I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and look at posts I made at the beginning of the blog, and came upon this one, made almost exactly eight years ago today.  Since I’ve been talking about Ecclesiastes and the meaning of life, and, consequently, the meaning of suffering, it is particularly relevant, now more than ever in recent history.   It’s ultimately about whether humans *have* to suffer if God created the world and life in it.  And weirdly, it involves a connection between Dinesh D’Souza and tectonic plates.


I have always found it interesting that when I talk about how there can be suffering in the world if there is a good God who is in charge of it, someone will tell me that it is all because of “free will.” I think most of us – not Sam Harris, of course, or some others, but most of us – think that there is such a thing as free will, that our actions are not completely determined for us but to some extent (not completely! Or even nearly completely) we can decide what to do (we can’t decide to walk on the ceiling without special equipment; most of us can’t decide to understand the general theory of relativity; and so on. But we can decide whether to cross the street, or go to a movie, or punch our neighbor in the nose). Moreover, most of us would agree that a good deal of suffering happens as the result of humans exercising free will. Your own broken nose may be because your neighbor was exercising his own free will. You may have chosen to jilt a boyfriend. You may have decided to burn down a church. Kings have started wars; Nazis have implemented the Final Solution. And on and on.

When someone tells me that all suffering is the result of free will, however, I quickly tell them that I don’t believe it. People do not….

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