Life's Tragedies

Many humans face tragedy in their life, whether from war, accident, illness or natural catastrophe.  For some, such events are accepted as fate or destiny, evidence of God's master plan; such views provide personal comfort since, they conclude, there must be an underlying reason for the tragedy.  Others, myself included, cannot believe in such a sadistic deity and accept tragic events as the consequence of risky behavior or, more commonly, the result of simple bad luck (genetics included).

Those who put themselves in harms way for the thrill (e.g. sky diving), to pursue their professional passion (e.g. war photojournalists) or simply for social or personal reasons (e.g. tobacco or drug use), accept a certain degree of risk with their lifestyle.  Others endure personal tragedy through no fault of their own, generally as innocent victims of war, accident, criminal behavior, natural catastrophe or illness;  in such cases, they or their loved one was simply a victim of circumstances (genetic, geographic, social or otherwise).

In some ways, those who accept fate and place their life in God's hands have an advantage; if the nature of their demise is preordained, they need not worry about healthy lifestyle choices and might be more willing to engage in high risk activity than the nonbeliever who senses a degree of control over his or her life.  It seems to me, however, that we can reject both the mysticism of destiny and the inertia of fear, living life to its fullest while accepting the random nature of death; after all, if one believes that we have but one life to live and that death is death, they are more likely to make the most of their time on this planet.