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Does everything happen for a reason?

genareddoggenareddog South eastern indianaPosts: 2,866 ✭✭✭✭✭
So I am in a class and the other day this topic came up. In the past I guess I always thought, yes everything does happen for a reason. Now I don't think so. I think a lot does but everything? I know God knows everything, God knows what is going to happen and allows it. But if everything happens for a reason, does that not take away our free will? Would love to hear some of your thoughts.
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  • raisindotraisindot BostonPosts: 1,308 ✭✭✭
    Putting aside the issue of religion, I don't believe at all that anything happens for a reason. For 99.99% of Earth's existence the planet was devoid of a sentient species that could even ask this question. If and when humanity ultimately dies out, whether because of our own destructive tendencies or because of inevitable cosmic events (comet collisions, the sun burning out), the planet will return to a state where only microbes exist.
  • genareddoggenareddog South eastern indianaPosts: 2,866 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @rainsdot , would you say that everything just happens? Just coincidence?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,255 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For everything, there are always several paths/directions of possibilities. Each movement or choice is bases on those possibilities. 
    If you are faith based, then believe that your god will guide you on the correct path, because without that belief, you can be lost and wander endlessly without purpose.

    We have free will to choose which paths are presented to us. Each path is a test of sorts. When presented with tough choices, we often question faith and purpose.

    When my sister died of cancer, I questioned the reasoning of it, but later realized that a greater power has a better purpose for her. She had been in pain a long time and the great spirit had taken that pain for her and taken her to a better place.

    For those who don't have some faith in a higher power, they can become bitter with resentment and anger when things don't go the way they had planned or loved ones paas away. Often blaming someone or something for that loss.

    Ok, that was way too deep. My apologies.
    There is no crisis that a good cigar can't cure.
    In Fumo Pax
    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

    Wylaff said:
    Atmospheric pressure and crap.
  • johnnyBjohnnyB UtardedPosts: 1,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have a different take on free will,i think it's like being on a cruise ship. You can do whatever you want on the ship except change it's final destination. I think our choices are dictated by our strongest desires.
    Non Crux sed lux
  • raisindotraisindot BostonPosts: 1,308 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2016
    @rainsdot , would you say that everything just happens? Just coincidence?
    @genareddog, I believe that what happens in nature happens because of scientific processes. Including diseases that end up killing humans. Most diseases are caused either by genetic defects or by parasitic lifeforms--either bacteria or viruses--that existed on this planet for billions of years before humans did and will continue to do so after we're gone.

    Now, what we do as humans has caused changes in natural processes that might not have happened on their own or not as fast.

    But when it comes to what humans themselves do, I do not believe believe that our actions or events are guided by a divine power--or at least one that's analogous to the thousands of deities in the pantheons of the world's religions. 
    We may think that we have a special place and purpose in the universe, but in reality we don't make a rat's patootie of difference, cosmologically speaking.  

    I also disagree with the statement that those who don't believe in a higher power are likely to become bitter or blame others when things don't go their way. On the contrary, I'd say these people recognize that fortune--misfortune--is either the cause of human actions or the pure randomness of life, and that it makes no sense to adopt a Job-like posture as to why a higher power would allow such things to happen. As the great Walt Kelly said, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us." Or as the great Anonymous said, "S**t happens."

    Of course, that's just my opinion, and nothing more. I would never dream of questioning anyone's belief that God, Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Zeus, Amaterasu, Isis, Gaia or any deity they believe in guides their actions of has reasons for allowing things to happen. There's so much going on this universe that will forever be beyond our limited ability to detect, let alone comprehend, that any attempt to make any kind of scientifically deterministic statement about "the meaning of life" is pure arrogance.  These ideas rightly belong in the realm of philosophy and religion. 
  • peter4jcpeter4jc Milwaukee, WIPosts: 7,602 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I need to go make another cup of coffee before I can think this through...
    "I could've had a Mi Querida!"   Nick Bardis
  • raisindotraisindot BostonPosts: 1,308 ✭✭✭
    Peter, from what I've heard your coffee is something everyone can believe in. :) 
  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,099 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The natural state of matter over time appears to be life. From the micro-organism living within us, such as a bacterium, to the macro organisms in which we are but cells, like our polities ... everything we can observe appears to be alive. Life may have no iron-clad definition; but surely any definition of it must include a couple or so of these elements: organization, homeostasis, metabolism, response, reproduction, and either death or transfiguration. Anything opposite entropy. Most of these elements of life do at least imply volition. There's your purpose.

