Knowledge Does Not Restrict Free Will

Free Will“Because free will” has to be one of the most oft-quoted phrases uttered over and over by apologists or defenders of belief. It’s used as a cure all for any critical talk of gods or holy texts.

When I prod as to why god doesn’t reveal himself or make himself known in a tangible way, that seems to be the only response I ever get. “Because god wants us to use our free will to chose him or reject him.”

What everyone needs to understand is that the knowledge of a god being real wouldn’t stop someone from being able to choose to follow it or not. If a god revealed itself to the world, we would still be free to reject it’s authority, divinity, or rule. I wouldn’t automatically be subjugated to it’s leadership. Having knowledge that a god exists wouldn’t in any way force me to worship it. If anything, it would most help me make an informed choice because you know, there’s thousands of gods to choose from.

This point couldn’t be made any clearer than from Christians’ own bibles:

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” – James 2:19

Demons, according to the bible, believe in god and reject him. They’ve seen god with their own ethereal eyes and still reject him. Could humans not possess the same ability?

So I ask, what would your god have to lose by revealing itself? There are currently 2.18 billion Christians on a planet holding 6.9 billion people. That means that at least 4.72 billion people are going to hell at this rate. Wouldn’t god making itself known stand to potentially save billions more from hell, the very place it desires strongly to save us from?

One friend berated me when I was very early in my doubting phase when I asked that question. “How dare you be so selfish, Nate. How dare you ask questions of god like that.” I didn’t think it was too much to ask. If anything, I thought it was more compassionate and loving to make itself known. If the end result is hell, why wouldn’t a loving god help more? It’s then that I remember that the loving god made hell, or allowed it’s creation, and it’s that same god that created the rules for us to go there, so it’s probably not that loving to begin with.

So please, stop yelling “FREE WILL” anytime you’re backed into a corner. A god that made it’s existence known to the world in a tangible way could still be rejected, but at least all doubt would be removed from the situation.

Now if we could only get Bigfoot to reveal himself in something other than blurry pictures and shaky camera footage…..

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Thank You Letter to Don – The Man That Gave Me The Greatest Verbal Beat Down I’ve Ever Received

slap

Don,

In my life there’s been 3 fantastic burns against me that I can recall with absolute clarity. Two of them were jokes setup over time that needed to ferment before their verbal barbs were prepped for absolute potency and hilarity. The last one was a gift from you and was done in about 15 seconds and will forever remain my perfect example of the ultimate slam.

Not sure if you remember, but this perfection of verbal onslaught happened about 8 years ago when I was working with you on your first day at the helliest hell hole ever, Enterprise Rent a Car (ERAC). As I’m sure you recall there are certain employees at ERAC that only have the task of washing the cars and driving them between stores. That was you. You were a Porter for my store.

As you’re no doubt well aware, porters are generally made up of retired men from the many steel mills in the area. They’re generally guys that, like you, got bored of retirement and want an easy job to kill time.

On your first day at my store I remember thinking that you seemed like a nice guy with a good sense of humor. You were recently retired from US Steel and around 65 years of age. Your genius, as I would soon find out, was that you simply didn’t give a damn and your burn on me is a prime example of a person’s ability to destroy by barely lifting a finger. I’m still reeling from it almost a decade later.

Our store was always busy. Not only did we have to service the customers, but we needed to keep everything up to date and legal with the cars. This included putting new registration stickers on the license plates of our fleet.

Our manager had instructed you to put new stickers on a handful of cars and asked me to get you the stickers for the plates. Happily, I showed you where all of this stuff was and peeled off a couple for you and handed them over. Trying to be cute, I said, “Now be careful, Don. Those go in the upper right hand corner of the plates.”

You took a second to consider this and casually asked me, “What did you say your name was again?”

“Nate,” I replied.

Then you gave me the hammer, “Oh, I thought you said it was Fuckface!”

I stood there motionless and slack jawed and your eyes never left mine. Still staring, I said, “Wow.” Then you turned and left.

I stood there replaying this verbal destruction in my head over and over. As a person that prides himself on his wit and humor I was in absolute awe of how beautifully and quickly I was destroyed. Nothing could be said to combat what had been done to me. I’d been eviscerated.

Your delivery was both gentle and extremely over the top. Your eyes bored holes into my head. Your emphasis on the word “fuckface” was said with lethal doses of venom and tectonic plate shifting forces of earth shattering smackdownness.

