It’s a very seductive idea: That God, the creator of the universe, has a special life plan for each of us. No matter what slings and arrows we encounter during our time on this planet, it was meant to be. No matter how much we exercise our free will, and no matter what the outcomes, it’s already written. It’s surprising how many people believe this at some level—and not just fundamentalist Christians. Mainstream Christians, Moslems, Jews, Hindus and more.

You hear the sentiment expressed in times of extreme stress or misfortune: “Why has God sent me this burden?” The question is a koan, as it has no answer. Job asked God the same question, back in the days when God would answer directly. “I am that I am.” It was not the answer he sought, considering his life and the lives of his family had been ruined for no good reason.

The idea that God has a plan is not a thinking man’s philosophy. But then again, religion isn’t for thinking men. It’s based on faith, which is not rational.

Perhaps it’s a matter of relaxing the left brain’s predilection for accounting, and allowing the right brain to hold sway. Focusing on the feeling in your gut, your intuition, the energy center in your intestines that contains primitive brain cells that give you the gut feeling—which is usually right on, until you start thinking and rationalizing about particular decisions.

You can’t think God—you have to feel him. It’s the only way to believe.

If you think, your mind will wander to the tens of thousands of children who suffer and die each day: Malnutrition, malaria, AIDS, and a host of other diseases. The children born with severe birth defects and cancer, who haven’t even had a shot at life.

People will rationalize—it’s God’s plan. Your troubles are meant to make you stronger. How many times do you hear the platitude: “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” It was coined by an ancient Roman philosopher, who no doubt stole it from a Greek, and made popular in the modern world by Nietzsche, the nineteenth-century German philosopher who so inspired Adolf Hitler.

Nietzsche died in an insane asylum, his brain a honeycomb of syphilitic lesions. So this philosophy didn’t quite work out for him. Always consider the source.

So does God have a plan? I think if he did he would be terribly bored. As humans, the spice of life is not knowing what’s going to happen; think how dull it would be, and perhaps frightening, if we did. Free will must dictate destiny.

As Taoists say, "My life depends on me, not on Heaven."

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