BEFORE READING THESE COMMENTS AND FOOTNOTES
PLEASE READ OUR "LIFENOTES" OR OUR BOOK "LOVE - IN SEARCH OF A REASON FOR LIVING"
[download from our web site - http://www.ws5.com/ and http://www.lifenotes.org]

PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH BEFORE PROCEEDING - Our  LifeNotes and our book contain what we believe is the path to answering questions. Everything we want to communicate to you is found in our LifeNotes, anything in these comments that is not consistent with our LifeNotes is not really what we believe and what we want to say.

If you have not already read our LifeNotes or our original book, LOVE - In Search of a Reason for Living (we recommend you read LifeNotes, our original book contains the same message as LifeNotes with some additional text plus a bit longer discussion in the Appendices on living a "Fanatic Life" or a "Normal Life"), these notes may not make sense, and may seem trivial or simplistic. Please finish reading all of our LifeNotes, or the entire book, including the appendices, before reading these comments. Even if you agree with what is being said, and think you understand what we are talking about, please read all the sections of our LifeNotes or our book. If you are to find the true reason for living it is necessary that you understand what is discussed in all the "chapters", including the last section of the LifeNotes and the book. We believe that if you read the notes or the book, and take the journey through your heart, mind, and soul that they urge you to take, you will know and understand love.

When you read any comments that we make in these notes, please keep in mind that they are only valid to the extent that we do not stray from the path described in our notes and book. We believe that you must search your heart, mind, and soul to know and understand if our notes and comments are valid, or not. After you have completed your search, and know and understand love, you must decide for yourself whether or not our answers to difficult questions are based on love, or not. We believe they are, but perhaps they are not.

I have almost absolute faith that you can and should choose to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself". God commands you to do nothing more, nothing less. The answer to all questions, no matter how difficult, is to choose to love as God commands. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself".

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IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT OUR LIFENOTES AND OUR BOOK CONTAIN THE MESSAGE THAT WE WANT TO COMMUNICATE TO READERS.

IN THE FUTURE WE MAY, OR MAY NOT, EDIT THE COMMENTS AND FOOTNOTES. THEY REPRESENT AN ONGOING ATTEMPT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. SOME COMMENTS MAY CONTAIN ERRORS AND SOME MAY NEED FURTHER EDITING.

THE COMMENTS MAY INCLUDE REPLIES TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS WE HAVE BEEN ASKED. SOME OF THE REPLIES WERE ORIGINALLY DIRECTED TO PEOPLE WHO HAD NOT READ OUR BOOK, AND THEREFORE MAY INCLUDE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK. IF YOU HAVE READ THE COMMENTS BEFORE, YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE NOTES ARE MUCH SHORTER THAN THEY USED TO BE. WE HAVE INCORPORATED MORE OF THE NOTES IN THE APPENDIX OF THE BOOK AND IN OUR LIFENOTES TO GIVE READERS A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR CONCLUSIONS. THESE NOTES MAY BE MODIFIED FROM TIME TO TIME, HOWEVER THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY COMPLETE.

REFERENCES TO BOOKS AND LINKS TO INTERNET SITES ARE PROVIDED TO ALLOW READERS TO RESEARCH SOME OF THE SCIENCE AND LOGIC BEHIND CERTAIN OF OUR CONCLUSIONS. PLEASE NOTE THAT REFERENCES OR LINKS CONTAINED IN THESE NOTES OR OUR BOOK DO NOT IN ANY WAY IMPLY THAT WE HAVE READ ALL THE CONTENTS OF THE SITES, THAT WE AGREE WITH CONCLUSIONS FOUND IN THE MATERIALS, OR THAT WE DO NOT OBJECT TO SOME OR ALL OF THE CONTENTS.

(last major revisions December 23, 2007, Copyright 1995-2007, Compact Library Publishers Inc., all rights reserved. You may make and distribute free copies of these materials. You must include all copyright notices and include this paragraph with every copy. You may not make any additions or deletions to the text. Any alterations to the text would be a violation of our copyright. Any comments that you attach must clearly state that they are not part of the text, and that they are the opinion of the commentator and not necessarily the opinion of the author.)

CONTENTS: (please allow file to load completely before using the following hyperlinks)

References to selected books

Selected passages from the Judeo-Christian Bible

Comments on religious and philosophical studies

Comments on life after death and nihilism

Comments on determinism

Comments on heaven and hell

Comments on the limits of logic

Comments on proof of the existence of God

Comments on what we can and should do

Comments on loving your enemy

Comments on a lesser love and living a normal or a fanatic life

Comments on living a fanatic life

Brief comment on doing less than you can and should do

Brief comment on possibilities

Brief comment on men and women – marriage and divorce

Comments on real, pure, true love

Comments on violence, killing, and self-defense (discussion of a very difficult topic)

Comments on our ability to use logic and reason to answer questions

Comments on observations of human choices

Comments on a pragmatic life

Miscellaneous comments

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REFERENCES TO SELECTED BOOKS:

Comments about modern physics contained in our book were assembled from many sources. While we may or may not agree with his conclusions (especially some of his conclusions regarding consciousness), at the time of the writing of this note in 1996, Roger Penrose's book, The Emperors New Mind, Penguin Books (1989), contains perhaps the most complete discussion of modern physics for the non-scientist reader. The book includes complex discussions for those who want to consider the math behind quantum mechanics, relativity, etc., but with some effort the non-scientist can discover the logic behind the math. If you want to explore the paradox of modern science in detail, his book is worth the effort required to read it.

We should note that some of Penrose's comments could lead to the conclusion that he does not believe in the existence of God. My interpretation of his comments is that at this point in his life he is a rationalist or an agnostic, probably not a theist, yet also probably not an atheist. I interpret his "jokes" as jokes pointed at believers in strong artificial intelligence, and not directed at theists, as some might think. I see in his writings a reverence for God, even if it is not clear that he has reached his own understanding of who God is.

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The following is a leaflet we publish that contains selected passages from the Judeo-Christian Bible. After you complete your search or your heart, mind, and soul and know and understand love, you will decide for yourself whether or not you have faith that Jesus and God are One. No matter who, in your heart, mind, and soul, you believe or have faith that Jesus was, and perhaps is, we believe that his words proclaim fundamental truths:

LOVE

LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, WITH ALL YOUR MIND,

THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. THE SECOND IS LIKE IT:

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

ALL OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS HANG ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS.

What is love? In our hearts we know.

WHEN I WAS HUNGRY, YOU GAVE ME FOOD; WHEN I WAS THIRSTY, YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO DRINK; WHEN I WAS A STRANGER YOU TOOK ME IN, WHEN I WAS NAKED YOU GAVE ME CLOTHING; WHEN I WAS SICK YOU TOOK CARE OF ME, WHEN I WAS IN PRISON YOU VISITED ME. THEN THE RIGHTEOUS WILL REPLY, LORD, WHEN WAS IT THAT WE SAW YOU HUNGRY AND GAVE YOU FOOD, OR THIRSTY AND GAVE YOU SOMETHING TO DRINK, A STRANGER AND TOOK YOU IN, OR NAKED AND GAVE YOU CLOTHING? WHEN DID WE SEE YOU ILL OR IN PRISON, AND CAME TO VISIT YOU? AND THE KING WILL ANSWER, I TELL YOU THIS: ANYTHING YOU DID FOR THE LEAST OF MY BROTHERS HERE, YOU DID FOR ME.

Who should we love? God and our neighbor.

AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? JESUS REPLIED, A MAN WAS ON HIS WAY FROM JERUSALEM DOWN TO JERICHO WHEN HE FELL INTO THE HANDS OF ROBBERS, WHO STRIPPED HIM, BEAT HIM, AND WENT AWAY LEAVING HIM HALF DEAD. IT SO HAPPENED THAT A PRIEST WAS GOING DOWN BY THE SAME ROAD; BUT WHEN HE SAW HIM, HE WENT PAST ON THE OTHER SIDE. SO TOO A LEVITE CAME TO THE PLACE, AND WHEN HE SAW HIM HE WENT PAST ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT A SAMARITAN WHO WAS MAKING THE JOURNEY CAME UPON HIM, AND WHEN HE SAW HIM HE TOOK PITY ON HIM. HE WENT TO HIM AND BANDAGED HIS WOUNDS, BATHING THEM WITH OIL AND WINE. THEN HE LIFTED HIM ON HIS OWN ANIMAL, BROUGHT HIM TO AN INN, AND TOOK CARE OF HIM THERE. THE NEXT DAY HE TOOK OUT TWO SILVER PIECES AND GAVE THEM TO THE INNKEEPER, AND SAID, TAKE CARE OF HIM; AND IF YOU SPEND ANY MORE, I WILL REPAY YOU ON MY WAY BACK. WHICH OF THESE THREE DO YOU THINK WAS NEIGHBOR TO THE MAN WHO FELL INTO THE HANDS OF THE ROBBERS? HE ANSWERED, THE ONE WHO SHOWED HIM KINDNESS. JESUS SAID, GO AND DO LIKEWISE.

If you choose to love, many people will hate you. If you choose to hate them back you give up love.

YOU HAVE HEARD THAT IT WAS SAID, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. BUT WHAT I TELL YOU IS THIS: DO NOT RESIST AN EVILDOER. IF ANYONE STRIKES YOU ON THE RIGHT CHEEK, TURN AND OFFER HIM YOUR LEFT. IF ANYONE WANTS TO SUE YOU FOR YOUR SHIRT, LET HIM HAVE YOUR COAT AS WELL. IF ANYONE FORCES YOU GO A MILE, GO WITH HIM TWO. GIVE TO THE ONE WHO ASKS YOU TO GIVE, AND DO NOT TURN AWAY FROM THE ONE WHO WANTS TO BORROW FROM YOU.

YOU HAVE HEARD THAT IT WAS SAID, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AND HATE YOUR ENEMY. BUT WHAT I TELL YOU IS THIS: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.... DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU,.... PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ABUSE AND.... PERSECUTE YOU; SO THAT YOU MAY BE CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, WHO MAKES HIS SUN RISE ON THE EVIL AND THE GOOD, AND SENDS RAIN ON THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE UNRIGHTEOUS. IF YOU LOVE ONLY THOSE WHO LOVE YOU, WHAT REWARD DO YOU HAVE? DO NOT EVEN THE TAX COLLECTORS DO THE SAME? AND IF YOU GREET ONLY YOUR BROTHERS, WHAT MORE ARE YOU DOING THAN OTHERS? DO NOT EVEN THE TAX COLLECTORS DO THE SAME? BE PERFECT THEREFORE, EVEN AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.

