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Fate and Faith: The Extreme Odd Couple
by Peter Soszek
Fate and faith, these two words do not have very much in common other that the first two letters. It is my opinion that these two words could be classed as antonyms and in fact have the opposite meaning. Two small words but they have extremely deep meanings if we take them into the context of how we view our lives. They are descriptors of people�s attitudes and how we approach or travel through life, how we view our experiences, and how we react to situations. While on small issues we may switch our beliefs between the two with little consequence, it is more important on our long-term outlook as to how we adapt and act. Is it according to fate or faith? The choice likely reflects on our mental outlook, how we act or behave, and even how people view us.

We tend not to think of these two words very often and typically they only come to mind as a result of some type of event. As an example, let us consider a minor car accident that does not involve any personal injury. Since nobody was hurt the consequences are not too severe. Our only worries are filing accident reports, going through the insurance process, making arrangements for the car repairs, and making some non-budgeted cash outlays if we are responsible for the deductible. Certainly, this may be viewed by some as a major inconvenience and add an extra degree of stress to a person�s normal routine.

So what is the relationship to fate or faith? Most would agree that this incident would be chalked up as an unfortunate incident, a bit of bad luck, and just the result of some bad fate. Faith would not even enter the picture. The majority of people would not consider this a life altering incident that requires a deep examination or questioning of their outlook, beliefs, or faith. The majority would write it off, learn from it as an example, slowly begin to put it out of our mind, and get on with life.

What about a more serious example where a family member was riding with us in the vehicle and sadly they died as a result of an accident that was determined to be our fault? This type of instance is severe enough that both fate and faith will be brought into question. Depending upon the outlook you have adopted, this event will likely bring about a serious review of the position you have taken on fate or faith. We could examine the possible feelings that might result.

How would the fatalist cope with this type of event? As with any human being, we would expect strong and sad emotions. There may be a self-examination in terms of personal blame and carelessness on why the accident happened. However, would there be anything in regard to a personal consolation for this individual that would promote self-healing due to this tragedy? This would probably not be the case. Instead, with a strong non-belief in God and without faith, this individual is left to console in that this was just destiny, inevitable, and just an adverse outcome. While it may seem very callous, cold and hard logic, what more could this person count on?

What about the situation where a person has a strong faith? There would likely be commonality by both people in respect to the emotions and the personal blame felt. However in going forward and looking to the future, the person with a strong foundation in faith and belief would have more to rely and count on. It would not be a situation of the cold "this was destined to be". Instead, over time there would be a sense of healing and almost an understanding. While the reasons for the tragedy occurring could never be totally explained from our limited vantage point, it would be realized that we are not given to understand all things. Why this has transpired and how it is part of a very elaborate design are not made known to us. Acceptance with time does come. A faith in God�s plan for each of us and a belief in Heaven brings important comfort to us. While on Earth we do not have the true closure some expect, we have the comfort that our family member has eternal joy and the answers and reasons will one day be given to us.

People with weak faiths are greatly tested by such events. They can become the example the fatalists point to and challenge saying, "Why did your God let this happen to you?". Those of weak faith succumb and may be caught in this difficult test. God�s love for us is like a rock. It took a long time to form and may have been growing for a very long time. We need to understand this and let our love of God and our faith in God also grow and become strong like a rock. We need to build our faith life on a foundation like rock.

� Peter Soszek


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