Free Will

Lately, the theme of “free will” occurred to me quite a bit.

I went to Treasures of the Church relics exposition twice. The priest gave the exact same talk, but I still had tears in my eyes the second time I listened to him telling the story of St. Maria Goretti. The priest emphasized that she did not have to forgive the man who tried to violate her. No one would blame her if she chose not to forgive. Her choice to forgive her offender gave the story a surprising happy ending that nobody could have predicted. All that was made possible only because she CHOSE to be a saint.

We don’t tend to think much about our gift of free will. Study indicates that only 43% of all that we do are the result of conscious choices, the rest we just do out of habits. What a waste?! We would worry about what if one day we lose our intellectual ability (say if we get Alzeimer’s). But when we actually have the ability to make conscious decisions, we just let our habits (or impulse) dominate.

When atheists talk about how Christianity doesn’t make sense, one common point they tend to bring up is how unreasonable it is for God to have Adam and Eve decide whether to be obedient or not. God told them that they were free to consume fruits from any tree in the Garden of Eden, except those from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why would an omnipotent God subject ignorant humans to this kind of choice? If it’s such big a deal, why didn’t God prevent “the fall” altogether?

The answer is that nothing else matters unless we have free will. God could have created us without free will, and we would just roam around and “do good” because we wouldn’t be able to choose anything else. A “yes” is only meaningful when we are presented with the opportunity to choose “no”. If all these make sense, it just follows that we have to be responsible for what we’ve chosen?

The one thing that triggered me to write this post is actually this man’s story. When one is homosexual and Christian at the same time, what is “the sane thing” to do? In case you are not clear about it, Christianity DOES NOT regard homosexuals as sinners. Having a same-sex attraction is NOT a sin, it’s the homosexual act that the faith regards as problematic. A homosexual can be a Christian in good standing so long as he/she does not engage in the act. This obviously sounds crazy to mainstream homosexuals. How could one be healthy and genuinely happy this way? Please read Josh Weed and Lolly Shea’s story, it’s the most beautiful love story I’ve encountered.

We will always face with choices, big or small. Some choices will lead to more blessings than others, will we sacrifice the apparent benefits to pursue the path that would ultimately lead to a better good?

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