AND NOW A MAN CAME UP AND ASKED HIM, GOOD TEACHER, WHAT MUST I DO TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE? JESUS SAID. WHY DO YOU CALL ME GOOD? NO ONE IS GOOD, EXCEPT GOD ALONE... IF YOU WISH TO ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.

If you love those who hate you, you will forgive them.

DO NOT JUDGE, SO THAT YOU MAY NOT BE JUDGED. FOR IN THE SAME WAY YOU JUDGE OTHERS, YOU WILL BE JUDGED, AND THE MEASURE YOU GIVE WILL BE THE MEASURE YOU RECEIVE. WHY DO YOU LOOK AT THE SPECK OF SAWDUST IN YOUR BROTHERS EYE, BUT PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE GREAT PLANK IN YOUR OWN EYE? OR HOW CAN YOU SAY TO YOUR BROTHER, LET ME TAKE THE SPECK OUT OF YOUR EYE, WHEN ALL THE TIME THERE IS THAT PLANK IN YOUR OWN? YOU HYPOCRITE! FIRST TAKE THE PLANK OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, AND THEN YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY TO TAKE THE SPECK OUT OF YOUR BROTHER'S.

WHOEVER WISHES TO BE GREAT AMONG YOU SHALL BE YOUR SERVANT, AND WHOEVER WISHES TO BE FIRST AMONG YOU SHALL BE YOUR SLAVE.... ALL WHO EXALT THEMSELVES WILL BE HUMBLED, AND ALL WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES WILL BE EXALTED.

THEN PETER CAME UP AND ASKED HIM, LORD, HOW OFTEN AM I TO FORGIVE MY BROTHER IF HE SINS AGAINST ME? AS MANY AS SEVEN TIMES? JESUS REPLIED, NOT SEVEN TIMES; I TELL YOU, SEVENTY-SEVEN TIMES.

THEREFORE I TELL YOU, PEOPLE WILL BE FORGIVEN FOR EVERY SIN AND BLASPHEMY, BUT BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE SPIRIT WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN. ANYONE WHO SPEAKS A WORD AGAINST THE SON OF MAN WILL BE FORGIVEN, BUT ANYONE WHO SPEAKS AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN, EITHER IN THIS AGE OR IN THE AGE TO COME.

You will be tempted over and over again to do things that you would not do if you loved God and your neighbor. If you do these things you give up love.

ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE. THE GATE IS WIDE AND THE ROAD IS BROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY GO THAT WAY; BUT THE GATE IS NARROW AND THE ROAD IS SMALL THAT LEADS TO LIFE, AND THERE ARE FEW WHO FIND IT.

THEN THEY WILL HAND YOU OVER TO BE TORTURED AND PUT TO DEATH, AND YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL NATIONS BECAUSE OF MY NAME. THEN MANY WILL FALL AWAY, AND THEY WILL BETRAY ONE ANOTHER AND HATE ONE ANOTHER. AND MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL ARISE AND LEAD MANY ASTRAY. AND BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF LAWLESSNESS, THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD. BUT THE ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE SAVED. AND THIS GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM WILL BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AS A TESTIMONY TO ALL THE NATIONS; AND THEN THE END WILL COME.

DO TO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

It is your choice, to love God and your neighbor, or not to love God and your neighbor.

THEN HE WILL SAY TO THOSE ON HIS LEFT HAND, 'YOU THAT ARE ACCURSED, DEPART FROM ME INTO THE ETERNAL FIRE PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS; FOR WHEN I WAS HUNGRY YOU GAVE ME NO FOOD, WHEN I WAS THIRSTY YOU GAVE ME NOTHING TO DRINK; WHEN I WAS A STRANGER YOU DID NOT INVITE ME IN, WHEN I WAS NAKED YOU DID NOT GIVE ME CLOTHING; WHEN I WAS SICK AND IN PRISON YOU DID NOT VISIT ME. AND THEY TOO WILL REPLY, LORD, WHEN WAS IT THAT WE SAW YOU HUNGRY OR THIRSTY OR A STRANGER OR NAKED OR SICK OR IN PRISON, AND DID NOT DO ANYTHING FOR YOU? AND HE WILL ANSWER, I TELL YOU THIS: ANYTHING YOU DID NOT DO FOR THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU DID NOT DO FOR ME. AND THESE WILL GO AWAY INTO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS INTO ETERNAL LIFE.

LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, WITH ALL YOUR MIND. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

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A copy of the leaflet may be downloaded here: www.ws5.com/leaflet

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COMMENTS ON LIFE AFTER DEATH AND NIHILISM

This is a very important topic. For that reason we have written a separate essay on the subject, primarily for those who have yet not read our book. It is available at www.ws5.com/nihilism. It duplicates some materials that are included in other topics in the comments and sections in our book. Please excuse the redundancy. Because many modern philosophies attempt to avoid nihilism, it is important that you recognize the rational and logical conclusions that accompany death without life after death, a "nihilistic" death.

Also, here are some additional comments:

In the book we argue that there is no realistic possibility that human beings have a physical existence that might provide them with a meaningful life. We say that:

 

“It seems that if we are to believe that there may be some kind of singular physical (rather than non-physical) consciousness that survives physical death, then we must accept that there is some unique physical consciousness that is "me", that somehow incorporates all of the conscious events of my life, and that is not dependent on the continuing physical existence of my biologic body. While current interpretations of popular theories do not totally rule out the possibility of a perpetual individual physical consciousness, there is no known method that is both rational and realistic (i.e.- a theory that appears capable of modeling physical reality), to construct a physical (as opposed to a non-physical) model that preserves the singular human physical consciousness of an individual after the physical death of that person. Modern theories suggest the possibility that multiple instances of a physical “me” exist in space-time, but they do not offer even a clue as to how to unite all of those instances into a single physical “me” whose consciousness spans space-time. Indeed, current interpretations of quantum superposition seem to deny the possibility of a “single” physical reality in which a unique “me” might exist.”

 

“I can visualize and accept a “non-physical consciousness” that survives physical death, yet I am unable to have any confidence at all in the existence of a singular “physical consciousness” that survives the physical death of a human being. To do so, it would seem that I would have to discover a new physical process that incorporates all the “events” in a human life, and that creates a unique, singular physical consciousness that continues to exist in space-time as that human being, or at least as something that we can call a singular past that belongs to the human being. This seems to me to be an impossible task. I may be wrong, yet I simply cannot find an accepted physical theory that supports a unified "physical" consciousness that survives physical death. Furthermore, I do not know of any credible objective physical evidence that such a “physical” consciousness might exist. I can say that after many years of thought I am thoroughly convinced that any attempt to construct a model of permanent physical consciousness does far more damage to the centuries of accumulated scientific knowledge, than does the acceptance of the possibility that a permanent non-physical consciousness may exist.”

 

            “We have concluded that no current, or reasonably foreseeable, rational theory provides us with a singular physical consciousness that continues to exist after physical death, so that a single physical "me" continues to exist after my death in my physical “past”. We have said that if we do not have a singular physical or non-physical consciousness that continues to exist after physical death, then those who believe in nihilism are probably correct, and some type of "nihilistic" void awaits all of us. It may be a true void, like the void that preceded our birth, or it may be a very strange void where billions of "me" merely co-exist. Whatever physical form it might take, it would seem to satisfy the definition of a "meaningless" void.”

 

The argument that we present in the book goes against the commonly, indeed almost universally, accepted belief that human life has fundamental meaning. We recognize that when we say:

 

… “What should our response be to all of this? We strongly believe that there is absolutely no reason not to live for the possibility that life has meaning and value. We think we are right about the transitory nature of physical consciousness, but we may be wrong. If our conclusions are wrong, perhaps we do in fact have a physical consciousness that survives physical death. If we are wrong, we may have a perpetual physical existence that gives meaning and value to our physical lives, even if there is no non-physical life after death. We will not pursue this possibility, yet you should recognize that it exists.”

 

Yet toward the end of the book we again emphasize that we do not believe that physical existence has meaning.

 

“This is one of the very most difficult questions we face. Perhaps if God does not exist and there is no life after death, then if our physical consciousness has a meaningful existence in the physical universe we should minimize the negative and maximize the positive physical aspects of each of our lives by living a “normal life”. Yet we have already said that nothing in modern physics suggests that there is, or may be, a unique physical (as opposed to non-physical) consciousness that is "me", that somehow incorporates all of the conscious events of my life, and that is somehow not dependent on the physical existence of my biologic body. Classical interpretations of current theories suggest that if God does not exist, then there is no life after death, and we are all faced with an endless cycle of creation and destruction, the meaning of which, if any, is beyond comprehension. If God does not exist, I strongly believe that science is telling us that our physical existence has no “meaning”, and that each generation's death results in the physical annihilation of the past, present, and future of the members of that generation.”

 

It is very important to realize that no matter what we believe is correct or not, it is possible that physical life itself has “meaning”. Simply living your life from birth to death may be a meaningful life. The true nature of physical existence is unknown, perhaps unknowable. Almost every human being who lives or has lived, no matter what their cultural or religious beliefs, view or viewed their life as meaningful. Almost everyone (except perhaps for true nihilists) believes that the human life they live has true meaning and value, even if they are unable to describe or quantify it. It is not fair to say that we can conclude with certainty that, absent a permanent non-human existence, human physical existence, human life, is meaningless. We strongly believe that if there is no life after death, science is telling us that our physical existence has no meaning, yet we may be wrong.

 

In the book we talk about two major possibilities, however readers should recognize that there are three. The possibility we favor in the book is that science tells me that after my physical death either multiple instances of a physical “me” exist in space-time, or no physical “me” exists in space-time, so that no single physical "me" continues to exist after my death, and therefore my past, present, and future are annihilated by a "meaningless" void.

 

The second possibility we also favor in the book is that we are somehow more than our physical bodies, that we can exist beyond and apart from those bodies, and that each of us survives physical death and continues to exist, in some manner and form, beyond the grave. We conclude that we are, or become through living, unique individuals who possess the ability to engage in rational thought and exercise freedom of choice transcending biological processes of determinism, and that we have an existence beyond our physical mind and body.

 

Even though we do not believe that the third possibility is a real possibility, you need to recognize that most people believe that it is. Essentially it argues that if we are, or become through living, unique individuals who possess the ability to engage in rational thought, then we have a meaningful physical existence that is a fundamental part of our physical mind and body.

