It doesn’t seem true to me that everything happens for a reason. Sure, it might seem that way after you get fired from your job, only to find an even better one a couple weeks later. Or to a filthy rich kid that never has any problems in his life. But what would a childhood cancer patient say to this idea? Or a starving kid? People never think about this.
This is the most compelling argument against god. That he lets suffering happen. To me, the only worthwhile counter-argument is that for some reason god didn’t want the universe to last forever. If nothing bad ever happened, it would never decline.
Or maybe god sticks us in our own individual matrixes. Maybe you are the only thing that’s real. You are living a kind of dream life. That way other people do not suffer because they do not really exist.
You could also argue that god brought suffering into the world so that we could appreciate the good things better. But isn’t that really unfair to the people who got shafted? The idea is to make some people suffer so that the others can appreciate things more? One way out of this mess is to go with the whole karma/reincarnation thing. That seems gimmicky though. Besides, when have you ever been rewarded for doing good things? If karma does exist, it surely seems to only serve as punishment. In which case we are brought back to the suffering problem again.
I feel very comfortable stating that god does not exist. Or if he does exist, he is not the all-good-doing, all-pleasant god that everyone thinks he is. If that is true, how do we know that he won’t be having an off day when we die, and he will send us to hell for an eternity just because he feels like it?
I prefer to look to physics for salvation instead of to god. It’s very possible that we are, in fact, living in the matrix. Given the billions of years that the universe has been around, it is almost inevitable that an advanced animal species would have built a computer simulated reality. If i put a monkey and a typewriter in a room for thousands of years, eventually the monkey will type the first chapter of Romeo and Juliet just out of randomly pressing keys. Similarly, if you put an intelligent species on earth (or an equivalent planet), they will eventually figure out computers, and then supercomputers, and then quantum computers, and then finally computers powerful enough to simulate an entire universe. But what if this already happened? And we are the ones living in the simulation?
Alternately, what if time doesn’t work in any way close to how we think it does? What if every moment of your life lives on forever, and can be picked up like from a bookshelf? We think of moment A passing to moment B, and then moment A being gone forever, but what if this is an illusion? What if all moments exist at the same time? If this is true, maybe you live your exact same life over and over again, as Nietzsche thought. I would sign up for that, but there are lots of people who surely wouldn’t.