The desire for determinism

What I’m about to say might seem like a different language. At least, it’s not a very modern language. But, I believe we have already conceded our language to the opposition and are playing the language game by their rules. We just manage to shift some words around in the right order to make some semblance of Christian sense. But, it’s just like playing football using the rules of chess. Ultimately, it may not work. We must start to learn what the opposition learned years ago: if you want to change the collective consciousness of a people, you must change their language.

So, here it goes…

A large part of the rejection of God, conscious or unconscious, is a desire for determinism.

My explanation of this statement will begin by clearing up a misunderstanding about God. For mankind to be free, means that every act man takes is a result of the direct and immediate creative activity of God. A man’s actions can be considered to be free when no other thing constrains him; and that the choice he makes is not the result of some other creature or anything else guiding and directing him. But, let me clarify something. God is not anything else. God does not occupy the same universe as man, nor does he exist along side it. He is not an existent among existents; and therefore is not an outside force guiding man at some times and not at others. Yet, everything exists and continues to exist by God’s creative activity. If God were to stop his activity, everything would cease to be. It’s not that the universe would stop. It’s that there would be no universe to stop.

Now, for my purposes here I will group God’s creative activity into two categories: determined and free. By determined I simply mean that some things are caused by other things: such as the wind blowing a leaf. This could also be called indirect creative activity. By free I mean that Fred’s decision to ride his bike is not due solely to indirect creative activity. Indeed, Fred may ride his bike because his body feels like it want to be active. But, by free I also mean that there is an element of Fred’s decision that is not due to anything else. It is not the result of outside forces but is the direct activity of God making Fred’s action free.

Now, you may begin to understand my first statement. A rejection of God is a desire to be free from the direct creative activity of God whether one realizes it or not. It’s no wonder that many who deny the existence of God think themselves not free to have done so. They think they were determined to have done it. To them, logically, there is no other option but determinism.

Many of us have felt our actions to be determined in some way. This is what is meant by the psychological term addiction. We feel compelled to go back again and again and do the same thing. We have addictions to drugs, sex, food, and many other things. We may try to stop, but we feel as if we are being acted upon by some outside force. That is a glimpse of what it is like to live in rejection of God. But to be free, is not to be constrained by anything else, but to have nothing else in between the creative action of God and you. Freedom takes the direct creation of God. It’s ironic, though,  that God is usually rejected in the name of freedom.

What is the legitimate basis for governmental law? The will of God or the will of man?

Men who value liberty but believe themselves to be self-sufficient in matters of truth and existence and who have no need for authority apart from themselves, also have no compulsion to follow laws, except laws conforming to their own reasoning or inclination. Contrariwise, men who value liberty but believe themselves to be in a state of dependence on a Superior Being for matters of truth and existence, eventually accept the will of this Being on whom they depend to be the foundation for self-restraint and morality. The extent to which man believes himself to be dependent affects the degree of his adherence to the will of his Maker.

This superior Being; having brought matter into existence and provided it with rules for motion, has also, in bestowing upon man a freewill, given a law of nature whereby man’s actions may be conducted in accordance with his greatest happiness. Man’s reason, although corrupt, has the ability to discover this law of nature manifested by the moral standards men have held each other accountable to from the beginning of time until now. Because of man’s corrupted reasoning, moral standards look different throughout history, but never amount to a total difference. A greater understanding of the natural law provides better individual self-regulation, which in turn, keeps liberty free from corruption.

This doctrine applies to all men at all times and in all places, regardless of belief, religion, or disposition. No legitimate rule in existence can oppose this law of nature without corrupting man’s happiness, or providing a false happiness. Therefore, pure liberty cannot exist without the self-governance of man founded upon the will of his maker.

George Washington said in his farewell address in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Prop 8: A Moral Stand

Shared morality is the rich foundation from which people can obtain the wisdom and discussion required to moderate what is called the tyranny of the majority. However, any moral society will eventually exclude those who operate outside of its standards. There’s no getting around it except to lower society’s standards. But, in order to keep this shared morality consistent, it must be a part of the basic institutions that provide a foundation for healthy life. I’m speaking of marriage and family. When marriage is redefined so that it means whatever anyone wants it to mean, it ceases to be a source of consistent morality, or any stable foundation. Concurrently, when the whims of individuals add, subtract, or replace whatever they want in the family unit, moral stability is lost. When these are redefined, society is redefined. Our society declines as it loses its attachment to religion: the main informer of morality to these basic institutions. Even though our government has a constitution; its concepts, especially liberty and equality, are interpreted today in ways the founders did not intend. Why? The words just don’t mean the same thing anymore because we don’t have the same morality. The previous restraints to liberty and equality enforced by the basic institutions, have been corrupted, and as a consequence, so have the original intents. Liberty and equality taken to the extreme will produce either a tyranny of the individual or a tyranny of the government. Self-restraint is taboo in this culture of radical individualism. Censorship is not even mentioned. Yet, if we are to preserve our way of life, at some point we must stop liberty from going too far, and restrain equality from infiltrating things it should not. To give them free reign is to watch our society be destroyed. Those who continually create new rights and new equalities which are mainly people living outside of the morality of the society, fail to provide a moral framework for their actions. They just complain about discrimination. All law is discriminatory in nature. They need more than this argument to back up their behavior. However, when their rights and equalities are made legal, this lack of morality is forced on the majority. I applaud those who passed proposition 8 for taking a stand for their corporate morality. I applaud them for trying to preserve the institutions that are the backbone of this country. We lose them, we lose ourselves. We just can’t react in defeat every time someone cries about rights. Some rights aren’t rights at all. They’re bondage.

I find then a principle: When I strive for self-actualization, I decay; but when I restrain myself, I gain liberty.

The Health Care Bill

U.S.
Image via Wikipedia

The health care issue is an issue of freedom and respect. What one is saying when he says that the health care bill is wrong is that he thinks the government is behaving in an unfair manner, encroaching upon personal freedom. He believes he is being treated like a child who must be cared for because he cannot take care of himself. It is considered a far better thing to stand on one’s own two feet than to have to lean on someone else. Greater respect is reserved for the man who stands on his own or is “self-made.” The thought is that if one has the ambition, he can do whatever he wants. However, now if his ambition is toward getting a certain aspect his health taken care of, he must ask the government first. A certain freedom has been taken away.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The “Dear Atheist” Letters

Dear Atheist,

A traveler from a strange land passed my way. As he described his home to me, his visage reflected great despair. He spoke of four great walls no longer connected, and all around them, a vast desert in every direction stretched to express no evidence of life for the discerning eye. Inside the walls, the form of a man can be observed laying half in the ground and half out. The bones darkened by the persistent sand provide a vestige of the cruelty the people inflicted upon their king. A hand outstretched remains anchored by the ground held upright as if still beckoning for humanity to enter. The traveler told of a people who abandoned their king even though he provided great things for them. Near the fallen form, a monument stands echoing his words to all. “Come all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The people rose up against him, and invited other great, eloquent men to enter the kingdom. The traveler relates, “The king remained faithful while the magistrates rode slowly on their horses toward the horizon. And yet from the horizon, came others riding swiftly on their horses. And as yet, we are still not free.”

I fear that as humanity trades a reasonable God for men of reason, no real freedom will be gained.

Sincerely,
Theist