We’re responsible for our choices, which means in a deterministic world with no freewill, all events are amoral, meaning there’s no longer any such thing as morality or as just punishments or rewards. Assuming we have freewill, though, all you have to do is ask yourself what free choices you’ve made. Maybe you made a choice to become a doctor rather than a lawyer. That would be a choice. Or maybe you decided to give some money to charity. That would be another choice.

But when did you choose to believe what you think is rationally overwhelming to believe, such as that the US is part of North America or that elephants are larger than mice? As for your religion, either you were taught it, perhaps at a young age, which is how most people acquire the religion of their parents, or else you just randomly picked between worldviews.

In the first case, there would be no choice in having the eventual religion belief. You’d have learned your religion just like you learned geography, math, and history. Perhaps in learning the religion, you come to think there’s no good evidence for it. That disbelief wouldn’t be a choice. Your critical faculties would simply realize there’s something wrong with the religion. You could choose whether to vocalize your doubts, but the doubts would arise from the working of your brain. At most, the choice would be to pretend you still believe in the religion when you really don’t.

Or maybe the teacher convinces you there’s no problem with the religion, after all, so your doubts vanish and you go back to taking the religion’s truth for granted, just like you believe it’s obvious that elephants are larger than mice or that the sky is blue.

In the second case, there is indeed a choice as to which worldview to pick, but this would come at the cost of the superficiality of the belief. If you just randomly choose between religions, without learning anything about them, just to say you have a certain worldview, you don’t really believe in any of them. Your choice would be to pretend to believe, to fit it in somehow to society.

Either way, the monotheistic notion of being divinely punished for your beliefs or for your doubts is wildly irrational and nonsensical. If you disagree with that, notice that you have no choice in the matter. Your doubts about what I’m saying come from the bottom of your mind. You don’t choose to have them, because they’re based on your fundamental beliefs which you were likely taught from a young age, along with everything else you take for granted.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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