While we may or may not agree that we all have free will and are able to make our own choices, there is something we should all remember that with every choice we make, comes responsibility. We are responsible for our actions, and the affect they may have on both ourselves and on others. We live in a time when many people no longer take responsibility for their actions, always blaming their problems on someone else.
If we are able to make choices, freely, then we should be held responsible for the consequences of these actions. That isn’t the way it is in these times. Instead we live in a world where it is all about “me” and nothing is my fault. Parents no longer discipline their children, we don’t keep score in games, teachers aren’t allowed to use red ink and nothing bad is allowed to happen, at least we won’t blame anyone for anything bad that happens. This is a problem.
Here is the catch however, even when we don’t take responsibility for our choices, we still are responsible. We may be able to deflect blame to others, but in the end, when, as the old song goes, “When the roll is called up yonder” we will be held responsible. This leads us to the question: Does it matter, should it matter?
Yes and yes.
How can we learn to make choices? This isn’t as easy to answer as one might think, especially in today’s world. It really depends on what our end goal is. Where do we want to end up? When we decide that, then we can better decide what choices we should make.
When you look at the title of this blog, it says “The Wayward Catholic” which means I am Catholic. Catholics believe in life after death. We believe that when we die we have a chance to go to heaven and live there for eternity, which is a good thing. We believe the way we can do this is to follow the teachings of Jesus and live like he did. This leads to a problem because not everyone feels the same.
There is no God, there is no Heaven there is no Hell, is how many people think. If this is true why should we follow these rules? We should just do what we want because once we die, that’s it. Let’s look at this. The other word in the title of my blog, is wayward. Here is the definition of Wayward from Dictionary.com:
1. turned or turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient.
This is what I was, I turned away from the CAtholic faith, which means when I began my journey back, one of the questions I had to ask myself was “Is there a Heaven and a Hell?” Obviously I believe there is. But if you don’t, that’s fine, but I want you to think about something. When I was researching all these questions I had, I came across something called “Pascal’s Wager” You can click on the link to get the info on Pacal, but I will give you what you need to know.
When we look at what Heaven and Hell are, whether or not you believe they are real or just fiction, Heaven seems a lot better than Hell. Read Dantes Inferno if you want to get a description of Hell. Therefore, if there is a chance there is life after death, and Heaven and Hell exists, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to do whatever you could to get there? What Pascal believed, and what makes perfect sense when you really think about it, is this.
You have a fifty/fifty chance of being right, either there is an after-life or there isn’t. I admit, it is a crap shoot. But wouldn’t it be better to bet there is an after-life and be wrong, than to bet there isn’t one and find out there really is? As I said above, in order to get to Heaven we need to live a Christ-like life, or at least as close to it as we can. If we do this, we would certainly be living a good, honest, caring life. We would be doing good things, treating others kindly, etc. and we will be a good person. On the other hand if we don’t live a Christ-like way, we might not necessarily be a good person. We would live for today, we would probably be very materialistic and do anything to get ahead. There is a pretty good chance you wouldn’t be a good person.
Now, here is the point. Wouldn’t it be better to live a Christ-like life with the hope of getting to Heaven and what it has to offer and be wrong, than to not live a Christ-like life figuring there is no Heaven and find out there is a Heaven and conversely Hell? After all if you live a good life and find out Heaven doesn’t exist, at least you lived a good, honest life and were considered good. Whereas if you don’t live a Christ-like life and Hell exists, well, you will end up there. Which is the better bet?
This is where making the right choices is important. We should bet there is a Heaven and do whatever we can to make sure we will get there. This should be our guide.