You Can Trick Yourself into Believing Anything

We spend most of our time being distracted by video games, television, cell phones, internet, our children, our spouses, our family, our neighbors, meals, work… the list is a long one.  And these distractions keep us from thinking about death and what may come after death.  Even if we think about death, we can trick ourselves into believing that death ends everything for us.

Of course, death could be the end to us, but that is not likely because our universe is a huge recycling machine where matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed.  Since we do not want to think about potential consequences for things that we did during our lives, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we will just die and there will be no consequences for bad choices.  You can trick yourself into believing anything.

However, it is more likely than not that we will pay for the decisions we made during life.  Why?  Well, let’s start with the law of conservation of mass and energy, which sparks two other significant questions:  (1) how can there be a God if matter and energy is not created?  And (2) how can we die if matter and energy cannot be destroyed?

Well, logically the three answers are:  (1) God created the universe outside our universe, so that the law of conservation does not apply outside our closed universe, (2) our bodies and mind can transform into different matter and energy without being destroyed, so it is very likely that our thoughts will continue functioning in some manner after death, and (3)  life would be quite absurd if there were no consequences for choices (existentialism).

We spend the majority of our time on earth thinking about everyday matters like how to squeeze in a lunch between two meetings or how to get the milk on the way home from work or what television shows to watch tonight.  And only rarely do we think about our inevitable death or what may occur in the afterlife, so we are like a boxer who doesn’t train and prepare for a fight and runs out of gas in the first round.

Why is preparation so important?  The mind can be exercised just like muscles in our body, and it must be in tip-top shape in order to deal with the dangerous unknown and chaos that may be waiting on the other side of our living world.  A weak mind will have no chance to make it through a difficult maze.

For example if you are asked to join forces with something or somebody on the other side who promises you immortality and anything else that you wish, this may be the wrong alliance to form.  There are so many possibilities of what may be on the other side that it could even be unique to each person, depending on their individual frailties and faults.  You could even be your own worst enemy as your mind may fashion its own trap to ensnare your soul.

You will have to be prepared for anything and everything.  If you train your mind to think like Jesus, you will have your best chance in the afterlife.  Now, you could trick yourself into believing that there is no Jesus or God or punishment for your sins; but why would you because there is no consequence for believing in these things and being wrong?  However, there is a disastrous consequence for not believing in these things and being wrong.

If you examine these consequences logically, you will bet on Jesus and God without hesitation because you have nothing to lose by placing that bet.  But many get so distracted by everyday events that they do not think about death enough to make the smart bet.  It is much easier to live life without worrying about consequences from God or anything else.  Just do what you want, enjoy the distractions, and put consequences out of your mind.

Absurdity of Life

Scientists draw conclusions from evidence and facts, a posteriori, while religious teachers rely on faith and imagination, a priori.  Both believe they know the truth about life, but it is more likely than not that neither of them know the truth.  The truth is only known by the Creator, and He is not talking.  Thus, life is absurd because we cannot make sense of it.

Why do we live?  Why do we have free will?  Why do we have a conscience?  Why do we make choices if there are no consequences?  What happens after we die?

After admitting that life is absurd and still puzzling over it, we must logically conclude that life is quite absurd without something after life.  In other words if life were our only appearance in this play, then the play would have no denouement or ending.  This is because if life is to have any meaning at all, then all the choices made during our lives must be analyzed for a full accounting at the end.  Life, which is a test, is nonsensical without death and a grading of our work.  Of course, consequences complete the course.  This completes a design for life in our universe.

And life is absurd for all of us, whether atheists or Christians or agnostics.  We all are tested daily and we all fall short of making good grades.  Christians believe that they are making A’s and B’s, while atheists and agnostics are failing.  The truth is that all of us are failing.  However, the significant advantage for the Christians is that they may lead a better life by following the teachings of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for anybody.  The consequences for our poor choices during life may be dreadful, disastrous for all of us.

I have seen Christians acting as bad or worse than atheists.  There will be no religious shield to protect those who have made bad choices during life.  We must accept our failings and step up to take our punishment, whatever that might be.  By accepting Jesus as our savior, we are in a better position to make good decisions.  But if you read the Bible closely, you will find that there will be consequences for our sins.

