 1030–1051. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.85.5.1030
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