Friday, March 21, 2008

Free Will

A few times in the last week the question has been asked..."how can God let (insert horrific scene) happen?"

My response has typically been the usual response, "well God allows us all free will, therefore although God doesn't want bad things to happen, he allows us and others to make choices that result in bad things happening." All in all a very "church-based" answer, and well, doesn't really make it any better does it. I have always felt like I was brushing a person off giving them that answer, and maybe, because when we are asking that question, there isn't really an answer that will satisfy the grief that is stirred up in our hearts that prompts asking the question.

And then I went for a walk. And pondered free will. And came to the conclusion that free will must be a farce, because really, no matter what our actions, it affects someone. We all live together on this planet, and therefore, when I make a choice it will most likely have some effect on you, although you may never know it, or it may affect your kids, or your friends, or your home.

A few examples:
1. Choosing to live at the fullest extent of my income the rest of my life. This affects any children I may have in the future (no college savings for them, and they would probably have to take care of me when I am old, and what happens if I lose my job??) and it can effect the 3rd world. If I am willing to say live at 80% of my budget and say give 10% away and save 10% I can have some positive impact on the world.

2. Choosing to live angry over choosing forgiveness. Not only does it cause my life to be icky, it causes all of those around me to be in an icky place, and well, most likely many of them would seek a different friend, but you get my point, my attitude and outlook on life affects those around me.

3. In choosing to ignore what is going on in the world, I may be making my life easier by be clueless, but I am not making anyone's life easier by taking action, even a simple action of prayer.

4. Further examples can include recycling, choosing organic, being vegetarian, littering in the park, being a supportive friend, watching someone's kids, speeding, being an aggressive driver...there are countless choices we make in our day, and well I think you are getting the point by now.

I am still thinking through this, and I don't bring this up to cause worry or stress, because believe me I like living in a world without worry, but at the same time I do bring it up because as I read McLaren's book I am reminded that even though I am just one person, I live in a community and what I choose to do or not do, whether I choose to act or not act, how I live my life affects the lives around me.

I have the free will to choose how I want to live my life. I want to have a positive affect.

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