I have seen Christians repent of their sins on Sunday and then return to the den of iniquity for the next six days.  Then they return to church on the Sabbath to repent again.  This type of activity shows no true remorse.  It is merely a hope that God will overlook all the misdeeds and erase them because of one hour on Sunday.  This doesn’t even make sense.  It is another absurd myth of Christianity.

So, if there are going to be severe consequences for all of us, what can we do?  Even as a Christian existentialist, I honestly don’t know.  I suppose we can start by doing our best every day that we have left to do the right thing.  Each of us should try to be a better person.  I don’t believe that our judgment day will have a scale with good deeds on one side and bad choices on the other.  I think it will be much more sophisticated and complex than that.

My imagination tells me that we will probably enter a darkness that eliminates our senses.  Our own minds will probably punish us for all the bad decisions we made during life.  The denial of entry into God’s third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) may be the worst penalty of all.  My guess is that those of us who have made a half-way decent attempt to make good decision will enter the first heaven.  But the subsequent heavens will be exponentially more difficult to reach.

And even though my musings may seem quite absurd, believe me it is much more absurd that we could live in a world of choices without any consequences.



What’s Really Important?

We tend to focus on all the wrong things during our lifetimes.  We think a lot about ourselves and how to make our lives better.  We are very selfish, but we have occasional love interests that interrupt our fascination with ourselves.  But typically we discover that the love interest primarily existed to satisfy our personal sexual needs.

I stopped having sex when I was 47 years old.  I will be 70 in a few months.  It wasn’t based on any religious epiphany or desire to prove myself worthy of anything.  It was a simple decision not to have sex anymore.  I decided that sex was not important, so I stopped cold turkey.  I am fascinated with all the emphasis on types of sex available today.  Society may claim that it has significant freedom to have sex with anybody or anyway desired, but I would argue that society is enslaved by this sexual free-for-all.  It is an addiction no different than alcohol or drugs.  I’m not campaigning for everybody to follow my lead and become abstinent;  however, I feel extremely comfortable with my decision.  You must make your own decision using your free will and conscience.  A moderate sex life may be a great choice for you.  It just wasn’t my choice.

I guess what I am saying is that having sex is just not that important and deciding to not have sex is really not important either.  So, what is important?  The critical thing is that you must maintain your freedom to make decisions.  You must accept the consequences for all your bad choices.  That is very important.  And you must make the decisions… not your family or peers, but you.  You must decide what is important during your life and how this may impact what happens after you die.

I believe that life is really not important, but the afterlife is the most important thing.  So, I believe how we live our lives, which probably contributes greatly to our afterlife, is very important.  And it is the things that I do during the rest of my life that should be more important than the things that I did or didn’t do earlier in life.  Thus, it is not my past twenty plus years of abstinence, but it is my future acts of kindness to others without seeking or expecting something in return.

The best gauge for judging your future acts is to examine your motives.  Would you have done these acts if nobody knew that you did them?  It is like the judge who asked the accused:  “Would you have returned the money if everybody still thought you took it and nobody would ever have known you returned it?”  Unfortunately, most people would have to honestly say they would not.  However, your actions should not feed your ego, but should instead, build your identification of who you are.  And you should be like Jesus.  Of course, this is an impossible task, but you should strive to come as close to the mark as humanly possible.

Negligence is failing to do that which a reasonable man would have done or would have avoided under the same or similar circumstances.  We can substitute sin for negligence and find that 100% of us, including me, have committed hundreds, perhaps thousands of sins.  With this heavy weight on us for bad acts committed during our lives, how can we ever get past that to what is really important?  Well, you have to start with the fact that you are going to start today asking what Jesus would have done and then attempting to modify your behaviors so that you will become a better person.  This is what is really important in life and also in the afterlife.

So, what do you think is really important?  Is it prestige, power, intelligence, money, sex-drugs-rock’nroll, possessions?  Most likely these items do not follow you into the afterlife.  I honestly don’t know what awaits us at death’s door, but I would rather have my good acts to carry with me.  That may be what is most important.

Dream of Hell

Interestingly enough, some of my dreams are hazy and fragmented, but others are quite vivid and appear to be very real.  One of those that seemed like I was actually living it, including feeling pain with all of my senses intact, was a vision of hell itself.