I’d been crushed by you, a man I’d just met, in only a few seconds. You taught me a valuable lesson that day and I still believe it to be the master class of insult hurling and I hope to eventually be at your level.

I look forward to the day when I’m older and wiser and set some young kid on fire like you did to me, but until that day, thanks for the lesson, Don. I’ll never forget you or the impression your insult left on me. I’m a better man because of it.

I hope this letter has found you well.

Sincerely,

Fuckface

 

Impotent Rage

cat

One of the most profound discussions I’ve ever had was with my father when I was 15 years old. I can’t remember what I did wrong, but I do remember I went to my mother to confess because I knew she’d go easier on me. The next day, while he was eating his lunch and looking exhausted from another long day at the mill, my father called me into the dining room and told me words I’ll never forget as long as there’s breath in my lungs. He said, “The next time you screw up, don’t run to your mom for shelter. You come to me and be a man.”

While he was very cross and had no intentions of imparting great wisdom to me, he had given me the single greatest lesson I’ve ever been taught in life. Be a man. Be unafraid. Not that that meant I couldn’t be afraid, it meant to never let fear sway me. Even when I’m scared or worried, stand against the fear and be more powerful because of it.

It’s something I’ve carried with me ever since that moment and I call upon it often in tough circumstances. It was one of the things that most helped me when my brother passed. I was the first to see his body, I took control of funeral arrangements, I called specific members of the family and made it clear that they weren’t welcome to the funeral, I was a rock for my family when they needed one and I would later breakdown quietly in my room. Someone has to be stable in moments like that and I was honored to do that for my brother, as he would’ve done if I’d passed.

For the first time in my 31 years of existence I’ve finally come to a spot where no amount of bravery or courage can win a task for me. The last 2 years have been astoundingly difficult with multiple loses of family members, loss of religion, loss of relationships, and a massive shift in family dynamic, but it’s all been relatively easily traversable when taken with a heaping amount of pragmatism and a level headed nature.

Now, I just find myself getting more angry and frustrated at a situation with which no good can come from. All options are a sure loss. The only question left to ask is: how much am I willing to lose?

I apologize for being purposefully vague, but I have to be given the situation. To be clear, all is wonderfully well with my wife and kids.

It’s just that these last few years have been extremely testing of my character, but this is the final one I didn’t need. The potentially largest blow coming when I’m already stretched thin.

I finally understand the plight of the cat. Hang in there, dude. Hang in there.

 

The Narcissism of The God of My Wants

Blessed_Trinity_One_God_Wallpaper_1600x1200_wallpaperhereIf I see one more person give praise to the almighty over something they received, I may blow my lid.

To see one more individual living in a nation as privileged as the United States give praise to god for a new car, house, phone, clothes or job may just push me over the edge.

I had a friend very recently tell me about how god blessed them with a new house. That Jesus himself gifted it to them. In that moment, it took some inner Herculean strength to not say some things I’d later regret.

Please allow me to try and put what my friend was saying into perspective, while god/Jesus (Gesus) is spending so much time blessing you with riches and your wants, there are people all over the world suffering horrible deaths because god can’t be bothered to give them simple things like food and water. While Gesus blesses you further, he continues to neglect men, women and children the world over. Gesus can certainly be bothered to help you get a promotion or a new house, but can’t possibly be pestered with starving children. Wow.

How people fail to see how narcissitic this thinking is blows my mind. This thanking Gesus for material things while others suffer and die in nightmarish conditions needs to stop. It’s gross.

These things you’re thanking Gesus for are the result of work, friends, money, effort and coincidence. Your god has no hand in helping you buy a house, get a car or finding a high yield CD for your grandmother at the bank.

God, you see, is always on the side of the believer. He answers their prayers, blesses them, grants them entrance to heaven and loves them. Others not in this specific belief system, are not listened to and do not find favor with god and suffer an eternity in hell.

This is the epitome of arrogance and a good example of how detached believers living in a developed nation can be from reality.

So, if you’re a theist and reading this, please stop thanking your god for trivial things while the rest of the world suffers immensely. To think your god helps you with non life retaining things and neglects others’ more basic needs, not only paints you into a very unbecoming light of arrogance and narcissism, but it puts the concept of your god into a far more unflattering light than is necessary.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Sam Harris:

“Given all that this God of yours does not accomplish in the lives of others. Given the misery that’s being imposed on some helpless child at this instant. This kind of faith is obscene. To think in this way is to fail to reason honestly, or to care sufficiently about the suffering of other human beings.”