Do you believe everything happens for a reason?

Do you believe everything happens for a reason?

55 responses to “Do you believe everything happens for a reason?”

  1. Everything happens for a reason. Uncaused events is a denial of reason. It’s a logical falacy. As for the freewill question, I think that one can be known and answered, Tom. “What the Bleep” is a propoganda film. It’s crackpot science to the extreme in my opinion. Good question, Chris.

  2. LOL…Don, I knew you would say words like “crackpot” and “propoganda” in your review of the movie. i agree, there are some crackpots, and considerable portions of the science are shoddy, but you didn’t find some of the ideas the least bit interesting? Certainly some of the “scientific” observations made can conform to your worldview 🙂 and weren’t too far fetched.

    A quick add on…I actually found the PBS Nova special on String theory interresting as well. It addresses a lot of questions about what reality is and sheds some crazy, yet not out of the question views on reality and how we understand the world….from a scientific view point too (Don!).

  3. “Everything happens for a reason” is a way we can make sense of the infinite number of possible paths our lives can take with every single decision we make. (Since we can’t comprehend infinity.) Each situation we have to make a decision on (thousands per day, most without thinking about them) has an infinite number of possible outcomes, and each outcome can be rationalized as a “reason” for that happening. It’s not a one-to-one relationship (X is a result of Y), it’s a one-to-many relationship. (T,U,V,W,X,n are all possible results of Y.)

    Like Jeff said, writing this comment might help me avoid a car wreck on my way home; or, it might put me in the path of a car wreck. Or it might mean I witness a car wreck and be traumatized, or narrowly escape a car wreck and change my life because of it, or I might meet someone on the bus who I end up marrying, or I might meet someone on the bus who becomes my arch nemesis. Each outcome could be a “reason” for me writing this comment.

    So, put succinctly, “Things happen.”

  4. The question ‘does everything happen for a reason?’ really is incomprehensible by the average human being. There are a numerous amount of factors to consider while trying to answer this question of a few words.

    Many factors come into play which in turn bring up many issues such as ‘does God exist?’ or ‘is death simply the end of our journey both as a human and as a soul?’
    Pascal’s Wager states that “God is, or he is not. But to which side shall we incline?”

    I am Catholic so personally I do believe in God and since I, and many others, believe in God, he (God) obviously is a huge influence on the way in which Christians view this question (whether or not everything happens for a reason).
    Many people in this world do not believe in God and instead place their faith in another area entirely so their views are obviously influenced by some concepts which are completely different from yours or mine.

    Another issue that influences peoples answers to this question is not only of those in some religious faith but also those who don’t believe in any religion at all. For people with no religion their perception of the question (do you believe everything happens for a reason?) is also influenced heavily because they do not have a religious icon and for them the factor of ‘God’ does not come into play at all.

    Many who believe in God say that because God exists everything that has happened, that is happening, and that has yet to be, is somehow related or connected to God. I am not saying that they are right or that they are wrong, but what if God really doesn’t have such a huge influence on the world as many may think. Another possibility is ‘Does God have anything to do with the events that presently occur in today’s world, or did he merely create the world then give some things a little ‘push’ and then stand by and watch?’ After all, you and your spouse may have/create kids and you do help them through life but you don’t control everything that they do. They make the majority of their choices by themselves and you are there to guide, but not to control. What if it is the same thing with God: he is there to watch, supervise, and sometimes help but WE as people create the lives and the situations in which we are or will be mostly be ourselves.

    If that is so, then everything DOES happen for a reason,a reason in which we ourselves create. We may not know what it is, but that does not change the conclusion that it is there.

    But then again, it does all depend on the individual’s perception of the concept at hand.

  5. God resides in a “fourth” or “higher” dimension, which is why He/She is not seen … Read the great book “The Fourth Dimension” by Rudy Rucker to understand this concept through visualizing a second-dimensional creature peering into the third dimension (or read the book “Flatland” …)

    As for free will vs. determinism, both can exist simultaneously. Think of a rat in a maze. The rat decides where to go, but the maze is predetermined. It may take a while, but eventually, the rat finds the cheese. “God” is the maze-maker and the cheese.


