Monday, December 14, 2009

Choices ?

I've been wondering about the idea of free will.

How is it a freely given choice if  punishment for choosing the wrong choice is so severe?



53 comments:

oneblood said...

Welcome back!

Well it is freewill from a philosophical perspective, but then that issue isn't really settled, and it's pre-determinism from a theological perspective... the guy who made the video had it right somewhere in the middle.

It's a mixture of two ideas, freewill/determinism and fair/unfair. I know what he was trying to get at, but just/unjust is really his point, and the christian offer is unjust.

If we were to ask the Abrahamic god what his norm would be, he would say himself. Such a guy. There would be more people in hell than in heaven, just from a logical perspective much less the christian issue of sin.

If we're just dealing with the theology, and the video maker was, there's still kind of a choice but as he so aptly showed, the christian view is that this is a beautiful and righteous thing, this pre-determinism gussied up as choice.

The Presbyterian's are right. Their god either creates you to go to hell or heaven. But he's still a god of love...my patoot.

mac said...

I suppose the tax analogy might not be too appropriate, either - taxes are real, with real consequences if you don't abide by paying them.

God, on the other hand, seems to me to be full of empty threats. I'll go to hell about as quick as I go to heaven. Which is to say, "Never".

Senorita said...

It is still a freely given choice (even if it comes with severe consequences), because you still had an option to do it or not.

Every action comes with consequences. Yet the decision to choose to take that action or not is still ours.

oneblood said...

"God, on the other hand, seems to me to be full of empty threats. I'll go to hell about as quick as I go to heaven. Which is to say, "Never"."

Ha. Yep. Thanks mac, I needed a laugh today.

rita said...

Hi!
I see you are back. I just did an essay on the subject. I'm at work now but I'll comment about it later. :)

rita said...

I prefer to follow a "Lockean" line of thinking about free will... Our free will is only as good as our ability to be instructed by reason. More important then any notion of "free will" are concepts developed in the mind, especially concepts of autonomous freedom and moral independence developed by the implementation of a philosophy of personal liberation with an understanding of freedom under a social contract(necessary for a complex society). These are the truths that will set us free both individually and collectively and determine the course of our actions. I'm afraid that religion falls short of providing the necessary freedom of the mind to develop or should I say "further" these liberating concepts. :)

mac said...

Rita, oneblood,
You are both more articulate at stating my ideas than I myself am, Thanks :-)

pboyfloyd said...

Do what I want, or suffer the consequences, which I make up.

I think that Senyorita is missing the point of 'free' choice here.

A 'free' choice is when either option leaves you NO made up consequences to have to suffer, nevermind one of the so-called 'free' choices BEING the consequence suffering.

oneblood said...

mac, that is way too generous. you do fine.

---

"More important then any notion of "free will" are concepts developed in the mind..."

rita, how is 'freewill' not a concept developed in the mind? Your statement excludes it.

Harvey said...

"It is still a freely given choice (even if it comes with severe consequences), because you still had an option to do it or not."

This common Christian "take" on so-called free will is obviously false. If one recognizes that Human Beings are "hard-wired" to always try to choose (where any choice exists) based on their perception of which alternative is most likely to bring them the most "good" or avoid the most "not good" outcomes, it is apparent that the Christian concept simply imposes an artificial "bad outcome" (eternal damnation) upon so called moral or religious decisions. Absent this artificial (not to mention unsupported) bad outcome, Human beings remain free to make choices based upon logic, experience and their best quess as to any real consequences of those choices. The unfortunate corollary to the Christian idea of God given free choice is the concept that people cannot make ethically sound decisions without the implied eternal condemnation for failing to observe the admonishments contained in The Ten Commandments, Leviticus and the New Testament. If one can approach these as ehtical guidelines rather than as a threat, it may be possible for an individual to mature to the point where he/she makes value judgements based upon what will provide the best outcomes for themselves and their fellow human beings.

Rita said...

