Sunday, April 17, 2011

Everything doesn't happen for a reason

Do people really believe that nothing in the world happens without some master plan behind it? Are all these people who say "Everything happens for a reason" talking about a god or some mystical dance of the allness of life or fate? And why do they think I want to hear about it?

Yes, everything does happen for a reason: it's cause and effect. The reason I got the parking space right in front of the restaurant is that some woman decided to pull out of that space exactly five seconds before I drove up. The reason my friend just happened to take a long trip with her dad exactly three months before he passed away is that that was when she finally scraped up the money to do it. I'll buy the cause-and-effect connection.

But I don't know what to do when I explain some challenge I'm facing and someone says to me, "Well, everything happens for a reason!" I imagine they think they're being comforting and optimistic, but they're assuming that I share their belief that there is a bigger purpose for everything and I don't. It's presumptuous and it irritates me, but I usually let it go.

What I have trouble ignoring is when someone says, "Well, I guess the Universe is sending you this," blah, blah, blah. Now they're ascribing agency and intention to some entity they're calling "the Universe" and that sounds even more to me like a spiritual belief system that has nothing to do with my beliefs. I want to say, "Uh, look. I don't believe in this universe that thinks and does things, okay?" Sometimes I do say something like that, but I wish I didn't have to.

Clearly, even though huge amounts of therapy and the correct anti-depressant have finally brought me peace, happiness and self-appreciation, I'm still an atheist. My personality isn't completely different, although I am more tolerant of dogs now.


Sandii said...

You would probably want to tell me to go feck myself every day!!! I'm a huge fan of 'everything for a reason' and have seen it all my life.

I could look at it the other way. I'm a hugely positive person who always believes something good will come of any situation and perhaps that's why I see the negative things that have happened turn into some of the best things in my life, but I have to say, it seems to happen for a reason...

Feel free to cyber slap me btw! :-)

Having said all that, I do hear what you are saying. And if I were part of your every day life and within real slapping distance, I would definitely respect that and even at a distance I respect it. Although I can't say I understand it. ??


DCA said...

I also don't believe that "everything happens for a reason" or that "what goes around, comes around". However, try to remember that when people say those things (and I've said them myself) it is an effort to try to make you and themselves feel better. The intention is good,which counts for something or even a lot, even if it's annoying.

Oh, here's another one that gets on my nerves. "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger". Ugh!! If it doesn't kill, then it doesn't kill you. It might make you stronger, or it might not.

Obesio said...

It is no use arguing with religious or spiritual nuts who think that everything happens for a reason (it doesn't)or that God (who doesn't exist) has a plan for you specifically (even if there were a higher being, this would be a laughable thought). As you point out, such baseless claims are quite distinct from causal arguments. And you can't argue with these loons either because every point that you try to make will only be further proof of their celestial madness.

Regina said...

Sandii, thank you for not understanding, but still allowing me to cyberslap you.

DCA - Right, what doesn't kill you can also make you weaker. Duh.

Obesio - as a person with medically documented, clinical madness (depression), I resent you wasting a great term like "celestial madness" on people who believe everything has a reason.