 

To some extent almost everyone believes that the daily lives they lead have meaning. If we are little more than doomed animals, this universal belief is to be expected, as we say in the book: “Yet if we are little more than doomed animals, our intuitive feeling of meaning and value would not be surprising. From the very beginning, to assure survival of any species, evolution would certainly have instilled in living creatures the feeling that there is a reason for them to exist, a reason for them to crawl out of the ocean and build cities. If there is no life after death, and our lives are in fact consumed by "nothing", it is no wonder that our genetic heritage argues so strongly against that possibility.” Yet the universal belief may be more than wishful thinking, it may be a profound insight recognizing that physical existence does have meaning.

 

No matter how strongly we may believe that we are right, no matter how strongly we believe that physical existence without non-physical existence is meaningless, we are not willing to conclude with certainty that almost all of the rest of the world is wrong. Perhaps physical life has meaning in and of itself, perhaps not. "There is no reason at all to reject the possibility that each of us has some kind of permanent physical or non-physical consciousness. There is absolutely no logical reason whatsoever to reject the possibility that nihilism may be false! There is no reason whatsoever not to search for an alternative to nihilism, to explore the possibility of a permanent physical or non-physical consciousness, to search for a reason for living. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to live for the possibility, however remote you may believe it to be, that life has meaning and value."

 

 In any event, we can say with certainty that we strongly believe that there is a non-physical life after death that gives meaning and value to human existence.

 

We would add that if the third possibility is correct, if there is no life after death and physical life does have meaning, we do not reach a conclusion as to whether that physical life would be maximized by living a “fanatic life”, a “normal life”, or some other life like the “normal life” we describe in the book. We believe that if there is no non-physical life after death, physical life has no meaning. We simply do not consider what humans might do to maximize a physical life if there is no life after death and if physical life does have meaning.

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COMMENTS ON DETERMINISM

A brief comment on determinism. In our book we discussed at some length the popular conclusion among scientists that we live in a universe "whose destiny was forever set at creation by the forces between its constituent parts, and whose future unfolds in a billiard ball like progression of predictable actions." We noted that quantum uncertainty "argues for a determinism as certain as any, one that also sees humankind governed by forces beyond its control."

We went on to note that "In a universe that had no living organisms, determinism would not be as hard to accept as it is in our universe inhabited by living creatures. One can visualize a universe devoid of life where every rock, every speck of dust, every atom, every sub-atomic particle, follows a pattern which was forever fixed at creation, and which expands into the future with absolute precision. In an inanimate universe, it not as difficult to accept that rocks, specks of dust, etc., or even groups of these objects, have no ability to alter the course that the laws of physics dictate they follow."

"It is much more difficult to accept that our universe, populated as it is by living organisms, is a totally deterministic one. If super-determinism is correct, we reach the intuitively unlikely result that the absolute time for every blink of our eyes is predetermined, every breath that we take is taken at precise moments and in exact amounts, there is nothing we can do to alter any of our preset physical motions - from moving our head to sneezing. Every change of our minds is inevitable, every thought we have ever had was predetermined and occurred without any chance of alteration. If we live in a deterministic world, I was destined before birth to write precisely the words contained in this paragraph on the day and at the time and on the computer I wrote them on, and when the universe was formed you were destined to read precisely the words contained in this paragraph on the day you are reading them and at the time you are reading them and, not only in the precise location you are reading them, but also wearing the clothes you are wearing, having your hair the exact length that it is, going through the preprogrammed physical motions you are going through, etc. Every thought you are having about what I am saying was predestined to occur without the slightest variation, even your instant reaction to this very sentence was set at creation. This simply does not "seem" to be what actually happens, we intuitively "feel" that we can make choices among alternatives, perhaps so, perhaps not."

It is clear that humans possess a strong intuitive feeling that they have some form of "control" over their lives. You may feel that science already tells us enough about our current existence to be comfortable with the reality of an existence that is purely deterministic. Yet an intellectual belief in determinism is not sufficient to overcome the intuitive feeling that we have some mechanism that allows us to exercise "free will" control over at least a portion of our existence. If you have not already done so, you should perhaps read Penrose's "Emperor's New Mind" (I don't necessarily agree with his ideas, but the book contains a good summary of cosmology) and read what you can on the "many-worlds" theory to familiarize yourself with the absolute mess physics is in.

The classic quantum mechanical paradox of Schrodinger's cat, which is both alive and dead at the same time, tells us that we have little idea how our perceived universe really works. The "many-worlds" theory, which states that each time we face a quantum alternative the universe splits in two, with one alternative occurring in one universe and the other alternative occurring in the other parallel universe (i.e., the cat is alive in one universe and dead in the other) is, so far, the only solid mathematical theory that avoids quantum uncertainty (the collapse of the wavefunction) and preserves absolute determinism. I do not really believe that the many-worlds theory as proposed is correct, yet the traditional Copenhagen interpretation of quantum reality is incomplete at best. What the current state of scientific knowledge tells us is that scientists do not have adequate theories to describe a purely deterministic universe. Even if in the future theories are proposed that would require a deterministic universe, we must remember that the limits of science make it impossible to prove or disprove any theory, period. If theories are proposed that describe the known physical universe, we will continue to have no idea at all what lies outside our universe.

Penrose's book contains an excellent discussion on the possibility that consciousness arises from quantum uncertainty, and that uncertainty is the basis of "free will". I strongly believe in free will, but tend to believe that its origin is more profound than quantum uncertainty. Perhaps quantum uncertainty is a large part of the answer, yet it would seem that the individual must have an ability to somehow "select" among the possible outcomes allowed by quantum uncertainty if meaningful free will exists. Perhaps we have some ability to "alter" the outcomes of the series of quantum events that make up a conscious decision, perhaps not. Recent articles by Penrose suggest that we may indeed be able to maintain quantum superposed states that, if I understand him correctly, we may "choose" between (what he calls Orch OR). This may indeed be the mechanism that allows the free will we intuitively believe we have. If so, we truly have the ability to make unique choices among alternatives. Interestingly, a selection process associated with quantum actualization would probably be time asymmetric and could account for the arrow of time we intuitively believe exists. Even with continuing advances in consciousness research, at this point in history, it appears that science is unable with any degree of certainty to explain, prove, or disprove the existence of a consciousness that allows for meaningful free will choice among alternatives. If free will exists, it exists, period.

From a philosophical viewpoint it is equally unclear what role determinism plays in our lives. Many philosophers have pursued tortured paths of logic to find a mechanism for meaningful freewill in a fully deterministic universe. We believe that is an impossible task. A brief essay by Dr. Norman Schwartz (Lecture Notes on Free Will and Determinism) provides an example of the difficulty of reinterpreting scientific determinism to allow for a “philosophical determinism” that is less restrictive. Perhaps the best humanistic discussion of the true implications of determinism is to be found at (The Determinism And Freedom Philosophy Website). Professor Honderich offers many references to philosophers who are interested in determinism. While extraordinarily difficult to read, his papers highlight the incredible difficulty, perhaps impossibility, of reconciling determinism and free will (see also  Determinism as True, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism as Both False, and the Real Problem). The following quotation emphasizes the philosophical dilemma of determinism:

“What this comes to is that the culmination of a life, say, is a matter of plain determinism, but there seems also to be the possibility of some kind of explanation of it that is different in kind. Some kind of departure from determinism, or unexpected addition to it. At any rate there is a problem or paradox here. The putative explanation would be consistent with determinism, indeed within it, but different in kind. I have wondered, entirely unsuccessfully, if the thing is worth reflection in connection with determinism and the attitudes in which we can find ourselves persisting. But I offer it here as another indication of the extent to which we should start out anew with determinism and freedom.”

 

We are thoroughly convinced that quantum gravity (not quantum mechanics) will eventually offer the sought for departure from physical determinism, giving us a non-probabilistic, non-deterministic, mechanism that allows for meaningful free will.

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COMMENTS ON HEAVEN AND HELL

There are many theologians who believe that hell does not exist as a place of eternal punishment. While we do not agree with all the comments in the following article in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), it offers a summary of Catholic theology at the time it was written:  Catholic Encyclopedia article.   We believe there is a physical hell, though we have no idea what the nature of the punishment in hell is. We also believe that God does not determine who will be punished in hell, rather human beings make the choice to do or not to do that which if they do they will live forever in heaven. If they do not choose to do that which if they do they will live forever in heaven, then we believe they will live forever in hell. I have absolute faith that if God exists and if there is a hell, no one will live in hell unless they have been given the choice to do that which if they do they will live in heaven.

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LIMITS OF LOGIC

A number of philosophers and logicians refer to the universe as being "constrained" by logic, and some assert that this is a statement which is subject to logical proof. While it may or may not be true that the universe is constrained by logic, logic cannot be used to prove the truth of that statement. Being a part of the whole, logical arguments are subject to the same uncertainty that scientific theorems are. Confusion between definitions and "truths" leads to the assumption that logic is a fundamental truth. Since logical arguments can be formally stated in mathematical language, a simple addition example may be useful to see the limits of this "logic". It is true by definition that 1 + 1 = 2. Further there is an underlying reality which affirms that if you have one electron in a box, and you introduce another into the same box, you have two electrons in the box. This is true because it is assumed that electrons are identical so that one cannot distinguish among electrons. Assume, however, that the laws of the universe allow the following to happen. Let us say that at some unknown fundamental level all electrons are mere disturbances in a universal wave equation such that when an electron is added to a box the entire wave is affected and the first electron is in some fashion altered (this is contrary to current knowledge, and perhaps is not possible, however since we cannot prove anything we cannot know if this is or will be possible, or not). If this alteration occurs, adding an electron to the box would result in two "electrons", but they would not be the same electrons that existed before they were placed in the box. To some extent it would still be true by definition that when one item was added to another item in a box, the result was two items in the box. However, this definitionally true statement would not be sufficient to support a logical system that requires one item plus one item to equal two of the same items. In other words, since the underlying rules of the reality of this universe may or may not be subject to change, any logical system existing within this universe is subject to change. It is possible that 1 + 1 will not equal 2 in any meaningful sense, that true + true may be false, and therefore that the foundations of our logical system may disappear. Or they may not, we simply cannot use logic (or anything else) to determine which statement is true.

