Friday, August 30, 2013

A question of "free-will"

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend regarding the concept of free-will, having been involved with the same church for many years together. He is still a firm believer of the "traditional" Christian theology, but I would say his theology is more of a liberalized interpretation than fundamental because some of his beliefs are not as literal to the bible's words as a "traditional" or "fundamental" Christian's.  In the course of our discussion, he asked the question "If I am a co-creator, could I create a world where I could torment and hurt the population, if I have complete free-will?"  The argument he was making against my claim that we are all gods in training as co-creators, with absolute free-will over our own actions, was to argue that if everyone had "unlimited" (his word) free-will, then he should be able to create such a universe, thus denying free-will to the creations. And if everyone had "unlimited" free-will, who's will would win over the other?  This is a very long post, but I think an interesting one.  Personally, I find this post fun to re-read.  The point has commonality with my post regarding the misunderstanding of Jesus' message, since my friend, in my opinion, fundamentally misunderstands the message of the bible.

However, he does bring up a good point with that question because if there are infinite possibilities, then the scenario he brought up should be possible, and I agree that it is a probable reality.  But my friend is misinterpreting the word "free-will" to mean "power" over another, and since he misinterprets the idea of "co-creator" to be like a religious "God" figure (having humanistic personality traits), he assumes "unlimited power".  My response to such a belief is that the concept of free-will simply means an individual consciousness has the right and ability to act of their own accord freely, not that the concept of free-will gives that consciousness "unlimited power" over another consciousness.  "Free-will" does not mean you will control someone else to do something that you want.  It only means that your action of trying to make someone do something is of your own free-will.  Although you could control another since we are all a portion of the one "Source" (we can see this in our daily lives now, where someone tells another what to do), each individual has its own free-will and can use it to deny your will.  While the "creation" may "obey" the "rule" of subjugation initially, they ultimately have their own free-will to use as they develop their sense of identity.  It is only a matter of when they choose to use it.  Just as we are learning to use our own consciousness in the physical system, these new creations will also be learning through the rules of their hypothetical system, how to utilize their own consciousness.  At that point, this "creator" has had his free-will satisfied, but as choices are made, the "future" choices are changing.  This is why there's no such thing as predestination, because all "creations" are made of Source consciousness and consciousness exists because of free-will.  All consciousness uses their free-will "to be", so nothing is set in stone and all probabilities exist.  Unfortunately, full freedom of individuality is one of those qualities that conflict with the Christian theology of submission and deference to God's Will.

He argues that a "fully developed soul" should be able to create a completely controllable environment whereby his will reigns supreme over his creations, since that would be his will if my non-Christian point of view is true.  But to me, this is trying to merge two separate abilities as one: freedom of choice and the power to create. We as consciousness always creates through our thoughts. Those thought creations become its own living consciousness as soon as it comes into existence because all thought is the projection of our own consciousness. Since the projection is the "creation" of our thoughts, it is still a part of the "creator".  "A house divided cannot stand" means the "creator" would not do something against itself, which the "created" is a part of.  That is how we "create".  But because of my friend's Christian beliefs, the idea of "creation" is more about something from nothing than it is something coming from itself.  He believes that "God" created everything else from nothing, because of "God's" "unlimited" power, and thus the notion that "God" and "creation" are separate and apart from each other. I obviously do not agree with that notion, but because of that belief, he seems to view the non-physical reality as consisting of two distinct types of "spirit": one that is immortal and one that is mortal, no different from the physical world.  Otherwise, how would another soul that isn't God hurt anyone else, which is the justification that evil doers must be eradicated by God?  This would be the only way God could destroy or condemn "sinners", since immortal "sinners" could not be destroyed (if God can destroy you, then you're not immortal.  You might be immortal compared to your contemporaries, but you are not an immortal like God if God can just wish you away).  His view that God destroys sinners into oblivion, I believe, stems from my argument that it would be cruel and unusual punishment for a "loving God" (who he views as a fatherly figure) to eternally torment and torture a sinner for sins, however heinous, incurred during a life that occurred in the blink of an eye relative to eternity.  So he believes punishment for "gross sins" require a second "death", which in this case would be to remove you from any existence.  That would not be "cruel" in his view since the sinner wouldn't be suffering forever.  This second "death" idea is how many fundamental Christians interpret Revelations, but that misinterpretation is a whole different topic.

