An agnostic turned Atheist finally finds truth in Jesus Christ. Not because he chose to believe something he can’t understand, but because it was the only place logic led him.
I have had a similar journey.
I was an Atheist and an agnostic of most of my life and was baptised at the age of 49. I’ve been down every wrong road it is possible to go down, and it is only… it is only logic that led me where I was … to where I finally ended up. It is only reason that did it. … I do believe; I really do have faith that at some point, bad ideas collapse.
I was jousting with an Atheist a few days ago who challenged me on my statement that I didn’t believe, but I actually know Christianity is the only correct final choice. He said I could not know it. I may believe it, but not know it.
I asked him if he studied the Gospels. He had not.
A few weeks before my epiphany, I read somewhere “Have you spent at least as much time looking into Christianity as you have into everything else?”.
I hadn’t. In fact, I had looked more into the possibilities of aliens existing, that humanity has previously lived on Mars, that the current civilisation is possibly the third “wave” after two previous resets, and so on.
When I looked into Christianity with the same interest and without the preconceptions that I had carried all my life, I found… unassailable logic.
You don’t have to believe to be a Christian. You can know.
On the issue of Free Will, Matt Dillahunty holds the position that a God that is all-knowing will know what you decide to do your whole life. As such, what you do your whole life is pre-set, and ergo, you do not have Free Will.
On the surface, this seems a solid and unassailable position.
Before I address this, it is a common method for Atheists to argue against the “Goldilocks” principle of Earth, which (in short), make the Earth and life on it so improbable in the universe that it can only be designed, by invoking the possibility of a multi-verse. It holds that in an infinite number of universes, one of them would have Earth exactly in the right position, with the right conditions, and it hosts us.
Atheists like Dillahunty do not extend theists the same “escape clause” by allowing God to know the infinite paths of choice that a person has simultaneously and that in our “multi-verse of Free Will”, God’s all-knowing nature can know all the choices a human makes simultaneously.
I suspect an Atheist wouldn’t be happy with this view, but to remain intellectually honest and consistent, if they allow for a multiverse to explain the Goldilocks Principle (it could be possible), then they must extend the abilities of an all-knowing god to know all possible permutations that arise from Free Will at the same time.
Another facet that is overlooked is that the Atheist assumes a human can have a complete understanding of the omniscience of a god as well as the complete implications of Free Will on a person in relation to an omniscient god.
Can an all-powerful god deliberately keep knowledge from itself only to peek into the room later to see how things worked out? Is the ability to know everything all the time something that is then forced upon a god?
Atheist might argue that a god that chooses not to know things on purpose is then not all-knowing. Is the idea that a god can know everything enough? Is the idea a god can choose to “put a blindfold on” proof he’s no longer all-knowing, or is it OK to do so because god can know everything, in advance, as it happening, afterwards, or outside of time itself?
The Old Testament clearly indicates God is upset about human decisions along the way. Why would He be upset if He is all-knowing?
The answer lies in the fact that God is powerful enough to give himself periods where he sets humans on a course of their own to see what they will do with this Free Will. But he can, if He wants to, at any time, be fully aware of everything.
A Computer programmer can know everything that happens inside a computer at all times. The volume, speed, and complexity of information inside an operating computer preclude the computer programmer of knowing everything all the time: what has happed, what is happening, and what will happen. But given time, and all the information, even a mere human can know everything about that computer, software, etc.
The computer programmer doesn’t spend time knowing everything, she directs her attention as she sees fit. She never loses the ability to know everything, but she is ignorant of some aspects because she doesn’t place her attention on it. Yet even as a “mere human”, if she chooses to know, she can know anything and everything.
This is a model for the way God could operate. And as such, Atheists’ clever little trick that apparently locks believers into a cul-de-sac where Free Will cannot exist under an all-knowing God is only successful because Atheists do no allow believers the ability to adjust the parameters of the thought experiment just like I have done in a number of ways above.
The suggestions I offered make it possible for Free Will and an all-knowing God to exist. It thereby refutes the Atheists’ Free Will doesn’t exist argument.
Hedonic adaptation: the tendency for people to return to a baseline happiness level regardless of what happens to them.
A study conducted on lottery winners and paraplegics concluded that neither group was either happier or sadder less than 6 months after the event.
Get yerself sum!
