My Church Going Years
- The many years when I went to church and cell groups. As part of his sermon, the church pastor would mention things like “This is God’s plan for you/xyz …”
- Having a conversation with a fellow cell group member on whether we have free will given God’s plans for us.
- When I was in high school/junior college, there’s a guy called Wei Hao who often said things like “I don’t want where I’m heading. But it will be in accordance with God’s plan for me.”
- There were others who said “We broke up. It was sad. But it’s God’s plan for me.”, “I can’t find a partner. It’s God’s plan for me.”, etc.
On hindsight, it’s fascinating that people attributed the things that happen to you as acts of God or the will of God. But if you were to ask these people what’s God’s plan for them, they would most probably say that they are still discovering it and they would eventually find out about it. (And in all cases, the “standard” proper answer to what’s God’s plan for a person is to spread God’s word and to live in glory for Him. Or so I remembered…).
I stand corrected as I didn’t study philosophy but attributing things in our lives to “God’s plans” strongly resembles the stoic view of fate.
What’s the Stoic View?
Basically, thousand of years ago BC, times were hard, uncertain and life was cruel to many people. A group of people wanted to come up with a framework to introduce stability and peace of mind to people. So, they came up with stoicism which is that there’s an all-knowing “intelligence” which pervades people’s lives. So the shite that happens to people are part of the amazing grand plans of this universal intelligence. People would therefore accept the (bad) things that happen to them, family and friends as part of the all-knowing something/spirit/God? i.e. if someone/something is all-knowing, it goes to say that he/it/she would know what’s going to happen to you and maybe even intended for it to happen to you. Because that something is wise and omnipotent, what has happened to you is “good”.
So this group of people believed that your life is fated. You can’t do anything to change it. Therefore, it’s important to accept whatever happens to you and live a virtuous life, one that is full of moral integrity and self-discipline. In other words, a good life to the stoics is to accept one’s fate and find joy in it.
Do you agree with the stoics? Why?