Post by Sir Hømer Hall, Esq. Post by SkyEyes Post by Sir Hømer Hall, Esq.
You can't opt out of the afterlife. Heaven or Hell,
you get to choose. Try to choose wisely.
Do you have anything other than threats to contribute?
What kind of deluded intellect thinks Heaven is a threat?
If you think about it rationally - something that's a stretch for you, I realize - both heaven and hell are threats. Everlasting life, anywhere, would after a period of time get to be excruciating. There's a reason why Buddhists seek the ultimate release, oblivion, after many reincarnations. Stop fearing death. The evidence provided by science points to nothing more than a cessation of consciousness when the brain dies. To mangle a quote from Mark Twain, to be dead is to be how you were before you were born. It wasn't uncomfortable for you then, and it will be the same after you die.
Now let's go back and talk about so-called "free will" some more.
(And if you want to explain your theology to me again, be advised that I am *not* Suzie Homemaker. I am a retired technical writer and editor; kindly frame your analogies in terms of writing technical manuals, or documenting code. Thank you.)
Just so you know, I don't need to have the doctrine of Free Will explained to me; better men than you have already done that, around the middle of the last century. I understood it when I got saved at age 7. I understood it when I took classes to get baptized at age 11. I still understood it when I took classes in catholicism from a priest when I was 20. However, the older I got and the more I studied, the more I came to realize that the whole Free Will doctrine doesn't comport with reality; and indeed, modern neuroscience doesn't support the notion at all.
For the doctrine of Free Will to be theologically valid, everyone's will has to always be free, all the time - otherwise some would have a spiritual advantage over others, and some people couldn't be held responsible for the choices they made, which would be Divinely Unfair. Unfortunately for believers in this theological conceit (which is all it is), it can be demonstrated in real-world terms that many people, at many times, lack it. Ever dealt with a paranoid schizophrenic? I have - I married into a family of them. One, my brother-in-law, constantly made the most tragic and bizarre decisions because of the delusions and hallucinations his brain was always serving up. He was, in one sense, a very smart man - he could do math like nobody's business, and had completely re-wired the electrical setup in his parents' home at age 13. However, his intellect couldn't keep him from making bad choices or shield him from his poor impulse control. He demonstrably did not have free will.
Another category of people whose will is circumscribed is those who suffer from compulsions - like alcoholism, drug addiction, hoarding, overeating, shoplifting, etc. You can't help such people overcome their problems by appeals to any god or the doctrine of Free Will; their brains - the neural synapses - must be re-wired and re-directed in order to effect any change in behavior. This is done most successfully by psychological techniques, such as (but not limited to) operant conditioning (a.k.a. "instrumental conditioning"). If free will were a fact, operant conditioning wouldn't work - and it does.
Yet another circumstance negating the doctrine of Free Will is that of certain somatic diseases: brain tumors, for one; certain bacterial infections for another (look up toxoplasmosis and get a load of the behavioral changes it can cause in humans); and some degenerative diseases like Parkinson's, which can cause delusions affecting the sufferer's behavior. Even temporary environmental conditions, like a period of deprivation, can cause negative behaviors over which the person has no control.
And then, or course, there are our genes, which, while not per se *causing* behaviors (as far as we know at this point), are known to influence them.
In short, there are many physical factors which humans can't control which affect what we see as our "will" and the choices we make.
Neuroscientists have found through research that the unconscious part of the brain initiates actions before the conscious mind is aware that there is a "choice" to be made, and that the conscious mind reasons backwards to justify the action to be the result of choice.
To put it another way, "free will" is nothing more than an illusion based on, for the most part, ego, and in the case of theology, fear.
Next time, Homie, instead of merely parroting what the alpha males at church tell you and what appeals to your vanity and fear of death, try doing some research and finding out what is factual. Reality is always preferable to theological conceits.
Brenda Nelson, A.A. #34
BAAWA Knight of the Golden Litterbox
Professor of Feline Thermometrics and Cat-Herding