The power of the will is in being a free agent, the amount of control we have over our own thoughts. "Free will" is the freedom to prefer to think otherwise of something. But the will is limited in it's power. As Locke states "...the will in truth, signifies nothing but a power, or ability, to prefer or choose"... Locke uses as an example of the limits of the will: "...although we might prefer flying to walking we can not will ourselves to fly."
Another way to look at the limits of the will to consider being confined to a limited space and only having the freedom allowed within that space. One can not prefer or choose what one does not have the knowledge or ability of. As John Locke says, "It is the mind that directs the will... and liberty is a power to act according as the mind directs... The determination of the will follows the judgment of the understanding."

Rita said...

PS...My previous comment is directed at oneblood, in answer to his question: rita, how is 'freewill' not a concept developed in the mind?

mac I think the question of "how free is free will?" in a theological sense is not that hard to figure, given a choice between heaven & hell...it's pretty much a given. Consider the Spanish inquisition or the Salem witch trials, both spawns of Christian theology. Where was the choice in having an option of exercising free will in those situations? If you examine Christian theology in it's reality today I believe you'd find the same options.

mac said...

I agree Rita.
If one buys into all of it, they really have NO choice.

Free will, in the Christian scenario, is non-existent.

The very idea that God knows all, precludes our having any choice at all. If we are pre-destined, the choice has already been made.

If God is omnipident, he knows our choice(s), thereby canceling our "free will".

rita said...

Yeah & everything Harvey says. Esp. in regards to so called "Christian Ethics"
If one can approach these as ehtical guidelines rather than as a threat, it may be possible for an individual to mature to the point where he/she makes value judgements based upon what will provide the best outcomes for themselves and their fellow human beings.
All well & good, as long as we acknowledge they are not exclusively Christian.

oneblood said...

Rita thanks for responding, like the icon by the way. I was like, "What is that?"

I think I get it, it's a Beatles reference right?

The Lion said...

I grow tired of explaining free will so often. I wish people would understand that things are not always as they seem.

First, I require research on the concept of "Hell" to be done. It does not exist. I say that as a follower of Christ. Hell.Does.Not.Exist. Not in the concept so many seem to think, at least.

What we modernly refer to as Hell (fire and torture and whatnot) is actually just the absence from the presence of God. That is the punishment. Either you are good (or ignorant) and go to Heaven and spend eternity in the presence of your Creator, or you don't follow the rules and spend eternity without. Maybe you just hang out near the gates? Who knows?

That is the reward system.

So, now on to free will. Let's look at Stockholm Syndrome. A person with Stockholm Syndrome may feel actual affection for their captor. Why? because the captor has power, authority and complete control over the captive. So is that affection legitimate? If the power was not there would the affection have still come about? Most likely not as it vanishes quite quickly after the power is gone. This is why there is free will.

God (if you believe in Him) has complete and utter control. I mean, think about it (if you believe in it) He Created everything! What control could He lack? So, if we saw this control and saw His influence and he actively interfered, it is in our own nature to feel affectionate (or worship) Him due simply to his power. For more examples look at the way tyrants are often worshiped until they are disposed off. But it is not legitimate because it is forced.

So, God gives us the choice. He does not actively interfere, He does not change the course of actions although He knows all possible outcomes and the paths that will lead to each, He does not choose the path for us.

We make those choices because, in the end, that is the only way to ensure that what we believe is real to us.

The Lion said...

Oh and that video was cute. I really loved the facial expressions on the tax man.

But a word of correction: Jesus was not, is not, and never shall be the Creator so he did not "create" that poor little tax delinquent. Oh and refer to my statements on Hell, above.

mac said...

I believe Stockholm Syndrome may indeed be the answer, Lion.

Who is the captor in this scenario?

God does not intervene? What would you call creating the entire known (and unknown) universe, if not intervention ?
He had to have a hand in there somewhere.

I suppose it's all those threats God made along the way that that concerns me (in regards to this post anyway).

Jesus says:
"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." - Luke 19:27

Believing God is on Jesus' side, what option does that leave one?

mac said...