From my perspective, there is no such thing as "you" and "me", just "I".  Everyone is a portion of the same entity.  There is no such thing as separation, hence the saying "the hand does not say to the foot, 'I do not need you'".  Our perceived perception that we are separate and distinct beings is why Jesus called us "brothers" and "sisters".  We are all One with individual points of views, identities with their own experiences.  Besides this, a soul would not imagine the hypothetical condition out of an "evil" intent (though it may do so in order to learn from it) for many reasons, but even if it did, there is a constant mental connection with everything and that intent could not be hidden.  This is why there's no such thing as "evil" outside of this reality because all thoughts are known to every other consciousness.  All consciousness comes from the same Source and IS the same Source, but with individual identities.  The perception of "evil" in any reality stems from a desire for love.  It only requires someone to use their own will to resist the intent of "evil".  This is what was meant by the words "turn the other cheek", to know that "evil" is really just the desire for love.  It doesn't mean your will stops the other's intent of will.  In physical life, an "evil" intent may result in physical harm, but you can use your own will to resist its effect on your mental state, which is fear, anger, violence, and other manifestations of the "evil" intent.  You can use your own will not to accept the other's intent as your "destiny", and thus change the perception of "evil" for your own reality.  That is why Jesus said "the most important commandment is love".  Most people who do not understand this concept, view the notion of "denying evil intent" as being "defenseless" or "foolish", but that view comes from a misunderstanding of free-will and what all creation is.  This is also why the biblical portrayal of Jesus was that of a pacifist.  But from my perspective, he was a realist meaning he could easily defend himself much more powerfully but chose not to, knowing his true self and that of the "sinner".  Jesus knew very well where we all came from and where we will return to.

When we are born into a physical life, we "leave" the light of love "behind us" mentally (we choose to forget) and "return" to our light upon death.  When someone feels like they lack love, they think about depressing and fearful thoughts and those thoughts grow into physical acts if not dealt with by the individual.  To "love" is freedom.  To "rebel" is to resist denial of your freedom.  Why do Christians say sinners "rebel" against God, and yet claim God "loves" all?  Why does someone choose to act "evil"?  Because they desire love (not just emotionally, but also in terms of their own value fulfillment through their free-will).  Why does someone fear another?  They do not feel love from them.  Why does someone fear the unknown?  Because they do no feel love from the perceived "emptiness".  When fear arises, then acts labeled "evil" can arise in their desire for love.  "Evil" is the outward expression of their desire for love.  But outside of this illusionary world, we are always connected, always in the presence of the light of love, as long as we do not "reject" it through our free-will.  You reject love by choosing to think about your fears and doubts and insecurities.  You create your reality by your thoughts and feelings.  If you always felt love, why would you need to "rule the world"?  What purpose is there for that, or to destroy the world, or anything like those intents?  Aren't those acts the result of an emptiness they feel away from their light of love?  A mentally deranged or "crazy" person is a consciousness that does not understand the reality they are experiencing.  The confusion and inability to process the information from their body makes them think and act anti-social relative to the normally accepted behavior.  But again, this is due to fears of those around the "crazy" person rather than any indwelling desire by the "crazy" person for destruction or "evil".  But the isolation and rejection can cause that person to seek the love they need as well, and thus they act out of that need.  So my friend's whole hypothetical question revolves around this idea that "evil" exists in all realities, which is why the religious notion of God and Christianity exists for him and other believers.

