Tag: REALITY

FREE WILL: REAL OR ILLUSORY?

Once I started questioning if reality is exactly what we perceive it to be, I began to discover some of the weird, wacky and wild philosophies at large in the human mind throughout history and in today’s world, including that of many professing Christians…

Some Buddhists believe that we aren’t really here: reality is just an illusion which we create in our own minds, and all we need to do is create the right kind of reality. Of course, the logical question here is “how can something which doesn’t exist think?” I’m not sure how they would answer that one, because I’m only just beginning to delve into the multitude of strange ideas. Not that I’m shopping: it’s a matter of interest only. Among these ideas are such related issues as determinism-secular and “religious”; destiny; fate; predestination; providence; Murphy’s Law*; Karma; luck and fortune, and preordination.

The “free will” which most of us like to think we have is subject to at least one of these forces, according to many millions of people in all parts of the world, and throughout history. From the Christian perspective, does God impose his will on everything we do and everything which happens, as many Christians believe? These people are convinced that if you pick up a box of Corn Flakes at the store, it’s because God decided and decreed it, or ordained it, long before you were born or before the world was made. Or does the Lord just step into some situations and guide some of our lifetime events?

From the secular perspective, is nature itself arranged in such a way that certain things, or even all things, are “fated” to happen? Is there a natural flow of things, as in such philosophies as Daoism and Stoicism, which we would do well to willingly yield to, rather than attempt to fight against?

How many Christians are aware that Martin Luther rejected the idea that we have free will, particularly when it comes to salvation? He wrote, among other things:

“This false idea of ‘free-will’ is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences.” (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, p.106-107).

Luther wasn’t the first to make this claim, and later, John Calvin came along and  impacted the Christian world forever with his strong views on predestination. As Augustine had argued, Luther and then Calvin believed that salvation and faith come solely at the discretion of God’s will, long before we are born. If you are chosen, you will receive faith and so be saved. It has nothing to do with you wanting to seek God or loving Jesus Christ.

If you are not chosen to receive faith, you will not be saved. And in Calvin’s “double predestination”, God not only chooses who will go to heaven (and that, a small minority of the population) but also chooses who will go to hell-long before they are born. It doesn’t matter how much you pray and try to live for the Lord and how much you love Jesus: your designated destiny may be the fires of hell. For all Calvin knew, most of his congregants, who were all but forced to attend church, may have been of the damned. I can’t see how he could have been sure of his own salvation. Apparently you have to test yourself to see if you are doing the works that God requires in increasing measure. But surely, that’s works, not faith.

In my own life, my interest in the subject of free will began when I started to observe how many things happen in life which seem to be beyond natural events and coincidence. This mostly applies to “bad” things. I also met the acquaintance of a Calvinist who attempted to pull me over to his persuasion. I hadn’t experienced this thinking before, and I wanted to get a grip on it.

He’s a good man, but arbitrary predestination of the soul? No thanks: my God isn’t that cruel. Yes, God is God and we are not, and He can do what He wishes. But a God whose love is so deep as to send his only son to die at the hands of men, is not then going to be so pernicious as to block the vast majority from seeking or finding  salvation. If salvation comes from God alone, and not from our works, which I firmly believe, then the idea that God gives some salvation and sends others to hell even before they’ve had a chance to live is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Reality, fate, fortune and free will are all unfathomably deep topics. And how can we come to any conclusions at all if what we see is not real? No, I think a God who can create such an orderly and beautiful universe can also make as much reality as we need to be clearly seen to us. What we see is only a part of reality, yes, but what we see is real. My observation at this point in life and in my walk with God is two-fold:

1/ We do live in a real, physical universe in which our actions and our decisions and our thoughts have real, physical consequences. Having said that, I’m sure that our reality is greatly affected by many unseen forces: God’s occasional or even regular intervention; Satan’s opposition to the people of God and mankind in general; spiritual attack and deception; God’s testing of us; the Curse; God’s faithful angelic beings; the fallen nature of man at work in our world, and yes, luck and real, natural coincidence. God does not drive us like automatons.

The fallen nature of man greatly affects our lives. We are constrained by numerous obligations such as work, taxes, alarm clocks and human laws. For most of us, the day is already shaped for us before it starts. But this isn’t any cosmic denial of free will, it’s the natural consequence of living in a world and a society in which we want to survive, to adhere to a certain amount of moral law and propriety,  and to stay out of prison.

