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Posted by S.H. Le on October 6, 1999 20:58:50 UTC

Greg: : You are, of course, Free to believe that you have no choice but to believe in things the way you do, if that is the way it suits you to believe. Myself, I would find there to be little valid purpose in life if it were predetermined in any way, either by God, or by circumstance. If I could not escape my lot in life, through the bottom of a bottle if by no other means, which to my good fortune there are many, why should I bother? Anyway, here's to you brother, may circumstance provide for you, all that you would have sought to provide for yourself, if only you'd had the will. :o)

Me: Well, now you've gone and introduced the idea of purpose in life. Though I don't claim to have the answer, I can say that a life devoid of free will still has meaning (for me at least). If humans really don't have free will, then I say life is what it always was. Discovering that free will is absent is a painful event of disillusion, but an event of growth as well. It's comparable to telling a kid all his life that he's actually superman. All his life he been built up think that he's this invincible hero, when in actuality, he's MERELY human. I've felt the pain of coming the conclusion that there's no God, and that was my painful disillusion. It's an experience that only a Theist turned Atheist can feel. But I'm ultimately glad that I've reached my decision. Ignorance is not bliss, it's ignorance. You learn and you grow. If I've learned anything from being alive, it's that an unexamined life is an empty one. Clearly everyone on this forum believes this or else they wouldn't be on this forum (well, except maybe "Satan").

I often encountered this statement by other friends: "But how can you find any kind of meaning in life if you believe what you believe? You're not even a person by your definition." I respond: "Oh, but I AM a person. It's just that your definition of a person consists of God, free will, etc. etc."

But these are merely my thoughts, which I've put considerable time and effort into developing. And your views, even though I disagree, are obviously the product of much time and consideration, so there's no way that I couldn't respect them. You've lived the examined life (and continue to do so), which is all that I strive to do. And plus it's fun.

P.S. This discussion reminds me of that new movie "American Beauty," which centers around a man's search for meaning in his life. It's probably the best movie I've seen this year.

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