  6. Re: So how did God happen?

    Can a fish in a fishbowl understand how humans happened? Of course not. Studying the science of quantum physics is to understand that concepts such as “faith” and “the unknown” are written into the fabric of our universe.

    Science, and logic, can only take us so far. The rest is a matter of belief.

    God cannot be seen or understood, but He/She can be experienced. A fish can experience being dumped into its bowl or can be flushed down another one, yet has no idea what is happening to it … or better yet, why.

    Everything happens for a reason, indeed. We are here to experience it, and perhaps learn from it.

  7. Relating to the whole maze and God comparison I must say that it is pretty accurate in my personal view. Good answer $ponge.

  8. Thomas Chapin says if he believes he is Napoleon, he IS Napoleon (clearly a self-made man who worships his creator). If we lived in a truly moral society, a person with such an unsubstantiated worldview would be locked up as dangerous to himself and others. Core to Satanic, Wiccan, and New Age beliefs is that of relativism – where only subjective experiences define truth – and they reject scientific physics (so that one can believe whatever they want). In contrast to the scientific method (observing a environmental aspect and developing a working hypothesis in order to produce verifiable predictions and then use statistical tools during experiments and additional observations to separate pertinent information from noise to stabilize the hypothesis in order to form a valid theory), the failure of some practice to achieve expected results is not considered as a failure of the underlying theory but only as a lack of knowledge about hidden extenuating circumstances. This is very different from Pluralism, which is only about tolerance for different views. Relativism is about believing all answers are equally correct – devastating to any honest search for logic and truth. In a pluralistic society, everyone has the fundamental right to be wrong, while in a relativistic society everyone has the right to be right, all the time. Many Christians call this wishing theory of reality, “Name it and claim it.” It has often been said that anyone who makes decisions from their guts only produces shit.

    Wishing will never make it so. In the same way, sincerity is never enough either. For example, it is popular to suggest that guns are responsible for violence in Africa (although America has eight times more guns), but political scientists all agree that it is measurably the well-intentioned actions of Christian relief funds (providing 10% of the continent’s GNP) that is the cause for violence and starvation through the corruption of governments losing the moral obligation for social services by “giving them fish instead of teaching them to fish.” Self-acclaimed Christians like to talk about being led by the Holy Spirit but then often just muck everything up following their own egos like everyone else. One of the best observations concerning people is a quote by Dr. Albert Ellis (the most frequently cited author of psychotherapy works published in the last 50 years and ranked the most influential therapist by clinical psychologists) from a New York Times article, “All humans are out of their minds. They’re not only disturbed. They get disturbed about their disturbances. Until you accept that people are crazy and do all kinds of terrible things, you’re going to be angry.”

    In the debate on nature vs. nurture, I would suggest truly human (measurably distinct from animal – a whole other discussion) actions are only those that originate in neither and Jung, Ellis, and Schnarch (top psychologists), Senge, Drucker, and Milton (top management consultants), as well as Cloud and Townsend (Christian psychologists) have all demonstrated all “real” growth is fundamentally spiritual growth. After trying unsuccessfully for years to cure alcoholism by means of psychoanalysis, Dr. Carl Jung concluded that alcoholism could not be treated by either medical or psychodynamic techniques. He reasoned that the underlying problem was one of spiritual emptiness. Dr. Jung wrote in a letter to Bill Wilson, “I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition, if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil.” Even when something cannot be directly detected or understood (whether gravity, God, or even chaos), all real things and causes can be measured (even if only with great effort and only through effects). For example, the Bible clearly states that one is measurably a Christian if and only if one is part of Great Commission conversions, audibly hears God (not a single Biblical prophet operated on gut feelings), has predictions and / or healings that are good 100% of the time, casts out demons, and performs even greater miracles than Christ Himself (John 14:12-14). Anyone or anything less is measurably just wishing or blowing smoke (like the Anti-Christ). Concerning free will, Jews celebrate the day after Sukkot (Hosha’anah Rabbah) commanded by God in Leviticus by beating an aravah (willow branch or broom) against the floor five times because five being half of ten fingers represents God in our relationship with God as we are co-authors of our lives.

