09Sören Kierkegaard wrote:
Belief is not so much a conclusion, but a resolution…belief is not a form of knowledge, but a free act, an expression of the will.

I once worked with a woman who lived with true faith. She truly, unabashedly and deeply believed everything that happens in her life is
God’s will. I even heard her dismiss a job she had wanted but didn’t get, by saying, “Thank God I didn’t get that job.”

Taking God out of the equation, there are two possibilities to explain every circumstance in our lives: either things happen for a reason or they don’t. And with those two possibilities, there are two sub-possibilities: either you believe
things happen for a reason, or you don’t.

In his famous gambit, Blaise Pascal — the French mathematician, physicist, and Christian philosopher — suggested it’s (at the very least) more mathematically advantageous to believe in the existence of a God, than it is NOT to believe in God. But, again, let’s take God out of the equation…

Either things happen for a reason, or they don’t.
Either you believe things happen for a reason, or you don’t.

There are four possible scenarios:
1. Things happen for a reason, and you believe they happen for a reason
2. Things happen for a reason, but you don’t believe they happen for a reason.
3. Things don’t happen for a reason, and you don’t believe they happen for a reason
4. Things don’t happen for a reason, but you believe they do.

Here’s the reasoning of each scenario:

(If this seems a bit dense, skip on down to the “tangible example” below.)

1. Things happen for a reason, and you believe they happen for a reason.If circumstances, events, and situations actually do happen for a reason, and your belief supports this idea – wonderful! Life appears to be one fascinating journey for you.

2. Things happen for a reason, but you don’t believe they happen for a reason.If things do happen for a reason, yet your belief doesn’t support this idea- then it sucks to be you. You’re probably walking around moaning and complaining all the time. You can’t make sense of the world and mutter, “Why did this awful thing happen to me? It’s not fair…”

3. Things don’t happen for a reason, and you don’t believe they happen for a reason.
If you don’t believe things happen for a reason, no big deal. You’re actually right. The world is random.

4. Things don’t happen for a reason, but you believe they do.
If things don’t happen for a reason, yet you still believe in your heart they DO, aren’t you more blessed nonetheless?

This is a lot of “math” to process, so here’s…

A tangible example:
Let’s say your computer suddenly melted down. You have one of four possible ways to respond to the situation:

#1 Your computer melts down for a reason. You believe it was for a reason. So, you search your past deeds and possibly do a moral inventory to figure out why such a thing happened to you. You look for the reason that this happened because you know in your heart that it was supposed to happen. You find some reasons and believe them to be true. All is good.

#2 Your computer melts down for a reason. You believe it was for no reason. So you mutter, “Why me? This is so unfair.”

#3 Your computer melts down for no reason. You believe it was for no reason. So you mutter, “Why me? This is so unfair.”

#4 Your computer melts down for no reason. You believe it was for a reason. So, you search your past deeds and possibly do a moral inventory to figure out why such a thing happened to you. You look for the reason that this happened because you know in your heart that it was supposed to happen. You find some reasons and believe them to be true. All is good.

Regardless of whether or not there is actually a reason things happen, if things are occurring according to some divine plan, and whether or not there’s a God, aren’t you better off believing that these exist?

Your belief can either make you a victim, or it can help you see the opportunity in an otherwise difficult situation. Do you dare choose what is perhaps the non-rational choice of fate?

A quote from Sören Kierkegaard:
Belief is not so much a conclusion, but a resolution…belief is not a form of knowledge, but a free act, an expression of the will.

In 12-step groups one hears the phrase, “Fake it till you make it.” It means if you start to believe – and even if you do so for the wrong reasons – that it will lead to real faith.

This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
Believe in whatever makes you feel blessed.

With love,

rabbi_brian_name_written

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