Freedom

There is a repeated trope that is sometimes derived from some understanding of neurology that we don’t have free will.

But it’s a twisting of facts.

We do have free will. The truth that’s being twisted is about the form free will take, because it’s often different from the way we imagine it.

We often think if free will as the ability to make a decision in the moment.

What’s true is that we often don’t make a decision in the moment but instead rely on habits we’ve built up over time when determining behavior.

But we can change our habits. The the lie or manipulation is ignoring our ability to alter our habitual reactions. It’s an inherent neuro-cognitive process of the brain that we can evaluate the outcomes of our habitual behaviors and alter them in order to secure better outcomes.

Changing habits can be hard for sure. But it’s not impossible. And it’s the best way to ensure that we are making decisions about our behavior instead of relying on our pre-existing habits unthinkingly.

Bridging the Gulf & The Argument for Altruism

George Price*
 
created a simple and elegant equation to explain altruism as an evolutionary strategy
 
Basically, life is a game

You can use different strategies
There are different players
As well as alliances and teams
 
All with similar goals
 
Live long
Have babies
& try to make sure your genes get passed on
 
A lot of strategies exist to accomplish those goals
 
One of them is altruism

Sacrifice for your reproductive partner
Scarifice for your child
Create social networks that support your family & make sacrifices for the group

So the group will protect your child
So the members of the group want to reproduce with you and your children
 
Altruism is a good strategy that can work very well
 
The others can work too
 
But many of them are based on dominance and violence and fear
 
The Bible is a complex argument about the right way to play this game
 
The authors of the Bible are players in the game trying to find the best strategy, arguing with each other
Sometimes arguing with themselves

And out of those arguments comes a clear answer
 
Altruism
 
The Bible is an argument that Altruism is the best, the correct strategy
 
Self sacrifice and loving your neighbor are the best way to play the game of life
 
And the Bible adds something else
Another reason to play the gam without judgment
To play the game with love
 
The Bible argues that Altrusim is the strategy that pleases God
Altruism is God’s strategy

That God became human and gave his life for us

because self sacrifice is the only strategy a loving God can use
 
When we choose a strategy based on dominance and violence and fear
A space between humans and God is created
And a space between you and your neighbors
  
God’s sacrifice in Jesus closes the gap
Bridges the gulf between humanity and God
Bridges the gulf between us all
 
Faith in Jesus
Faith in his life and death and resurrection
Means accepting the sacrifice
Answering the call to make altruism our strategy
Answering the call to make sacrifices in your life
As individuals
As socities
 
There’s no expectation that you’ll be perfect
And no one answer God’s call the same way
Your sacrifices will be different from mine

God’s strategy isn’t based on performance
You don’t have to earn God’s love

God’s sacrifice is absolute

But if you accept the strategy
If you accept the sacrifice

The strategy will begin working through you
 
The call to this strategy has always been here
It’s God’s call screaming from the books of the Bible

And it is now fully revealed in Jesus
 
Embrace the strategy of Jesus

Bridge the gulf

*The conclusion of George Price’s life is very sad. I recommend reading about it and thinking about why I’m encouraging everyone to think👆this way

George Price, the man who gave himself away

Suffering

Old question. REAL old.

If God loves us why do we suffer?

Does God control our actions? Our future? Every event, moment to moment? If so, why the moments of suffering?

I saw my friend today wondering out loud,

“Is God punishing me?”

I don’t think I’m going to end this debate in a blog…but I’ll try. At least a little bit. A smidgen.

My first thought would be about control.

What do I mean if I say God controls my future?

Do I mean God controls my every action? (kinda don’t think so)

Do I mean God controls all circumstances I find myself in? (kinda don’t think so on this one either. If I have control of my actions shouldn’t I think others do too?)

Do I mean that God has no control then!? (nah, but what do I mean then?)

🤔

I’ve come to the conclusion that I think about control in terms far too limited. I’ve started asking myself what kind of control the God I believe in has.

Reading the Bible does the trick.

The authors of that old collection of books all wrestled with the idea of God’s control, how evil could sometimes triumph.

Emerging from their frustration, through the books that claim to reveal God’s will I think it is very clear.

God controls the outcomes.

There may be a number of potential circumstances but God controls the eventual circumstances.

The events that will come to pass.

Over time they are all fulfilled and eventually they will culminate in a transformation of this world. In that culmination we will see the full triumph of light, love, mercy, compassion, humility, self sacrifice, and all that is good.

These will win out in the end.

In the meantime all our choices create the circumstances we see around us. Slowing eliminating the paths into the future. All of our individuals choices swirling together in a tumultuous converging path.

Each path we take leaves another behind,

& another

& another

Until there is only one left: that path of culmination.

Our burden is to chose the paths available to us. Then we have to deal with the paths laid before us by all others.

Which by the way includes God. I definitely think God acts and moves along these paths just as we do.

But God’s path is built of all the virtues listed above👆

And more

Ours, not so much.

Why bring us into this universe of possibilities where some choose viciousness and others chose tenderness?

Why allow the choices?

Why not start and culminate simultaneously? Why do we have to go through the long, grim pilgrimage of time?

I’d like to know, wouldn’t you?

So I guess I failed on that note. Maybe I’ll come back to that question later.

Until then I have faith that when time does culminate, peace will reign.

And all the wrongs of the past will be made right.

I can’t wait to see what THAT looks like

🙏

Without a doubt I have my own take on the way grace, forgiveness, and faith worm their way into all this. But that’ll have to wait till a later post 🤘

Brief warning: I’ll mostly be posting from my phone. Using a mobile device to view may work best 😎