A brief comment on Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor basically says that given a choice between two equally possible solutions, we should accept the simpler of the two solutions over the more complex solution unless proven otherwise. It is often used by atheists to suggest that we should accept the "simpler" solutions of science over the "more complex" solutions that recognize the existence of God. It is one of those logical/philosophical concepts that seems to fit what one is predisposed to believe it fits (it certainly could be said to argue against the complexity of quantum physics). I really do not find it useful at all, but for those who do, I would suggest the following. I find that the suggestion that the universe we live in was formed by the interaction of physical laws is far more complex, approaching infinitely more complex, than the suggestion that God exists and somehow has "control" over the physical laws. The universe we live in is a universe of incredibly low entropy where matter is "arranged" in the most complex ways imaginable. To be like it is today, at creation our universe had to have initial conditions that would be present in only one out of an almost infinite number of possible other universes. This suggests to me that one who follows Occam's Razor would accept that God exists rather than accepting the more complex solution that has a chance of occurring of only 1 out of an almost infinite number of alternate possibilities. Again, I do not believe that Occam's Razor can be used to logically "prove" anything, and I equally do not believe that it can be used to "disprove", or to suggest the probability, that anything is untrue.

As I walk down a street and look at bricks and mortar and asphalt and dirt and grass and paint and trees, I realize that every single thing I see is made up of billions upon billions upon billions of tiny atoms, all arranged to be that which I see. All of the atoms are made up of an unimaginable number of sub-atomic particles that possess incredibly complex and strange properties. I recognize that each of the atoms and the sub-atomic particles are actually "lumps" of matter made entirely out of disturbances of energy. And in the middle of this world of something made from "nothing", I stand with the conscious understanding that I am made of the same stuff, yet with the intuitive feeling that I am somehow "more". I will not accept that it is logical to assume that both I, and the almost infinitely complex world around me, are creations without meaning.

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COMMENTS ON PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

I have absolute faith that if God exists God is good.

 

I strongly believe that God allows bad to exist because to do good we must have the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is bad. To do that which is good we must make the choice to do that which is good. If during our life on earth we could only do that which was good, if at some point in our physical existence we did not have the free will choice to do that which is good or not, we simply could not do that which is good. To do good during our physical lives we must choose to do good instead of evil.

 

This fully explains to me why some human beings choose to do that which is bad, and why God allows them to choose to do that which is bad.

 

Another question arises. Why do bad events (like disease – as opposed to bad acts like murder) occur in the life of those who do that which is good?

 

The first question is do bad events actually occur in the life of those who do that which is good? Some suggest that bad events happen only in the life of those who do that which is bad, not in the life of those who do that which is good. I strongly believe that, just as bad events happen in the life of those who do that which is bad, bad events happen in the life of those who do that which is good. Illness and accidents cause a large percentage of people to suffer, missionaries get cancer, masses of people are killed in warfare, natural disasters take the lives of large groups of people. I may be wrong, yet it seems clear to me that many of those who do that which is good suffer bad events in their lives.

 

So the question is, does God cause events that cause people to suffer in this world? And if the answer is no, why does God allow bad events to happen?

 

Many answer that God allows bad events to test us. Yet this answer seems less than satisfactory to me. It is clear that God does not want any human being to choose to do that which is bad, so it is clear that God does not want any human being to choose to do that which is bad so that another human being might be tested by their acts. It seems similarly clear to me that God does not want any human being to suffer from that which is bad, so God does not want any human being to suffer that which is bad so that the human being might be tested. God does not want any human being to do that which is bad, and God does not want any human being to suffer from a bad event. So why do bad events happen?

 

This is a very difficult question. There is an answer that I strongly believe is true.

 

Perhaps if there were no bad events in human lives, then human beings would have no choice between doing that which is good and doing that which is bad. If we know that our choice to do that which is good or that which is bad will determine if the events in our life are good or bad, then we are presented with the absolute choice to do that which is good and receive good events, or the absolute choice to do that which is bad and receive bad events. The choice no longer is to do that which is good because it is that which is good, rather it is to do that which is good so that good events will occur in our life. The choice no longer is to do that which is bad because it is that which is bad, rather if it is predetermined that bad events will follow a bad act then we know that if we do that which is bad then bad events will occur in our life.

 

It seems clear to me that giving human beings the absolute choice between receiving good events or bad events eliminates their choice to do that which is good, just as much as not allowing human beings to choose to do that which is bad takes from them the choice to do that which is good. I strongly believe that God allows bad events to exist because to do good we must have the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is bad, without the absolute knowledge that if we do that which is good then good events will occur in our life, and if we do that which is bad then bad events will occur in our life.

 

There is another very difficult question that appears to be left open. If those who experience only good events can choose to do that which is good or choose to do that which is bad, why would God not cause only good events to occur in the lives of all human beings? If only good events occurred in every human life, that would seem to not necessarily take away the choice of each individual to do that which is good or to do that which is bad. Does that mean that bad events might be allowed by God to test human beings?

 

There is a final, essential, point, that I believe answers this question. It is clear that God could make his existence known beyond any reasonable doubt to every human being who is living today, perhaps by appearing to each of us. Why does God not appear to us in such a manner that faith becomes knowledge for all of us? It seems clear to me that God will not make his existence known to humankind beyond any doubt, because by doing so God would take from human beings the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is bad. Why is this true?

 

During our life on earth God gives us the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is evil, so that we may do that which is good. It seems clear that after they have made their choice, God will gather together those who choose to do that which is good so that they may be in the presence of God, the One who is good. It also seems clear that after they have made their choice, those who choose to do that which is evil are separated from those who choose to do that which is good and who will live in the presence of God, the One who is good. That is what human death does, physical death is when those who choose to do that which is good are separated from those who choose to do that which is evil. Those who choose to do that which is good go to heaven to live in the presence of God, the One who is good.

 

If human beings knew for an absolute fact that God exists, and knew that if they do that which is good they will live in heaven, and if they do that which is bad they will live in hell, then their choice would no longer be to do that which is good or that which is bad, their choice would be to live in heaven or live in hell.

 

If only good events occurred in every human being’s life, it would seem to be either absolute, or at least very strong, proof of the existence of God. If no falling tree ever hit anyone, if there was no disease to bring pain, if no automobile driver ever had an accident, then the physical world would be like a “heaven” on earth, a place only God, the One who is good, could create. If every event in the universe was a good event, and only human acts were bad, it would be absolute, or almost absolute, evidence that the Universe was created by a Supreme Being who is good. If there were no natural disasters, no accidents, no diseases, no bad events, if the only bad things on earth were bad human acts, then it would be clear that the universe is ruled by One who is good. A universe in which only good events occur would allow for no, or almost no, possibility of creation and evolution without the existence of God, leaving no doubt, or almost no doubt, that God, the One who is good, exists.

 

It seems that if God did not allow bad events to occur, then human beings would know that God exists, and would not have the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is bad, rather the choice that they would have would be to live in heaven or live in hell. I am convinced that without the choice to do that which is good or to do that which is bad, human beings could not do that which is good. Therefore, God allows bad events to happen so that human beings will have the choice to do that which is good, so that they may do that which is good and live forever in heaven.

 

This fully explains to me why God does not make his existence absolutely clear to human beings. I may be wrong, but this is what I strongly believe to be true.

 

This also fully explains to me why God allows people to do that which is bad to those who do that which is good, and why God allows bad events to occur in the lives of those who do that which is good.

 

I have absolute faith that if God exists, and if there is a heaven, then if we choose to do God's will, we will live forever in heaven in the presence of God, the One alone who is good. After one moment in heaven, we will know that every single moment of our existence, for the rest of eternity, will be filled with the joy of real, true, pure love. We will know that our entire being will be totally filled with real, true, pure love, forever. All the illness, pain, and sorrow we experienced during our life on earth will vanish completely. In an instant, memories of even the worst tortures that happened to us before our death will be overwhelmed by the love that surrounds us, and will "disappear" forever. All the bad events in our lives, the disease and accidents and other horrors, along with all the bad acts that people did against us, will be completely overwhelmed by love, and it will be as if they never happened. We will exist in the presence of real, true, pure, perfect love, forever. We will exist in the presence of God, the One who is good.

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COMMENTS ON WHAT WE CAN AND SHOULD DO

A brief comment on what each of us can and should do. I have faith that we can and should choose to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. God commands us to do nothing more, nothing less. Think about this carefully. We may choose not to love as God would have us love, yet what we actually choose to do does not change the fact that each and every one of us can and should choose to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. At every moment in each and every one of our lives we should do nothing more, we should do nothing less, period. Again, this does not mean that we will do what we can and should do, yet at every moment we may make the free will choice to do what we can and should do. We may not choose to do so, but every moment of our life we can and should love as God would have us love.

It is very important to understand that, whether we choose to do what we can and should do, or not, each and every moment of our lives we can and should love as God would have us love. There is no reason to search for something more, something less. There is absolutely no reason to search for anything else that we should do. There is nothing else that we should do. An example, what if you are not willing to share your ample harvest with a hundred people, but you are willing to share it with fifty people. The question is not "should" you love your neighbor as yourself and share your food with the fifty, for the answer is always the same, you "can and should" love your neighbor as yourself and share your food with the hundred people. The fact that you "can and should" love your neighbor as yourself and feed the hundred, does not mean that you "should not" feed the fifty people. This is where many become confused. It is wrong to say that if you are not willing to do what you can and should do, love your neighbor as yourself and feed the hundred, then you "should" feed the fifty. The fact that you are unwilling to feed the hundred does not change the fact that you "can and should" love your neighbor as yourself and feed the hundred, period. Yet this does not mean that you should not feed as many people as you are willing to feed. If you feed the fifty perhaps God will forgive you for having not chosen to do what you "can and should" do, for not loving your neighbor as yourself and feeding the hundred (see our comments in the next topic).

We should never do less than we can and should do, we can never do more. We should not do less for if we choose to love as God would have us love we will do our best, and our best is something that we can always choose to do. We cannot do more for if we choose to love as God would have us love we will do our best, and our best is all that we can do. I believe that if I sat down to decide what God would have me do every moment of my life, what I can and should do about feeding the poor, caring for the sick, visiting the lonely, what I can and should do about everything in my life, and I thought and thought and thought and thought about it for a day, a year, or a lifetime, at the end of the day, year, or lifetime I would always reach the same conclusion, I can and should love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength, and love my neighbor as myself. Whenever we are asked what we can and should do, I have faith that the answer always is that we can and should choose to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. There is never any time when the answer is to do any less, or any more. Think about this very, very carefully, we can and should choose to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself.

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COMMENTS ON LOVING YOUR ENEMY

Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But what I tell you is this: love your enemies.... Do good to those who hate you,.... Pray for those who abuse and.... Persecute you; so that you may be children of your father in heaven, who makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Be perfect therefore, even as your father in heaven is perfect.”

