by Dr Gonzo
Why would God give us free will? He already knows who will choose Him. Faith is the glue.
|Fate and faith are topics I am fascinated by. I often seek to gain knowledge from others wiser than myself to do with these subjects. Not being a man of faith myself, yet, not a denier of a higher power either, does create many questions for me. Unfortunately, not a lot of answers come my way...at least, not answers I can easily accept.|
Sitting on the fence between science and religion is a balancing act, and at times I do wonder if this is a strength or a weakness? My ambivalence; not wanting to jump on someone else's bandwagon, and thereby call it my own. The desire for something, without any idea what that something is, brings many opinions my way, but unfortunately for me, nowhere near as many facts. My reluctance to simply accept what someone tells me, based purely on faith (or on the other side of the coin, theory), is not thinking, it's following, and I am not a follower...at least, not without conviction.
When it comes to organised religion, I'm sure there would be many benefits gained from this association with other like-minded people. There is strength in numbers and advantages in getting to know others who are perhaps skilled tradesmen or the like...networking in its original form. Also, gaining confidence in 'the fact' that 'we are right' and 'they are wrong'. Not to mention the promise of eternal life in paradise, which is the carrot, and alternatively, eternal damnation as the proverbial stick.
And so, here is my conundrum...when I come to an intersection, free will provides me with the ability to choose to turn left or right (or continue straight ahead), depending on where I am going. This decision will inevitably have consequences attached. Just as when a smoker lights up a pack a day for a lifetime, or a piece of space debris falls out of the sky and lands on a very unlucky random person. If I had gone a different way, there will be a different outcome. The smoker might live a long life or not so long. And, if Mr/Ms Unlucky Random hadn't pressed snooze that morning, they wouldn't have been at that exact spot when the space junk came down.
Free will doesn't quite make us masters of our own destiny, though it does give us choices. Choices we must live and sometimes die by. Free will and fate, at least for us humans, can live side by side because we don't know when we wake up in the morning if that day is to be our last. Or a million other mostly unpredictable events that might happen. But, assuming there actually is a God, and one who is all-seeing and knowing (as Christian doctrine tells us), then God already knows which way I turn, and every turn I have and will ever make until the day I die. And, if this is so, it certainly sounds like my fate is already set...at least, in God's eyes it is.
And this is where I have a problem. Why would God give us free will, along with the ultimatum (or perhaps this should read strong encouragement) that unless we choose Him, we are condemned to hell? It seems, at least to me, that He already knows our choices...left or right...Him or hell. This whole free will thing it could be said is a whole lot of unnecessary hoo-hah. A situation where He could have cut to the chase and not created any non-believers in the first place, and in doing so, saved a lot of poor souls from eternal damnation. Then there wouldn't be a need for free will at all. And considering our fate is predetermined, as proved by the fact He has prior knowledge of our choices and so-called free will, this course would make much more sense.
It is at best a game, and at worst, insider trading. Only it isn't shares or Bitcoins that are up for grabs, it's our souls. My personal view is (assuming there is a heaven), that I would rather everyone be let into heaven, no matter our human flaws, after all, it was God who gave us those flaws in the first place. Surely, we can be forgiven for not being Christians (the only ones going to heaven...apparently)? After all, who in their right mind would denounce God, when He is standing right in front of them?
A classic example would be a paedophile priest. This so-called man of God, who destroys the lives of the innocent and causes so much harm, can and will be forgiven for his sins. And, IF this is so, then surely, a person who leads a life of much lesser sin, could also be forgiven? I cannot see how destroying the lives of innocent children by taking advantage of God's name and committing unspeakable crimes against the innocent, could possibly be seen as a lesser sin than having doubt about if there is, or is not a higher power.
I do wonder if those who believe in a certain doctrine, for instance, those who interpret the bible, would look kindly at that choice (repentance after the fact) being given to unbelievers. After all, we didn't follow the rules while we were still alive, so, why should we be allowed into the kingdom of God, once the truth is revealed?
I have always wondered what will become of all the other people...not just non-believers of the Christian faith, but those who believe in a different God to the Christian one. It seems there will be more in hell than are in heaven...and is this how a fair and loving God would act?
Perhaps it would have been a better gift for His creations if we were given free will with no terms and conditions applied. In other words, a God who didn't know all and waited to see who chose Him, instead of His prior knowledge and knowing even before we do ourselves. I think it sucks that He knows, yet still allows us to live until, if we don't choose Him (whilst here on Earth), we are condemned to suffer eternal damnation. I mean, what is the point? Why bother to create us in the first place, and then give us free will? Knowing which of us won't choose Him and exactly how many of His creations He will send to hell.
Why condemn a person who may have lived a good life, with all of the core values a Christian is supposed to have, but because they aren't a Christian, receive eternal damnation for their efforts? Yet, a Christian, who let's face it, is only human, and would have done things he or she will need to be forgiven for, gets first-class all the way to heaven. There is something not right about that. I cannot say what is right because like every single person on this earth (regardless of their beliefs), we simply don't know.
I get that Christian values are a good way to live, it's just this whole heaven and hell thing and who deserves it and who doesn't, based on a belief system that coincidentally, is not dissimilar to most others, and yet, the irony is that every major religious system says they are the only way to gain entry to heaven.
I admit that I don't know about many things, but I do know they (all religions) can't all be right, and who knows, perhaps none of them are. But, exclusivity along with a little arrogance...the belief of knowing who is, and who is not going to paradise, and on the flip side, who will receive eternal damnation, is for me, almost laughable. Well, it would be, if there was no chance Christian beliefs are right. I suppose they have just as much of a chance as anyone else.
And next up, I would like to examine tithing and what benefits it might provide to those who are hoping to get into heaven. For example, does giving more, gain you more? Such as where in heaven a person resides? Does it have a second bathroom or views toward God's place of residence? And is it true that God loves a cheerful giver more than a miserly one?
More on this and many other complex questions coming soon.
On the seventh day, God was resting...
He gazed down upon Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden when he turned to his angels and said...
"I'm not watching the rest...I already know how it ends."