choking on RFEP

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Thu Apr 01 2004 - 04:45:50 EST

Last week Howard Van Till suggested that those who choke on RFEP (e.g., Peter Ruest and I) might profit from improved chewing habits.

I commented earlier that I couldn't say exactly why RFEP made me choke. Where evidence is inconclusive, people choose the scenarios they find most congenial, and their choices depend on the totality of their experience. So the problem is not one of chewing wrong but of being the wrong kind of person.

It may be useful to consider why I'm wrong for RFEP. In a nutshell, with respect to the totality of my experience, I see God as the great choreographer. My life has been meaningful in fine detail, and all this meaningfulness had little to do with my own planning. It is as if God prearranged in meticulous detail well before I was born to have the components of the world come together in just the right way to make my life as meaningful as possible. (NB: "meaningful" is not "pain-free.")

To say it's meaningful is to imply it's not random. My impression of the world is that, had it been acting on its own, my experiences would seem much more random. I cannot believe the world on its own could have given me the life I have. Instead, I believe God intervened in detail: always indirectly, always behind the scenes (i.e., apart from the purely spiritual interactions), but actively intervened nonetheless.

So there it is. The world, if it were to act on its own, would produce randomness. One who loves gives meaningful experience. If God has intervened to make my life meaningful, surely he has intervened at other times and other places on behalf of other creatures.

It is of course impossible for me to prove that God has intervened in the way I perceive; outsiders would see no evidence for such intervention. (Well, there may be an almost-exception here. One of my atheist colleagues at work saw that (1) I sold the bulk of my Chevron shares near an all-time high they've yet to approach since, (2) I retired at what proved to be a particularly opportune time, (3) I moved two-thirds of my financial assets from stocks to bonds just before the stock market tanked, and (4) a sizable piece of good garden land right behind my house fell into my lap, so to speak, when I retired. Although I regard these favorable outcomes as important but relatively superficial, taken together they made a deep impression on this Chevron colleague. At one time he'd asked whether I thought God arranged world affairs for my personal benefit. But today he's still an atheist.)

As Howard correctly acknowledged, science has made great strides under the assumption of RFEP, but that progress in itself does not establish the validity of RFEP. Planetary science also made great strides by assuming that masses attract one another at a distance.

Received on Thu Apr 1 04:41:07 2004

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