The Incoherent Babbler

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Matters of Faith: Free Will vs. Predestination

Free Will vs. Predestination… do we control where we go in our lives, who we meet, what we do, and who we ultimately become as individuals, or are we destined to follow a predetermined course, long since set in stone the very instant we were conceived? It is an age-old debate which continues to this day within and even between faiths worldwide, and it is perhaps one of the biggest questions mankind has ever asked itself. Are we the deciders of our own fate, or the enslaved subjects of some grander, inescapable destiny?

Perhaps nowhere else is this question more asked than within Christian and closely related faiths, where the idea stands that mankind was created and is effectively ruled over by an omniscient and omnipotent God, a being with infinite power, infinite wisdom, and infinite knowledge of all that ever was, is, and inevitably will be. Many have to wonder, in this sort of a setting, with this sort of a belief, how can the concept of ‘Free Will’ survive?

How is it possible that a man can decide his life, if some supreme deity already knows all that will happen? How could one have any choice if their path in life is already known, if the world was designed by one that knew everything from the start? And if there is a God and he does know everything, why then has he allowed this world to stray so far from him and its initial perfection? Why would he let things get this bad if he already knew, if he has the power to stop it, unless we have the power of choice and to make our own decisions, and shape our own fates?

They are two ideas which stand seemingly at odds - an apparent contradiction between what we perceive to be fact and what the scriptures proclaim to be the truth. But are they really so disparate? I, for one, do not personally believe that they are.

I am a man of logic and reason, but I am also a man of faith… I am a Christian, no doubt, but I’m not out here to shove my views down your throat, and I’m not just an aimless believer. I believe that there is a logic and a reasoning behind everything, and that there is an order to all creation. I believe in finding out how scripture and faith can and does meld with science and cold, hard, observable fact. And, much like I do not believe Science and Faith - on the surface two radically different and seemingly opposed concepts - have to be so distant and disjointed from one another, neither do I believe that the idea of an all-knowing God and the gift of Free Will have to be so distant and unrelated.

Now, let’s delve a little deeper into both ideas in their purest forms, starting off with perhaps the oldest of the two: Predestination.

The concept of predestination is simple: From the beginning of time, there has been a plan laid out on a grander scale than what we can see, observe, or comprehend. Predestination postulates that, from conception to birth throughout one’s life and to death, with all things living and non, created and born, there is an inescapable chain of events - a destiny - to which they are bound that will inevitably unfold in their time here, in our world… that all they ever will be has already been decided, and that a man truly has no decisions to make - they are merely guided by their fate to become whatever it is they were simply meant to be.

It supposes greater forces beyond the scope of man have already seen and continually ensure the future… that a human being cannot fight their fate. That they are just driftwood, floating aimless in the river of time, unavoidably carried along by the currents of destiny toward their eventual end.

The predestination belief and the concept of a fate decided by a higher power and inescapably followed by man is an old one, one which predates Christianity itself and is by no means the sole property of it. However, in the Christian context, it’s still both widely believed and hotly debated. After all, if God knows everything, then is any man truly free? If there is an omniscient being who knows your beginning and your end, then do you truly make any choices in life, or are you destined to spring from these beginnings and arrive at these ends, no matter what it is you do or try to do?

It’s truly an idea at odds with America and the concept of Liberty… an idea at odds with modern society as a whole, a society built upon freedom and choice, or the illusion thereof. Indeed, over time, the predestination train of thought has fallen largely out of favor, namely since the late 1700’s when a little experiment called America began, and a constitution was written up which stated that all men were created equal and born free, that all men had the power to make their own choices and owned their own bodies, that they were no other man’s slave, but rather, if they were truly slaves to anything, it was to their own decisions - that they were responsible for their own actions.

Though the concept of Free Will certainly predates America and the founding fathers, it was around this time when it really became the dominant concept in the world. Before then, the idea of freedom was something new and revolutionary. The idea that a man owned his body and had rights, that a man could do as he pleased and make any decision he so wanted to, was almost unheard of. This was completely opposed to what mankind had believed for the majority of its time here on this Earth, and it changed everything.

The idea of Free Will dictates that nothing is set in stone - that a human being can and actively does shape his or her own life with every action or inaction they take. A man is his own entity, free of any overarching ‘plan’ or ‘destiny’ to decide his life for him. A man can do, think, say, praise, and be who or whatever he wants. Essentially, Free Will states that a human being is his own god, the master of his own little world. It is, seemingly, an idea completely opposed to the concept of an all-knowing creator.