2/ God cares for all people. This is the testimony of scripture. No, I don’t believe that everyone will go to heaven, but I do believe that we all have the opportunity. Some may have their hearts hardened, as pharaoh ‘s was, because he was already wrapped up in his own pride and power and opposition to our God. God can foresee the future, and the hearts of all men who will live, and acts accordingly. I’m sure he knew well before Judas was born that he would betray Jesus, but I do not believe that God selected him to do it without first knowing what kind of a man Judas was. There’s no other conclusion to draw than that we all get the chance, when we read scriptures such as this one:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32 KJV).

Thanks for reading. I welcome comments and suggestions, or information. I may write more on this subject at a later date. You could search for my series titled “Why Do We Suffer”, and my post on Murphy’s Law*

https://nickyfisher.com/2016/12/10/toast-murphys-law-and-the-bible-2nd-edition/

 

 

 

FAUX: THE NEW REAL

In my higgorance and naivety I’ve fallen for the fancy synonym for “fake” too many times, and in this case, once is too many times…

don_quijote_and_sancho_panza

All kinds of things are advertised as being “faux” these days, the word being paraded as though “faux” were something chic, valuable and amazingly desirable. And of course many things are fake without giving any such warning as the four-letter “f” word in my title.

We have fake leather, fake wood, fake flowers, fake glass and fake metal. Fake organs, fake fruit, chocolate, leather, tans, news, scientists, hair, teeth, nails, boobs, men, women, trees, pottery, religion, healing, prophets, apostles, Republicans, beggars, music, promises, names, I.D., money…and the list goes on for as long as you can list anything pertaining to human beings.

The first five readers who’ve read this far will receive a Ferrari…

…but not a real one.

TRUTH HJACKED

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(Picture “Peacenic Pup” by istolethetv from Hong Kong, China)

One of my first ever introductions to the fact that we live in a world of falseness came at the age of twelve…

(DAMOLH 33 “LUSH”)

I’d just started to develop an interest in pop music, and there were several songs in the UK top-thirty at the time that I liked. Finding myself with more money than usual one weekend, I spotted a compilation album-vinyl at the time-which had the top twenty hits on it. I was so happy to think that I could acquire all of these songs at one “incredibly low price”, equivalent to the price of just one of them if bought separately, that I shelled out all my cash for the record.

At home, the terrible truth dawned on me within four bars of the first song, and then was confirmed by the next: these were cover-versions of the original recordings, and pretty poor ones at that. I’d been duped into spending my money on something false. I think the album went in the garbage in short order. However, a very valuable lesson was learned.

Now, many years later, it sometimes seems that almost everything man-made is presented as something it isn’t: man-made fibers posing as wool, resin posing as wood, root beer without roots or beer, “family-size” meals which are barely big enough for two, ice cream without cream, leather shoes without  leather, money made of paper holding no actual value, smokeless cigarettes, brick cladding, veneer, plastic metal…and the list goes on endlessly. It even extends to relationships, with two “Moms” or “Dads”, perhaps neither one really being Mom or Dad.

And the scariest thing is that we seem to have come to love that which is false. We spend our money on huge lotteries, refusing to consider that the odds are many millions-to-one against winning. Vast numbers of people check out of reality every day and engross themselves for hours in a computer game, while others spend their time in TV-land instead of working to make reality better for themselves and others.

“Stars” are created when someone is made to look and sound like they have talent and beauty when in real life they may be no more talented or beautiful than the average Jo or Jane on the street. A singer fakes a “great” voice which he’d never use in the shower and receives worship and adoration from his fans. A TV personality poses as a holy man while taking millions of dollars from his flock. A president is chosen and empowered by spending billions of dollars on a glitzy campaign (and both sides do it) backed by his admiring press which hopes to see him fulfill all its own pet schemes.

It’s my view that we’re so used to falseness that we don’t know what truth is anymore-another Orwellian fulfillment.

The atheist and the evolutionist try to shove the word “science” in our faces, hoping we’ll never even consider the possibility that it was God who made that science, that it was God who created the laws of nature so as to bring about a physical universe of order and design and beauty, or the fact that creationists were the founders of modern science. They refuse to acknowledge that “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), and instead concoct and develop a story which negates any reference to the Creator. It’s the epitome of falseness.

“There is no god”, they say. “Here’s why everything is so amazingly complex and orderly-it created itself!”.

Away with your cock-and-bull story: I’m sick of falseness.