I lived in a compound with thousands of others, who all wore the same drab, gray outfits.  Men and women looked alike, as there was no distinction made through cosmetics or clothing.  There were no children, at least, in our compound.  We all had rules to follow, and we were all punished equally for failure to comply or failure to submit.

It took me a while to familiarize myself with my surroundings.  The structure had three elevations with the basement containing the exercise area, two dining facilities, and public showers and restrooms.  There was no privacy.  The sleeping arrangements were similar to prisons with cells with bunk beds.  I slept in the upper bunk bed, while my roommate, who did not introduce himself, covered his head with a scratchy, brown blanket in the lower berth.  His loud snoring kept me up most of the night.

The meals were bland and tasteless.  I had hoped that if we still had to go to the bathroom in hell, we would receive decent food, but that was not the case.  People moved around in lines for meals, restroom visits, and recreation.  There was no room for individualism anywhere in the compound.  Freedom was defined as being allowed to exist.

All control was totalitarian.  Stoic guards who never talked were everywhere.  I suspected that they were robots.  Some of the older prisoners were called “trustees” and they made certain that you understood the rules and requirements to submit to whatever was asked of you.

I watched one prisoner attempt a breakout that ended in failure.  The gentleman zipped out of line and ran for a door, only to find it locked.  He bumped off guards like he was in a pin-ball machine.  The guards had expandable, black batons that thumped him into submission.  They carried him back to his cell where he died.

At that point, I wondered if dying in hell would be better than living in hell.  Hopefully, this poor soul was in a better place.  But fear of the unknown is sometimes worse than fear of the known.  His body was dumped into a well, but it seemed like a three-minute fall before I heard it hit the water.  Nobody seemed fazed by this activity as they continued to shuffle off to their next destination.

The trustees were constantly attempting to get the prisoners to do bad things… either convincing them to hurt somebody else or allowing the trustees to have sex with them.  The idea was to get everybody to submit, one way or the other, to evil within the compound.  You couldn’t get away from the incessant torment.  If you failed to submit, you were punished in a separate area of the compound, which had various instruments of torture.  The pain seemed very real.

Thank God, I woke up during my torture.  However, my body ached for the remainder of the day just as if I had actually been beaten.  The dream seemed too real to dismiss it lightly.  I wondered what would have happened if I had submitted to the demands of evil.  I was certain that I would be tested again and again and again… a hellish world without end, amen.

Part of hell is feeling like there is no advantage to resisting.  You want to just give in and face the consequences, which may be less painful than the torture you will receive for sticking to your moral code.  However, remember that morality is choosing to do the right thing when doing the wrong thing is easier.  Holding to your moral values is not for wimps.

Your Own Perspective

Generally, we think pretty highly of ourselves.  If you analyze a bad situation, you typically will rationalize that you were in the right while everybody else was in the wrong.

For example, as an attorney, I handled many divorces.  I never represented a party who was in the wrong.  The opposing spouse was always the bad person.  In fact in most cases, I attempted to get the two parties back together or, at least, to resolve matters amicably without giving all their money to the attorneys.  Other attorneys hated me for obvious reasons.

It was not difficult for attorneys to get the two spouses to fight to the death.  I remember one attorney said the same thing after every comment made by his client, “I can’t believe that dirt bag did that to you.”  Then he would say, “Let’s take them for everything!”  Omigod!  Every divorce resolved with attorneys ended in a disaster for the clients and wonderfully for the attorneys.

Also, I handled civil litigation over car accidents and other negligent acts with the same results.  The attorneys did very well and their clients did not.  Again, I attempted to get the parties to agree to a reasonable solution, but to no avail.  One or both of the parties saw the situation from their perspective, which was always selfish and self-serving.  How can you reach an agreement with somebody who will not compromise?  Many times, it was all or nothing.

Road rage is on the rise as people have a tendency to view themselves as victims.  Again, it is entirely from their perspective.  A third party watching on the sidelines will have an entirely different take on how the incident occurred.  Typically, both parties involved in the incident are equally to blame.

