The Instigator
MidnightSpecial
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
NapoleonofNerds
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

To Be A Christian is to be a Determinist, and hence there is no freedom.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 887 times Debate No: 844
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (6)

 

MidnightSpecial

Pro

I'd prefer if it was a christian who debated this:

My argument revolves around two points:

1) God is outside of human time. God has made the universe and more over ended the universe. He knows and made the sequence of events that must happen in order for the universe to end. Hence, a determinist framework has been set up for this universe. Since the framework is determinist, there is no freedom because the world is controlled by cause and effect.

2) Jesus was a temporal being, which means his human nature was, for some time, on the human time line. Jesus had too die on the cross in order to save us. If he had not died on the cross, in the way determined by god, original sin would not have been defeated. Jesus had no choice, it was his purpose to save us from original sin. All of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus had to go as planned by god, so no free choice was involved. Hence we have no free choice.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

I'm a Catholic theology student, and the Church has traditionally negated this proposition (most notably as a fixture of Calvinism) on the following bases:

1) Free Will is a particular gift of God

I'd agree that God would have the power to compel human belief if that were His intent, but He decided instead to give people the ability to choose for themselves, including deciding whether to be moral and whether to believe. The goal of God when making humans was not to make souls who would be automatons, he has the Angels for that. He wanted people who could guide and cooperate with creation as independent actors. Christ's death on the Cross was, at least in part, to liberate us - to make us free. It cannot be said that we are free if we don't have free will.

2) A Lack of Free Will is irreconcilable with a Loving God

To make the claim that we have no free will while aware that there are sinners out there and that man fell through his own fault leaves us with a situation in which a Christian must affirm that God damns people to suffering knowingly, and that God created man intending for him to fall, rather than man falling by his own choice. This is inconsistent with God loving humans and desiring that all be saved. In a model like one in the proposition the necessary conclusion is that God hates some of his creatures and desires their eternal torment.

3) Lack of Freedom mitigates the necessity of morality
The majority of Jesus' message regarded moral living and right action, as did the majority of the law given by God at Sinai. It is impossible to simultaneously assert that we must live good lives or to agree with Saint James that Faith without Works is dead if we are not in control of our actions. This mitigation of moral responsibility is dangerous both from a social and theological perspective.

In response to your first point, I'd say that you have the burden of demonstrating a clear link between God's extratemporality and determinism. Why is it a consequence of God being outside time that we aren't free? Why isn't it possible that he simply understands our physical universe in a way different than we do, such that he knows the effects of our choices without violating our ability to make them?

For your second point, I'll say that Christ knew that he was intended to die on the cross, but this doesn't mean he didn't have the choice not to do so. He specifically prays in the Garden of Eden that he hoped God would allow him not to die, but by God's will not Christ's. This indicates first that it would be theoretically possible for God not to let Jesus die, and second that Jesus had the agency to stop his death but chose to subordinate his free will to God's. God didn't have to save us from our sin, he chose to, and that Grace like all Grace is given freely by him and accepted freely by us.
Debate Round No. 1
MidnightSpecial

Pro

MidnightSpecial forfeited this round.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

NapoleonofNerds forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
MidnightSpecial

Pro

MidnightSpecial forfeited this round.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

It's too bad you didn't keep up with this topic. If you post again, I'd be happy to finish the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
MidnightSpecial

Pro

MidnightSpecial forfeited this round.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

Oh well. It is too bad this didn't continue. On to the voting.

This is the sentence I'm adding to the above comment to make my argument (or lack thereof) 100 characters.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by robertc 9 years ago
robertc
I can understand the Catholic Church`s interest in negating this argument as it was the basic argument for Martin Luther`s manifesto for the Protestant reformation "Bondage of the Will." The argument that people have a free will justifies political systems of reward and punishment that conservatives by definition are committed to defend. The Catholic Church was at the time [about 500 years ago] the premier conservative institution of Europe and was facing a problem of devaluation of its gold-based wealth with the arrival of Spanish treasure ships from the New World and was selling its promises of heavenly salvation for money and thus depriving those who could not afford it. Without a "free will" argument to justify political systems there is little justification for anything besides relative equality in wealth and power distribution as people cannot be held responsible for their actions and therefore are undeserving. Adolph Hitler felt so strongly about this that he commissioned the world`s most important propaganda film which he titled "Triumph of the Will" to refute this idea. Political control through manipulation is what Nazism and fascism are all about. Refutation of the idea of free will is an idea that was and is so revolutionary that it still has not been accepted even by people who call themselves Lutherans. It is the cornerstone of left-wing political thought and without it conservative apologists would have no arguments to justify their status quos.
Posted by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
LoL...he couldn't even rebuttle. Great work con. Your side of the debate was very convincing and very well thought out.
Posted by qwerty15ster 9 years ago
qwerty15ster
Christians choose to be determinists, I will agree that outside Christianity (and other religions like it) that we have free will. But when you choose to call yourself a Christian, you have submitted your complete and utter will to God, because Christianity claims that God has a plan for all of our lives. So the utter paradox of this is, Christians choose to give up give up free will. So because this topic is only about Christianity, within Christianity you dont have free will because you have given it up to God.
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
I find it ironic that an atheist would accuse Christians of determinism. It is the logical conclusion of materialism, as free will can not be empirically proved. At least we have the honesty to say free will is a mystery.

Go Catholicism!
Posted by impactyourworld89 9 years ago
impactyourworld89
If we had no freedom, we wouldn't be where we are today. If we didn't have free will, Adam and Eve wouldn't have had a choice to sin or not.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Evan_MacIan 9 years ago
Evan_MacIan
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Vote Placed by NapoleonofNerds 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by HempforVictory 9 years ago
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