A person’s long-term happiness is not significantly affected by otherwise impacting events. So if you were an unhappy misery-guts before the impacting event, you’re definitely going to need extra help to see the bright side of life.
Classical Wisdom: The achievement of happiness, according to Aristotle, is the end goal of every man. His reasoning is thus: All human activities are done in order to attain something that is good. We don’t do something because we think it will be bad for us. In addition, most of these activities are not the main objective, but rather a means to a higher end. Consequently, the activity that is an end in itself, writes the prolific philosopher, is the highest good, and that good is happiness. We aim at happiness for its own sake, not because it will achieve something else. Happiness, therefore, is our greatest mission.
Happiness used to be the ultimate goal of my life. It really makes sense to a rational mind. Humans are averse to pain and distress. Surely happiness and the occasional bit of pleasure are the gold-plated answer?
Meaning is a hard sell to younger people
The problem with a rational mind, like Aristotle’s, is that it can fail to look beyond the obvious. Who needs to look for more answers when you’ve got one?
A self-reflecting rational human does eventually get to the realisation that happiness is not the ultimate destination of life (to “die” happy), but rather a by-product. It should not be aimed for for its own sake.
The answer, instead, is meaning.
The world we live in today is full of things that cause happiness. It can be very hard to get enough silence and time to reflect to realise happiness is ephemeral. It is a drug that wears off. You can even build a tolerance for it, necessitating a new drug.
Meaning is a hard sell to younger people. It seems few of us are spared the experiential journey of self-discovery. Sage voices will advise them along the way, but the seed falls on the rocks. For now.
Due to the beguiling nature of media and the prolific distractions of the Internet, some people find meaning in one of many dead ends. The planet is full of “teachers” that will distract you with the veneer of meaning.
Ultimately, at the moment of your death, only one kind of life is going to have been the best you could have chosen to live.
People have been warned about having open minds. After all, anything can enter an opened mind, they say.
It is much safer, and more comfortable, to close your mind to ideas that are not commonplace in your own family, circle of friends, community, political system, country, or even the world in general.
After three decades of looking for Answers with a capital A, I believe I have finally stumbled upon some that provide meaning to my life. Some of them aren’t particularly popular, some are becoming less popular, and some will make other people place you into a category of an absolute nut-job.
I wish I would have found some of these distilled ideas back when I was younger
I started looking for answers in my early twenties. It has been quite a process. And as I got older, some of the answers were less and less comfortable. The kinds of answers you do not share unless you know the others in the room will still appreciate you as a decent human being. A decent human being that is swimming upstream.
I wish I would have found some of these distilled ideas back when I was younger. Although I have enjoyed the journey until now, mostly, it would have been so much better to have had a head start.
These pages will be my contribution to the process of other people looking for answers. This site has very few readers, so these pages will be served through what most people would call luck, or coincidence, to those who are looking for them.
Human beings are so lost. Even those that have put up huge walls around themselves. Walls of faith, walls of rejecting faith, walls of egotism, walls of nihilism, you name it, they are insurmountable as long as the person behind them remains comfortable behind them.
The process of walking outside of those walls is wrought with danger. You will be mocked. Ostracised. Ignored. Attacked. Not because you are wrong. Not becaue you are right. But because the people are too busy defending their own model of existence that they currently hold.
Little enlightenment comes from debate. Debate is adversarial. The common idea that debate delivers the best form is distilled truth is hopelessly wrong.
I’ve created a new tag for this blog: Meaning. Under this label I’ll write on topics, ideas, personal experiences and things I would like someone to think about in case it helps them in a way. It may not help them in a way it helped me.
But I’m inspired by an external force to publish some of my thoughts, and I expect the reason is that one day, someone might find one of them and will extract something from that.
I’m not saying I believe in a “young Earth“. But the problem is that the current theory of how life came to be on Earth and how species evolved only survives unchallenged if you refuse to look at scientific research that doesn’t support that idea.
Once you do look, you have that horrible feeling: have I been lied to, again?
Humanity does have a habit of picking and choosing the science that supports established “beliefs”.
If you don’t believe me, check out how Copernicus got treated when he suggested that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe.
It is very difficult to look into these topics without immediately being laughed at, marginalised, and ignored.
But if genuine science does not line up with the current model/theory of something, it needs to be explained – not ignored.