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Does everything happen for a reason?

A very common belief is that everything happens for a reason, and that if we're observant, patient, and intuitive, we will come to realize a sublime harmony exists in the events in our life. Critics claim this belief encourages us to see imaginary patterns in random events, and that we should instead view the world more scientifically.

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Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Media

Oprah Winfrey    Talk Show Host
I know that everything happens for a reason, so I look at everything like, "Okay, what does that mean, and "What am I supposed to be getting from that?"
09 Nov 2009    Source

Deepak Chopra    Inventor of Quantum Healing
... Everything happens for a reason. ... Just as the material world is connected invisibly at the quantum level, the subtle world is connected by a field of consciousness. A prayer, a desire to be healed, a wish for peace, hope for reassurance about the dead -- each impulse enters the field of consciousness and is responded to, just as every material event enters the quantum field and is responded to, down to the least quark and photon.
08 Jun 2010    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Is there a Law of Karma?

Miscellaneous Experts

Gail Lynne Goodwin    Motivator
Did this accident happen for a reason? As crazy as it sounds, I believe it did and that life is not a haphazard roll of the dice, but rather, an intricately woven tapestry of experiences of great significance. Each event in our lives is important, from the most inspired and enlightened to the seemingly unexplainable, inequitable or incomprehensible. ... When we look for the meaning, we can find the gift in what could be perceived as a negative experience.
08 Jun 2010    Source

Experts In Entertainment

Seth MacFarlane    Animator, Writer, Creator of Family Guy
It's because we're significant junkies. We want to attach significant to everything. "This must have happened for a reason." And that's just not the case. ... Coincidences do happen. ... It's narcissistic to think you're here for a purpose.
17 Mar 2009    Source

Adam Corolla    Radio Personality, Television Host
You [Seth MacFarlane] were bound for one of those 911 flights that flew into the tower and I love the fact you don't give a s*** about it and that's exactly how I'd be which is it was just happenstance... It's the ultimate form of narcisssm to say that "this happened to me for a reason". Because if it happens to you for a reason, what about the other 250 people who flew into the ****ing tower? Did it happen to *them* for a reason? Were they bad people?
17 Mar 2009    Source

Experts In Media

David Knowles    Journalist
It’s amazing to me how many people subscribe to the belief that “everything happens for a reason”. In other words, that there’s a design or hidden intent in the most seemingly random accidents that occur every moment on this planet. To adherents of this view, coincidence simply doesn’t exist. Of course, religion is the main reason that this idea has taken hold. God’s plan accounts for every stubbed toe, every fender-bender, every unwanted pregnancy.
04 May 2009    Source

Experts In Atheism

Ronald Aronson    History Professor, Author, Atheist
At its root, the maxim mixes events that do indeed have comprehensible causes outside of ourselves along with pure accidents, and mixes these up with results that we ourselves produce through our own actions. ... As this low-grade sense of destiny or God or whatever percolates below the surface of American life today, many of us who lack a sense of control over our lives fall back on it, as do many traditionally religious people.
01 Jun 2009    Source

Experts In Psychology

The Serene Atheist    Psychotherapist, Blogger
I have met with children and adults who have been terribly abused in physical, mental, emotional and sexual ways. ... In each of these stories and others, people have told me that their struggles were not only with the abuse they suffered, but hearing from others that "everything happens for a reason". ... For many people who have been victims of abuse, which they were unable to prevent or stop, this statement creates a great deal of pain and confusion in them.
19 Jan 2010    Source

Experts In Biology

Paul Z. Myers    Biology Professor
The mediocrity principle simply states that you aren't special. ... Most of what happens in the world is just a consequence of natural, universal laws — laws that apply everywhere and to everything, with no special exemptions or amplifications for your benefit — given variety by the input of chance. Everything that you as a human being consider cosmically important is an accident.
21 Jan 2011    Source


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0 Points      matt      29 Feb 2012      Stance on Question: Disagree
does everything happen for a reason? No is the simple answer. People like to believe it does because otherwise they havn't got an answer for why it has happened. Why turn left instead of right? Why do one thing but not the other. Trying to find the answer for why everything happens is not possible, but it is still believed that its happened for a reason, we just don't know what that reason is. I don't believe everything happens for a reason, life is what you want it to be and what you make of it, you can change your life if you want or if you don't. Freewill people, gotta accept stuff happens for no reason and get on with it.

1 Point      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Disagree
This question is largely incoherent. Some things happen because people choose to do them, while others happen as a result of randomness, unintended consequences, or purely natural processes with no human involvement.