Upon reflection of his view about free-will, I came up with this narrative that exemplifies the issues I have with the belief that God and "the creation" are separate and distinctly different things with different levels of "free-will", if you could call it that. This narrative may offend some Christians as being blasphemous or irreverent, but that is not the intent. Some of you may feel that my theological narration isn't like your ideal God or Christianity, but everything I've written is taken from the "traditional" Christian theology. But even today's various and "liberalized" theology (even the pope of the Catholic church has recently opined a liberalization of past teachings) still hold to key core aspects of the tradition such as salvation from damnation, bending to God's will, and belief in a heaven/hell with angels, demons and devils. While I am having some fun, at the expense of the believer, I'm merely trying to portray the teachings of Christianity in this narrative form so as to clarify the issues with the traditional interpretation rather than a wholesale rejection. As I've written before, I see Christianity as a misinterpretation of the stories in the bible. So I hope you'll read this with an open mind to see if what is written doesn't portray the most common aspects of the Christian ideology.  Because of the indirect pointedness of each sentence and paragraph, it might not be obvious what I'm trying to say.  You will have to actively consider the choice of words and phrasing, but everything I've written is in relation to some Christian teaching or idea or belief that makes no sense or is contradictory to me.  Keep this in mind when trying to understand what's written, and if you disagree, instead of trying to shoot the messenger, consider the message intellectually first before reacting emotionally.

I'm going to say you believe God (and Jesus and his arch angels, and whatever other super-high religious angelic beings you believe in) is some "super spirit" that is truly indestructible, while God's "creations" is some lower form of spirit not made of the same "stuff" and is destructible and still mortal even in "spirit". This would be the only way you could have "unlimited power", reserved for God, of course, while the rest of us simply "live", whatever "live" means. We have the ability to affect each other, but not God and his crew. I'm guessing some of the creation, the "elect", can be "promoted" by God to the status of super angel with the "immortal" quality. Otherwise, his small motley crew would remain too busy fighting the hoards of demons and evil doers, to help those in need. Oh wait! Does time exist in Heaven? If it doesn't, then there shouldn't be any evil doers at all since they would be erraticated before they even existed. So maybe time does exist, which means space exists in the spirit world, and it takes time to cleanse the entire world of evil doers. Or maybe there is a location between Earth, heaven, and hell (Purgatory, like a pie, where earth is in the center, and three slices surround it, one for heaven, one for hell, and one for purgatory, each area separated by something impenetrable) where time still exists and the angels come down to find those newly dead, sort them by their deeds, and throw the evil doers down into the burning lake.

Those judged to be "sinners" are tortured and tormented in the pits of hell ("an eye for an eye", right?).  Those who were found to have murdered, raped, tortured, or beat another are all being tortured likewise.  Those who lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, have sex out of wedlock, homosexuals, blasphemers, and those who do not love one another are all being tortured likewise. The Protestants, the Baptists, the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Mormons and especially all those "non-believers" are all being tortured likewise since each group believes they alone hold to the truth. You only get one life to make the "right" choice, and if you fail before your unknown time of death, too bad. They will all remain there from the beginning of men (when did the start of men occur, relative to eternity?) until the second coming occurs, where Satan and his followers in hell will be destroyed by the second death.  Wait.  If Satan isn't in hell now since the second coming hasn't occurred yet, why does God let him do whatever he wants, while us "sinners" are cast down into hell upon death?  If Satan is in hell, why does he get the blame for people's temptations?  If his demons are doing his bidding, why are they allowed to roam the world, how come everyone isn't a follower of Satan since we're all sinners, and what do they hope to gain by "converting" the "righteous" into "sinners" to begin with?  Do any of the "rebellious" expect to win again God with His "unlimited free-will" to just blink away anyone he chooses to?  And even if they did win and overthrows God, whatever that means, what then and what for?  What's the point of ruling over mortals?  All of this desire to rule sounds more like human ambitions based on the humanistic fact that earthly resources are limited, but how could that be of heaven?  What does anyone gain by ruling over anyone else, especially as a god-like being with supernatural powers?  And if Satan wanting worshipers and followers by ruling over them is why he's considered "evil", then what would that make the religious "God" who also wants worshipers and followers by commanding them to obey His Will?  Saying "God doesn't force us, that he wants us to obey him out of free-will" to make it sound like we really have a choice is ignoring the supposed consequences of not obeying His Will, which is to be cast into hell as "sinners" and "rebels".  No wonder Satan has less followers.  He couldn't recruit them if he had to threaten those who reject him with being sent to heaven (you know, opposite of hell, because people like thinking of opposites as being completely separate things rather than as different aspects of the same thing).

