I think the next few entries are going to be quasiphilosophical, abstract, boring entries. So those of you who aren’t interested (i.e. everyone), come back in May.
One of my core beliefs is that the conundrums of Christianity are not really different than those posed by secular thought. People who think that Christianity is contradictory or logically problematic haven’t really taken the time to think through the problems in their own thinking. Because the same types of problems are there.
Like, a big one is the predestination / free will thing. How it makes sense that things are predestined and yet we are held personally responsible for them. I don’t want to get too into this, but I want to make the point – the main point of the next few entries – that modern secular thought has the exact same problem. Whether you are aware of it or not, modern science and thought is telling us more and more that there is no such thing as free will, and that’s a really big deal.
I’m not the only person who thinks this. A few months ago (maybe a year now), I saw this article in I think it was Foreign Affairs, or some type of highbrow magazine I don’t typically read, that talked about the 10 biggest problems in the world today. They had some things you’d expect, like the Iraq / Arab problem. But to my surprise, one thing they listed was the death of free will in modern society, which said pretty much exactly what I had already come to believe. Reading it was both exhilirating and depressing. Exhilirating to know that I’m not insane and that other intelligent people think the same way I do. My thoughts felt validated. But depressed because I realized that any thoughts I might consider original, many people have already thought before. But whatever. The validation thing was the stronger emotion.
Anyway. I’ll start with this. We currently base our notions of moral and personal responsibility on a particular view of what constitutes free will. We say people have free will if they are in control. If they do something under their own control, then they’re morally responsible for it. If they do something but weren’t in control, then they’re not fully responsible for it. So if I freely steal something, I’m responsible for theft. If I was brainwashed to steal something, I’m not morally responsible for it. In any situation where a person does something that they can’t help but do, they’re not morally responsible for it.
Bored yet? If not, you will be. I promise.