I have been interested in Philosophy and Religion for most of my life. So much so in fact, that I’m right now considering taking an online degree program in Philosophy. If I do, it will be a Bachelor degree with an accredited college. There are several in the U.S. and in fact, all over the world that you can take completely online. Major Universities such as Penn State have these programs. It’s something I’m seriously looking into.
One branch of Philosophy that I’m particularly interested in is called “Determinism” and has to do with Human free will. Determinism states that all actions and events that have ever happened or will happen are the result of previous actions and events that go back all the way to the very beginning of the Universe and therefore, everything that happens is predetermined. If you believe Determinism and you are also a person of faith then you believe that everything is determined by God and no one has free will.
What’s interesting about this theory is that science has actually discovered that there may be some provable truth to it. The study of Quantum Mechanics has shown that there are many sub atomic particles in the Universe. They are everywhere including inside of you and me. Neutrinos for instance, are so small that they can and do travel right between the spaces between atoms. So Neutrinos are actually traveling right through your body as you read this! What this means is that there are sub atomic particles inside your brain that actually move and have actions. However, they can only be described by the laws of probability. These actions are unknown to us and uncontrollable by us.
The actions that happen with sub atomic particles in the brain precede your thoughts. Which means that an electron or other sub atomic particle in the brain moves to the left and you decide to get up and go get a snack. If the particle move to the right, you decide to take a walk instead. This is an over simplified explanation but basically it says that all our actions and thoughts are determined by previous actions and events and we really don’t have free will.
Not having free will brings up a lot of questions. For instance, if we don’t have free will, meaning all our thoughts and actions are predetermined by something else, why then does society have rules? Why do we have laws that when broken, bring about punishment? If we don’t have free will then we can’t reasonably be held responsible for our actions. If you are a person of faith and believe that God predetermines all our thoughts and actions then why would we be punished for “sin” when our sins were predetermined by God? Why would there be a Heaven and Hell to differentiate between sinners and saints?
This is why I love Philosophy. It raises so many thought provoking questions. There is so much to learn and Philosophy just keeps on moving forward with new ideas every day. We’ll see where this goes. I’ve got more online research to do before I actually pick a college and apply. I’ll keep you posted!