Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Freewill (faith redux)

You can't know God's plan.

God has offered you a choice between eternal damnation, and everlasting peace. In order to reach salvation, one must accept God into his or her heart willingly, knowingly, and, freely.

Since God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, he already knows your choice. He built you as the programmed machine that will one day be confronted with this ultimate choice. In the tombs and books of the mind of the omniscient, your deeds, choices, and, decisions are laid out, plain as day, carved in stone, unerring, unmovable.

And you are free. You are free because of faith. You are free because God allows you to make this choice of your own accord. If God came down and lit the earth with glorious wonder, stood on top of Everest and let his light permeate the world, then our very will would be subjugated by the fact that, with absolute knowledge of the existence of God, we would choose our salvation not out of love, but out of fear of the clear reprisal that comes with disavowing your king.

So, the argument goes, you must have faith, because proof of God's existence would eliminate your ability to choose. Knowledge would pollute your choice.

I don't have a problem with this. I am a huge proponent of the 'double-blind' study. Experimenters do their best not to interfere, or allow their own biases to influence the outcome of the experiment. If there is an experiment being performed where rats are compelled to run a maze, and some of these rats have been given a new drug which may allow them to process visual-spatial data more acutely, and it is my job to monitor and record how the rats perform, it is clearly better that I don't know which rats have received the medication.

I understand this concept of 'knowledge modifying the result." That is not my problem at all. A God in your face, with his hand upon your shoulder pointing you in the direction of salvation would limit your ability to choose. I accept that.

I have a few questions:

1. If knowledge of the miraculous would limit our ability to choose, then why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?

2. If we cannot know God's plan, then why did he give us various instruction manuals in the form of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah?

3. If knowledge of the hereafter would limit our will, then why is the virgin Mary crying out of statues, and appearing in grilled cheese sandwiches?

4. If we are to be allowed freewill, then what is this supposed 'evidence?' By the argument, there should be no evidence whatsoever, as evidence would limit our will.

Faith is supposed to answer all of the questions we may have about God's plan. We are supposed to accept that we cannot know the mind of God, and that he has a plan for us.

And we have provided with texts that state that it is improper to eat shellfish, work on the sabbath, represent Mohammad in any fashion, take the lord's name in vain, lust after a women, worship 'false' idols, allow your enemies to live.

These texts are considered by many to be evidence of God's majesty.

So, the argument that God chooses not to reveal himself to us in order to allow for free will is a bit suspect. According to theists, there is plenty of evidence that God exists, and has affected the world. I suppose the part that we are supposed to take on faith is the part where the evidence is crappy.

If Jesus were to come to earth today, book a spot on 'Good Morning, America,' and raise a person from the dead, this would violate our free will in choosing to accept him as our personal savior...but if he raised Lazarus from the dead, and it was recorded in the Gospels, that does not.

And Romans 11:33-36 illustrates the point most clearly: God is too complicated for us to understand. We can't understand God's plan. but he, according to Romans 3:19, 6:23, and 9:19-21, he is going to hold us responsible anyway. God knows the future, according to Matthew 6:8, and has total, complete, and absolute control over all things per Collossians 1:16-17, Yet will punish us with eternal torment according to Matthew 5:22.

Just so I have this straight: God controls 100% of my actions and thoughts, knows the future, has an existence that is miles outside of our brain's ability to even understand, and will hold me accountable for my (or, since he has 100% control, HIS,) actions? Furthermore, he cannot offer substantive proof that he even exists, because that would make it too easy for us to accept him. He can, however, perform cheap carnival tricks, and we can read the stories of him turning water into wine, being frugal with fish, etc., so long as there is no corroborating evidence that might allow for verifiable proof of his existence which, again, would make it too easy.

And you laugh because you think that what the Scientologists believe is somehow more ridiculous.


  1. Also - to throw you off the scent of figuring out God really exists, or maybe just to test your faith a bit, God has buried loads and loads of giant lizard skeletons in your backyard and not mentioned it to anyone. When you find them you might be tempted to think "Why did God make the earth for us but then waste millions of years letting the big lizards run about on it before he got round to creating us?". I guess we can figure out where we humans learnt the art of the practical joke!

  2. Well, God is nothing if not a practical jokester.