Can the idea of free-will and destiny get any more confusing than it already is? Who or what controls our lives? Is everything predetermined for us by a higher being and the cosmos or are we the root cause of everything that happens in our lives? These are questions that people have debated for thousands of years, and it’s only gotten more and more complicated with time. I am in no way a very religious man, like most people in the world I believe in a higher power but have difficulty reconciling science and the world today with some of the teaching religion preaches, especially when you look at the idea of destiny and free-will.
Logic tells me free-will does exist, how can it not? I refuse to believe that some being controls every aspect of my thinking and what occurs in my everyday life. What’s life worth if you are not 100% free to live it on your own terms? Without free-will how can so many of the emotion we feel exist? How can evil or good exist? If my actions are predetermined, how can God fault me for my actions in life? And do I really love the people close to me if it was never really my choice, to begin with? Then I think of destiny, logic tells me it is not predetermined, we make our own destiny by working hard and doing what we must to accomplish our goals. Why work hard and do the right things, if eventually, you’re going to end up in the same place?
I think most people view free-will and destiny the same as I do when they remove everything out of the equation and purely think about it in a logical manner, but the problem is you can’t just look at it logically. Whether you view the issue from a spiritual standpoint, a scientific standpoint, or a mix, it really contradicts our personal logic.
Religions vary to a certain degree but for the most part, they all believe one important fact, God is all knowing and all powerful. When I read that I always think to myself, well if he’s all knowing and I have no free-will, then why bother to judge me? In all honesty, religion in itself falls apart if you take away the notion that my choices matter on the day of judgment. The more I read into it, I found that there are two theories among religious scholars; firstly, there is a notion that just because God is all knowing, it doesn’t mean he/she knows everything, God knows our destiny and the choices we will have put in front us. Example, God knows we’re destined to be rich and that we will get there by either becoming a drug kingpin or a CEO. The second theory is straight forward, God knows everything, and while the choices are yours, he knows what you’ll do before you do it.
With respects to free-will, most scientist generally believes free-will is the possibility that after making a decision, you could have chosen otherwise. The decision was defined as a series of electrical and chemical impulses between molecules in the brain. Though each decision is the outcome of a vastly complicated series of chemical reactions, those reactions are governed by the laws of physics and could not possibly turn out differently. “Like the output of a programmed computer, only one choice is ever physically possible: the one you made,” Coyne wrote. Owen Jones, a professor of law and biological put it in his essay: “Will is as free as lunch. (If you doubt, just try willing yourself out of love, lust, anger, or jealousy)”.
Hermann Weyl a mathematician and physicist once wrote: “the objective world simply is, it does not happen”. The universe is laid out in time as it is laid out in space. Time does not pass, and the past and future are as real as the present. If your common-sense rebels against this idea, it is probably for a single reason: the arrow of causality (the past relationship between cause and effect). Events in the past cause events in the present which cause events in the future. If time really is like space, then shouldn’t events from the future influence the present and the past, too? As science has delved farther and farther into quantum mechanics and the idea of retro-casualty and casualty, it’s become clear to many physicists that there is such a thing as determinism or destiny.
Logic tells me that I control my free-will and destiny is in my hands, religion says that God controls it for the most part, and science tells me free-will is an illusion and destiny is controlled by cause and effect of space and time. Surprisingly for once, science and religion agree on something, that we really don’t have as much control as we think. At the end of the day, whether logic, religion, or science is correct, it ultimately doesn’t matter if you are always striving towards a better you or following your heart, happiness and balance will eventually reveal your destiny.