 

Some people will love you, some will hate you, some will love you one minute and hate you the next. If you complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul you will know and understand love, and you will know and understand that no matter what your neighbor does to you, you can and should love your neighbor as yourself. If you complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul and know and understand love, then you will know and understand that if you love your neighbor as yourself you will communicate God’s word to them with the hope that they will love God and their neighbors as God would have them love. Those neighbors who love as God would have them love are doing all that they can and should do, it is those neighbors who do not love God and their neighbors as God would have them love who need help from their neighbors to know and understand what they can and should do.

 

If you love a neighbor who hates you, you will give them food if they are hungry, water if they are thirsty, and shelter if they are homeless. If you love a neighbor who is your enemy you will care for them if they are sick, visit them if they are in prison, and comfort them if they are lonely. If you love a neighbor who does not love God and their neighbor as God would have them love, you will communicate God’s word to them so that they may choose to love as God would have them love, and after their physical death live forever in heaven in the presence of God.

 

If you know and understand love, you know and understand that it is right and good to love your neighbor as yourself, period.

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COMMENTS ON A LESSER LOVE AND LIVING A NORMAL OR A FANATIC LIFE

Please reread the note - A Fanatic Life or a Normal Life at www.lifenotes.org

Most of this section was moved to the Appendices of our book. Additional comments may be added here in the future.

A brief additional comment on living a fanatic life. I have absolute faith that God will do that which is good toward those who know and understand God’s will, and I have absolute faith that God will do that which is good toward those who do not know and understand God’s will. For some time it has seemed to me that the fact that God will do that which is good toward those who do not know and understand God’s will, makes it ok for those who choose to live a fanatic life to rest between efforts to communicate God’s word to people. If it was not true, which it is, that God will do that which is good toward those who do not know and understand God’s will, then I would conclude that we should do as much as we physically can in as little time as possible to communicate God’s word to people, and I would conclude that we should do so at the expense of giving food to the hungry, etc. In other words, I would conclude that it was essential that we communicate God’s word to as many people as we can in the shortest possible length of time so that people might not be punished because we had not communicated God’s word to them and they did not know and understand and do God’s will.

 

If we communicate God’s word to someone, and they know and understand God’s will, God will do that which is good toward them. If we communicate God’s word to someone, and they know and understand God’s will, then it is their choice to do God’s will or not. If we do not communicate God’s word to someone, and they do not know and understand God’s will, God will do that which is good toward them. The fact that God will do that which is good toward those who do not know and understand God’s will, tells us that those who do not know and understand God’s will shall not be punished because we have not communicated God’s word to them, allowing us more time to communicate God’s word to our neighbors and give food to hungry neighbors and give water to thirsty neighbors and care for sick neighbors.

 

Yet having more time does not in any way mean that there are times when we should not communicate God’s word to our neighbors, not give food to hungry neighbors, not give water to thirsty neighbors, and not care for sick neighbors. Indeed it is God’s will that we do all these things. The question is how quickly must we communicate God’s word to our neighbors?

 

It is an interesting question whether or not if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength, and love our neighbor as ourself, we will act at the maximum possible speed that we are physically capable of sustaining. I think that is not what will happen. Rather, I believe that if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength, and love our neighbor as ourself, we will do that which is good toward our neighbors, yet our actions will not always reach the level of maximum physical and mental ability. I do believe that knowledge of the fact that God will do that which is good toward those who know and understand God’s will, and that God will do that which is good toward those who do not know and understand God’s will, gives us certainty and peace that allows us to move steadily, yet not feverishly, forward as we communicate God’s word to our neighbors, give food to hungry neighbors, give water to thirsty neighbors, and care for sick neighbors.

 

I may be wrong, yet I believe that if we live a fanatic or a normal life it is right and good to move steadily forward at a rapid, yet not a frantic, fearful, pace as we communicate God’s word to our neighbors, give food to hungry neighbors, give water to thirsty neighbors, and care for sick neighbors.

 

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Some additional comments - I do not believe that I can in good conscience conclude anything less than that the almost infinitely small probability that the universe was created at random tells us that it is almost infinitely likely that God exists (see an excerpt from the Roger Penrose book reprinted below under Miscellaneous comments). Yet, I also do not believe that I can in good conscience conclude that there is absolutely no possibility that God does not exist. As we have said before, the possibility / probability that God exists does not alter the truth, if God does not exist God does not exist, if God does exist God does exist, period. The concepts of possibility and probability only have meaning until we have knowledge of which of the apparently possible alternatives is true. At the point we know which of the apparently possible alternatives is true, all other proposed possibilities become impossibilities, and we know that the probability of their being true is zero (as in fact it always was). Even though I believe it to be infinitely unlikely that God does not exist, I do not believe that I have sufficient knowledge to know with absolutely certainty that God does exist, therefore I am unwilling to conclude that it is not a possibility that God does not exist.

 

With that said, I am also unwilling to conclude that it is not possible that, as we say in our book:

 

“a ‘normal life’ is the life that maximizes human needs for food, water, shelter, companionship, procreation, etc., along with intellectual needs for self-worth, compassion, humor, self-satisfaction, altruism, etc. Perhaps all human lives are maximized when each human being focuses on, and loves, the members of their family and extended family. If so, it would not mean that those who love family members should not love other people, it would simply mean that their lives would not be maximized by loving all human beings with the same love.”

 

It is possible that a “normal life” that is more self-centered than the normal life we describe in our book actually maximizes human existence, a normal life that is the result of millions of years of human biologic and environmental development, modified by human communication and intellect. If so, perhaps the relatively self-centered, or at least family-centered, human being who is “self-fulfilled” by successes in career, sports, etc., is the human being who lives a physical life that is maximized? I strongly believe that such a life is not the life that human beings can and should live, I strongly believe that such a life does not maximize human existence, yet I may be wrong.

 

While I believe it to be impossible, I am also unwilling to conclude that it is not possible that such a normal life has meaning even if it is a finite life that ends at the grave. My conclusions about physical death annihilating the physical past, present, and future of human beings are controversial, if for no other reason than the fact that the greatest physicists of our time do not understand the fundamental physical nature of space-time. I am unwilling to rule out the possibility that every human life acquires meaning and value as that physical life is lived. 

 

None-the-less, I am convinced that if God does not exist and there is no life after death, our physical death does annihilate our physical life, rendering life meaningless (please remember, we strongly believe that life does in fact have meaning and value). So even though I am unwilling to conclude that if God does not exist it is not possible that human physical life has meaning and value, I do conclude that if God does not exist the probability of human physical life having meaning and value is extremely small. I may be wrong, I may be right.

 

 If you are not yet willing to have faith in the existence of God, is nihilism necessarily what you must accept as being true? We concluded that if there is no non-physical life after death, then it appears that physical death consumes our physical past, present, and future. Yet we also concluded that there is no reason to reject the possibility that each of us has some kind of permanent physical or non-physical consciousness. There is absolutely no logical reason whatsoever to reject the possibility that nihilism may be false! There is no reason whatsoever not to search for an alternative to nihilism, to explore the possibility of a permanent physical or non-physical consciousness, to search for a reason for living. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to live for the possibility, however remote you may believe it to be, that life has meaning and value.

 

I have faith that God exists. I am convinced that we can and should live a “fanatic life”. Yet I am also convinced that very, very, very few people will be willing to accept the horrendous consequences that may accompany living a "fanatic life". If you are unwilling to live a fanatic life, then choose to live a “normal life” like the “normal life” we described in our book, with the hope that God may forgive you.

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COMMENTS ON LIVING A FANATIC LIFE

Some additional comments on living a fanatic life.

 

In our book Love In Search of a Reason for Living we include a longer version of Appendix B than we have in our LifeNotes. Please read it for a more detailed discussion of why we believe that you should never do physical harm to a neighbor, and why if you choose not to do what you should do, you should minimize the physical harm you do to prevent your neighbor from inflicting physical harm.

 

We also say:

 

    “If you do God’s will, you will do that which God would have you do for each and every one of your neighbors. For example, if you love your neighbors as yourself, you may invite them to a hearty meal to welcome and celebrate the choice of a particular neighbor who has declared that they want to do God's will. It is right for you to be filled with the happiness of loving your neighbor as yourself. It is right for you to prepare a “feast” for your neighbors, and to celebrate with them the joy of loving as God would have us love."

 

    "What living a “fanatic life” does mean is that if out of love for our neighbors we serve a hearty meal for some of them, and one or ten or twenty or fifty other neighbors are in the street in front of our house, if we love as God would have us love we will go out and invite every one of them to share the meal and experience the joy of those who do God’s will, even if there is not enough food and drink for everyone to satisfy their hunger and thirst. I am unwilling to conclude that if I love my neighbor as myself, I will turn away even a single hungry or thirsty neighbor from my door. If I love my neighbor as God would have me love, I will love each and every neighbor as myself, and out of that love I will give each and every neighbor food, water, shelter, care, and companionship, with the hope that they will all choose to love as God would have us love, and that they will all experience the true joy and happiness that accompanies the choice to do God’s will.”

 

If we love our neighbor as ourself – perhaps it is true that we will want them to enjoy a feast to celebrate the choice of a neighbor to do God’s will. Yet that does not seem to answer the question what the person who is having the feast should do about the neighbor who is hungry yet is not able to make it to the feast. In the Bible there are several references to righteous people having feasts, so it seems that such feasts may be favored in the Bible. Yet we also have the passage in Matthew –

(Mat 5:48 NRSV)  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It seems clear that this passage means what the words literally say. I have absolute faith that if God exists, God is good. If God exists, God is perfect. I have absolute faith that if God exists God does that which is good.

 

So I am left with the question, what if we are having a feast to celebrate the choice of a particular neighbor who has declared that they want to do God's will, and we know that there are neighbors outside our house who are hungry? It is clear to me that God would have us invite them into the feast. What if there are neighbors who are both hungry and weak and who are at such a distance that the guests must take the food to them if they are to eat? Perhaps out of love those hungry neighbors want the neighbors at the feast to enjoy the feast, yet that does not answer the question what should the people at the feast do?

 

No matter how hard I have tried to find another reasonable possibility, it seems to me that God who is perfect would have us do that which is perfect, God would have us love as ourself those neighbors who are both hungry and weak and who are at such a distance that the guests must take the food to them if they are to eat, and out of love for them leave the feast and take the food to them.

