Advent Day 17: Free

Advent Day 17: Free

Today’s topic is “Free.” This is a picture of one of the habitats at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, the nicest zoo I have ever visited. The habitats are created to be as natural as possible and give lots of space to the animals, and there is a strong emphasis on conservation, science, and education rather than just gawking for entertainment.

But I wanted to use this to make a little comment on a cherished Christian concept, “free will.” When I was Catholic, I held on passionately to the concept of free will because it’s the closest theologians have ever come to answering the problem of theodicy, or why evil exists, while preserving the notions of a deity who is all-powerful, all-knowing, completely good, and loving.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.  The good news is that once you let go of the shopping list of concepts you wish to hold on to and prop up with the help of “free will”, it really doesn’t matter. Free will is not a useful concept in this form once religion is taken out of the equation; instead, responsibility, information, and context now matter.

The photo was taken with my trusty Holga toy camera.

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2005, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.