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" -Revelation 21:8

It ain't Kansas !

The Lion said...

Mac, I misspoke and you indeed caught me on it. God does not intervene in the daily lives of humans. Of course He did intervene in the whole "now you exist" aspect but that all ended conveniently with the end of the OT.

Mac, I am disappointed that you took that Bible verse so out of context. That is not Jesus speaking (well yes it is but he is telling a story). Jesus is telling a parable and that is the character of the parable speaking.

Mac, do not, do not, do not quote Revelation in discussing Hell. The Revelation according to John is not a good source. So much of what is in that book matches nothing in the rest of the books that, frankly, I am surprised it is taken as cannon. (Particularly when they don't even include the Sofia of Christ or the Gospel of Judas but whatever....)

Quantum_Flux said...

The secular version of "free will" is called non-determinism. You want to fight me on this one then bring it on, but I promise you that the future is not determined but is rather subject to quantum uncertainties and chaos.

The Lion said...

The future is not determined. And it is not determined because we make choices and each choice changes the future. The very fact that I write this now changes something, somewhere.

On a slightly related note, I do wish people realized that every action affects someone in some way. It is a shame that this is forgotten all too often.

rita said...

Back to the original question... How is it a freely given choice if punishment for choosing the wrong choice is so severe?
It's not of course.
The "choice" in this case is whether to believe & adhere to the religion or not, & in this case Christianity with it's concepts of pre-determinism, reward & punishment, etc...after this point your freedom is limited to the confines of your choice, the box or book, however you want to look at it. This is why the scriptures talk about being a slave to Christ & about him being Lord & master, etc...& all the admonishments to follow scripture, Christ is the only way, stay within the confines of the word, have faith, etc...
Like I said...Our free will is only as good as our ability to be instructed by reason.
Lion,
How is that possible when you are asked to suspend reason for faith, & submit your self to slavery and exclusiveness?

"Man is only as free as it is possible for freedom to make him."
John Locke

The Lion said...

Rita, I do not suspend my reason for my faith and I am not a slave to Christ. If I were chained to my faith do you think I would opt to eschew Sunday services simply because I don't find them necessary and would much rather shop (or sleep)? If I threw reason out what purpose would I have in constantly researching my faith and developing new concepts and understandings?

While yes, some people do throw out reason for God and freedom for the 'safety' of our Lord, I do not. I do not believe either is necessary. I do not believe either ought to occur.

But then again, I also do not believe God hates 'the gays,' I don't believe all premarital sex is bad, I don't believe church or baptism is required for true faith, I don't believe in Hell, and I don't believe you are wrong just because you believe something different than I do. I do believe in Christ and the message he shared. I don't believe he was God, but I do believe he was very special.

I guess I am not a good example ;)

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Free will, or will in general is a topic that we dabble with in the AI lab. We are actually using religion as a model to look at the problem of creating a 'healthy morality' to derive certain aspects of the computer system's self-learning and assessment tools. (DoD is doing some stuff like this as well.) The goal is to create some self regulation to system behaviors beyond a purely cold calculation to determine the advisability of certain future actions. Computer simulations show that a pure reward model is no better long term than a pure retribution model. Pure reward models tend to favor progressively more aggressive actions for less and less real gain. Pure retribution models tend to result eventually to system indecision - a sort of machine learned helplessness.

As in life what seems to be working best is a balance of risk and reward that gives the systems pause in high risk situations but which prevents them from just sitting there waiting. Essentially algorithmically representing that actions have consequences. Kind of like religion in a way.

The goals are similar (to morality in general) in that certain behaviors are being promoted while others are not.

Of course the prizes for good performance are quite different an far less obtuse that heaven or hell.

rita said...

Lion
Well, I think I see where you are coming from. You want to have your cake & eat it too. I'm not saying that it is necessarily bad... interpret the scriptures all you want,see how far you can stretch the box. I've been there & done that myself. I finally realized I didn't believe enough of it to justify staying. (maybe I just didn't have enough faith?) But really, it doesn't seem quite fair to accuse mac of taking scriptures out of context when you get to make all the interpretations & pick & choose what you want to believe.

