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Posted by Scott Abernathy on May 28, 2002 21:20:41 UTC

I guess I will be rude and give you my response even though the other two gentleman have not as of yet. Sorry - hope you don't mind

1) That we have free will? (that is, that if someone denies the Bible then they are making a deliberate, willful attempt to turn from God)

I believe that free will is an inherent part of our existence. When I want to take a dump, I take a dump. If I wanted to ram a couple of jets full of fuel into a building and kill thousands of people, I could do that as well. I believe we act on our instincts. Most people contend that our reason and logic allows us to circumvent our animal impulses, but I am of the school that believes this to be false. I think our "reason" is an extension of our instincts, encoded by our DNA, and expressed through situations our environment puts us in. The behavior of rational, logical thought is our evolved mechanism to interpret the physical world. In my opinion, it was instrumental in food gathering, escaping predators, and planning for tough times. It ensured our survival. It (reason) is not a divinely inspired act, in my opinion. No more than a whale using sonar to find its location is. These things are brought about from our environment as a reponse to the stresses we are under. All organisms have free will, so to speak. The ability to make choices in a vastly changing and sometimes hostile environment.

What part does God play? I don't know, but I have FAITH that there is a force which cannot be described or understood, that is beyond comprehension and is at the foundation of all existence. It might be just my socialization in the church climate as a youth or it might be my fear of there being absolute nothingness beyond this life. Whatever it is I can't explain it, I just feel it (maybe it is delusional, but I can't help it).

2) That God has a plan for this universe, and can see the future?

I think the idea of destiny is for non-skeptical, overly romantic people. If I were to believe that... then I must believe that when God took my twin sister at age 7 "it" was doing it for a purpose. God purposely tore my family apart, made my mother a medicated zombie for 5 years, gave my father ulcers and possibly stomach cancer, and left a void in my heart from which I still have not recovered fully. I don't believe that. I believe that my sister got sick and died. My mother and father couldn't cope with the sorrow, and I paid the price for their instability. I cannot or will not believe that my sisters death was a planned destiny for my family. God is indifferent to the human tragedy, in my opinion. We are here to keep going what was started some time in the distant past. We take it day by day, living and breathing. Reproducing, defecating, sleeping, and dying. The rest is just details to pass the time, not a soap opera for God's amusement.

I am sure that Sam and Aaron are good natured people with dreams and hopes, just as myself, but their views of what God is and means are wholly different than mine. For me, science is comforting, it is reassuring that the answers are not easily understood or found. You can't just open a book and read a verse and be enlightened. It takes an open mind and a willingness to explore the depths of your mind and tap into something different or original.

Not to get too corny here, but...

I always loved this line from a famous folk song -"The answers my friend are blowing in the wind, the answers are blowing in the wind"

I interpret that to mean that instead of looking for the absolutes in life we need to look around us and at the connections we make in this life. Those are the answers, the stuff that is all around us 'blowin' in the wind'. The life we share and the bonds we make are the things that make us real, not a verse in a book. Jesus said -
"The seed is love" - That is what I believe and what I will take to my grave. That love is what is the answer, and can be found through tolerance and peace. Corny? Maybe. Idealistic? You bet. Attainable? Doubtful. Because those are not the virtures enforced by most religions today and their "consumers". Religion is a business like any other, and it needs the money and customers at any cost. Sorry to be so cynical, but I have seen a lot of coruption in my day and our global society and religious community is borderline bankrupt in the morals department.


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