Everything Does NOT Happen For A Reason, But...
So she's understandably upset. But, she said, "I'm trying to stay as positive as possible and keep one of my favorite sayings in the back of my mind "everything happens for a reason", which is what your nephew just got tattooed onto his stomach."
Now, when I hear stuff like this, klaxons go off in my head and I just want to box their ears and ask, "Why? Why on earth would you think that?"
Of course, they don't know any better. Our culture is infused with this myth. Confirmation Bias and wishful thinking make it seem like there is some cosmic consciousness watching out for us. Even some atheists say it (and believe it). Of course that doesn't make it true.
So here is my question to you, my godless, skeptical friends. My cousin is depressed and facing a difficult situation. She is getting a lot of comfort out of this belief.
What would you do? Would you disabuse her of it? Would you at least try to illuminate her with reality? Would you just say something comforting? Or would you just ignore the statement and talk about the rest of her situation?
I read the email a couple hours ago and it is taking all my willpower not to reply with reason-based facts. She is a nurse so she is not averse to science, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still embrace the standard woo that most people do.
I want to be kind, helpful and understanding. Personally I think believing these myths is harmful in the long run, even if they are comforting in the short term.
Please share your thoughts and how you'd handle it.