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home : letters : letters June 28, 2016

5/9/2013 10:41:00 AM
Free will

To the editor:

I do not have free will. Yes, I make decisions and should accept responsibility for them, but I could no more be inspired by Ray LoPresto's version of a god nor join his crusade against gay marriage than I could worship Zeus or admire churches restricting women to "gender roles."

Free will is a useful concept for particular religious sects - it may help convince Mr. LoPresto that others could even worship that version of God who sends people of other faiths to hell ... or that others could have voted for Mitt Romney (and, as the Catholic Church prescribes, avoided THAT "mortal sin").

Would Mr. LoPresto claim "our only hope is Jesus" if he was born in Morocco (where 99.9% are Muslim) or India (with 1 billion Hindus)? The familiar Jesuit boast is "Give me the child for his first seven years, and I'll give you the man." Is that evidence of free will?

If Mr. LoPresto was my identical twin, would he be accepting commands and explanations based on faith? If Mr. LoPresto had a gay child, would he write, "homosexual acts are deviant sexual behavior that are patently disordered?" Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman found he had a gay son... and then reversed his opposition to gay marriage. Is that evidence of free will?

Why has the Catholic Church changed its own recognition of free will? The Church recently "softened" its stance regarding suicide (after a tradition of burdening grieving families with additional pain by claiming their loved one had seriously sinned).  The Church now says that hardship, suffering, and anguish "diminish the responsibility" of suicide.  That's a healthy change. It puts more of the responsibility of another's welfare where it belongs... with nature... and us... and removes our false, harmful, and lazy excuses afforded by suggesting free will. 

Mr. LoPresto's version of faith and opposition to gay marriage are not by-products of free will. They are by-products of chance. A belief in free will is not necessary for religion... it's also not true, and it's not good. It's a wrong idea we can (and should) discard.

Ken Kressin

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