Do Christians believe in fate? The answer is: NO.
Do Christians believe in predestination: The answer is: YES.
It is easy to confuse fate with predestination (or Providence). It is not easy for non-Christians who talk about fate to understand its difference with the biblical predestination that Christians uphold. Likewise, Christians who do not grasp the non-Christian’s perspective of fate may become unwittingly led into thinking that predestination is just a fanciful term used for the same thing as fate.
“The concept of Providence is rooted in the belief in the existence of a benevolent, wise, and powerful deity. Benevolence is the primary requirement. If the starting point of a just and divine being is completely lost sight of or if it is consciously denied, then Providence becomes fate.” – Britannica Encyclopaedia
The above explanation clearly distinguishes fate from predestination.
In essence, fate is not ascribed to any divine power. It carries the notion that we have no freedom of choice, are helpless, subject to a cosmic determinism that is unjust, illogical and intimidating. When people advise “not to tempt fate,” they are actually acknowledging the uncertainty of fate. When they say, “Oh … it is all fated,” the idea of inescapability and gloom permeates the air. The sighing is invariably related to something ominous or something tragic that has already happened.
Predestination, on the other hand, is ascribed to a divine benevolent Being who is in control. As Christians, we recognize a loving God who cares for us. We believe in God’s secret wisdom in all that he destined for our glory before time began. (1 Cor. 2:7) Whatever that is predestined has a purpose, even in our trials. So, knowing this truth, we do not feel unsettled because we know quite well that we were destined for them. (1Thess. 3:3) Instead, we recognize the link between Providence and our free will to submit to divine guidance by “the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time …” (Titus 1:1-2) As we sail through our trials and tribulations, we will see the perfect unfolding of God’s will and note that in Christ we were chosen “having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:11-12)
Call it a mystery if you wish, but I perceive that predestination, free will and hope are three attributes embodied in the whole supernatural plan of a benevolent God. We do not hear Christians say “I leave everything to Providence” because Christians know that they have an active role to play to attain their hope and destiny. In contrast, non-Christians who claim to leave everything to fate submit themselves to passivity and give up their go-getting. In the extreme, they may even despair and give up living a full and meaningful life. How sad! If only they can be freed from the insecurity of fate and gain the reassurance in “our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope.” (2 Thess. 2:16)