Immanuel Can wrote:Well, and in view of "freedom" as a value, we might well consider an additional alternative he's left out -- namely that "freedom" is conceptually impossible in a world where all choices are constrained to be good, and yet "freedom" itself is of such extremely high value as to be worth risking even the loss of the individual to an eternal destination he/she has freely chosen.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
With the caveat that I don't necessarily find the Christian position compelling myself, I can nevertheless agree with this sort of thinking. If we assume that being created is better than not being created (I imagine some don't), then it seems that being created with free will is better than being created without it (we can also see this when we speak of computers insofar as we seem to consider a "true" AI to be a greater achievement than a "cleverly-programmed" one). So if being created is better than not being created, and having free will is better than not having it, it really does seem to me that, at least on one level, this is the best of all possible worlds "God" could have created.
Where I think Christians (at least most of them) go wrong is in maintaining something like "you better get it right in this life, because there ain't no second chances."
In this regard, I much prefer those theologians who argue for a God that continues trying to "convince" humans, even after death. Otherwise, I do find myself in agreement with the atheists who hold this "eternity of punishment of a lifetime of sins" God up as example of deity created in the image of "Man."
I started looking at these e-mails several years ago but it wasn't until I read this one that I started reading them again regularly. The bolded section seems to explain what I have bolded in the above quote.
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"God is creating Real Presence, just as Eucharistic practice always said, which is probably why the images of an intimate bride and bridegroom are used throughout the Bible. Mutual presence, even intimacy, is clearly the ultimate goal. Bride and bridegroom are together just for the sake of being together! Presence is the naked language of union, of being lost and found in the face of the other, or in Jesus, the very breath of the Other (John 20:22). If that is the core meaning of eternal life, then why wouldn’t we practice it now, enjoy it now, choose it now? How you get there is where you will arrive. Why has so much of Christian history settled for a courtroom instead of a bridal chamber? It is really quite disturbing how this has corrupted the whole Gospel.
You don’t have to figure it all out or get it all right ahead of time. You just have to stay on the journey. All you can do is stay connected to the Source, which connects you to everything else. We don’t know how to be perfect, but we can stay in union.
“If you remain in me and I remain in you,” says Jesus, “you can ask for whatever you want and you’re going to get it” (see John 15:7). When you’re connected, there are no coincidences or accidents anymore.
Union realigns you with everything, and synchronicities, coincidences, and “providences” just keep happening. Science now calls this “quantum entanglement,” and it is even provable! I myself cannot explain the physics of it all. All I know from my side is that “the branch cut off from the vine is useless” (John 15:5), and connected to the vine it bears much fruit (15:5, 7). The False Self is fragile, needy, and insecure; the True Self is endlessly generative, in touch with its Source, and inside the Big Flow. If you want to read of someone who really lived this, treat yourself to Thérèse of Lisieux’s memorable biography, The Story of a Soul. It has “entangled” many a life for God and for good."
Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality, pp. 214-215