Those who are "not as bad" (since we're often told by the religious that "no human is perfect") are lifted up by their hands to be carried away to the cloudy light of heaven where they will be cleansed of their "not as bad" sins and welcomed into paradise! Once in, they survey the land of beauty and majesty, instinctively searching for God's throne where they can bow at his feet and worship. God will be waiting on his throne, somehow having aged with his great white hair and beard like a loving wise elder figure, while Jesus, God's literal son, with his still blond hair, not having grayed at all since he resurrected, stands next to him, waiting for his turn at the throne as the heir and successor. But since God will never die as an immortal, Jesus will have to wait a long time or possibly sometime in the future, lead a rebellion to strike out on his own and establish his own kingdom, his own heaven, since he is one of the lucky few who has "unlimited free-will".

All the newly welcomed deceased are looking at each other with awe and wonder, taking in the beauty of heaven, but the newer entrants are a bit far back from the throne. Just a tiny bit, as those who came first into heaven are closer in proximity to the throne. But they feel the joy and love of God radiating out from him! Oh! The bliss and ecstacy that surrounds everyone! So much so that they spontaneously all burst out in song and praise, "Hallelujah! God is great! All praise and glory to you, oh Lord! We shall forever bow at your feet and worship you! Come, oh Lord! Walk over us as your lowly humble servants! We are not worthy of the dirt on your sandels! We shall make ourselves low, for you have found us worthy to be saved and brought into your majesty and glory! Please! Trample on us so that we can be touched by your sole as we are unable to gaze upon you directly for fear of destruction from your glory!"

God looks out and booms in a great voice: "You are my children! I am your father! Together, we shall rule the universe as father and sons! Well, not quite legitimate sons since Jesus is my one and only son.  You're actually just adopted sons. Oh, and daughters! I always forget the women, since there aren't any around me in the upper heavens. But I could never forget you, my daughters. I am male, you know, just like you humans, whom I made "in the image" of me, both male and female, even though I'm only male. And many of my angels have had children with you women, so I am not unfamiliar with your gender."

Jesus, standing lower from the throne where all the deceased are crowded around, pushing their way closer to get a glimpse of him, cries out: "My brothers and sisters. I welcome the newly reborn!" 1 minute later, since time exists in this heaven due to space existing (heaven vs. hell as two distinct and separate places), the next batch of dead come in. Jesus again shouts, a little louder "My brothers and sisters. I welcome the newly reborn!" 1 minute later, another batch of dead come in. Jesus again shouts, still louder, "My brothers and sisters. I welcome the newly reborn!"...

Someone in the group that came in 10 minutes ago asks, "Does Jesus have to do that forever?" The guy next to him says "I don't know. I've only been here 10 minutes." Let's ask someone ahead of us. A fellow ahead responds "I'll ask the guy in front of me. I've only been here 20 minutes myself". And so the question "Does Jesus have to do that forever?" continues to flow forward, all the way to the front. After what seems like an eternity, one of the very earliest men created by God (since traditionally only humans can enter heaven) sitting at the threshold of the throne, right next to the feet of Jesus, barely hears the question over Jesus' very loud shouting and looks back. The gentleman then shouts, "So far".  Since the beginning of man, those who have died have worshiped at Jesus' feet, bowing down and praising God and Jesus.  Hmm.  Seems like a really long time to be doing that, not to mention boring.