 

Some might object that the feast should continue, and then those in attendance could take food to the hungry neighbors, yet the simple addition to the scenario of the hungry neighbors being in need of immediate food and water and/or there not being enough food and water for the feast and the hungry neighbors, makes it clear that they should leave the feast and take the food and water to them. Indeed it seems to me that if a neighbor at the feast loves the hungry neighbors as himself or herself, they will leave the feast and take food to them.

 

What about the situation where those at the feast do not know of any particular group of neighbors who are hungry? So long as we know that there are neighbors who are hungry outside the feast, we know that if we leave the feast we can seek out those neighbors and give them food.

 

Furthermore, we know that so long as we are on earth there are people who we can communicate the word of God to. Now we know that if they do or do not know and understand God’s will, God will do that which is good toward them. We also know and understand that it is right and good to communicate the word of God to all our neighbors so that they may all know and understand and do God’s will. We know and understand that if we know and understand God’s will, and do God’s will, we are doing all that we can and should do, and that if we know and understand God’s will, and do not do God’s will, we are not doing that which we can and should do. It seems to me that this means that we should leave the feast and go and communicate God’s word to our neighbors.

 

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps if we love our neighbors at the feast as ourself we will stay at the feast and give them food and drink to celebrate their choice to do God’s will. Perhaps if we do that which is good we will celebrate their choice with them, inviting all other neighbors to join us at the feast. I do not believe that I can say with absolute certainty that I am right. I have absolute faith that if God exists God is good. I am not willing to conclude with absolute certainty that if I do that which is good I will leave the feast, nor am I will to say with absolute certainty that I will stay at the feast. What I can say is that when I think about knowing that there are neighbors who are hungry and weak and who need food and water, I strongly believe that if I love them as myself I will leave the feast and take them food and water. I can say that when I think about knowing that there are neighbors who do not know and understand God’s word, I strongly believe that if I love them as myself I will leave the feast and communicate God’s word to them so that they may all know and understand and do God’s will.

 

The alternative is for the neighbors at the feast to celebrate the choice of the neighbor to do God’s will, and for the hungry and thirsty neighbors who are not at the feast to celebrate the choice of the neighbor to do God’s will by being glad when the neighbors stay at the feast, not wanting them to leave and bring food and water to them. It would seem that this might be the right thing to do if the choice of this alternative is based on knowledge of the neighbors that to do God’s will is the choice that all neighbors should make, whether they are starving or not. If the neighbors recognize that the fundamental choice is the choice to do God’s will, perhaps it is right and good to celebrate that choice even if those who celebrate are hungry and weak.

 

Yet when I think about the person who has chosen to do God’s will, then I think that when they know that there are hungry and thirsty neighbors who need food and water, if they do God’s will they will want to leave the feast and take food and water to the hungry and thirsty neighbors. It seems to me that if he or she loves their neighbor as himself or herself, then they will choose to take food and water to them.

 

I am also faced with the following:

 

(Mark 14:4 NRSV)  But some were there who said to one another in anger, "Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they scolded her.

 

But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her."

 

This makes me think that there may be times when if we love our neighbor as ourself we should give them food and water and clothes, even if we know that there are other neighbors who need the food and water and clothes more than that neighbor. Perhaps however, as I believe, the text means that it was right and good for all people to turn to Jesus who gave us the word of God, who told us to give food and water to the hungry and thirsty, and to love Jesus, and be with him during the time leading up to his death. Many people did not love Jesus, yet it was right and good to do so. If this is what the text means, then it does not support a conclusion that people should stay at the feast and not go to the hungry and thirsty neighbors.

 

We must weigh what we can and should do in every situation. Perhaps there are times when we can and should have a feast to celebrate the choice of a neighbor to do God’s will, inviting all who are hungry and thirsty to join us at the feast. Perhaps there are times when those at the feast should leave the feast and take food and water to those neighbors who are hungry and thirsty. I have almost absolute faith that we can and should love our neighbor as ourself. Love the Lord our God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, and you will make the right choice in every situation.

  

--

 

It seems to me that only a very, very, very, very tiny number, an extraordinarily small group, of those of you who want to love God and your neighbors will choose to live a “fanatic life”. Almost no one will be willing to accept the physical consequences of a “fanatic life”, which might include horrific events, perhaps including the torture and death of adults, children, and infants. Only a few of you will "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself". Almost no one who reads our book will choose to love God and their neighbors as God would have them love.

 

If you are not willing to love as God would have you love, I strongly believe that there is a lesser love that is less than the love that God would have you love him and your neighbors with, yet is more than the least love that you can love God and your neighbors with, and that if you choose to love God and your neighbors with that lesser love, God will forgive you.

 

I hope that those of you who are unwilling to live a “fanatic life”, will live a “normal life” like the “normal life” we described. If you are unwilling to live a “fanatic life”, give food, water, and shelter, to as many of your hungry, thirsty, and homeless neighbors as you are willing to give. If you are unwilling to live a “fanatic life”, do as little physical harm to your neighbors as you are willing to do to minimize the physical harm that they do to their neighbors. If you are unwilling to live a “fanatic life”, love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and love your neighbors as much as yourself as you are willing to love them, with the hope that God may forgive you.

 

If, like almost every human being, you are unwilling to live a “fanatic life”, choose to live a “normal life” like the “normal life” we describe in our book, now.

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BRIEF COMMENT ON DOING LESS THAN YOU CAN AND SHOULD DO

 

It is true that I can and should communicate God's word to my neighbors so that those who do not know and understand God's will may know and understand their choice to do God's will or not to do God's will.

 

Similarly, it is true that I can and should communicate God's word to my neighbors so that those who do know and understand God's will may choose to do God's will.

 

Yet in all cases it is the choice of those neighbors to do God's will or not to do God's will, I cannot cause them to choose to do God's will or not to do God's will, for if I could they would not really have a choice.

 

When I communicate God's word to people, or give food to a hungry neighbor, or give water to a thirsty neighbor, or care for a sick neighbor, I am doing God's will.

 

And when I do not communicate God's word to people, or do not give food to a hungry neighbor, or do not give water to a thirsty neighbor, or do not care for a sick neighbor, I am not doing God's will.

 

Yet in both cases I am not causing the other person to do or not to do the only thing that really matters for them, I am not causing the other person to do God's will or not to do God's will.

 

I cannot cause my neighbor to choose to do God's will or not to choose to do God's will. It seems to me that the fact that what I do or do not do cannot cause my neighbor to do or not to do God’s will, gives me hope that God may forgive me for what I do (so long as I do not commit the eternal sin). I strongly believe that since nothing I do can cause my neighbor to do or not to do God’s will, I can live a “fanatic life” even if I do not communicate God's word to every person I can possibly communicate God’s word to, and I do not give food to every hungry neighbor and water to every thirsty neighbor who I am physically able to give food and water to, and I do not care for every sick neighbor who I am physically able to care for. I have hope that God may forgive me if I live a “fanatic life” where I do not always do that which I can and should do. I also have hope that if I do not live a fanatic life, if I do not do what I can and should do, I may live a “normal life” and love God and my neighbor with a lesser love, and that if I do so God may forgive me. I strongly believe that there is a lesser love that is less than the love that God would have you love him and your neighbors with, yet is more than the least love that you can love God and your neighbors with, and that if you choose to love God and your neighbors with that lesser love, God will forgive you.

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BRIEF COMMENT ON POSSIBILITIES

There are four possibilities I will briefly mention, one that for me is true and three I consider to be the only reasonable alternative possibilities. Remember, unless existence is far more complex than we think, ONLY ONE of the possibilities is true, all others are false and not really possibilities at all.

1. If there is no life after death then I believe that for human beings we live in a nihilistic universe. In our book we explain this possibility. Basically, we strongly believe that if Einstein was right, we live in a “background free”, fully relativistic, universe. If so we are convinced that time is an illusion and we live in a fundamentally “atemporal” universe.  In such a universe, on our physical death (again only if we have no non-physical existence) our past, present, and future would be annihilated. We have said that if this is true there is no reason whatsoever to be afraid, no reason to do anything negative, no reason not to do something positive, and every reason to live for the alternative possibility that we do have a non-physical existence.

2. If there is no life after death it is possible that humanists are right and our physical lives do have meaning. If so it may be true that human existence is maximized when the positive nature of each moment in human physical existence is maximized. This might or might not mean that life is maximized by living a life similar to the normal life we describe in our book. I strongly believe that there is an extremely small chance that it is true that positive moments in a purely physical existence are in any way whatsoever “preserved” after the physical death of an individual.

3. If there is life after death, it is possible that a life like the normal life we discussed in Appendix B of our book maximizes human existence and that, rather than a "fanatic life", such a "normal life" is the life God would have us live.

4. If there is life after death, it is possible that we can and should love God and our neighbor. In our book we explain why we believe that this is the one true possibility, and we tell you to search your heart, mind, and soul to know and understand what God would have you do. I have almost absolute faith that if you complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul, you will know and understand the love that God has given you, and you will know and understand that you can and should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

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BRIEF COMMENT ON MEN AND WOMEN – MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

In our book we conclude that we should not marry, and that if we do marry we should not divorce. I strongly believe that these conclusions are correct. Yet I also strongly believe that if you are unwilling to love God and your neighbors as God commands, then love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and love your neighbor as much as yourself as you are willing to love them, with the hope that God will forgive you. One of my strongest beliefs is that God will forgive many, most, or all, of those of you who love God and who love your neighbors, even if you do not love him with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and do not love your neighbor as yourself.  

If you live a normal life, and you marry, and perhaps have children, I strongly believe that you can still love God and your neighbors with a lesser love and God may forgive you. If you divorce, I strongly believe that you can still love God and your neighbors with a lesser love and God may forgive you. If you remarry, I strongly believe that you can still love God and your neighbors with a lesser love and God may forgive you.

If you are unwilling to love God and your neighbors as God commands, love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and love your neighbor as much as yourself as you are willing to love them, with the hope that God may forgive you.

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COMMENTS ON REAL, PURE, TRUE LOVE

Most of this section was moved to the Appendices of our book and our LifeNotes. Additional comments may be added here in the future.

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COMMENTS ON VIOLENCE, KILLING, AND SELF-DEFENSE

Most of this section was moved to the Appendices of our book and our LifeNotes, and to the topic in these comments about living a Fanatic Life or a Normal Life. Additional comments may be added here in the future.

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COMMENTS ON OUR ABILITY TO USE LOGIC AND REASON TO ANSWER QUESTIONS

We have already said that since we are only a small part of the whole universe, we can never determine by ourselves what the entire universe is like. A part of something never knows what the whole is like unless the whole makes itself known to the part. We can never know what is true unless the truth is revealed to us.