One of my favorite stories was about an excellent judge who said, “If both attorneys, for the plaintiff and defendant, are angry with my decision, then I have made an outstanding ruling.”  The judge had it right.  Both parties are examining things from their jaded perspectives.  The truth is that neither one of them is accurate.  It generally takes two idiots to create an accident.  However, from each of their perspectives, they were not the cause of the accident.  It is always the fault of the other person.

You should distance yourself from your perspective.  Stand back from being so close to the incident.  Look at it from afar.  Let your perspective fade into the background.  You might become more respectful of others and their positions.  You might become more circumspect.  You might become more selfless.  You just might become a better person.

If you are still thinking when you die, then most likely you will be thinking from your perspective.  If you spent your entire lifetime thinking from this perspective, it is not likely that you will change after death.  This may be a major mistake.  A selfish perspective may lead you down the wrong avenue into Hell itself.  This might be why Jesus indicated that few would reach His kingdom.

As a Christian, I believe that Jesus died for our sins, allowing us to reach the first Heaven.  Paul, who discussed the three Heavens, probably heard this from Jesus after His resurrection.  The majority of Christians believe that they have been saved and will spend eternity in Heaven.

This is not logical to me.  The Bible clearly discusses the Judgment Day and consequences for poor decisions made during life.  It seems reasonable that God would pass judgment on us after death to determine whether we would remain in the first Heaven or enter the second or third Heavens.  It is logical that if we continue to view everything from our perspective, we will not reach beyond the first Heaven.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

One of the major complaints from atheists, agnostics, and even religious people is that God should not allow bad things to happen to people, especially good people.

Now, I would like to start our investigation into why this is a ridiculous complaint.  First of all, bad things happen to everybody, whether they consider themselves as good or bad.  And why do you believe that you are a “good” person, anyway?  If you consider yourself as being a “good” person, you are certainly less than humble, and most likely your pride has taken you to the “bad” side.  In other words, there may be no “good” person on our planet.

Perhaps, you would like to change the title of this article to “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen, At All?”  This certainly avoids the difficult proof that you are a good person.  It focuses on God as being the culprit who allows bad things to happen to all of us.  We certainly cannot accept any of that blame!

Well, this takes me to my second point.  God, the Creator, more than likely, does not exist in His creation.  One of the few scientific laws is that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe.  In other words, creation occurred outside the boundary of our closed universe.  If all this is true, God can only create outside His creation.  And it is likely that God does not want to intervene or interfere in the evolution of His creation.

And my third and final point is that there should be consequences for “bad” people.  Why would God need to change that?  My guess is that God created the universe with “free will” and He allows us to make poor choices every day.  He does not prevent us from making bad decisions and also experiencing “bad things” because of those decisions, and most likely God will provide additional consequences outside the universe, if we are lucky enough to enter His kingdom.

Asking for relief from “bad” things that will happen to you is the same thing as asking for forgiveness for future bad acts.  It is a bit premature to request avoiding consequences in advance of your committing sins.  It is a much better act to thank God for the “bad” things that happened to you, hopefully making you a better person.  And also thank God for the “bad” things that will happen to you, reminding you to avoid those bad choices.

All this is the preliminary stage during your life, leading to the final judgment.  And again if “bad” things happen in the afterlife, then I will accept that as my fate because I was a “bad” person during my lifetime.

Now, many Christians will say that I am not a Christian because I believe that we all will face a day of consequences for our poor choices.  Christians say that Jesus died for our sins forgiving the bad decisions that we made during our lives, giving us safe passage to heaven.  I believe that too, except I must add an adjective… “…giving us safe passage to the first heaven.”

I am a Christian existentialist.  I believe that Jesus died for our sins so that we could enter the first heaven, which probably separates the believers from the non-believers.  Unfortunately, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:2, there are three heavens.  The Bible is very clear about there being a Judgment Day with consequences, which probably will be associated with one or both of the other two heavens.

Oh, My Heavens!

Paul mentions in the Bible that there are three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2), but he does not go into detail as to what or where they are.  The Bible also is not clear about the judgments that await us and how they factor into the equation of reaching these heavens.  All we know is that we exist on earth and someday we will die, having no idea what awaits in the unknown zone.