The Lion said...

Rita, Mac attributed words to Jesus when Jesus was merely quoting a parable. He was not, himself, saying to bring forth and kill those people - he was quoting someone else. That is clear, once the verses around that particular one are read. I don't malign Mac for it, and it doesn't upset me that he did it. I just asked that the context be placed. Jesus was peaceful and I don't like him portrayed otherwise unfairly.

And I do not "interpret" the Bible. I leave that to my betters. I do, however, rely strongly on original texts and early translations. I take what I read literally but I also understand that it was written as a cultural guide for a very different culture. I focus less on the OT and more on the NT as I am Christian (a follower of Christ) as opposed to Jewish.

I am sorry you did not have more faith. Or, rather, I hope you have found your truth now. My faith tells me I am on the right track. If my path changes, I will investigate and potentially change with it. Or take another path. Who knows?

Tit for Tat said...

Aint nothing free about "freewill". Free for me means I get it and I dont owe a thing. As we all know life's choices have consequence. Aint nothing free about that. I think the better term would be "limited choice with possible dire outcomes." ;)

MERRY CHRISTMAS Mac

rita said...

Lion
Yes, you do "interpret" the scriptures...
For one thing, you have an idea of who Jesus was. Your idea of Jesus does not exactly correspond to other peoples idea of Jesus. If you weren't interpreting you wouldn't discount the book of Revelations. & who are the betters anyway?

The Lion said...

Rita, Rita.

I don't interpret. I take it for what it literally says. And I discount Revelation (that is Revelation - not Revelations)because it is so very different in style, tongue, events and predictions than any other book. In addition, it was revealed to someone that would be known in modern days as a lunatic. The reason it was included in Canon is because it suits the needs and wants of the Catholic Church. Which is why the Book of Judas (Gospel?, I don't recall) and the Sofia of Christ were not included but ought to have been (along with many, many others).

My idea of Christ is simple. He was peaceful. He was loving. He was kind. Can you find evidence to the contrary? If you can I would certainly like to see it. As it stands with no evidence to show otherwise, I believe he is a wonderful role model if nothing else. And, before anyone claims it - he never said he was the King of Jews and he never claimed to be anything other than his Father's Son (as we all are, in his words).

And, for the record, I said MY betters, not THE betters. And MY betters referred to those that translate the Bible. People that have studied the ancient languages extensively. Mostly, seculars if that makes you feel any better.

mac said...

Help us understand Matthew 15:22-28.


"And, behold , a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying , Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil .
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying , Send her away ; for she crieth after us.
But he answered and said , I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying , Lord, help me.
But he answered and said , It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said , Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt . And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."

In this it seems Jesus is saying, he only represents the Jews.
He also calls the woman a dog, because she's NOT jewish, helping her only after she admits to being a lowly dog, shaming him into it.

mac said...

Oh yeah, he's also performing an excorcism.

How crazy is that ?

rita said...

Lion Ok, I won't quibble. You seem like a nice, fairly tolerant person. If you can get through Christianity unscathed & untainted then good for you.

The Lion said...

Mac, that is a very good verse to use. Much of the Bible, particularly Jesus's words can be taken for what he literally says. However, some of it is to be taken as a metaphor.

At the time of his life, Jesus was there to serve the Jews. He was Jew and there was a deep divide between Jews and Gentiles. Remember that there were no "Christians" at this time - if you were not Jewish, you did not believe in God. With his death, he began servitude to all mankind, including Gentiles and we all became the "Saved Ones."

But you will also note that even though she was not Jewish, he helped her. He saved her daughter if we are to believe the miracle story. Well, technically, he did nothing. It was God's work through him because we must remember that Jesus himself had no power. He was merely a man with a very important mission.

