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What is the Reason that Things Happen?


Does Everything Really Happen For a Reason?

Experiences from my family and family history have made me think about the veracity of certain ubiquitous cliches used by many to convey their outlook on a circumstance.  Please don't think I am a skeptic because I am not or maybe I am of some things.

I am not a real philosopher, theologian or psychologist.  Many have weighed in on this subject.  I am just looking to find correct principles and understand them better, hopefully with an objective critical thought process.

We all go through difficulties in life. Those difficulties can be caused our own decisions or by others. Will we take responsibility for how we react by disempowering ourselves and defaulting to a notion that has no basis and delude ourselves by saying that all things happening for a reason?

The fact is we are all alive until we die and there is a purpose for that unless you are an atheist.  There is a difference between the purpose of life and the reasons that things happen in life. Those philosophies vary widely.

We've all heard statements like this. "Everything happens for a reason" and "If it is God's will", or "Si Dios quiere" or "what will be will be" and its companion "que serĂ¡ serĂ¡". 

What are the ramifications if God dicates the normal occurrences of life?  It would mean we aren't really free beings.   Life is a neutral environment and meant to give us freedom so that we can learn from experience and by exercising faith without coercion by God. The fact is we can learn from everything we experience be it positive or negative.  It doesn't have to happen for a reason.

My grandfather, my dad's father, was struck by lightning and killed when my dad was eleven. Why did this happen?  Most likely because he was walking home from irrigating in a field with a shovel on his shoulder in a thunderstorm. 

My mother died in a car crash when I was eight. They were traveling on a rural highway in a farming community when the fields were plowed resulting in dust clouds that resulted in extremely low visibility. My dad ran into the back of a car that slowed almost to a stop in the middle of the road. Was that road dusty so my mother could have a reason to die?  Airbags would have let her walk away.  Why weren't they invented decades ago?

My dad's mother and stepfather were also killed in a car crash traveling home from visiting my parents.  Did God plan or cause him to fall asleep at the wheel?  I don't think so.  I've thought about these events over the years and tried to put them context of my beliefs about life.

One of our future granddaughters was just diagnosed with a serious heart defect. It is treatable after birth but there are many challenges and uncertainties involved with such a diagnosis and treatment. They will grow in many ways as a family. Is this fair to them to have such a challenge or to others that don't and are therefore less compassionate and appreciative of a tender life?

A few years ago my youngest son was diagnosed with melanoma. Surgery treated the affected area and then a round of protocol interferon took him out of life for a time.  Did he get cancer for a reason?  It almost seems like he did because many positive things came out of it and the way it impacted him and many others.  It gave us a new perspective on life. Many others may not have an outcome that is positive in that they died?

There would be a lot of inequitable scenarios if God were dictating the outcomes of our decisions or planning the details of every action.  He gives laws and commandments so we can choose to follow them or not but we are not punished here and now in such a way that causes us to change our behavior. 

Cancer is a common occurrence due to many things. Most likely there is a scientific reason.  A combination of genetic, exposure to chemicals or a poor diet.  Like all illnesses we gain understanding when we get sick, but I don't think we are afflicted for a reason other than we are alive and such is the nature of our existence.

The reason we can become overweight and sick from those effects are cause and effect.  A consequence of an action.  The law of the harvest applies.  We reap what we sow. We sow thoughts and actions and reap a result.  We are however subject to uncertainties that may come about as the result of others, just like a storm or pestilence could wipe out a crop.

Some things may happen for some reason, but not all things happen for a reason other than we are alive and the consequences associated with a choice and act become reality.  Life is a test and we shouldn't be surprised if the answers become difficult to explain. 

The reason we can choose our destiny is because there is a reliably predictable outcome to certain actions and choices. God established laws.  It is as I mentioned like the cycle of the harvest, sowing and reaping yet the crop can fail due to weather, bugs or some other force of nature. Such can be the randomness of life.  

Without pain and suffering there is not appreciation for health and well being.  Without sorrow there would be no joy.  The sadness in death is only so when we love the one leaving us.  There is no love without service and helping another to grow through their trials.

Good health and fitness are the result of proper diet and exercise. Wealth is the result of proper financial strategies.  Even so an injury by another careless person can destroy them both. Good relationships are from developing proper attitudes towards others. 

Even so there are factors we cannot control.  Such is life in a world where individual agency and free will exist.  Even though some agnostics will tell us there is no free will, what do they really know other than their opinion?

A more important question to ponder would be what is the purpose of life?  Is there a divine purpose or simply a random occurrence of cosmic insignificance?  Did God make some people smart so they could have all the money and others stupid so they would be poor. Does he cause a person to be mean so that innocents might suffer?

Isn't the fact that we are alive the reason for everything that happens? Doesn't living have daily consequences in and of itself? Wouldn't the only way to avoid them be to not live.  We get sick, accidents happen, people die, we fail and we succeed, we learn or we remain ignorant.  

One reason people are tempted to use cliche statements like this is because sometimes there are consequences from the choices of others that have an impact on us.  These could be unexpected consequences from many choices that others make.  We don't seem to have much control over them other than how we react to them.

People are more inclined to use this saying when they don't understand what freedom is. It is a manifestation that they don't want responsibility for their actions.   It seems they want to assume that someone else is guiding their destiny. 

While life is a complex intermingling of consequences and wills, it is certainly not God forcing his will upon us.  If that was the case we would not have freedom nor behave as we individually might choose.  It seems self-evident that we can behave as poorly as we desire or as good. 

God does not stop evil choices or the consequences.  This allows us to be judged according to the dictates of our own heart or will.  The short term afflictions of righteous souls and the temporary prosperity of the wicked are not the eternal outcome.  

Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people but only temporarily. All of of these sufferings and perceived prosperity end at death. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.

This moral agency or free will is the bedrock of inalienable rights that our founding fathers understood when they wrote the declaration of independence. The constitution was meant to preserve them by limiting the power government which is still necessary to preserve them.  We do see that their vision has preserved the essence of freedom.  


Some individuals will try to limit the freedom that allows us to act or to take away the consequences of poor decisions. They can do this by physical control, by false precepts or both. Those that promote philosophies that tell us that we don't really have the freedom to choose or control over our lives would have us believe that we are merely pawns of a chance existence or an all controlling deity.

Of a necessity our collective pursuits require a government that protects our rights.  I believe that our constitution was divinely inspired to protect the principle of personal or moral Agency. This is the foundation of our inalienable rights. 

The constant erosion of those principles is accelerating.  If we don't recognize this, it will eventually wash into the river of intellectual foolishness and liberal ideologies that would try to convince us that government, not God is the grantor of all rights and that our destiny is best left to chance and a benevolent congress.  It is not.

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