If a man is free, if a man has been endowed rights by his creator, if a man can make his own decisions in his life and take responsibility for his own actions, then how can there possibly be a God? God is said to be all-knowing, but how can he know your beginning and your end if you are the one to decide it, not him?

Personally, I am of the belief that the two need not be so disjointed, but that the concept of an omniscient God and the idea of human Free Will can and do fit together rather nicely, that they can and do coexist in harmony. But how? My question is how can’t it?

The problem is people assume that because Christianity states that God knows everything, mankind can’t possibly have Free Will. Thus, there’s no real reason to make decisions - everything you do is already known and set in stone. But what if that’s not necessarily the case? What if there are countless possibilities, an infinite number of paths we can take in our lives, and that God simply knows what all of these different paths are and will inevitably end up leading to, but *we*, the individual human beings, are the ones to decide¬† just what path it is we actually take?

The Bible also states that God created us in his image. To what extent is another debate entirely, but it is reasonable to assume that we carry many qualities of what God is and vice versa. We can think, imagine, create and decide for ourselves, just as he can. I mean, is it not possible that God gave us the gift of Free Will so that we may decide what we do in our lives, whether or not we even believe in his very existence? Is it not possible that while God already knows every conceivable path we could possibly take, and every situation we could ever be confronted with, that he has also, simultaneously, left it up to *us* to decide what we do when we reach these crossroads?

The assumption that an all-knowing creator ensures an existence where all is predetermined and you have no say and no choice in anything, is, in my opinion, an incorrect and a rushed one. There’s no reason why a man couldn’t possibly have Free Will, why he can’t decide for himself what path he takes in life, even if it’s already been seen and understood to whatever extent by some higher entity. The two need not be so disjointed. Thus, I believe a theory of pure ‘predestination’ is incorrect - nothing is truly predetermined in our lives.

That’s the way I see it today, and the way I believe that I’ll always see it… but even if for some reason, someday in the near or distant future, my positions change, in the end, it will still be my decision and of my own accord. I believe the idea of Free Will is a beautiful one, and one without which we wouldn’t have the world we do today. I believe that it most certainly could be the case, and that it isn’t necessarily opposed to what the scriptures tell us.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, everything really *is* predetermined. Maybe the fact that I’m writing this and thinking this now really is something that’s just… inescapable. Maybe God really does control absolutely every aspect of our lives. But I personally just can’t see this as being the case, and I personally believe that it contradicts more scriptures than it may possibly reinforce. If we truly were created in God’s image, then it stands to reason that we can also make our own decisions, just like him.

Filed under faith god free will predestination debate opinion christianity the incoherent babbler

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Why We Don’t Want A Democracy

First things first, let me start off with a little video from one of my favorite people in the political spectrum, Judge Andrew Napolitano - a series of “What if?” questions to get things going: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deRo-BXLAz0

Once you’ve watched it, you should have a pretty good idea of where this is going.

Today, Democracy seems to be hailed around the world as some ‘perfect’ system and the ultimate form of government, and on the surface, it seems like a good idea. You’re giving the power to the people, and what they say goes, but Democracy isn’t as benign and simple a system as it seems on the surface.

Today, America is routinely referred to as a “Democracy” by just about everyone, but that is not the case. America is not a Democracy, it is a Republic, and the Founding Fathers actually *despised* the whole idea of a Democracy, seeing it as nothing more than mob rule, and a danger to the independence and personal liberties they’d fought an entire war to give to us. In fact, Benjamin Franklin, arguably one of the greatest minds in American history, once said about Democracy: “A Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

A Democracy is in fact simply just mob rule. In a Democracy, 51% outweighs the concerns of 49%. In a Democracy, the whim of the majority, however slight, decides all. That is not a very efficient way to run things for a free society, but it is an excellent tool for dictators and those wishing to expand their power. The biggest problem with Democracy is that it depends wholly upon the power of the people to choose and nothing else, and people and their choices are easily led and misled.

Through propaganda and false promises, through charismatic speeches and campaigning and lies, the idea of the people can be shaped and directed to fit the mold of anyone. Men In Black had it right: “A person is smart, people are dumb.” It is this principal that the manipulators of Democracy rely upon to get their way. It is how many a dictator has risen to power, and many a dark age has fallen upon many a nation. Democracy is not as grand as people think it is. Democracy is, in fact, one of the worst forms of government when allowed to run out of control and stand all on its own. In a Democracy, corporate interests, big banks, and the wealthy actually have more say and more political power than anywhere else.

America was not founded to be a Democracy, but as a Democratic Republic. More than that, however, it was founded to be a Constitutional Republic. America was designed to have a government by the people, for the people - made up of the people and accountable to the people. It was to be chosen and comprised not of politicians and snakes, but of ordinary men and women from around the country who took an oath to uphold the Constitution that set in stone the rights they were endowed by their creator.