As for calling her a dog, it is a metaphor. And he helps her after she admits to faith. That is a big theme in the miracles performed for non Jewish individuals. Christ asks if they believe he is who everyone says he is. If they answer yes, the miracle is performed (allegedly) and they are told it was their faith that saved them.

mac said...

I think he was metaphorically demeaning her.

If there is a clear divide between races, and more powerful of the races must not refer to the less powerful race in derogatory terms.

However, it can be reversed ;-)

soubriquet said...

I'd comment but....
Well, there are a lot already...
And....
Oh, go on then.
Here's some rambling thought.
Firstly, you Americans are so OBSESSED with religion compared to we brits. What can I say. That's of course, not true about certain parts of Britain... Glasgow and its environs, for instance are plastered with the graffiti of an ongoing civil war, that's been ongoing since about 1640. We won't even discuss the deaths and hatred that are ongoing in Northern Ireland either, all in the name of god, jesus, the pope, prince billy.....
The same war spills over into Liverpool. Not exactly a surprise fact that Liverpool and Glasgow are historic ports of Irish trade? or that........
And of course, you in the U.S. collected a good number of the belligerents of both sides along the way.
After 9/11, you kinda started to get behind the war on terror, when it seemed you were the targets. A pity you weren't a little more behind it when british people people were being killed by terrorists who were funded out of Boston and New York, supplied with armalites and explosives by american sympathisers.....
No, It's not off- topic, because at the bottom of all this killing and hatred were people who tagged their cause to either the protestant, or the catholic side of the christian church.
People who grew up kneeling, saying the lord's prayer, learning the ten-commandments and then went out to butcher their neighbours.
If that's god's message, in the words of the internet "Do Not Want"
Throughout History, God's various believers, wearing different colours and waving different flags, have knelt and heard priests telling them "God is on our side", whilst their opponents on the other side of the valley did the same. Then out they go to eviscerate each other. It seems that force in numbers, more arrows, sharper swords, better training, and posession of high ground are better predictors of outcomes than god's goodwill.
Of course, the winner always says that it is god who gave them the high ground, god who rained on the enemy's powder....
So
Free will?
Do as I tell you to and I will reward you, go against me and I will smite you? But hey, you're free to choose.
If god created us, including our brains, then no doubt he created our choices. His earthquakes kill the holy as often as the unbeliever. No favouritism there then. It's all down to the afterlife, for which we have no evidence, save a 2000 years ago heap of contradictory hearsay that would not be admissible in court, except to swear upon...
If a person set loose thousands of toddlers in a booby trapped minefield, saying he'd reward the survivors, we'd think him a pretty sick individual.
Yet, if we believe in god, that's pretty much the game he plays with us.
No doubt chuckling as he thows in a firestick, a tsunami, a plague, just to add a bit of fun to the game.

God? If real, then "Do Not Want".

The Lion said...

Mac, you must remember your history. While I don't condone it things were different then. And rest assured the Jews were not the powerful race. They never have been the oppressors. Always the oppressed. And be sure not to confuse our terminology for the terminology that existed then.

A big problem with reading the Bible is that we must remember that the culture was very different. It is wrong to place our societal standards on a time and place we cannot truly begin to understand. I don't mean to make excuses - many of their ideals were incredibly wrong by our standards. But we understand better now.

Soubriquet - that is a very long civil war. :) (maybe a smiley is inappropriate?)

Americans are obsessed with religion. It is disheartening that it invades so much of our daily lives including our schools (although it should not) and our politics (although it should not). Faith is a private matter best left that way.

You don't really blame God for natural disasters do you? I mean, of course you don't since you don't believe in Him but...for the record - the Earth causes her own natural disasters, not God. I think of it like this. Imagine the Earth as your roommate and you are a messy roommate. You steal her stuff, you leave trash all over - even in her room. She is angry. And thus sabotages you at every turn until she either kicks you out or you move out on your own.

Soubrequet, it is shameful what people have done in the name of God. No doubt there. I don't pretend to know whose side God is on, if He even picks sides. But if I read the laws correctly, I must conclude that I ought not kill people or harm others. I try to live that way. I can only hope that is what He really wants and, if it isn't, I'm not sure I would care.

mac said...

