Not Meant to Be / All for the Best

Though it's possible for an atheist to express the sentiment that “it wasn't meant to be,” I think it's mostly something believers say since it implies that someone directs everything that happens to us and thus controls of our lives. If you think about it, it's usually nothing more than an excuse not to analyze your past conduct for mistakes to determine what you need to change to reach your goal next time. The last time I heard this said, I pointed out that the result could indeed have been quite different if the parties had followed a different course of action. This was met with blank stares and a comment equating to sour grapes.

I have similar objections to the sentiment that “it's all for the best.” No, really, it's not. Or at least, we don't know so. Life might indeed be better with fewer tragedies. It's probably not better that your family member or friend died in an accident. It's absolutely true that some good things only happened because some bad things happened before them, but we don't know whether something even better could have happened if they hadn't. Life is too unpredictable for us to know what is ultimately for the best. We just have to make the best choices we can, given our knowledge and abilities, and take responsibility for the consequences.


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