It was to have elements of a Democracy, most definitely, but a pure Democracy - as people seem to think we are now, and as we seem to be heading into more and more - is not an efficient form of government. A Democracy is Mob Rule, but a Republic is a government based on Law, not the whim of the voters and the flavor of the season. In a Constitutional Republic, no matter *what* the majority may say, the law of the Constitution remains supreme - the rights it guarantees can never be overturned. What is done and chosen cannot overturn or contradict the foundational laws and principals that built the country, lest the people wish to surrender their freedom and their wealth to forces domestic and abroad who would wish to usurp it, which is the danger posed by an out of control Democratic system, and the danger the Founders warned us about 200 years ago.

A Democracy relies upon the power of a group, but that’s not what America was founded to be. That was the very thing that the Founding Fathers were trying to get away from. America was founded to give power to the individual, not the majority. It was designed to allow the individual to be just as powerful and have just as much say as that 51%, as opposed to a Democracy, where what the majority says goes.

It is a dangerous form of government that is all but lawless; a form of government whose nature of existence changes with the whims and interests of the majority at that time. A form of government with no consistency nor method in which to protect a person’s individual liberties as a human being. A form of government where you, your opinion, and what you have to say ultimately does not matter if it does not fit the mold of the mainstream consensus on which a Democracy is run… and that is anything but freedom, and anything but the power of the people and of personal choice so promised by the system.

Filed under politics rant debate democracy republic democratic america government incoherent babbling

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Summer Daze

I miss Summer.

I miss being able to lie out on the grass and gaze at the stars. Whenever I’d be feeling down, I could just look up at that starry sky, at the moon afloat in the endless sea, and in that blissful moment, I’d once again be at peace.

The feel of the warm grass between my toes, the echoed hymns of the cicadas, the gentle relief of the summer breeze, all the days spent playing in the sun, the sound of the rolling thunder, the running barefoot through the rain, the bike rides through the silent back streets, the walks through the endless green, the brightest blue skies above my head… I miss it all.

On one hand, it’s sad that I have to go so long without them…

…But on the other hand, even the memories of such days give me peace, as does knowing that there’s always another Summer’s worth just around the corner.

Sometimes, it’s all that keeps me hanging on. Knowing that, soon, it will get better. Knowing that there’s always one more Summer waiting for me. One more season filled with stargazing and having a good time. One more season filled with new adventures, new friends, new beginnings… one more season of recklessness and wonder.

3 months of bliss…

I’ll be waiting for you, right here, as always. I know you won’t let me down.

You never do.

Filed under summer reflection stargazing longing seasons incoherent babbling rambling pointless tags now i'm just fucking with you

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Life Is A Beautiful Thing

Alright. First off, I’d like to start by saying that I’m not out trying to insult anyone or their opinions here, but rather give my own while simultaneously ranting, to a limited extent. One must let their thoughts escape every now and again, after all.

The question raised in this little rambling note is “When do we become human? At what point in its mother’s womb does a child gain classification as a human being, and gain its own individual human rights?”

I personally find it a simple concept. It’s human, through and through, conception to birth to death. But many would disagree with me, with most using the arguments I have presented below as reasons for their claims.

I have presented, along with these arguments, why it is I believe said arguments to be flawed or otherwise incorrect. Still, disagreements shall arise, attempts to debunk my way of thinking… which is perfectly fine. I’m not asking you to think the same as me. I’m not even asking you to read or pay any attention to this. Whatever you do, whether you read all this, agree with what I’m saying, or think I’m an idiot, it’s all you and your choice. I’m not forcing anything upon you or down your throat. So you have no obligation to agree or even read to this little session of incoherent babbling.

But, if you read it all, I ask you to do so with an objective mind. Leave your presuppositions and earlier conclusions or beliefs at the door and try to see things in a different light, even if you already agree with me - try and see things from the side of those I’m arguing against, and get a better idea of *both* sides of the story. Even if you do that and you still don’t agree, that’s still fine. But maybe you’ll learn something, anyway, whether it supports your views or mine. Maybe you’ll gain new knowledge. And what’s so bad about that?

—————————————————————————————————

At what point is a human alive? When they can think, feel, comprehend the world around them? When they can speak, walk, or be productive members of society - or, rather, productive slaves? Is it when they understand the inalienable rights that they’ve been given? When they can create something of their own? When they experience the concept of death by way of a loved one?