    Now, that doesn't mean you see it. The bacterium in a whale's gut may not recognize the whale's purpose; but that micro-critter goes along for the annual ride from the Bering Sea to the Gulf of California nonetheless. You do not need to see a purpose for there to be one. We can stand back and recognize the whale and surmise it's purpose. We can burrow in and see the bacterium and surmise it's purpose. Because we have ways to observe both. It would be downright arrogant of us to assume there's nothing bigger than this narrow scope we can see. Something either bigger or smaller than we can see now will be seen as soon as we find a new way to see it. Something to which we might be as small as a bacterium is to a whale; or something so small that germ can't even see it. Science continually discovers new larger or smaller life forms... and where we never expected it to be. Fossilized life found on bits of asteroids that fell near the south pole, teeming colonies of life miles beneath the surface of sea or earth in complete darkness; life thriving in deep space. On the one hand, electron microscopes; on the other hand, proof of collective consciousness in the noosphere. Everything we once thought was void, soon as we find a way to get there, wait a minute, there's more to it than we thought.

    It seems to me that those who deny purpose take too narrow a view. Don't stop at matter; mix in time. Time appears to be the crucial leaven which evokes life from mere matter and space.

    ... and Life ... Life implies purpose.





    ... and now, 0patience, you may stop apologizing for diving in too deep.
    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Without purpose there is no dignity. Tyrants have tortured poor captives by forcing them to move dirt or rocks back and forth from one place to another for no constructive purpose. The prisoners have gone insane or suicidal. A sense of purpose is woven into our being - put there, I  believe, by our Maker. The tiniest particles in the universe serve some purpose or another. To argue against purpose, as such, is absurd. 

    Now, you may conclude that "purpose" is merely a manifestation of cause and effect, and reject the spiritual and metaphysical as irrelevant. That position might be intellectually satisfying, but it rules out any moral standard, and without a moral standard society cannot function because each man's purpose becomes pleasing himself at the expense of others.

    The historic Christian view is that God created the universe with a purpose. Mankind was created to reflect and pursue that purpose in the spiritual sphere. But mankind fell into rebellion and substituted the purpose of the creature for that of the Creator. From there, different theological camps differ as to the relationship between God's purpose/will and man's. Some see them as separate and competing - men are absolute free agents who may do whatever they choose, regardless of what God wants. Others, like myself, believe that God's purpose underlies, controls, and overrides man's purposes, while still preserving human responsibility and genuine choice. If it is possible for man's will to override God's, then God would not be all powerful, and therefore He would not be God. 

    Gotta stop there for now. Good topic, tho.
    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • johnnyBjohnnyB UtardedPosts: 1,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Preach on brother puff
    Non Crux sed lux
  • WylaffWylaff Reno, NVPosts: 4,729 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Adell is rolling up in here.
    "Cooking isn't about struggling; It's about pleasure. It's like sǝx, with a wider variety of sauces."

    I hate myself, and I don't regret any of it.

    At any given time the urge to sing "In The Jungle" is just a whim away... A whim away... A whim away...

  • genareddoggenareddog South eastern indianaPosts: 2,866 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great posts here. I guess I am a lot more of a simpleton than you guys. As a Christian, my purpose on earth is to serve and glorify God. 
  • peter4jcpeter4jc Milwaukee, WIPosts: 7,602 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great posts here. I guess I am a lot more of a simpleton than you guys. As a Christian, my purpose on earth is to serve and glorify God. 

    From the Westminster Catechism...

    Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
    A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.




    "I could've had a Mi Querida!"   Nick Bardis
  • No_one21No_one21 Posts: 2,184 ✭✭✭
    I prefer.... everything happens.

    Multiverse theory solves that.
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Things do happen for a reason, but maybe not the reasons you think.  For myself, I believe God has a hand in things but not mapping out a life's path for you on Earth.  You're free to be an idiot like me, it will probably catch up with you though.  If your nature is to wait and let things happen, they will.  If you make things happen, they will too.  

