Not Everything Happens For A Reason

Yesterday I wrote about blessings in disguise. Sometimes, something that seems bad can turn out to be a good thing. Note, I do not believe this is the case for everything.

I ended yesterday’s post by asking, “Do you buy into the theory that there’s a reason for everything?”

Spoiler alert: I don’t buy into this theory.

Boston marathon bombing not everything happens for a reason

The world is a crazy, fucked up place. People are not inherently good or evil. They are opportunistic.

Altruism evolved because humans selfishly found it advantageous to make friends. Evil evolved out of scarcity of resources and the evolutionary advantage of helping those within our tribe, to the exclusion of others.

Good vs. evil is not all or nothing; it just depends whom you consider your tribe.

People throw around the phrase “everything happens for a reason” so often that it starts to sound like fact. But it’s not fact; it’s opinion. Perhaps a very popular opinion but that doesn’t make it true.

Because I can tie sitcoms into anything, a quote from Scrubs:

Be careful though, because if you start believing that bad things happen for a reason, it hurts that much more when they don’t.

It’s dangerous to believe that everything happens for a reason. From there, it’s a slippery slope to believing that people must have done something to deserve their misfortune. And all the way at the end of that downward slope, you have the Westboro Baptist Church.

I guess people want to believe that everything happens for a reason because it makes them feel safe. If this is all part of a plan, I have nothing to fear.

For me, I found it liberating to let go of that concept. If I stop trying to figure out some deeper meaning behind tragedy, I can focus on enjoying life for the unpredictable and temporary gift that it is. If we stop asking why bad things happen, we can focus on doing something to stop them.

Yesterday’s tragedy did not happen because God smited Massachusetts for allowing gay marriage. It didn’t happen because the victims did something wrong. It didn’t even happen to teach us all a lesson about the fragility of life.

Yesterday happened because humans are inherently opportunistic. Or, if you’re religious, because God gave man free will. Because people chose to do evil. There is no good reason.

What do you think?


  1. I have been known to say “I am tremendously pessimistic about human nature, and tremendously optimistic about human potential.”

    That’s going to look really weird in conjunction with my latest post title.
    Tragic Sandwich recently posted…There Is No Serial Killer in the Back YardMy Profile

  2. Very true. Not everything happens for a reason. There is no reason to justify murdering an 8 year old boy and seriously injuring his mother and sister. No matter what race, religion or creed he is, or the evil bombers are, and no matter where in the world this happens.
    There is a lot to be said for dignified peaceful protesters like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela who achieve things using peaceful protests and without violence.
    I take comfort in the fact that there are far more good people in the world than evil. Just look at all those who ran to help the injured in Boston. What they saw will live with them forever, but they helped their fellow citizens without thinking of their own safety.
    Ellie at Emerald Pie recently posted…Music To My EarsMy Profile

    • Well said, Ellie. We need more peaceful protest and less destruction. We need more good people to be ready to jump into action. I feel guilty of being incredibly self-focused lately. Might do me some good to volunteer.

  3. This here, “The world is a crazy, fucked up place. People are not inherently good or evil. They are opportunistic,” is absolutely the problem with people today. Perfectly said, Jill.

    And I hope everyone in the Westboro Baptist Church contracts an incurable case of gonorrhea.
    Stephanie recently posted…Oversharing: Mommy, What’s That Noise?My Profile

  4. Nah, not everything happens for a reason. Life is unpredictable. Sure, some things happen in response to certain actions, but then again some things happen that make no sense. We all saw that in Boston a few days ago. Just live life, let it happen, and hope for the best.
    Phil recently posted…I will say a prayer for you today Boston.My Profile

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