  9. I’m really confused with the idea that everything happens for a reason vs. free will. How can they coexist together? Are we predestined to make a choice? If we decide to make a choice between A vs. B using free will and we choose A, is the effect of what choice A brings us suppose to occur. Is that the only ultimate outcome that is suppose to happen. Then how is this free will if we were “suppose” to choose A. Anyone please help me one this question.

  10. I guess what I’m trying to say is that how can God have a plan for us aka everything happens for a reason coexist with God giving us the choice of free will?

  11. I think free will is the number of choices we can make to get us to the same destination. The choices we make teach us what we need to learn before we reach any particular destination.

    For example: I had been laid off from a position about a year ago. I ultimately landed a job with a firm that called me several months prior to my hiring for an interview. I turned down an interview based on my discomfort with the firm’s pre-employment testing program in which I would had been required to participate. After turning down the interview, I ended up in a consulting position surrounded by a culture for which I was ill-suited. I learned much about who I was within the context of the consulting position. Several months later I heard, once again, from the firm from which I eventually gained employment. The testing went well.

    Either way, whether I had originally not turned down the interview and taken the tests, I would had been hired, or, reached my destination, as it were. But given the fact that I did not originally take the testing, I made a choice that allowed me to learn something about myself. If I had made the choice to originally participate in testing, I am certain I would have learned something else about myself for example why I initially had felt uncomfortable about participating in a testing program (I thought I would fail).

    Both choices would have gotten me to my destination. Both choices had something to teach me. Both choices existed for some reason.

    Do I believe in a God-figure? No I do not. I see the God-figure as something that man created in order to garner some control over unanswered questions. I do believe there is something bigger than us at work and I will likely be pondering the possibilities during my entire lifetime. For me, there is a type of freedom in the exploration, additionally supporting the notion of free will.

  12. “how can God have a plan for us aka everything happens for a reason coexist with God giving us the choice of free will?”


    God created the universe, with all its incredible quantum laws guiding it beyond the notice of our everyday perceptions … you are held captive to those laws, much like the law of gravity keeps you grounded on earth or smashes you like a bug on a windshield if you chose to jump off a cliff.

    The choice of jumping, however, is yours.

    So God is the maze-maker. The earth is a maze. You are the rat, stumbling around in it, making choice after choice (some good, some bad), and eventually finding your way back to the cheese. Given enough time (say, eternity), everyone eventually finds the cheese.

    Every choice you make is yours, but some of the quantum laws of the universe (karma’s a good one, the law of attraction is another) will make sure that you are eventually guided back “home” where God wants you to go.

    As Gloria said, “The choices we make teach us what we need to learn before we reach any particular destination.” That particular destination is predestined (like the finish line of a marathon) while the choices you make along the way guide you there (everything happens for a reason).

    Some basic spiritual rules can make things much clearer here. For example, until you learn how to forgive, you will continually hold onto resentment and anger and will not learn the profound lesson of forgiveness, right?

    Another is the spiritual rule of understanding … until you learn how to see things from another’s point of view, you will be dogged by irritation and frustration that other people do not see things YOUR way.

    God (i.e. the maze-maker) sees to it that we all learn virtues such as forgiveness and understanding. Eventually. How long it takes is up to you.

    – $ponge

  13. Nothing happens for a reason. Everything happens BECAUSE of a reason (quantum physics notwitstanding). The acceptance of the bromide “everything happens for a reason” is an indicator of the lack of appreciation for causal relationships that is so pervasive, especially among the religious. It is also an abdication of responsibility for whatever bad thing you CAUSED by believing that whatever horrible thing you did, everything will work out the way it does, and whatever good happens down the links of the causal chain you are part of, you will think – oh, see, I lied to my husband, abandoned our marriage, destroyed his medical practice and killed our dog so that when he emerged from the mental institution he could find satisfying work as a landscaper.

  14. John,

    If you define finding “satisfying work as a landscaper” as a legitimate reason, then your analogy applies.