    I'm a Catholic but don't go to church, a lost soul, lol.  I pray to God for thanks and for others that are suffering, but usually not for myself.  If I manage to somehow overcome something I thank God for guiding me.  If an accident is averted, I thank God for mine, and their, reflexes.  No way I could have done that by myself.  But I don't believe God made that car veer into my lane, probably texting did.
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 5,188 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great thread!

    When you ask; "For a reason", are you implying predestination?  Or, simply cause and effect?. 

    It's too early, like Peter, I'll need more coffee to respond adequately.
     
    Briefly, though, I do believe in God, and that there is purpose to existence, and that we are here to work out much of that purpose.  I do not believe that God's creation is completely predestined, that would be as meaningless as random chance.

    Like Forrest Gump, for me the answer is "both" regarding the question of designed purpose and just happened.  I think there is a designed purpose, that allows a LOT of things to just happen.

    On a tangential but related note:

    If you're interested in why people and societies and cultures do what they do, I'm reading a book titled "The Lucifer Principle" by Howard Bloom that does an excellent job of explaining the why behind most things in life.  I recommend it to everyone, buy it, read it, pass it on, if people would do this it might save our country.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as someone else's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • genareddoggenareddog South eastern indianaPosts: 2,866 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @amos_umwhat predestined is what I am talking about. Want to hear something that I think is amazing, one of my best friends brother in law just passed away yesterday on Good Friday. Take a guess on the date he was born.     December 25
  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,099 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The evening Lincoln was nominated, at the theater across the street, guess what play was being performed?
    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • Puff_DougiePuff_Dougie Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodPosts: 4,601 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've always liked the way it's stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith...

    "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

    It's really impossible for human reasoning, from our finite and limited point of view, to reconcile how God can preordain everything that comes to pass while also preserving human choice and responsibility, but this is how the Bible talks about predestination. Of course, God can make these things work together without contradiction because, well, He is God. 

    *Takes off theologian hat and reaches into humidor for afternoon smoke.

    "When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
  • EssPee2uEssPee2u Da BronxPosts: 126 ✭✭✭
    johnnyB said:
    I have a different take on free will,i think it's like being on a cruise ship. You can do whatever you want on the ship except change it's final destination. I think our choices are dictated by our strongest desires.
    Similar to Nietzsche perspective.
    Keep it Smokey
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,407 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well said Rodger!
  • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 7,445 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In a way yes. Even the off the wall random crap happened to us because we got involved some in a chain of events. 
  • PastorJayPastorJay Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Even your choice of following "free will" happens for a reason.
  • kswildcatkswildcat Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Life is full of choices and different paths.
     Science is not proof it is merely a theory.  Sure scientists have all sorts of instruments and gizmos they claim prove their theories. Take dating instruments for example, they have no earthly way to prove accuracy of such instruments. Like say some claim to have found carbon gasses trapped in a glacier that was trapped thousands of years ago. There is no earthly way to prove the accuracy of that instrument.
    Some scientists claim evolution and that Christianity is a hoax. If it's a hoax it's the best hoax ever.. And they seem to struggle  explaining artifacts that suggest their theory is false.
    1 day scientists say eggs are bad for you and next day they are good for you. Just like the global warming / climate change scientists want to ban any others arguing their science no matter the opposition results and data.
    Sure science is benificial but is constantly under scrutiny for accuracy. I can argue evolution theory and Christianity.  Truth is only the dead know for a fact. That is why it is faith.
  • kswildcatkswildcat Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    The only fact I'm sure of is I remember  sitting on the baseball diamond bleachers my 7th grade year and getting a weird feeling and looking at my brothers watch then looking at my sister and telling her I feel different. Later I find my brothers surgery was not successful and  he passed at approximately that time. That feeling has remained with me to this day. I'm convinced my brother lives within me everyday and does his best to keep me safe and help me make good choices..
    Do I question my faith? You bet I do. I question why my brother had to die at 20. Why children are in St  Jude with cancer, why there is so much evil.. But if we come from apes why is there still apes?
    I'm sure there are some people that would think I'm crazy and need to be locked up.. But the feeling is mutual  :)
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