Is it when they themselves die? Is it upon conception, when the first seeds are planted, and the process has already begun to create a human being? Is it upon birth, when it has at last entered our fucked up world, and must now suffer its years? Is it when it begins to grasp the concepts of “Mama” and “Dada”, and it has begun to differentiate objects from one another, give them names, categorize their world?

When do we live?

This is a debate that still rages today. Many claim to have the answer, but just as many would claim they’re wrong. “Women’s Rights”, they say. That so long as it’s within their body, they can end whatever life is in there, whether it’s human or not. A lot of people would say it’s not human; not until it’s born, or not until it takes on the foundations of the familiar human form.

Many researchers and doctors would say this, as well. And curiously, they get all the spotlight, and they are the ones touted as factual, when just as many would disagree with them and poke holes in their ideology. Perhaps it’s a question without an answer. Perhaps it’s as simple as one side would say, that life begins at conception. Nobody denies this fact. Upon conception, life has begun. But what they would deny is that this life is a human, or that this life is indeed human but has no rights until it can think, breathe, gains intelligence.

In the case of the latter, how then are our rights inalienable? If even after we are born we must wait until we can think rationally and truly begin to understand the world around us until we have rights, we could go 2 years without any rights whatsoever. Is that what’s laid out in our constitution? Is that the idea of rights our founding fathers had in mind? If your rights must be earned, they are not rights. Rights are given to you because you live, and you are human.

It’s still up for debate at what point that life inside a woman’s body becomes human. Perhaps it’s never human until it leaves the womb. If that is the case, that is when it has its rights. Maybe it’s human when it reaches that 3rd month, or 2nd month, or 1st month. If that is the case instead, then that is when it has its rights. But maybe its upon conception, when those first sparks of life begin to fire off. Surely, you are not “human” as we understand ourselves just yet. You have no form, no mind, you are microscopic, but alive and growing. You depend upon your mother to feed and take care of you so that you may reach a point where you can survive and function in our world. But does it make you any less human?

Those sparks of life inevitably will become a human being in the way we understand ourselves - two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears. A living, breathing, thinking entity. So we know it will *be* a human. But is it then a human? Well, can something change into something else entirely? Can a kitten grow up into a wolf? Can a virus grow into an elephant? That single-celled organism, that first spark of life, is living, growing, feeding. It will grow into a human being, so therefore, it must be a human being. What else could it be? What could possibly grow into a human that wasn’t human to begin with?

If that is the case, then we have a human being in the earliest primordial state of life. They cannot think or understand that they in fact are - not yet. They have no body or form reminiscent of what they shall be, and won’t for some time. We can’t hardly even see them. But they live. And they will be human, they are human. And if that is the case, then the human rights protected by our constitution and by extension our government (ha) already apply, first and foremost, the right to life and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life.

Then comes the second argument… whether you agree that those first sparks are human or not, in limited amount on both sides of the aisle, the next argument is “A woman has a right to do what she pleases to her body”. This, I feel, is a flawed argument which misses some very basic points and overlooks basic human rights.

The first and perhaps most flawed point is that the child is a part of her body. That these sparks of life are not an independent life, but her life. This simply is not true. The child does indeed depend upon its mother in the womb, and the two are connected, but wholly independent. They are two separate entities,  from conception to birth to life outside the womb growing up to death. They are not one. That child is not the woman, that child is not her body. Thus, how does she have any right to do with it as she pleases, as she has the right to do with her own body?

Most would call that child nothing more than a “parasite” to help their cause, but that doesn’t help them any more. Even if you just call it a “parasite”, that “parasite” is still a separate entity from the woman. Thus any preconceived notions that the woman has the right to do as she pleases with her body and that life is part of her body are thrown out the window even quicker. Because now you acknowledge that it is, indeed, separate… so how would a woman’s rights extend to it?

"Because it’s within her body" some would say. But does that matter? It’s not part of her, is it? It relies on her for life, correct, and they are indeed connected, but they are not one. They are not the same entity. Just because it’s within her and relies upon her does not mean it is her, so again, her rights do not extent to this second lifeform. And then you have the problems that arise in regards to human life. There are 3 major groups of people when it comes to human rights, women, and abortion, as well as a fourth, smaller group.

The first group argues that human life begins at conception.

The second group argues that it does not begin until a certain point during pregnancy, when it takes on form and a mind develops.

The third group argues that it does not begin until it has been born fully into our world, until the cord is cut and it can stand alone.

Then a fourth, smaller group argues that even outside the womb, rights do not apply until sometime later when the being becomes self-aware, which can be as long as 2 to 3 years.

