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I got into a discussion a few days ago with a religious person who had said, "everything happens for a reason." I then asked this person how they can explain the fact that hundreds of thousands of kids die from starvation every year in poor places in the world like Yemen and Somalia. I asked what the reason was that children die from famine if everything happens for a reason. They could not answer me. Living in different places in the world and seeing first hand how 'belief' causes apathy in people has really molded my thinking. What are your thoughts on the notion of 'everything happens for a reason?'

Ruetres 5 Dec 23

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Carried to logical absurdity, the statement is true. Everything does happen for a reason. The problem occurs because the reasons never coincide with their beliefs. I can explain if you'd like.


As an aetheist, agnostic and freethinker I used to think things that happened to me personally were because they were meant to happen. Now I'm not so sure I was supposed to get cancer.

Found out my father's two sisters both had leukemia-one in her 70s and the other aunt at 90. Then on my mother's side my uncle got leukemia at 90 and is still alive. Late in life to say the least.

I've heard cancer could be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Have you looked into that?

Not blood cancers. Any medical people here @TWShield?

My Mom had breast cancer at 40 and again in her mid eighties. She again contacted cancer at 94 and died of it after her 95th birthday. Most of her life was cancer free. My Dad died of leukemia at 67. Because of genetics I get myself tested once a year but believe firmly that shit just happens.

@sassygirl3869 The reality is that we suspect cancer is hereditary or caused but certain foods, drugs or environmental things, but you have to remember that everyone is different and so is their health level, immune systems and metabolic levels. if you exposed 2 different people to a cancer causing product, the odds are small that both will get cancer. You can search the entire internet but all you will find is a bunch of unproven facts because we don't have all the answers but we are learning.

@gearl The best thing you can do is keep screening yourself. Early detection is the key! alot of my patients come to me at stage 3 and 4. The odds are not good when you have cancer progression at stage 3 or 4. Your odds of survival greatly increases Before it Metastasize. Once it spreads to other organs or the Lymph nodes, its very serious.

I think science gets better and better about explaining why we get sick or get certain diseases. I would much rather trust science than believe everything happens because some God has already determined so. Stay strong.

Didn't think blood cancers were vitamin deficiences. Thanks @twshield

@sassygirl3869 unfortunately i don't specialize in Blood Cancers such as Leukemia as my specialty is Head, Neck and Lung Cancer. Going back to my Biology Studys, i don't think Vitamin deficiences would cause blood cancer. Leukemia comes from blood that starts to form tissue. Most of the worlds population is deficient in vitamins particularly D. so i wouldnt think so.

I learned pretty early in life most things happened to me because of the consequences of my actions, that included my cancer, my action, being drafted into the Army, going to Vietnam, and being exposed to Agent Orange. Now that was something I had control over, I could have stayed in school and kept my student deferment. By the time I graduated there was the draft lottery, and my number was so high I would not have been drafted.

However, there are many unexplained reasons for cancer, but "god" has nothing to do with them, however I do believe there are many environmental causes for cancer, we haven't figured them out and why some folks with the same exposure have no ill effects, genetics? ANd while we are there, it really makes mad that "23 and me" and genetic testing companies are not allowed to tell you of your predisposition to various cancers and other illnesses so you can protect yourself... Conspiracy theory time, if you could protect yourself the drug companies might not make as much money. On the other hand you might opt for more frequent screening, so is it the insurance companies? Please keep the government away from my body, male or female! .

And many things happen by chance, if Elvis hadn't died I would never have met the love of my life... That's a bit of a funny story for another time,

I also realized that my wife going to work for the railroad would cause her demise, why, because of her history of pushing the envelope and injuring herself... There is no picture in any of her high school yearbooks where she is not in a cast or on crutches caused by injuries playing high school sports to the max.


What could possibly be a justifiable reason for a priest sexually abusing a child, or someone committing rape, or murder? It is easy to say "everything happens for a reason" and then point at good things as proof that their god is a benevolent being who wants the best for its creations. They never have a response when someone points out all the bad things that this world does to us and that we do to each other.

icolan Level 7 Dec 23, 2017

Yup. Pretty much. It’s almost a fantasy existence in which they are completely blind to all the horrible unnecessary human suffering in our world.


The reality is that the universe “allows” every wonderful and absolutely horrific thing you can imagine to take place. Humans for some reason allow horrible things to happen to themselves and perpetuate horrible things onto each other. It has nothing to do with a god or a devil and everything to do with a flaw in thinking and an insane way of living based on the idea of a separate “self’ To divide what is actually a whole system is what creates conflict . There simply is no separate you, there is only relationship. I recommend meditation for dissolving the silly notion of the grand self.


Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is cause and effect. Everything happens because of a prior cause. Nature has no grand plan. That's just a superstition that people try to comfort themselves with.


Well if you think about it logically everything does happen for a reason. Not because if some unseen force but by actions taken/not taken by people in most cases. Our failure to act our failure to care or involve ourselves with the needs if ithers so that is the reason things happen.


Oh absolutely. The reasons are human failure, greed, ignorance, selfishness etc... but not some divine order from some invisible God like religious people claim.

Then it needs re-phrased: Everything happens for a reason because of action or inaction


This saying annoys the hell out of me. I have acquaintances who are not really religious who say this.

It is really translatable as "this is not my problem".

Technically it is correct, there is always a cause. It just becomes an excuse not to take action and to not give a damn.


Everything happens for a reason is a cop out of many proportions. Lack of knowledge, fear, blind acceptance, etc. And also used for the capture of the weak minded of those in highly distraught situations. The statement is a tool.

I couldn’t agree more.


I agree with you completely. I have a sister-in-law who told me that she lost her book and she prayed to saint (fill in the blank) and she found it.
I asked her why Her god can send out old St.Bul--hit for her book but he can't help starving and tortured children.


Yeah, they tell me the same thing. I guess when a child is stricken with cancer or a child gets sexually abused and that abuse leave a mark on their life, such as hem having a severe mental illness, that happens for a reason, too. The nerve some of these people have. Just a desperate way to hold onto their delusions and empty promises.


I have asked someone using this argument "what would be the reason for me calmly punching them in the nose?"
After discussing it they were decided that whatever reason they assigned to the event it probably wasn't gods will!


It's nonsense. Ask them to walk down a children's cancer ward and explain their reason for that happening. Not to mention 2 year olds getting raped. Oh, I don't respect anyone who believes that "god works in mysterious ways".

Crazy crazy religious logic.


Hi, Ruetres! Nice to see a fellow Cornhusker on the board.

Some religious people have used the "everything happens for a reason" cop out to avoid taking responsibility for their own behavior from as far back as I can remember.

It's infinitely easier to say, everything happens for a reason (Translated: I don't give a shit) than it is to make the effort to ensure that the playing field is level so that success or failure amongst able bodied and minded individuals is based upon individual effort and drive rather than trickery and smoke and mirrors.

Hello fellow cornhusker... oh I absolutely believe religion is completely made up of deflecting accountability... like when people say, “I’ll pray for you”... what does that even mean? Why not do something tangible and measurable instead.


“Everything happens for a reason.” Whenever someone says that to me, it pisses me off. What reason? Is there one reason that everything happens, or are there different reasons for every different thing that happens? Who or what makes these reasons? I may be just a little more sensitive than usual to that statement right now because my 37 year old friend just passed away 10 days ago after a three year fight with cancer. And if there was a reason this beautiful person had to die so young, I’d like to know what it is. I’d like to know how anything was made better by her suffering, or her death. As to the statement that “suffering builds character”, does anyone on here believe that?

Shade Level 5 Aug 18, 2018

I don't believe suffering builds character.

Maybe I should reword that haha. Suffering may build character, but not necessarily the good kind!


I see no reason to believe that.


It’s nonsense.


Some things happen for a a person is a total dumbass.


I was raised as a christian and very active in the church growing up until age 14 when I was given the choice. After that it was strictly xmas and easter.
When my 12 year old daughter was hit by a truck, in a coma and then died, I received all the platitudes. I didn't want to hear it. At that moment I was done with god and all the bullshit.

How painful that must have been!

The final straw for me was when my mother died from bone cancer.


What a great question. People say this a lot!
You really put it in perspective & I commend you for asking that person. It sounds like a load of crap privileged people would say, not thinking of others.


I'm surprised you didn't get that nebulous favorite"It's God's will".


Yes, everything happens for a reason, but not in the way religious nut jobs believe.


Things happen and we assign a reason to them. If we can't explain or understand it, then "everything happens for a reason" explains the unexplainable. Kind of like "What ever!"


It's one of those platitudes I hate hearing. Like "she's in a better place now" when someone dies.



Everything does happen for a reason, but the reasons may not be good, for example the reasons why children starve may be because of a combination of apathy and greed. Of course one must face the reality that the reasons are man made and not god given, for that to happen, god would obviously first have to exist, and since he doesn't......


Everything does happen for a reason. The reason for anything, however, is never supernatural.


Some time ago I had a conversation which revealed that the church goer that I was talking to thought that Jews were Christians. He reasoned that,
"Jesus was a Jew wasn't he?"
I'm quite amazed at how little the religious seem to know about their own religions and so often can't answer simple challenges. Could it be that the stock answer of
"God moves in mysterious ways".
was starting to wear thin in the mind of your acquaintance. One hopes so.

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