Do you believe that a higher power controls our fate or that we choose our own destinies?
I don’t believe in an external anthropomorphic deity that resides in some faraway, mythical place and controls our destinies and judges us based upon our race, our sexual orientation, our religion or some other meaningless criteria.
However, I do subscribe to the idea of a universal spirit, consciousness, energy or force that can exert some influence over us because it connects us with all beings and everything else. It’s a very fluid and abstract concept that can be manifested in any number of ways, some tangible, some not so much. If anything, it’s a work in progress.
I find the concept of free will to be very complex. I believe we are a product of our decisions, actions and intentions but they are subject to an infinite number of influences and have an infinite number of possible outcomes and consequences. Just as a pebble dropped into a pond creates a ripple that affects every water molecule in the pond, our actions affect people, things, and events, sometimes in ways we cannot comprehend.
If there is a higher power (i.e., God) that controls our fate, then perhaps free will is only an illusion that allows us to feel as if we have some control over our lives. Attributing events to God’s will, fate or destiny can to be a convenient way to avoid personal responsibility. Why does God’s will prevail in some cases but not others? Why should God favor some people over others? I haven’t heard a reasonable answer to that. There are several different variations on the concept of karma and I’ve only begun to sort that out. However, it’s been my experience and observation that “what goes around comes around,” both the good and the bad.
If our fates are preordained and there is a Divine Plan, I don’t believe mankind is intellectually equipped to know it. I put little credence in anyone who claims to have inside knowledge of God’s Plan. If anything, such claims raise suspicion about their motives. I like the Buddhist approach, deal with things now, do our dharma and our karma will be taken care of.
Surrendering myself to the Divine, however it manifests itself…