What’s the difference between Mourdock and Deepak Chopra?

Lots of people, with good reason, are up in arms over Senate candidate Mourdock’s belief that if a woman gets pregnant from rape, then it must be God’s will. It’s very easy to see how someone could find this attitude dark, dehumanizing, repugnant. Especially someone who has been raped. I agree…I find that kind of view of the world to be horrifying.

It doesn’t seem to me, though. to be far off from an attitude that most of the people I love the most hold. Namely, that “everything happens for a reason”, or any number of variants thereof.

When people say this they believe they’re saying something nice, issuing a positive statement on the world and embracing life and all of its ups and downs. And I have no doubt that they are being sincere and that they are no less intelligent than I am for holding this belief. But when I have, on occasion, ventured to explain why I do not hold this kind of belief, and why I think “everything happens for a reason” contains within itself, hidden behind a veneer of positivity, an aspect of extreme, dark horror, I am almost always dismissed as having a negative world view, being a nihilist, etc. Any attempt to explain why I believe my attitude is actually the more positive and life-affirming, and that  ”everything happens for a reason” is, when you really think about it, itself a bleak and nihilistic and soul-killing outlook, and I’m not taken seriously.

But, apply my belief as a counter-argument for Mr. “Rape babies happen because God wants them” (who is essentially just saying “everything happens for a reason”) and I think it becomes clear why my beliefs – that the nature of life is ultimately absurd, chaotic, random and unfated, actually represent a love-filled embrace and acceptance of the world far beyond that which one can achieve through such a deterministic and teleological belief system.

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