I prefer to believe that if I am still aware of my environment after I die that I will have three tests before me, which if I pass will allow me to enter consecutively each of the three heavens.  I like to think of the first heaven as a segregation camp among those who believe in God, the Creator, and those who don’t.

Those who believe may be further tested in the Judgment Day scenario described in the Bible.  You may have to relive the bad judgments made during your life and humbly accept your punishment from God.  This test may be designed to see if you are still receptive to the desires that led to your sins during life.  For example, you may be tempted to avoid punishments by agreeing to follow evil spirits, rather than God.  You probably should accept God’s punishment without seeking ways to eliminate the consequences.  If you pass the second test, you may enter the second heaven, which I expect will be very peaceful and calm.

The last test may be extremely difficult.  Even though believing in God and accepting your poor decisions in life and all their consequences may get you to this point, the last hurdle may be the hardest to cross.  My guess is that it will involve significant testing of your moral foundation.  You probably will have to unify with God and become God-like in order to pass this final exam.  In order to reach this third heaven, you may have to prove that your character is worthy of this ultimate trust to enter the last heaven.

If I am fortunate enough to reach this final goal, I hope that I will be permitted to see God’s entire universe with the billions of galaxies and the billions of stars in each galaxy.  I want to spend an eternity examining God’s creation.  I believe that there is life scattered all through the universe, and I would love to see it and examine it.

I hope that there are many animals that will be available for us to view and watch.  I also hope that God will permit us to be with animals from our earth, so that we can be comforted by them.  I believe that the humans allowed into God’s third heaven will be of like mind and will be comforting as well.

In my heavens, I expect that there will be no breathing, eating, smelling, or employing any of the bodily functions.  There will be no need for toilet paper or procreation.  As we all know, our body will stay behind and decompose, so basically only our spirit can survive and still be conscious of what is transpiring after death.  Thus, awareness may spring from our imagination.

So, the three heavens may be only in my imagination, but if I am still thinking after death, the heavens may exist because of the unification of my and God’s imagination.  Then I might say, “Oh, my heavens!”

Devilish Dream

I have had many strange dreams, but I want to record last night’s dream in this article so that I will remember it.  It was different from other dreams because it seemed very real.  In fact when I awakened, it didn’t feel like I had been dreaming, but it was like I had been transported from a strange location back to my bed. All I knew was that it was a devilish dream.

And that strange location was a classroom.  I was surrounded by thousands of people all sitting in metal folding chairs lined up in hundreds of rows, facing a podium with a speaker, who was addressing the class.  We were all sitting upright and offering the greatest degree of attention that we could muster.  The speaker was talking in a monotone voice that had a tendency to lull us to sleep, but we instinctively knew there would be consequences if we closed our eyes.

The topic of the presentation was the poor choices that many in the room had made during their lifetimes.  However, I was surprised when the speaker asked us to raise our hands if we felt like we had to suffer consequences for these poor decisions, that only a handful of us, including me, raised our hands.  The great majority obviously believed that there would be no punishment for their misdeeds.

I didn’t know the reasoning behind that belief, but I assumed that many of them thought that Jesus died for their sins and there would be no consequences because of that.  I am a Christian, but I have read the Bible enough to know that even though our sins are forgiven because of the sacrifices made by Jesus, the Bible clearly states that there still will be a Judgment Day for all of us.

There will be certain consequences for our actions even though we are forgiven by the death of Jesus.  The Bible is very clear on this, but ministers tend to overlook these passages in the good book so as not to alarm their congregations.  You can find passages all through the Bible that warn us that we will suffer consequences for our acts.

It might be more peaceful going into the afterlife, believing that there will be no punishment awaiting.  As an analogy, it’s probably better not knowing that a shot is going to be painful.  The wait before the shot could be more painful than the shot itself.  If you think too much about Judgment Day, you might have a tendency to unnecessarily worry about it.

I believe you must be realistic as you enter the afterlife or you may forget the most important thing:  you must unify with God.  If you are too peaceful, you may find yourself herded in the wrong direction.  Only unification with God will protect you from false prophets, guides, and leaders in the afterworld.

My guess is that God will administer different punishments for different souls.  It would be similar to our criminal law courts.  Somebody who was guilty of shoplifting may have to perform community service for 100 hours, while somebody guilty of murder may get a life sentence.  God will examine all of our sins on Judgment Day holding us all accountable.

But back to my dream.  As all the attendees were asked to raise their hands if they believed that they would be punished for their bad choices, a big search light came on behind us, so that we could see our shadows in front of us.  I noticed that my hand was raised while nobody else in my row or behind me had their hands raised.

However that was not the biggest surprise.  I was shocked when I noticed that all of us had horns on the top of our heads.  Not one soul in the meeting failed to have two horns positioned on the crown of their heads.  But when I looked at my neighbor straight on, there was no set of horns.  The horns could only be detected by the shadows when the light was behind us.

Those of us who understood that we would have consequences for our actions during our lifetimes were summarily whisked out of the room and were taken to a small room with no windows and only one door.  It reminded me of an interrogation room.  After a moment, a man with a long gray beard entered the room and told us that he was always surprised that only a handful out of each class knew that they would be punished in the afterlife.

Some hoped that they would not be punished and would not admit that it was even a possibility.  Some rationalized that they had not done anything wrong.  Others felt that they had been punished enough during their lives.  Others believed Jesus erased all consequences.  Others thought that there was nothing after death.  Others pretended not to care.

In the last part of my dream before I was transported back to my bed, I was informed that there were other tests ahead.  The small handful of us had passed only the first of many tests.  I assumed there were also consequences ahead for other tests, depending on how we did.

I remembered what Jesus said, “… narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it.”  Matthew 7:14.  Jesus was saying that only a few of us will reach God’s kingdom.  In all my years of attending church, I have never heard a minister explain this statement.  And even though it will be difficult to reach Heaven even if you become one with God, it will be impossible if you do not unify with Him.



Odds Are…

What are the chances that life is illusory?  What are the chances that God exists only in your mind?  If anything is possible, then the odds are good that any of these suggestions are reality.  And because of the quantum world, even contradictory actions can occur simultaneously without cancelling each other out.

So, is everything possible?  Quite possibly, everything could be possible.  Is it possible to win the lottery?  The odds may be against that happening, but it could happen.  If I were to draw 13 cards from a deck of cards, the odds that those cards would be all spades, consecutively drawn as:  A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2, would be astronomical.  But it is possible.

If everything is possible, could something also be impossible?  In other words, is it possible for something to be impossible and still everything would be possible at the same time?  Of course it can through the magic of quantum mechanics.  Therefore if everything is possible, including some things being impossible, then this is a complete set of possibilities.  There is nothing out of the realm of possibility within the universe.

And that makes sense since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe, so that everything within our universe must be a complete set since nothing else can be created.  The deck of cards (matter and energy) within our universe was created outside the universe, leaving us with free will and random chances in how the cards were both dealt and played.  If everything is possible, then there can be no complaint about your failure to be a good person or to reach your goals.

And being a good person or reaching your goals is not a miracle provided by God.  God gave you the cards, but you played them and thus must accept the consequences for your choices in life.  The key to miracles is in transforming your mind.  It doesn’t matter whether you utilize philosophy or religion or meditation.  You mind must leave the universe and become connected with God, who is outside the universe.

Scientists and doctors have case studies where patients have been pronounced as brain dead, but were later revived and brought back to life.  Those patients consistently have reported that they were still aware of events even after their brains stopped functioning.  In effect, their consciousness continued into the afterlife.  And this is both possible and impossible, depending on your perspective.

As I have written many times, our species would be infinitely fortunate if we died and our consciousness ended at the same time.  That would be the best case for mankind.  But unfortunately the odds are against that happening.  Since nothing in our universe can be destroyed and also assuming consciousness is something in our universe,  then our awareness will not terminate when our bodies die, just like we have been told by those who have died and then have been resuscitated.

Even though some religions promise eternal lives for true believers, please be careful what you wish for.  If your goal is just to have eternal life, this could be a hell within itself.  Can you imagine being stuck for eternity in the same room with your enemy or even an individual who irritates the hell out of you?  Eternal life without first unifying with God could be eternal damnation.

So if you die and are still thinking, then you had better quickly become one with God or you will be lost without a guide through the chaotic journey after death where anything is possible.  And this might become your personal Judgment Day with you inflicting more torture and pain on yourself than God would ever do.

