Friday, February 13, 2009

Wouldn't You Come Up With a Better Plan Than Unlimited Free Will...If You Were God?

This is a big ticket item with true believers, this concept that God allows his children free choice to commit good or evil. Absolute free will. Without it, we’d be mere robots and puppets, right? (The Bible never refers to “free will” by the way; the concept is an interpretation, mostly created by Augustine of Hippo.)

In their attempts to explain why there’s suffering in the world, good clean Jews, Muslims and Christian popes, preachers and proselytes will tell you, “There’s suffering because God allows us free moral agency, to choose good or evil, to obey or disobey Him, to act beneficially or harmfully toward our fellow man. And so often, we disobey and our actions cause suffering.”

Well that's an understatement. But kids, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you were God, you could have given humans limited free will; freedom of choice in everything except causing suffering in others. No puppetry or robotics involved.

You doubt it? Look closely: God endowed you with the ability to move, to walk. You can choose to walk forward, backward, side to side. You can run, crawl, hop, roll, dance like a Dervish or just sit like a Zen master.

But you can’t walk thru walls, or across ceilings. You can’t fly either. (Bummer.)

Why not? Easy. God’s limitation; in this case, gravity. You do not have absolute, unrestrained free movement. The Creator could have given you the ability to float, pass thru walls, dance on ceilings, but he put in place the laws of physics. They can't be broken. And that limits your free choice of movement, your free will.

At this point imagine if you were god then, and you set in place "MGL" -- The Moral Gravitational Limit. Your MGL states: “You humans can think any thought and feel any feeling. You can do anything except harm another.”

All those little bitty human beings down there on Earth exercising their limited free will, thinking bad thoughts and feeling bad feelings as they choose. But never harming another person: They’d deem causing suffering as impossible as walking up a wall, and give up before trying.

Now they’d still have choice, of course. They could choose to dislike others, to be prejudiced against them, hope for their misfortune, even hate them. They could choose to be gluttons, sloths, misers, drunkards or mewling politicians. They could be as greedy as Midas, as vain as Narcissus, as jealous as Othello; as angry as Goebbels, as cowardly as Barney Fife, as lustful as Hugh Hefner.

These humans of yours could be as weak and evil in their hearts and minds as the devil himself. But they could not harm another person. No harm in that, right?

Doubt that it’s possible, this MGL? Not if you were God. And not if you're a true believer about Heaven. Picture Heaven -- I’ll give you 30 seconds...

Done? I bet you pictured your own kind of Paradise where the weather’s just as you like it, the landscape’s just as you like it, where mosquitoes never bite but fish always do, where everything you need is provided and there ain't no locks on the doors. And you can even fly.

Oh, and neither you nor your celestial good neighbors ever think of harming another person. Because harming another can't be done in Heaven.

MGL exists after all.

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