    I, however, do not find that to be an appealing reason, nor would God/the Creator.

    “Reasons” in this context are rooted in spiritual understanding; in enlightenment, if you will. Anyone who uses your “landscaper” analogy is clearly missing the point.

    As for your line “quantum physics notwitstanding” … quantum physics cannot be written out of this question. It is pervasive. It is the very place where “events” and “reasons” interface to help us find direction and meaning in life.

    – $ponge

  15. if you believe everything happens for a reason you are disregarding the motive that was behind it. i don’t believe everything happens for a reason but i do believe every experience we have can affect us in some way, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally. the resulting effect isn’t the so-called “reason” why it happened, it is just the consequence of our actions.

    i agree with john when he says that thinking “everything happens for a reason” is an excuse. it is an easy way to explain a lot of things that happen in life.

  16. Yes, absolutely, everything does happen for a reason. This being said, from our limited perspective most of us don’t understand the reason.
    As I see it, we’re not here to figure out and understand anyway. We’re here to experience what is being created by the Consciousness that knows the reasons.
    And eventually realize that we ARE this Consciousness. But that’s another story.
    Or is it?

    Many greetings


  17. i believe NOTHING happens for a reason…it is the choices we make that effect our lives…one had to have done some action to make something else happen (“action/reaction”)

  18. I found this website by googling this very concept (everything happens for a reason). I must state upfront my bias. I hate this concept. Stated the way we have here (everything happens for a reason), we could call this concept a type of popular determinism. I say popular because often after a tragedy either the victim of the comforter or both will cite this statement as if it were a societal scripture. Others will go so far as to claim it is Biblical (I resepctfully disagree). I think this concept is a result of our desire to see order and benevolence in the universe. But interestingly, I think such a construct leads to the conclusion that the universe lacks these very traits.

    For example, if everything happened for a reason, then the “reason” must be a predetermined outcome. In other words, a woman dies but a child receives her kidney. Therefore, if our concept holds true, the child surviving must have been the ultimate “reason” for the womans death. This might seem acceptable and ethical. But rememeber, “everything” happens for a reason. Therefore, the child raped and murdered must have also been occirred with intent as well. So then the next logical question is WHOSE “reason”. Would God want that child to be raped for some greater purpose? Can you see where I am going? For thsi concpet to be true, there would need to be a higher power and not only would all evetns be his doing but all of use would be without free will (as many have stated).

    Incidentally this is not only pervasive amongthe religous. My secular sister likes this concept as well. And as a serious religionist, I think this concpet is detrimental to a positive relationship with deity. The person who quoted Romans (All things are for good…), I can’t claim to have a prefect answer. The scripture does say “all” things. But I think this verse is also speaking more of perspective that of an all powerful being creating events for a predetermined purpose. for example, if I choose to view somones unkind comments as a blessing in disguise, then they will be. Maybe I’ll become kinder. But that is because of my personal choice to view events in this manner. Such concepts of thinsg being part of a plan are similar to Calvinism and pre-detination which are concepts now abandoned by many denominations. Certainly mine anyway.

    I believe in a God who allowed me freedome of choise. In each moment I choose my actions and am therefore accountabel for them. consequences may follow. But those consequences, while known by an all powerful God, are the result of independent will (mine). Not a pre-determiend plan. IMHO.

  19. NO!
    i really don’t understand it.
    so innocent people get murdered “for a reason”?!

  20. oh, and i found this by google “nothing happens for a reason”
    shows you what i think about it, haha

  21. I do not believe things happen for a reason.
    The universe is build up of random occurrences. One person does one thing, that leads to another. For example, a man makes a left to go to the store. On the way he notices a crime. He reports it. The criminal is found and convicted. What if he would of made a right? What if he didn’t report it? He had his own free power to make the left, which lead to the occurrences.
    I do not believe in destiny. It wasn’t his destiny to make the left. It was just a random meaningless action. What im trying to say is, things don’t happen for a reason. Reasons make things happen.
    What if he went left, because it’s less distance to the store? Then the reason he saw the crime is due to distance.

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