Meanwhile, because the "rest of us" creations are flawed and powerless (funny how only humans are this way and everything else in nature is "perfect"), those who are waiting in heaven for the second coming, when those who are alive and dead will again be reborn (as physical flesh again, since only two realities, physical and spiritual, can ever exist) are screened out so that when the "new heaven on Earth" is created, those remaining will be so sterile and devoid of free-will as to avoid another rebellion, that God can afford to "reward" these faithful followers with a new life. Those who "fail the test" are destroyed as dangerous failures, degenerates, and rebels, while God weeps asking "Why did you use the "free-will" that I gave you to disobey me?! Don't blame me that you're being destroyed. It's your fault for not doing my Will instead of yours with your "free-will"!". Of course, this is spoken in the heavenly language, the "original" Hebrew, because God is Jewish, the originator of the message of God.

The fact is, heaven is merely a staging ground for people waiting for the new heaven to be created, where boredom and stagnation eventually breaks whatever self-fulfilling will that remained in the people, so that God's Will (capitalized in reverence to God) will have been done, and the goal of God will be accomplished! Until then, God laments, "No mortal shall have complete freedom of will, for they are unworthy and unable to command its unlimited power! The hearts of men are filled with evil intent and I shall winnie them of their lust and violence and corruption! Freedom to do as they please is tantamount to unlimited power, which I cannot allow in my Kingdom! One evil man is worse than a hundred righteous men, for it is said, "One rotten apple ruins the bunch!" What wisdom comes from the fellow who spoke such words of wisdom! So rather than allow one evil man to corrupt my kingdom, I shall peer into the hearts and minds of every new being who acknowledges that they are only human, for I have not created any other intelligent beings in the entire universe, nor have I instilled in them any great intelligence to begin with. Woes me, that I have made such a being in the universe and that I have such a duty to destroy so much of my creation. It brings me to tears, but I must continue to create more men with limited possibilities and limited free-will, so that I can find those who are worthy of praising me."

