“Everything Happens for a Reason.”
Does that quote indicate a belief in Fate? Consider the following scenarios.
- Jay causes a traffic accident that severely wounds another driver and her child but spares Jay any injury and barely even damages his car. He is however arrested on suspicion of recklessness following an investigation of the accident scene. After a night in jail, Jay has to face his father, Zed, who has come to bail him out. Before he agrees to pay, Zed asks his son for an explanation. “Everything happens for a reason, son,” he says to Jay.
Kay lies in her hospital bed clinging to life. She had been drinking heavily the night of the accident, while driving her daughter home. Deeply shamed by her behavior and buoyed by the outpouring of love and concern from her friends who visit her bedside, Kay reconnects with her life and family and resolves to quit her irresponsible behavior. Suffering intense pain from her injuries, she nevertheless tells her friend, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Jay has no contact with Kay during her hospitalization, but the death of Kay’s daughter fills him with guilt and remorse. He sees the accident as an indictment of his recklessness but senses the hand of God at work in sparing him. He doesn’t change his behavior in any way, but ever after believes that whatever occurs in his life is God’s will, over which he has no control and for which he has no responsibility. “Everything happens for a reason,” is how he describes the human condition.
Zed regrets having raised a son as irresponsible as Jay and resolves to do a better job with his daughter Dee. Together they form an organization called Teens at the Scene that promotes safe teenage driving, accident prevention, and emergency responsiveness. After years of labor, they take the group national, score big, and become very influential, as well as rich. Zed proposes a toast to their good fortune, but Dee replies, “Everything happens for a reason, Dad.”
Regarding the four declarations that “everything happens for a reason,” in a Reply below,
- Number your answers 1-4.
- Identify which of the four declarations are expressions of a belief in fate.
- For those that are not, describe what they do declare.
1 and 4
2 and 3 declare that fate is at work, that the outcome was predetermined. Whereas 1 comes to the conclusion that there is just a cause for everything. 4 could be either; I think that Zed doesn’t believe in fate, rather that everything that happened he worked for, where Dee believes that everything that happened took place because of the accident.
1.This declares that the father wants to know why the accident took place.
2. This is a belief in fate.
3. This is a belief in fate.
4. She believes this because the company became influential from teen accidents, so she understands why this happened.
2.It is an expression of fate in that Kay is admitting to herself that she screwed up and is responsible for her daughters death, however a positive came out of it, she now saw the error of her ways and will quit her irresponsible behavior.
3.This is also an expression of fate, in this though its rather that Jay believes that god is responsible for everything that happens and that doesn’t make Jay responsible for what happens, since its god will.
1.This is not a belief of fate. The father asks the son what happened and that was the son’s response after the accident. That was a lame excuse rather than an actual explanation.
2.This is a belief of fate. The mother learns her lesson following the accident, giving her a reason to change her life around.
3.This is a belief of fate. Jay fully believes that everything that happens is in God’s control, not his.
4.This is not a belief of fate. This is merely cause and effect.
These are judgment calls, so no right or wrong answers, but on 1, it’s actually Zed who says, “Everything happens for a reason.” His statement is a challenge to his son to provide an explanation.
Because your answer points up an ambiguity in the exercise, I’ve revised it to read: “Everything happens for a reason, son.”