It kind of bugs me when people say, in response to some terrible event, that “everything happens for a reason.” Of course they’re correct in the sense that there is such a thing as cause and effect, so there IS a reason for everything. But that’s not what they mean; they mean that every bad thing is still a part of some wonderful plan of a benevolent master, and they use that to give themselves comfort. Setting aside the utter lack of evidence for this, or the clear wishful-thinking nature of it, I find it monstrously short-sided. There is simply far too much suffering and horror in the world (and not just from humans treating each other badly, though there is certainly plenty of that) to take this seriously. Especially since we aren’t even allowed to look at this “plan” and see what kind of sense it is supposed to make. Further, it is up to the human mind to figure out how to prevent and alleviate as much of this suffering as we can (and we continue to get better at this as we learn more about the world with science); we should never chalk it up to some divine plan. And if it is divine, then we’re fighting it, and we’re doing better than it.