Month: September 2013

If I could would I actually turn you atheist?

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‘Want to come to church with us tomorrow morning Sarah?’ ‘no.. sorry’ I replied. Sorry? Why am I sorry? I’m a perpetual atheist and hold strong beliefs against the idea of ‘religion’. I mean surely my well rounded parents of intellect can understand that their Christian beleifs have been determined by the culture they’ve grown up in. If they’d been born in china they’d be Buddhists if they’d been born in India they’d most probably be a Hindu. I told my parents this but they said ‘well.. Lucky I’ve been born in England then!’. Now there’s a lot I have a problem with about that reply. 1. They’ve not explored other religions, or the hundreds of other gods 2. They are pretty much admitting they’d be a different religion if born in a different country, surely undermining the omnipotent quality of god, I mean he’s really not powerful enough to penetrate manmade culturalisation?

I like to think debating and philosophy are, in comparison to my other qualities, the strongest ones I have, so, I often debate with my theistic, Christian parents. But there comes a point where I begin to feel bad, after I’ve shut down point after point and the only argument standing is ‘god works I’m mysterious ways’ not only do I want to hit my head repeatedly against a hard wall but I also want to hug my parents and almost apologise. Its because I know their beliefs, although dillusional, are so very close to their hearts. I know that’s where their hope that everything will be ok lies. I know preying (a concept that has numerous flaws, such as relying on an occasionally intervening, non perfect god) offers the a source of comfort. And I, their daughter am attacking this? Surely it’s wrong, in any sense, to tear away someones comfort blanket, even if they should’ve grown out of it.

Determinism vs free will

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Do I really have free will? Did I choose to write this or did billions of previous ‘choices’ I’ve made determine it inevitable that I would? But then my previous choices of course weren’t choices, I mean I wouldn’t have made a blog if I didn’t like writing and I wouldn’t like writing if I hadn’t enjoyed English classes, hmm. Or would i?

The deterministic approach assumes that behaviour is learnt, and our present behaviour is dependent on our previous behaviour, like a domino effect that’s out of your control. ┬áBut let’s explore those ideas a little. Before, during and after any action there are almost infinite connections being made by neurons and chemicals within my brain it is the communication paths and patterns that these neurons make that determines the signal sent to my muscles that determines my ‘conscious’ action I make, that I either truthly or wrongly assume to be my free will. Are we really going to simplify such an immensely complex process down to a few previous behaviours? I mean did neuron B send a signal to neuron x after recieving a signal from neuron T All because I previously sat on my bed? It does seem immensely oversimplified.

At best I’d accept that off course previous actions have an effect on future actions but to not such an extent of innevitability. Due to the infinite actions possible to make but the finite amount of actions previously made it would allow for no progression. A finite number can only ever be a percentage of an infinite number, reducing the chances down to something finite out of something infinite creates an inevitability possibility of minuscule proportions and nothing more than a preference or persuasion to an action but never a determination. Off course I could be wrong, I may change my mind, but as long as I continue to perceive I have free will whether I am dillusional or not, I don’t mind because it makes no difference.