I am convinced that human intellect is strong enough that we often believe we have reached a (non-trivial) logically irrefutable conclusion, yet it is not strong enough that we recognize the impossibility of reaching a logically irrefutable conclusion. We are smart enough to construct what we conclude are true logical arguments and theories and laws, yet we are not smart enough to recognize the fact that, unless revealed to us by the whole, we cannot know whether our logical arguments and theories and laws are true, or not. No one, not you nor I nor the smartest person on earth can say with total certainty that anything is true, or for that matter, untrue.

As you live your life you will be confronted by thousands of arguments and conclusions that you will be told are logical, proven, and beyond doubt. You will be told that well educated, intelligent, people would never question the “truth” of the arguments and conclusions. If you reach the conclusion that human beings can use their intellect to prove anything to be absolutely true, you are wrong. If you believe that the statement I just made is irrefutably correct, you are wrong, because I am human and I cannot prove even that sentence to be true or false. It is very important that as you read articles, attend lectures, listen to friends, etc., you remain keenly aware of the absolute limits of the human intellect.

The best that you can do is to do what you can to think, and analyze, and test, and rethink, until you believe something is true. When your beliefs are strong you may choose to have faith in their truth. Real faith in the truth of something is a product of your total being. It is not only what you believe to be true, but what you want to be true. Faith is a total commitment by you to believe that what you think should be true is true, that what you think should be right and good is in fact right and good. Since nothing can be fully proved or disproved, unless truth has been somehow revealed, that which you have faith in is, for you, that which is true.

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COMMENTS ON OBSERVATIONS OF HUMAN CHOICES

It seems clear to me that the vast majority of human beings focus on specific “tasks” in their lives, defining “tasks” to mean daily items associated with eating, working, playing, etc. For example, almost every human being focuses on eating breakfast with little or no attention paid to those neighbors who are hungry, almost every human being focuses on watching rain fall with little or no attention paid to those neighbors who are homeless, almost every human being focuses on watching television with little or no attention paid to those neighbors who are sick, etc. I believe that it is fair to say that almost every human being spends the majority of their day focused on the task before them with no thought being given to neighbors who are in need. That does not mean that people do not focus on neighbors and help them, rather it means that they spend distinct, limited, periods of time doing so.

An underlying question is why is this true? It may be because human beings believe that they maximize their help for neighbors when they live a balanced life. On the other hand it may not. It seems that if altruism is an evolutionary mechanism, even if enhanced by application of human intellect, it would be relegated to discrete segments of time, as we see that it is in most people. If it is an evolutionary mechanism then altruism, indeed love, would be only one of several positive factors in assuring survival of the species. In a purely evolutionary model, love would provide physical and emotional support for spouse and extended family to improve the probability of reproduction and child rearing, while altruism would have a similar effect by supporting an extended family that helps protect and nurture children.

On the other hand it may be true that human existence is maximized when we love all our neighbors, even though loving all our neighbors does not result in any positive effect on survival of the species. Indeed, loving all neighbors and living a “fanatic life” may maximize human existence even if there is a negative, or a devastating, effect on survival of the species.

It seems that the vast majority of human beings focus love on family and extended family rather than on all neighbors. This would seem to be more consistent with an evolutionary process that focuses on extended family than with maximization of all neighbor’s lives. Yet the fact that most people focus attention on family does not in any way prove that life is an “evolutionary process”, nor does it mean that life is not maximized when we love our neighbor as ourself.

We cannot objectively quantify whether human life is maximized when we focus love on extended family or when we love all our neighbors as ourself, so we might look to our “intuitive feelings” for possible guidance.

We are faced with the possibility that love of all neighbors may not result in maximization of human life. It would seem, especially in an evolutionary model, that life might be maximized when periods of rest, eating, relaxation, entertainment, etc., are added to daily living. It would seem that the lives of those with musical talents might be maximized if they had the opportunity to experience music, the lives of those with athletic talents might be maximized if they had the opportunity to experience athletics, the lives of those with intellectual talents might be maximized if they had the opportunity to experience intellectual stimulus, etc. It may not be true, yet it seems that a significant number of human beings might maximize their lives by focusing their attention on one or two specific talents.

We also have the problem of weakening relationships. Human beings often have strong loving relationships with several family members that last a lifetime, however the majority seem to have relationships with other members of their extended family and neighbors outside that family that begin on a very positive note, yet over time weaken with familiarity. This effect seems rather strong, and is evidenced by the progression of friends that most people have over their lifetimes. It seems as if maintaining a loving relationship with every neighbor is not considered by the majority to be necessary to maximize human life, indeed it would seem that many people believe that there lives are maximized when they focus love on different neighbors at different times.

Yet we also see people who love all of their neighbors as self who appear to maximize their lives. For example, some choose to volunteer to live in foreign countries, in poverty and under extremely difficult physical conditions, so that they may help neighbors who are in need. They communicate God’s word to their neighbors. Virtually every day of their lives they give food and water and shelter to those in need, and may care for hundreds of sick children and adults. They love all of their neighbors as self, and receive love from many of them. Their lives are filled with the joy and happiness of love. I am most certainly not willing to conclude that the lives they live are not maximized. Indeed, I intuitively feel that human life is maximized when we love all our neighbors.

With all this said, I am simply not willing to say with absolute certainty that human life is maximized when we love all our neighbors. At the same time, I am not at all willing to conclude that human life is not maximized when we love each and every neighbor as ourself. It is quite possible that the joy and happiness that accompanies loving every one of your neighbors as yourself is far greater that any joy and happiness that you might enjoy from focusing love on your family and extended family. I strongly believe that "pure" love in the human heart, mind, and soul really does exist and is the one true, real, and good love that can and should be shared by all. When you complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul, I have almost absolute faith that you will know and understand that the true, pure, love, you can choose to give to God and all your neighbors, is the only love worth living for.

You must search your heart, mind, and soul to know and understand love. You must answer for yourself the question of whether or not human life is maximized when we love all our neighbors. You must answer for yourself the question of whether or not your life is maximized when you love all your neighbors as yourself. I have almost absolute faith that when you have completed your search of your heart and mind and soul, you will know and understand that you can and should "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself".

I strongly believe that there is a lesser love that is less than the love that God would have you love him and your neighbors with, yet is more than the least love that you can love God and your neighbors with, and that if you choose to love God and your neighbors with that lesser love, God will forgive you. If you are unwilling to love as God would have you love, choose to love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and choose to love your neighbors as much as yourself as you are willing to love them.

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COMMENTS ON A PRAGMATIC LIFE

A very brief additional comment on what we would call a “pragmatic life”. It seems clear to me that almost every human being chooses to live what is best described as a "pragmatic life". For example, almost every human being spends time during a typical week sleeping, working, enjoying meals, socializing with friends, learning, watching television, playing sports, resting, etc., and also helping neighbors. Each of the activities other than helping neighbors can be seen as being done at the expense of loving your neighbor as yourself, or, perhaps, can be seen as normal activities in a life where you love your neighbor as yourself. The most difficult question is whether or not human beings who love their neighbor as “self” will spend a large percent of their time engaged in such normal activities, as most people do. This is a very, very, difficult question.

I continue to return to the general question, if you love your neighbor as yourself and your neighbor is hungry, will you ever choose not to give them food? It seems that there is always a neighbor somewhere who is hungry, or who needs shelter, or who is sick and needs to be cared for, and there is always a neighbor who you can communicate God’s word to. It simply does not seem reasonable to me to say that those children we see on television who are starving, those children who live in your hometown who are neglected and hungry, those people in nursing homes and hospitals who are sick, etc., are not your neighbors who need food, water, shelter, care, etc. It seems clear that if you love as yourself the children on television who are starving, you will do what you can to feed them; if you love as yourself the children in your community who are neglected and hungry, you will give them companionship and food; and if you love as yourself the people in nursing homes and hospitals who are sick, you will care for them. It seems clear that if you love your neighbor as yourself, you will communicate God’s word to them.

It does not seem reasonable to me to conclude that pragmatic choices to spend time enjoying meals, socializing with friends, learning, watching television, playing sports, etc., are not done at the expense of loving your neighbor as yourself. No matter how much I would “like” to conclude that we can love our neighbor as ourself and spend time focused on enjoying meals, socializing with friends, learning, watching television, etc., I am unwilling to conclude that I love my neighbor as myself if I choose to watch a movie or play golf or go on vacation when my neighbor is hungry and I could give them food instead. I do not see how I can reach any other conclusion?

There is no question that whether they do so consciously or subconsciously, almost everyone lives a pragmatic life. If in fact the lives of those who live "pragmatic lives" are maximized, then I do not believe that life has meaning and purpose. It would seem that if living a "pragmatic life" maximizes human existence, then life is nothing more than an evolutionary process that seeks to maintain our species. Yet I do not believe this is the case.

Those who choose to live a life with pragmatic choices can choose to live a "normal life" like the "normal life" we describe in our book. As we have said, the "normal", life we describe is not the life we can and should live. I have almost absolute faith that if you search your heart, mind, and soul and know and understand love, you will know and understand that you can and should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Yet I strongly believe that those who live the "normal life" we describe may be forgiven by God.

Jesus said the following:

Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, "Then who can be saved?"

But Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

I strongly believe that there is a lesser love that is less than the love that God would have you love him and your neighbors with, yet is more than the least love that you can love God and your neighbors with, and that if you choose to love God and your neighbors with that lesser love, God will forgive you. If you are unwilling to love as God would have you love, choose to love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and choose to love your neighbors as much as yourself as you are willing to love them. If you do so, you may find yourself choosing to live a life like the "normal" life that we describe in our book and LifeNotes, with the hope that God will forgive you.

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MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS

Most of this section was moved to the Appendices of our book and our LifeNotes. Additional comments may be added here in the future.

Excerpt from The Emperor’s New Mind, by Roger Penrose explaining his calculation of the selection of a virtually infinitesimally tiny volume of the total phase space of all possible universes as the necessary "starting point" at the big bang (phase space is a complete mathematical description of any physical system) to provide a universe compatible with the second law of thermodynamics and with what we now observe. Penrose appears to say that the physics “confines the Creator’s choice”. I would say that the Creator was not confined by the physics, rather the Creator created the physics that provides a universe compatible with the second law of thermodynamics and with what we now observe:

 

(from the Emperor’s New Mind, Roger Penrose, pp 339-345 copyright 1989, Penguin Books & Oxford Press)

 

How special was the big bang?

