“Stuff Happens”: A Comparative Guide to Religions



According to a popular bumper sticker, “stuff happens.”1 And there’s a lot of truth to that. A lot of things (both good and bad) happen that seem to defy explanation.

One of the easiest ways to tell the various religions apart is the way they respond to this “stuff.” In that vein, I have developed this (somewhat humorous) guide to the world’s religions, based on the phrase “stuff happens”:


Arminian/Methodist – stuff happens because God gave us free will.

Baptist – (Bad) stuff will happen if you drink, smoke, or dance.

Buddhism – Stuff happens because of our attachments.

Calvinism – God has predestined this stuff to happen.

Catholicism – Hail Mary, full of grace, do your stuff.

Deism – Stuff happened once, long ago.

Eastern Orthodox – This stuff is a great mystery.

Episcopalian – Stuff happens in a glorious procession.

Free Methodist – We have the answer to all this stuff!

Gnosticism – You know better than this stuff.

Hinduism – Stuff happens again and again.

Islam – Submit to Allah or (bad) stuff will happen.

Jehovah’s Witnesses – Do you have a moment to listen to this stuff?

Judaism – Why does this stuff always happen to us?

Kabbalah – This stuff is really complicated.

Lutheran – It is only by the grace of God that any of this stuff happens.

Mennonite – We don’t have anything to do with this stuff.

New Age – Better stuff will happen if your chakras are cleansed properly.

Occultism – This stuff is even weirder than you think!

Paganism – Stuff happens because we aren’t in touch with the earth.

Pentecostal – Stuff happens. Allelu adonai Elohim El Shaddai. Combuktha thabanasi coruti, ami Shabakkthar, Corazon Colasi. Maranatha!

Presbyterian – Our stuff doesn’t stink.

Quaker – Stuff happens within you.

Rastafarianism – Let’s smoke this stuff!

Seventh-Day Adventist – Stuff happens on Saturday.

Taoism – Stuff happens.

Unitarian Universalist – You can believe whatever stuff you want.

Voodoo – If you piss me off, I will make (bad) stuff happen to you.

Wiccan – If you know what you’re doing, you can make stuff happen!

eXistentialism – You need to work out your own stuff.

Young-Earth Creationism – All this stuff literally happened in 6 days.

Zen Buddhism – What is the sound of stuff happening?



1). Actually, the bumper sticker says “shit happens”; but to avoid what I feel would be an excessive amount of profanity, I have mostly paraphrased it as “stuff happens.”


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