We love to believe “Everything Happens for a Reason” when the truth of that statement is actually just the opposite — “Nothing Happens for a Reason” — but to argue the reversal instead of the canard is to challenge the very fabric of our illogical existence.
We live to give form, texture, context and function to random events in our lives and we always see that sort of gullible rationalization when it comes to dealing with tragedies and death.
“Accidents and killings can’t possibly be random,” we rationalize, “we know there must be a reason somewhere.” We then work extra hard, using our minds, and not our common sense, to craft a reason that will comfort us in our grief.
A recent example of this ridiculous rationalization is found in the acidic mind of Glenn Beck, who proffered his misanthropic reason for the Japan earthquake: It Was God’s Will.
Glenn Beck says Japan’s earthquake might be a “message” from God. “We can’t see the connections here,” he said on his show Monday. “I’m not saying God is causing earthquakes – well I’m not not saying that either!”
“What God does is God’s business,” Beck continued. “But I’ll tell you this…there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’ I’m just saying.”
Beck continued trying to make a connection between human behavior and the natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in Japan, even casually mentioning “radical Islam” before revealing what he called “the answer.”
When God is self-righteously invoked to punish the innocent for the evil paranoia of one person, we have a clear example of the human fallibility of reason.
Reasons are excuses.
Reasons are cudgels we use against those who are unlike us.
Reasons are justifications, causes and explanations for events that require predestiny and a plan in order to make any sense.
Reasons give power to randomness and to the unexplained.
There isn’t a single reason for anything that happens, but there are a thousand different causes — and it is our job as cogent and logical people to know the dangerous difference.
A well written article, David! I couldn’t disagree more with what Beck said.
When people like Glenn Beck are allowed to spread their hate for people without any reasonable consequence, the entirety of humanity suffers in the humiliation.
This interest me. We have to define things we don’t understand even if our contortions don’t make sense. That’s the way of the world now, it seems. We can’t deal with the reality we’ve created so we make excuses.
I think that’s right, Anne. We seek to apply pre-existing concepts and pre-defined reasons for new things that happen to us. That’s both dangerous and stupid.
When I was a kid I lived in Utah, and the Boy Scouts was taken over by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). This, so called religion, practices underage polygamy, they send the boy s off on missions to divide the underage sisters among the dirty old men of the clan. Now when these underage girls get pregnant, these same dirty old men, send them to the state to get their welfare checks . You should see some of the palace homes that are paid with welfare checks (not on just one of course). By the way this is the newest religion that was created right here in United States of America, I guess their also in AZ, CA, NM, TX, NV, CO, OK. When someone hides behind religion to do or say something that is wrong we should stand up and point it out (right the wrong). Someone should ask Glenn Beck about it, he seems to have all the answers.
Thanks for the YouTube link. You make a great argument about the easy convenience of simple minds.
As human beings, we assign meaning to any given event in life. One person may interpret an event as bad, and another person will interpret it as good. But both people will think that the action is a result of a personal choice they made in their life. This demonstrates a serious lack of respect and understanding of the laws of physics and the forces of nature.
Indeed, things do not happen for a reason. Things happen as a consequence of a myriad of unrelated events. Chaos theory if you will.
And the trouble comes when we try to ascribe human positions to scientific randomizations.