Lion, surely, with Yahweh on their side, the Jews were a force to be reckoned with ?

Would genocide not be oppressive?
_______________________
"When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. " - Deuteronomy 20:10-18________________________

The Jews are commanded to kill everyone 'cept the women - better things can be done with them ! Is that not oppressive?

AND, we get back to my point about free will. We see, in Deuteronomy, all to well what God has planned for those who worship anything but Him.... Again, where's the "free" about that ?

rita said...

I'm having a hard time figuring what Lion believes. It seems to me she is picking and choosing from the Bible according to her ideal of what God & Jesus are.
What I mean is; she thinks about what is good & moral in her own eyes & attributes those ideals to God, explaining away the bad stuff as not being relevent. Like I said before, it's not necessarily bad to do that if it's done in the spirit of honest inquiry.
In that same spirit of inquiry, I have a question for Lion: Is there a real God & Jesus that exists apart from your idea of them?
& if there is, why does it matter?

The Lion said...

Mac, I don't know whose side God is on. I don't know if He is on any side. The Hebrews were His Chosen people, true, but He often tests His people (and yes, I know how that sounds and no, I am not saying I think it is a good thing).

And please do not take the actions of a few to represent the whole. There will always be aggressive individuals particularly when a group is fighting for their lives. Those that the Hebrews killed would have killed them otherwise. Do you fault soldiers in war? And yes, war was particularly brutal then with the killing of innocent children and raping of women but as I said before, we ought not judge them by our standards - we know better now.

Rita, if by pick and choose you mean I discard much of the societal aspect of the OT, you are correct. What they did as a society is irrelevant to my faith and many of the laws written in the OT were societal in nature and not unique to the Hebrews or laws from God.

My idea of what God is (what little I know) comes from my research. The same is true of Jesus. I have yet to see conclusive evidence that contradicts it. I think my last line in my last post was confusing. I wouldn't care because I would choose not to worship a God that required me to act in a way I find morally repulsive.

You have a hard time pinning down my faith because it is ever changing. My faith changes as my knowledge grows. Remember, I grew up with a Pagan mother that was a reformed Catholic. I attended nearly ever church in town and a few alternative services as well. What did all of that teach me?

At the core, all religion is the same - we just use different words and different names for the same things.

mac said...

I think, Rita, Lion is a good person. That's why her idea of God is of a good God.

People who are not so nice tend to see God as more of a punishing wrathful entity.
She's right in the aspect that the Bible describes a great god. But, the Bible also describes an entity that is vengeful, wrathful, spiteful, and jealous... the worst of HUMAN traits.

Rita said...

I also agree that Lion is a good person. It takes a good person to give God/Jesus those attributes.

I guess what I'm getting at is, In that case...ultimately does it matter whether or not God actually exists?

Sure the existence of God matters when militant fundies are breathing down our necks, trying to force us into their version of an intolerant & wrathful god.

I agree with soubriquet,
"God? If real, then "Do Not Want".

I'll quit bugging everyone here now because I'm going to tackle the question from a secular humanist POV & that will take up a whole blog post.

Thanks for the great debate!

soubriquet said...

Phew.... Usually if I weigh in with a diatribe like I just did, there's a silence.....
No more comments.

