daisy was a genius in waitress disguise

A few days ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with my buds Adam and Nate, disc golfing for the fourth time in seven days; two of those times were even in Illinois. I feel like such a national traveler. Earlier in the week I'd gone with Jesse and picked up a new disc to try to improve my game. I'm still workin' on it. In Illinois John sort of ribbed me about my disc of choice and its n00b qualities. So far I like the Tee-Bird and look forward to learning how to throw it straight more consistently.

After golfin I sat down with Adam and we talked for a while about free will. I enjoyed it, and it gave me a good opportunity to exercise my brain. Adam brought up a number of good questions etc., and I found myself wishing Kevin were there. Not to argue for me, but rather so I could hear his take. He's a smart guy and all too. Some of the good questions raised in the discussion included -

Could a world devoid of suffering have been created wherein people could still have had the ability to choose between God or not-God?

Does not-God = suffering? What about in the natural world - what role do diseases and other afflictions clearly not a result of anyone's choice play?

How can free will exist if God knew ahead of time that if we were created a certain way we would do things a certain way? Has he already made the decision for us that we would live out that role?

A funny thing to me is the way I react to these kinds of questions now as opposed to how I did in high school. In high school I often felt attacked by my friends regarding my faith. In my 4th period painting class - one of my favorite classes ever, and in fact one of my fond memories of high school - it was often Jackson vs. 4 other guys defending the sins of the church and explaining God. Sometimes the questions were honest and sometimes I think they were meant to annoy or make me feel stupid. Regardless, I often responded by getting defensive and frustrated. That was largely due to the fact that I had never considered many of these questions before and thereby didn't really know how to answer them or even wrestle well with them. It was an unsettling feeling having my worldview almost pulled out from under me; I went through a couple years of serious doubting where I wasn't sure whether or not I believed in God. I read like crazy and continued to live as if I did...but I wasn't sure if I was just refusing to admit what my heart knew, that is, that God isn't real.

Well here I am five or six years later with a faith stronger than ever. I know what faith is now; I can admit there are things I don't know or can't explain. But I can't explain away the things I've experienced from the core of my being regarding God. There is enough to convince me that God is real and there's a rational basis for believing in Him. That is not to say He is wholly understandable - I'm not sure any truly infinite God could be wholly understandable - but it is to say I believe it's the best explanation for the world I live in. So many things in my life have convinced me that God is here and cares about me - that it's okay when I can't explain everything. Before I would have viewed that as an intellectual cop-out. But now I realize it isn't. So now I approach questions as an attempt to understand the world around me better, and people around me. They are good to exercise the brain and hopefully you come out of a discussion learning more and thinking more. But I don't have to leave a conversation with people thinking I'm right, or agreeing with me. I can't understand or explain everything. The world is a much more exciting place to live than that.

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