Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Randomness Revisited

I am saddened by the brutal slaying of a French priest by an ISIS terrorist.  It probably will not gain much traction on the media.  It's one person, an old man, a Christian servant.

These slaughters, and mass murders, have happened so frequently this summer that we have lost our ability to be appalled, sad, shocked.

The word that should never be used in connection to them, however, is random.  There is nothing random about these crimes. They were chosen, purposefully--the action and the victims.

Randomness implies toss of a coin.  Coins should be heads or tails relatively equally, unless they are "fixed" with weights or something to change the equality.  When human choice enters in, randomness leaves.

Human choice being what it is, evil will be more rampant and will seem random.  We speak of good and evil as disembodied spirits that hover around, as if Lucas' mythology in Star Wars were really a viable philosophical or real option.  Evil is expressed in human choice and exists in the human psyche; it is all that is opposed to the goodness of God, which includes love, mercy, giving, life,  generosity.

I chose to wear a certain piece of clothing today for work (I am supposed to be on vacation but it's never that easy, is it, when one is in leadership?)  Even if I had closed my eyes and grabbed something from the closet, that wouldn't have been random, because the choice to wear an outfit selected that way was not random, and the set of clothes I have to choose from were not random.

My reflections on randomness started with reading the early chapters of Matthew.  Matthew makes it clear that nothing Jesus did was random, it was all in purposeful fulfillment of prophecy.   It is an indirect nudge to me to stop thinking randomly and acting randomly.  Life is too short.

I say this to encourage myself never to think of these murders as random, because that makes them pointless and that makes the person who dies less human.  A man was martyred for his faith yesterday in France.  What will the world do?

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