But here the discussion continues.
Lion, it is indeed a long civil war, and it's going through a quietish patch just now, but I doubt it's going to be over any time soon.
I'd say that if you accept the earth as being created by god, who allegedly made everything, then the earth's tantrums are directly god's responsibility too.
I don't believe human actions cause earthquakes, nor the tsunami that devastated Aceh, in indonesia, and southern Thailand, the day after christmas, five years ago. Yes, if god wants to claim the glory, the credit for the beauty, and the bounty of the earth, then god must be held liable for the failures of his creation.
Whether we say "This happened because god designed in hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, bubonic plague, etc, to torment his beings" or whether we say "God built a paradise, but he was a bit of a shoddy builder so bits of it go wild and kill us, though he didn't really mean it to happen"
Either way, if there's a god, and that god is the creator of all, then he needs a "The Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk.
Aids, Leprosy, Fire and Famine, the Lord God made them all.
Even if he made the earth as a pissy room-mate who feels us as an itch in her hide, that every now and then she has to scratch, God has to step up and say "This is what I made."
Now, Lion, I'm believing that you are a good person, I'll take it on faith that you try to be.
And so do I. I try to do good, not to hurt, lie, or cheat, I'd say my code, my watchwords are not so far away from the christian way. Only there is not God, or Jesus in my life. I believe that there is no god. That Jesus of Nazareth may have existed, but that he was no more, and no less than, say, Gandhi.
Not a supernatural being. That his mother became pregnant in just the same way as other women, that he died... and remained dead.

If there is a god.... Then he gave me this mindset, and the free-will not to believe in him. It's Catch 22 all over. If I have free will, then I am free not to believe. If god is love, god is all-merciful, then I, his wayward creation, made in his own image, can hardly be chastised for doing just what his programming made possible, can I?

The Lion said...

Mac, I do tend to disregard human traits assigned to God. God is not human and therefore cannot share our traits. It is the one concession that I make. I know I shouldn't, but I do and it makes sense to me and - in the end - that is all that matters, isn't it?

Rita, it does not matter to me if God exists or not. Personally, I believe He does but if He does not, at least I tried to live a life that was modeled after someone that only sought to make me a better person. And that can't be wrong, can it? Nevertheless, I think God does exist but, if not, I did no harm believing.

Soubrequet, I disagree. God Created me but He is not responsible for my actions. God created bears but if a bear mauls a human, God is not responsible. God created a dynamic and awesome Earth that is constantly changing and suits our need perfectly. Nature is both giving and cruel. The horrible storms we endure are just a part of the natural world. I don't believe God takes an active role in weather :)

I also do not believe Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, brother of James, was supernatural. He was a man. He was human. He did die. I do believe he was assigned a very special mission and that God worked through him. And I do believe he was Resurrected.

But more importantly, I believe he was a good man. And I believe he led people to do good things. And that is why I follow him - Christ - as a Christian.

Sou (and I will call you that from now on), God is not all merciful. Of that I am sure. But He is loving and He will reward you for your actions. He gave you the ability to decide for yourself if you would believe in Him and worship him or not.

I wish you luck in your journey to find Truth. It is not an easy one, but I think the end is worth it.

Shelly Rayedeane said...

Free will can never be had for those who put their faith in machines alone.

There is no such thing as God in a world where a machine might be used to predetermine the future.

To say a computer couldn't be used to do this would be foolish.

It is already happening right here in the United States of America.

I should know. I've spent the last two years of my life trying to put a stop to it.

oneblood said...

Happy New Year mac, I'm glad you're still truckin.

Much peace to you and yours.

Rita said...

Happy New Year! Have a great day...Are you going to fall asleep in your underwear, in front of the TV while watching the Oregon Ducks kick some butt?

The Lion said...

Happy New Year. Be sure to say it twenty-ten :)

mac said...

No, Rita ! The Bucs will F...(insert rhyme here) your Ducks.

The Lion said...

Rita, don't support the ducks..come on! This place is obsessed with them. It is a sickness. I don't even like Ohio (they are playing Ohio, right?) but I hope they win because I hate the Ducks (all because of the "fans").

rita said...

Don't worry Lion. I'm not a fanatic. I don't even have a TV. We have a few Duck fans down here. My daughter lives next to a guy who painted his house in Green & Yellow U of O colors, has U of O curtains, flys the Duck flag, etc...It's rather ugly.

The Lion said...

Rita, that is just sad. Really, really sad. I am always amazed at the fanaticism here when it comes to Duck fans. And God forbid I tell them I don't support the team. I might as well have told them I eat babies for dessert!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson