Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Golden crescent moon was setting in the west when I walked home from work - golden through a light haze, gauzy veil. The twilight brought me to an introspective place.

I've been thinking more about the issue of "everything happens for a reason" and realizing that it is a STRONG button issue for me. I am a universalist and believe there are any truths and many ways to truth, many paths toward wholeness and the divine. It is important to e to accept a multiplicity of paths. And here I sit , really distressed by and wanting to dissuade people from the "everything happens for a reason view.

Many of my friends who argue divine reason speak in terms of lessons and karma and a divine plan which puts us always where we need to be - so that when terrible things happen to innocents perhaps it is the plan that they face these terrible things. That scares me. i neither absolutely believe in reincarnation or rule it out. I don't rule out much or believe in much as absolutely true. the main thing I believe in is the importance of our individual choices. If I stand back and let things I believe are clearly harmful go on around me because I believe everything happens for a reason, that's dangerous. I think free will can get out of hand and I'm responsible for using my own free will to do as much good and as little harm as I can. I get scared by the "for a reason" belief because I think it can permit us to stand back when we should take action.


As far as terrible things happening to innocents and the way that can be framed to have a place in a reasoned universe, someone I once respect said "souls may choose, but children don't." I 'm not sure about souls. I know children don't choose and if I have to choose between protecting a child and possible denying its child a lesson its soul chose to learn through abuse or starvation, I'll protect the child.

the deep spiritual connection I feel with the divine and with my faith tradition is a source of comfort and strength, and is something I use to inform and strengthen my choices. If I have to choose between belief and action (and I don't think we do) I choose action.

My comforting thought, instead of "Everything happens for a reason." is more "Whatever happens I choose how I use it."


I found a quote tonight - by one who should know, that I resonate to:

if I stand back and let things I believe are clearly harmful go on around me because I believe everything happens for a reason, that's dangerous. I think free will can get out of hand and it takes I'm responsible for using my own free will to do as much good and as little harm as I can. I get scared by the "for a reason" belief because I think it can permit us to stand back when we should take action.

As far as terrible things happening to innocents and the way that can be framed to have a place in a reasoned universe, someone I respect said "souls may choose, but children don't." I 'm not sure about souls. I know children don't choose and if I have to choose between protecting a child and possible denying its soul a lesson that soul chose before entering a body to learn through abuse or starvation, I'll protect the child.

Whatever spiritual connections I feel with the Divine and my faith traditions are sources of comfort and strength,which I use to inform and strengthen my choices. If I have to choose between belief and action (and I don't think we do) I choose action.

My comforting thought, instead of "Everything happens for a reason." is more "Whatever happens I choose how I use it."


I add a quote that resonates to what I'm feeling tonight, from one who learned in most difficult circumstances.

Viktor Frankl wrote:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

2 comments:

Ruth said...

I haven't read the whole post yet but I wanted to write that, as much as I do tend to agree that the "everything for a reason" argument is flawed and dangerous... I think I make peace with it by taking it the opposite direction... instead of "everything happens for a predetermined reason" I believe that I must make something good come from everything--I must GIVE it reason... So in that way I DO beleive that nothing is or completely without value (and therefore the "reason" of giving us that value).

Now to read the rest.

Ruth said...

I'm thinking now about the "children don't choose" comment and concept--I like it.

It is hard to imagine just sitting by and letting achild be beaten/raped/neglected on my watch and telling myself that it is "for the best" ... I'm more viceral, primal, humanistic than that.... Maybe it makes me spiritually immature but I have the same problem with how Christianity has been preached to me on occasion--all SO focused on the afterlife and forgetting the power of my actions here and now. (And I guess maybe this goes to show that my "Faith" is not as strong as it should be... because maybe it is simply that I feel like I KNOW letting a child suffer is wrong much more strongly than I KNOW or even believe that there is a sentient God or even an ultimate organizing power).