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Destiny?

This is a guest post from Yahia of Antiblog, who is asking some hard questions like “Is God fair?” I will return to this subject again soon, to share some conversations I’ve been having with Yahia and others.

    Destiny—A force external to the human will, which, according to certain beliefs, directs the universe, by fixing the course of events in an irrevocable fashion.

The force that controls the universe and the human will, and which is outside it, is none other than God. But there is something that doesn’t fit: if God controls the course of events, why does He punish innocent people—we, who are doing only what is ordained for us?

It’s absurd because, if the killer kills, it’s because God has established such a course. Why does the suicide kill himself, or the thief steal? For exactly the same reason. Moreover, does a human being—while in his mother’s womb or even sooner—chose to be born into a Muslim, Jewish or Christian family? After all, religion is profoundly ingrained into a child by his parents in most cases. So does that mean God is unfair to some? Why wouldn’t He make everyone be born a Muslim, if that is His ultimate religion? Even the proportion of those who convert to Islam is surely quite small.

Finally, must we trust word for word what is written in the holy books, or put our minds to work to find a reasonable interpretation?

Comments

Comment from Kenza
Time: March 4, 2007, 22:05

incredible, I just had the same conversation with a fellow bloger :)

from what I’ve always understood these is (for muslims) two concepts : the free will which basically means that we choose freely what we do, and the fact that what we are going to choose is already known and written (not decided; written, known, which is different)

maybe I’m wrong ???

Comment from eatbees
Time: March 4, 2007, 23:00

I’m sorry, but if that’s what Muslims believe, it doesn’t make any sense! Are you saying that the result of our choice is already written, but the answer is hidden from us so we can make the choice freely? That only means God is playing with us, letting us think we are free when we’re not. (And it doesn’t answer Yahia’s question, which is why God punishes us for doing what He’s already ordained us to do.)

I suppose what you’re saying is that God knows everything that will happen ahead of time, only He doesn’t intervene to make it happen—like an “all-seeing referee” who knows everything that will happen during the game, but must still call the plays as they occur—or like Cassandra who knew that the Greeks would destroy her city, but was unable to warn anyone else.

Yahia told me that he talked about this with two of his friends today, and they explained it a little differently. They said that the environmental influences on us are written, but not our reaction to them. Throughout our lives, we are exposed to a series of tests—our best friend betrays us, our Army commander orders us to commit a crime—but God doesn’t determine how we will respond. In this way, our choices are truly free. After we die, the test is scored based on what the right answer would have been, and we are sent to Heaven or Hell as a result.

Comment from Kenza
Time: March 4, 2007, 23:46

what I say is more of your second supposition, that we decide freely but as god knows everything he knows ahead of ”time” what we are going to choose.

but then again when you say that god knows ahead of time, does it mean that time has an impact on god? if god is basically the creator of everything, he then created time, can time be taken in consideration when it concerns god???

when I say written for me it does mean known not decided. as for what yehia said I personnally find it a little contradictoral:
”They said that the environmental influences on us are written, but not our reaction to them. Throughout our lives, we are exposed to a series of tests—our best friend betrays us, our Army commander orders us to commit a crime”

our friend who will betray us doesn’t he belong to the ”us” group menaning that he is also deciding freely what to do, same thing for the commander and others who will constitute the events to which we will react???

As for the question on why god is punishing I think it is another question needing other discussions :) I will probably get back to it

Comment from eatbees
Time: March 5, 2007, 00:16

For the examples I offer as “tests”—a friend’s betrayal, an Army commander’s orders—they are my examples, not Yahia’s or his friends’. Yahia mentioned only “environmental influences” without being more specific. I agree my examples are contradictory, for the reason you mention. If these people’s actions were “written” by God as a test for me, then even if I am free to choose, they are not! I did that on purpose, because it seems like an obvious problem with this theory—unless “environmental influences” means only things like the weather…?

Comment from Massir
Time: March 5, 2007, 17:22

@ Eatbees:
Do you have an answer?

“Al insan moukhaïr aw mousayiar?”
Cette question se pose depuis la nuit des temps.

Personnellement, je pense que l’Homme a son libre arbitre. Justement, si tout était déjà  écrit, pourquoi y aurait-il un chatiment divin?

A quoi servirait notre raison?

“Finally, must we trust word for word what is written in the holy books, or put our minds to work to find a reasonable interpretation?”

NO, we musn’t trust word for word what is written in the holy books. We have to put our minds to work to find a reasonable interpretation.

Comment from Yahia
Time: March 7, 2007, 13:28

Of course that the theory of “only the environmental influences are controlled by God” doesn’t stand very well. It’s illogical, and believing in it would prove one to be either egotistical, or his reasonning being blinded by the faith.

And to answer the question of whether we have free will or not, I say we don’t.

I know that when I’m standing on the ground, I have a lot of directions to walk on (360°), but I can’t fly (even if I don’t think of it, I simply can’t). We’re always restrained by what we have or what we are in. Absolute Free Will never existed.

Does anyone have another theory…

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