 

Let us try to understand just how much of a constraint a condition such as WEYL

= 0 at the big bang was. For simplicity (as with the above discussion) we shall

suppose that the universe is closed. In order to be able to work out some clear-cut

figures, we shall assume, furthermore, that the number B of baryons-that is, the

number of protons and neutrons, taken together-in the universe is roughly given by

 

B = 10^80.

 

(There is no particular reason for this figure, apart from the fact that,

observationally B must be at least as large as this; Eddington once claimed to have

calculated B exactly, obtaining a figure which was close to the above value!

No-one seems to believe this particular calculation any more, but the value 10^80

appears to have stuck.) If B were taken to be larger than this (and perhaps, in actual

fact, B = infinity) then the figures that we would obtain would be even more

striking than the extraordinary figures that we shall be arriving at in a minute!

Try to imagine the phase space (cf. p. 177) of the entire universe! Each point in

this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have

started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a `pin' which is to be placed

at some point in the phase space (Fig. 7.19 not shown). Each different positioning of

the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator's

aim depends upon the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be

relatively `easy' to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a

large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. (Recall that the entropy

is proportional to the logarithm of the volume of the phase space concerned.) But

in order to start off the universe in state of low entropy-so that there will indeed be

a second law of thermodynamics-the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of

the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely

resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result? In order to

answer this question, we must first turn to a very remarkable formula, due to Jacob

Bekenstein (1972) and Stephen Hawking (1975), which tells us what the entropy

of a black hole must be.

 

Consider a black hole, and suppose that its horizon's surface area is A. The

Bekenstein-Hawking formula for the black hole's entropy is the:

 

Sbh  = A/4 + (kc^3 / Gh)

 

where k is Boltzmann's constant, c is the speed of light, G is Newton's gravitational

constant, and h is Planck's constant over 2pi. The essential part of this formula is the

A/4. The part in parentheses merely consists of the appropriate physical constants.

Thus, the entropy of a black hole is proportional to its surface area. For a

spherically symmetrical black hole, this surface area turns out to be proportional to

the square of the mass of the hole

 

A = m^2 x 8pi(G^2/c^4).

 

Putting this together with the Bekenstein-Hawking formula, we find that the

entropy of a black hole is proportional to the square of its mass:

 

                                Sbh = m^2 x 2pi (kG/hc)

 

Thus, the entropy per unit mass of a black hole is proportional to its mass, and so

gets larger and larger for larger and larger black holes. Hence, for a given amount

of mass-or equivalently, by Einstein's E = mc^2, for a given amount of energy-the

greatest entropy is achieved when the material has all collapsed into a black hole!

Moreover, two black holes gain (enormously) in entropy when they mutually

swallow one another up to produce a single united black hole! Large black holes,

such as those likely to be found in galactic centres, will provide absolutely

stupendous amounts of entropy-far and away larger than the other kinds of entropy

that one encounters in other types of physical situation.

 

There is actually a slight qualification needed to the statement that the greatest

entropy is achieved when all the mass is concentrated in a black hole. Hawking's

analysis of the thermodynamics of black holes, shows that there should be a

non-zero temperature also associated with a black hole. One implication of this is

that not quite all of the mass-energy can be contained within the black hole, in the

maximum entropy state, the maximum entropy being achieved by a black hole in

equilibrium with a `thermal bath of radiation'. The temperature of this radiation is

very tiny indeed for a black hole of any reasonable size. For example, for a black

hole of a solar mass, this temperature would be about 10^-7 K, which is somewhat

smaller than the lowest temperature that has been measured in any laboratory to

date, and very considerably lower than the 2.7 K temperature of intergalactic space.

For larger black holes, the Hawking temperature is even lower!

 

The Hawking temperature would become significant for our discussion only if

either: (i) much tinier black holes, referred to as mini-black holes, might exist in our

universe; or (ii) the universe does not recollapse before the Hawking evaporation

time-the time according to which the black hole would evaporate away completely.

With regard to (i), mini-black holes could only be produced in a suitably chaotic big

bang. Such mini-black holes cannot be very numerous in our actual universe, or

else their effects would have already been observed; moreover, according to the

viewpoint that I am expounding here, they ought to be absent altogether. As regards

(ii), for a solar-mass black hole, the Hawking evaporation time would be some

10^54 times the present age of the universe, and for larger black holes, it would be

considerably longer. It does not seem that these effects should substantially modify

the above arguments.

 

To get some feeling for the hugeness of black-hole entropy, let us consider what

was previously thought to supply the largest contribution to the entropy of the

universe, namely the 2.7 K black-body background radiation. Astrophysicists had

been struck by the enormous amounts of entropy that this radiation contains, which

is far in excess of the ordinary entropy figures that one encounters in other

processes (e.g. in the sun). The background radiation entropy is something like

10^8 for every baryon (where I am now choosing `natural units', so that

Boltzmann's constant, is unity). (In effect, this means that there are 10^8 photons in

the background radiation for every baryon.) Thus, with 10^88 baryons in all, we

should have a total entropy of

 

10^88

 

for the entropy in the background radiation in the universe.

Indeed, were it not for the black holes, this figure would represent the total

entropy of the universe, since the entropy in the background radiation swamps that

in all other ordinary processes. The entropy per baryon in the sun, for example, is of

order unity. On the other hand, by black-hole standards, the background radiation

entropy is utter `chicken feed'. For the Bekenstein-Hawking formula tells us that the

entropy per baryon in a solar mass black hole is about 10^20, in natural units, so

had the universe consisted entirely of solar mass black holes, the total figure would

have been very much larger than that given above, namely

 

10^100.

 

Of course, the universe is not so constructed, but this figure begins to tell us how

`small' the entropy in the background radiation must be considered to be when the

relentless effects of gravity begin to be taken into account.

Let us try to be a little more realistic. Rather than populating our galaxies

entirely with black holes, let us take them to consist mainly of ordinary stars-some

10^11 of them-and each to have a million (i.e. 10^6) solar-mass black-hole at its

core (as might be reasonable for our own Milky Way galaxy). Calculation shows

that the entropy per baryon would now be actually somewhat larger even than the

previous huge figure, namely now 10^21, giving a total entropy, in natural units, of

 

10^101.

 

We may anticipate that, after a very long time, a major fraction of the galaxies'

masses will be incorporated into the black holes at their centres. When this

happens, the entropy per baryon will be 10^31, giving a monstrous total of

 

10^111.

 

However, we are considering a closed universe so eventually it should recollapse;

and it is not unreasonable to estimate the entropy of the final crunch by using the

Bekenstein-Hawking formula as though the whole universe had formed a black

hole. This gives an entropy per baryon of 10^43, and the absolutely stupendous

total, for the entire big crunch would be

 

10^123.

 

This figure will give us an estimate of the total phase-space volume V available

to the Creator, since this entropy should represent the logarithm of the volume of

the (easily) largest compartment. Since 10^123 is the logarithm of the volume, the

volume must be the exponential of 10^123, i.e.

 

V = 10^10^123.

 

in natural units! (Some perceptive readers may feel that I should have used the

figure e^10^123, but for numbers of this size, the a and the 10 are essentially

interchangeable!) How big was the original phase-space volume W that the Creator

had to aim for in order to provide a universe compatible with the second law of

thermodynamics and with what we now observe? It does not much matter whether

we take the value

W = 10^10^101 or W = 10^10^88

given by the galactic black holes or by the background radiation, respectively, or a

much smaller (and, in fact, more appropriate) figure which would have been the

actual figure at the big bang. Either way, the ratio of V to W will be, closely

 

V/W = 10^10^123.

 

This now tells us how precise the Creator's aim must have been: namely to an

accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.

 

This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number

down in full, in the ordinary denary notation: it would be `1' followed by 10^123

successive `0 's! Even if we were to write a `0' on each separate proton and on each

separate neutron in the entire universe-and we could throw in all the other particles

as well for good measure-we should fall far short of writing down the figure

needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is seen to be in no

way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become

accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's)

which govern the behaviour of things from moment to moment.

But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the

singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would

appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL

part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find

is that there is a constraint

WEYL = 0

(or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final

singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator's choice to this very

tiny region of phase space. The assumption that this constraint applies at any initial

(but not final) space-time singularity, I have termed The Weyl Curvature

Hypothesis. Thus, it would seem, we need to understand why such a

time-asymmetric hypothesis should apply if we are to comprehend where the

second law has come from.

 

How can we gain any further understanding of the origin of the second law? We

seem to have been forced into an impasse. We need to understand why space-time

singularities have the structures that they appear to have; but space-time

singularities are regions where our understanding of physics has reached its limits.

The impasse provided by the existence of space-time singularities is sometimes

compared with another impasse: that encountered by physicists early in the

century, concerning the stability of atoms (cf. p. 228). In each case, the

well-established classical theory had come up with the answer `infinity', and had

thereby proved itself inadequate for the task. The singular behaviour of the

electromagnetic collapse of atoms was forestalled by quantum theory; and likewise

it should be quantum theory that yields a finite theory in place of the `infinite'

classical space-time singularities in the gravitational collapse of stars. But it can be

no ordinary quantum theory. It must be a quantum theory of the very structure of

space and time. Such a theory, if one existed, would be referred to as `quantum

gravity'. Quantum gravity's lack of existence is not for want of effort, expertise, or

ingenuity on the part of the physicists. Many first-rate scientific minds have

applied themselves to the construction of such a theory, but Without success. This

is the impasse to which we have been finally led in our attempts to understand the

directionality and the flow of time.

 

The reader may well be asking what good our journey has done us. In our quest

for understanding as to why time seems to flow in just one direction and not in the

other, we have had to travel to the very ends of time, and where the very notions of

space have dissolved away. What have we learnt from all this? We have learnt that

our theories are not yet adequate to provide answers, but what good does this do us

in our attempts to understand the mind? Despite the lack of an adequate theory, I

believe that there are indeed important lessons that we can learn from our journey.

We must now head back for home. Our return trip will be more speculative than

was the outward one, but in my opinion, there is no other reasonable route back!

I have almost absolute faith that if you complete your search of your heart, mind, and soul, you will know and understand the love that God has given you, and you will know and understand that you can and should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, nothing more, nothing less, period.

You will make your choice.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as your self.

If you are unwilling to love as God would have you love, choose to love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and choose to love your neighbors as much as yourself as you are willing to love them.

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as your self.

If you are unwilling to love as God would have you love, choose to love God with as much of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength as you are willing to love him with, and choose to love your neighbors as much as yourself as you are willing to love them.

12/14/08