At some point, in everybody’s mind, that child will be “human”. And when it’s “human”, human rights can be applied. For people of the first category this means that as soon as conception, that spark of life is a human being with rights all its own, that it has that fundamental right to life. For the people of the second group, this would be a couple months along when rights are applied, for the third this would be after birth that these rights are applied, and for the fourth, not until they are self-aware, but this disregards the fact that they’re already human. The fourth is fundamentally incorrect by assuming that one must be self-aware to have rights. This simply is not the case. If you are human, you have human rights.

The third group is incorrect because even before it enters our world, it’s already been a fully-formed human being for some time. It has a mind capable of complex thought, senses, arms, legs, a familiar form we all know as that of a human being’s. Even if this is a day before birth, this fact remains true, that the child is indeed human with basic human rights. Living and capable of thought, even if it is not yet thinking.

The biggest fight seems to be between the first and second groups, nowadays. Because nobody can agree when that life truly becomes human. I explained my reasoning earlier on: because it will grow into what we know as a human, it must itself already be human, as only a human can *become* a human and grow like a human grows. But this is a statement that not many would agree with.

The Darwinian and Evolutionary theory states that life transforms from one thing to something else entirely all the time. This is another debate entirely, but whether this is right or wrong, it does not apply, because by the theory’s own standards, this is a change that takes millions upon millions of years of gradual change and slight adaption, built up over truly countless generations of life until a new being is created. Still, some, though perhaps not all or even very many, would use this to support the claim that it isn’t human, because life supposedly can change from one form to another form entirely… but by their theory’s own rules, they are wrong.

And yet still, many wouldn’t agree, and that’s why this debate rages on today. Even with medical technology and science brought to such a state as we have it today, we can’t agree on when that spark of life becomes human life. There’s no arguing that it’s life, but the classification of said life eludes us still. I believe it’s simple, and that it starts at conception. But I am, today, seemingly in the minority.

Perhaps I’m not and it’s just more media spin - it applies to science too, after all. Maybe there are quite a few who think like me, after all. But I don’t see it often. And I find it kind of sad.

If we live in a society that can’t even make up its mind on what life is or when it begins, what can we decide? It’s the most basic of basic ideas, yet it eludes us so. If we don’t understand the basics, how can we make proper calls on the more complex ideas and dilemmas that stem from these basics? Resolution *must* be found.

Well, I’ve said all that I’ve got on my mind. Disregard it if you like, and feel free to disagree with me, but that’s my two cents.

If you’ve read down to this point, then good God you must be bored. And I’m done now so you can stop.

Mm… Banana Pudding… how I have missed you…

…I said I was done.

Go.

GO AWAY.

THE END.

Filed under abortion life life is a beautiful thing human humanity rights birth conception controversial incoherent babbling the incoherent babbler

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We Are All As Stars

We are all as stars, drifting in the endless sea, glittering in the black.

From a distance and to those with idle eyes, we may appear closer than we are - but the light they see is old, all our lives have made us cold, we aren’t that person anymore, though the shadows may remain. The distance between us is inexplicable, but vast, and so rarely can two stars actually co-exist without tearing each other apart. We organize in our systems and we drift in our factions, assuming the name of a banner we hold high, though our distance remains so obvious up close, even as our similarities echo loud.

We are made up of simple elements, but by our wills and with the right environment, we turn the basics we all know into talent and skill and bombast. Some of us go too fast, and we burn out and sputter out in the cold void, while some of us will inch on for years to come, our deaths slow, but brighter than the lives we lived.

We will go out with a bang… or maybe with a whimper. We could explode, giving the best we’ve ever done and planting the seeds for the next generation as we pass on, or collapse, self-destruct, and create a black hole that consumes those we had around us, or shrink down and loathe ourselves, filling those with grief at the sight of the empty shell we had become, at the fact that we would go out as we did, and we become darkened marks, once bright with life, now painted with the agony of death, our fade from view quick, but disappointing.

We are bigger than anything else - or so we think. Giants though we may be, compared to the world in which we live our lives, we are barely grains of sand. We can bring life, we can give death. We can serve as beacons of hope, or we can act as prophets of doom and dismay.

We come in many colors, and we all live very different lives. Those we have around us reflect just how we are, whether we’re hot and filled with hate, or just hot enough to make it through with the right conditions to support others. But at the core we’re all the same. We live the same, we die the same, we’re all built of the same basic things, and yet this world sets us all so far apart.

We are all as stars, cosmic dust given life. Bright, dark, hot, cold, the givers of life, and the servants of death.

We are all what we long to be.

Filed under stars night sky metaphor separation incoherent babbling random bullshit