"If I continue to limit their abilities, then perhaps, I will not put them into situations that make them evil for their own desires. Strange, that this evil continues to rise up, even as I limit their power of will and possibilities. That wicked creation of mine, Satan, must be working just as hard as I am! I should never have made him one of my lieutenants at the beginning of time. But as my people's choices dwindle, they will be forced to recognize and acknowledge that I am their Lord and Savior! When they are broken and unable to continue, they shall turn to me in dispair, and I shall come down and take their broken body up with me into heaven, where they will praise and worship me, not realizing I put them in that situation in the first place! And so I shall gather up those whom I have elected by my Will, but they will instead believe that their actions of "free-will" saved them, including their baptisms and their rapturous celebrations and their praying Jesus into their hearts. They will not understand how lucky they are that I chose to save them, for hell is such a terrible creation of mine. I wouldn't have had to create that place if not for that damn Satan. I'm still impressed by my imagination which required me to think and create such horrible conditions and punishing tortures for Satan and all those who follow him (I only created males in the beginning), but it is all for the sake of the good so that they will never fear those who must be punished, as long as they tremble in fear of me."
"I shall forever coddle and protect those who rely on me and forever shield them from hardships and trials while in heaven, but not on Earth. For on Earth, they must pass my tests. For everyone except the lucky 1%, they will require many tests.  But until I am satisfied that they truly love me from the bottom of their hearts and will NEVER disobey me, for my Will must be their will, I shall continue to test them, and test them, and test them, and test them. They shall learn to obey and love me, and only me, for I am a jealous God. I am a vengeful God! No wait. I am a Loving God. I do all of this because I love you like an over-protective parent, only wanting the best for you by telling you to go the right way! In fact, you don't have to learn anything on your own except to do exactly what I tell you to do.  If you let me live your life, you will succeed.  Otherwise, you will FAIL because I will humble you!  My Will, not yours, remember?  That's what "free-will" is for."
Remember that you are made in the image of me! Well, maybe just the shape. Frankly, you aren't actually like me at all, nor do you have the same abilities as me since I'm immortal and you're only semi-immortal.  In fact, you only look like me, or better yet, I look like you since your paintings are perfect renditions! You can tell by your weakly abilities in your bodies, and how puny your flesh is that I made you using my "unlimited free-will". When you die when I say you die, and IF I accept you, be grateful that you don't have to die again, for that shall be worse than your first death! Not only will you suffer once, but twice for your transgressions! I shall judge you so harshly that you will wish you had never crossed me! So make sure you confess your sins before men, that they may raise their supplications to me, for I shall turn a deaf ear to you who sin against me! But make sure those men whom you confess to are also without sin, or I will ignore their pleas as well!  Always be on the lookout for "perfect" men to praise and revere them like saints on Earth.  Judge and look down upon those who are not as saintly, damning them to hell for their wickedness.  Or better yet, ignore them since they ignore me.  But remind them all of my love so that they may come to me and be saved from my wrath of anger and justice for their sins."
"For I am the Lord your God, and I always do as I please with my "unlimited free-will", which you do not have, now or ever! So please me! Make ME happy! Bring your sacrifices to me! I don't care if it's animals, plants, or deeds! As long as it is from your heart without any blemish, pure and righteous, I will be pleased!  But don't assume your sacrifices will get you into heaven.  You know, there are no guarantees.  If your sacrifices do not please me, I will not be pleased. If you reject me, I will not be pleased.  If you worship another god or idols, American or otherwise, I will not be pleased.  If you say "God Damn!", I will not be pleased.  If you say "Gosh Darn!", I will not be please since I know your heart!  If you don't go to church, I will not be pleased.  If you don't go to the RIGHT church, which I won't tell you which one is right, I will not be pleased. If you do not praise my name or my son's name or call me Lord, I will not be pleased!  These and many more sins (so much more, it would take a lifetime to recite), will make me angry. Very angry!  Don't make me angry. You will not like me when I'm angry."
The main point of this narrative was to highlight what it would be like if we did not have complete free-will over our life and circumstances.  Without the same free-will for all consciousness, God would be the only source for all conditions, which is why the religious are always praying for this or that, directed towards some unseen outside being, apart from themselves.  Anything that happens to us, anything that we choose to do or not to do, would all revolve around God if we did not have the same free-will as everything else including God.  We would all have to blame God for both the good and bad things that happen to us (or justify the bad away from God).  Here's an amazing out-of-body experience (OBE) I recently found describing Voltaire's OBE, where Voltaire learned what true liberty means (free-will) by a light being.  It wrote very much in line with what I had written above, although his experience also describe a judgment scene.  But in context of his situation, I interpret his vision of judgment as demonstrating the weight of a person's actions over that of their words, not necessarily that judgment, like that of the Christian theology, actually occurred.  Being in the time of strong religious ideology, the vision was Voltaire's answer to his question regarding what is more important: the right belief or the right actions.  Liberty or free-will is an inalienable right, because it is the nature of our soul and of "God" that we mirror.  Our bodies may deny full freedom, but that is an aspect of the human life experience, not a fact of our limitedness.  For those who believe they must be "saved", they would not have any control over their salvation, regardless of their actions because it requires faith that God accepts them and their actions.  But anyone can have that same faith, regardless of whether they really will be saved or not.  This is the problem with believing in our limitedness as consciousness.  For those who do not believe in a god, then substitute the word God with the word Chance.

Obviously, I do not believe Source or "God" is the way in my narration, but that's because "God" isn't a single personality nor is "God" in any way like a human, which is how "God" is portrayed in the religious books like the bible (this was how the authors of the books of the bible, believing they are merely mortal humans, interpreted their spiritual visions of the Light as "God" in their writings, just like those who have had a near-death experience with any amount of religious beliefs.  Compare Paul's near-death experience with a modern-day NDE experience that also interpreted the light, and one I just found that explains things as I have written.).  Our limited conception of what consciousness is like, and the varieties that exist, creates these kinds of misunderstandings about reality.  We all have the same freedom of choice as "God", and that cannot be overridden by another's will, not even "God", because you are one portion of "God", a consciousness "separated" into its own identity from the infinite pool of consciousness.

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