Saint or Sinner?

Does our species, Homo sapiens, lean more toward being a saint or a sinner?

Well, the answer probably depends on the circumstances.  For example, if a man loses his job and has to feed his family, he may resort to robbery or even murder to satisfy this need.  Drug addicts certainly or more likely to commit crimes in order to obtain drugs.  But what about those God-fearing citizens who smile at you at work and in your neighborhood?  Are they saints or sinners?

One of the problems in answering this question is that most people consider themselves in the best light possible – using excuses, rationalizations, self-delusions, transference, and other self-serving devices to avoid personal blame.  In other words, most people consider themselves as saints, but the rest of the world may well be sinners.  Unfortunately, the truth is that we are all, each and every one of us, sinners.  There is nobody on the face of the earth who is not a sinner, even if the sin is pride.  You don’t have to commit a crime in order to be a sinner.

One of my pet projects was to establish an Excel sheet with a listing of virtues that I would track every day.  The idea was to analyze my attempts to improve myself over the course of a year.  I gave myself a checkmark for each virtue that I achieved that day.  For instance, if I meditated, prayed, had no anger, told the truth, had an act of kindness, practiced humility, exercised patience, showed love, had joy, or served society, I would give myself a point.

The results were very disappointing.  It was like going on a diet.  I did very well the first month, but as the novelty wore off, I found myself becoming complacent and less interested in self-improvement.  I discovered that I generally was focused on myself and my needs rather than on the needs of others.  Even though I had always considered myself much less selfish than others, I was awakened by the daily chart, which showed that I served myself first and foremost.  And even after attempting to become a better person, I was reminded by the spread sheet that I was no nearer to my goal than when I started.

Even when I made temporary improvements, I would backslide.  It was exactly like going on a diet.  You might lose weight for the first six months, but then you might gain it back over the seventh month.  And when you stop eating as much, your metabolism slows down and burns fewer calories.  This makes it increasingly difficult to shed the pounds.  The same goes for trying to be a better person.  You might be a better person for half a year, but then your personal needs and desires which have been suppressed, sometimes return with a vengeance.  You may become an even worse sinner.

In civil law, we examine the evidence and place it on the scales of justice to determine if there is a preponderance of evidence that tilts the scales in one direction or the other.  Unfortunately, this is a manmade rule of law.  We would like to argue that our good deeds overshadow our evil actions so that we are primarily saints.  Unfortunately, this is a manmade hope in order to avoid any potential consequences in the afterlife.  Most of us would like to believe that if we work toward being a good person and follow a good moral code, we will land in the safe zone if there is something after death waiting for us.

I don’t think so.  Every poor decision in life carries a consequence if the afterworld has any logical significance.  One of the attractions of Christianity is that it makes Jesus the sacrificial lamb who takes on all your sins, so that there will be no consequences awaiting you.  It is important for Christians to enter the afterworld without feelings of guilt and Jesus helps them do just that, but the Bible also makes it clear that there will be consequences for our bad acts.  Ministers typically avoid this issue like the plague.  Most Christians would rather believe that they can erase all their sins by believing in Jesus.  Few ministers would say otherwise.

But sin is sin.  And bad choices are bad choices.  And consequences will be provided.  It would be absurd to believe otherwise.  Why does our species have free will to make choices and others do not?  If we didn’t have free will, everything would be predetermined and the consequences would also be predetermined.  But freedom to make choices also carries the responsibilities and consequences from those decisions.

When the Creator, for whatever reason, decided to give us this free will, it would have been illogical to let us make decisions if there were no consequences for those choices.  I have no idea why we were given this freedom, but we were.  And since we all will make bad choices, we cannot enter God’s zone of judgment in any afterlife without unifying with God.  It is only by becoming one with the Creator that we have any chance of minimizing the consequences.

Of course, I don’t know what happens after we die.  If nothing happens after death, then Homo sapiens will be the luckiest species of all times and all locations in the universe.  However, if we are still thinking after we die, then having free will would be absurd if we had no consequences for our choices.  Again, I don’t know how Judgment Day will play out, but I do know that we would have a fool for a client if we defended ourselves.  It is only by becoming one with God that you will have a fighting chance.  You cannot do it by yourself.