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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Economics of Souls

Anthony Flew was recently reported as possibly believng in God. Or not, depending on who you listen to. Flew, if you're not aware, is a renowned atheist (which seems a lot to me like being "a really famous non-baseball player" - the definition of your renown is that you are not something?). This makes him a key asset for Christian groups who want to discredit atheism (again - discrediting something without any affirmative claims?). They do this sort of thing every once in a while with Darwin, claiming he renounced evolution on his deathbed.

The fallacy of argument by Red Rover aside, I found this to be an interesting question: from a theological perspective, what are the market dynamics for souls? It seems as if the competing factions (God and the Devil) have totally different reasons for competition in the market, and as such, there shouldn't be a significant amount of overlap - and indeed, from what I've been led to believe, the devil largely competes for the righteous while God tries to get the sinners. The problem is the propensities of the composition of the respective groups. Those who try to be "good" try to be, by and large, really good, whereas those who tend to be evil bastards are acting largely out of convenience.

The problem is the following: both sides have limited resources. Given, God is "almighty" and so on, but popular accounts of His exploits tend to say that he will only recruit through avatars on the moral coil. Ergo, effective limitation. The Devil likewise has the same sorts of restrictions. So to most efficiently allocate these resources (assuming that a "soul" that is guaranteed is roughly equivilent to any other - that is, there are no LeBron James souls that will score 40 points a night and run the point. On that note, are aborted fetusus considerd "prep-to-pro" souls? Another post...) the Devil would not want to be consistently going after the Jobs of the world - it's a terrible resource strain for practically no benefit. But likewise, it's redundant to go after the gamblers and crack whores of the world, as they are going to end up in his bank anyway. So there is the class of individuals who repersent the optimal equillibrium between good and evil who the devil would probably prefer to use his resources harvesting. This is likely the same group God will be competing for.

This means that an individual on the mortal plain is left with the economic incentive to be basically good, but also have some cruel or sinful tendencies in order to drive up her soul marketability. The other catch is that the individual can't consciously be this way. Acting good to try and get rewards from God means that one will become property of hte devil, whereas one can actively contract with the devil (interesting note - the process of contracting with the devil seems to be enough to drive one beyond redemption. The devil doesn't have very many incentives to bargain.) It seems as if this means that one needs to elect a lifestyle which has natural propensities towards that balance without necessarily doing so in order to get there. Any thoughts on what this career is, please let me know.

cranked out at 2:45 PM | |

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