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Are Religion And Free Will Compatible?

jat93
Posts: 1,440
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5/1/2012 8:22:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The Relationship Between Religion And Free Will

"You can have all the faith you want in spirits, and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don't be an idiot. Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways." - Dr. House

Anyone can blabber on about "faith" as much as they want, but in the end nobody seems to trust God's supreme plan enough that they won't look both ways before they cross the street. Which is interesting, because you'd think if one truly believes there's a perfect deity who has devised a perfect plan for all of us, whatever happens is going to happen regardless of whether or not you look both ways - so why not just walk?

Let's say there is a God and he is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He creates a natural order - his divine will. If this God is all powerful and all knowing (in other words, perfect) then his will, the natural order should be perfect as well. If this perfect God and his perfect plan both exist, it has been around since he first established the universe and its natural order and all of history is just that plan playing out. If all of that is true, if an event is going to happen as part of God's supreme, ultimate plan, that thing will happen whether or not you try to make it happen or try to prevent it - so looking both ways should be irrelevant, because God knows what's best, and as a perfect being with a perfect plan that best thing should happen whether or not there is human interference (looking both ways to be safe).

If God already knows what we will choose, already knows the outcome of every choice, that is not free will, only the cruel illusion of free will. The choice was already made at the beginning of time, by God, meaning there never was any choice. And complicating this paradox is the fact that every single religion has some form of prayer. If God has a plan for everything and everyone, prayer could not affect his behavior. If he changed his plan according to a prayer, that would be an admission that God's original plan was flawed, making him fallible. If only those prayers that fit into God's original plan are answered, then prayer as a means of getting a response from God (changing his will) is rather pointless anyway.

All religions also believe in some form of condition/commandments to be obeyed in order to truly receive God's love. I have a problem with saying such a God grants free will to his people. He's basically holding everyone over a pit of fire saying "I'm all powerful and all knowing and perfect, follow me and good things will happen, but if you don't I'll drop you into this fire to suffer forever.... But you have free will to do whatever you want." This doesn't seem like true free will to me; it seems like free will only at the point of a gun and the threat that God will fire it if you don't do exactly as he pleases. Can you imagine if someone put a gun to your head and said you had free will to do whatever you want but if you don't do exactly as he pleases he will kill you? That is by no means free will.
CrazyPerson
Posts: 1,114
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5/1/2012 8:57:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This is why I don't listen to God - he's basically a big meanie.
But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
- - - Watts
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
- - - Watts
Reason_Alliance
Posts: 1,283
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5/1/2012 9:08:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/1/2012 8:22:51 PM, jat93 wrote:
The Relationship Between Religion And Free Will

"You can have all the faith you want in spirits, and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don't be an idiot. Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways." - Dr. House

Anyone can blabber on about "faith" as much as they want, but in the end nobody seems to trust God's supreme plan enough that they won't look both ways before they cross the street. Which is interesting, because you'd think if one truly believes there's a perfect deity who has devised a perfect plan for all of us, whatever happens is going to happen regardless of whether or not you look both ways - so why not just walk?

Let's say there is a God and he is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He creates a natural order - his divine will. If this God is all powerful and all knowing (in other words, perfect) then his will, the natural order should be perfect as well. If this perfect God and his perfect plan both exist, it has been around since he first established the universe and its natural order and all of history is just that plan playing out. If all of that is true, if an event is going to happen as part of God's supreme, ultimate plan, that thing will happen whether or not you try to make it happen or try to prevent it - so looking both ways should be irrelevant, because God knows what's best, and as a perfect being with a perfect plan that best thing should happen whether or not there is human interference (looking both ways to be safe).

If God already knows what we will choose, already knows the outcome of every choice, that is not free will, only the cruel illusion of free will. The choice was already made at the beginning of time, by God, meaning there never was any choice. And complicating this paradox is the fact that every single religion has some form of prayer. If God has a plan for everything and everyone, prayer could not affect his behavior. If he changed his plan according to a prayer, that would be an admission that God's original plan was flawed, making him fallible. If only those prayers that fit into God's original plan are answered, then prayer as a means of getting a response from God (changing his will) is rather pointless anyway.

All religions also believe in some form of condition/commandments to be obeyed in order to truly receive God's love. I have a problem with saying such a God grants free will to his people. He's basically holding everyone over a pit of fire saying "I'm all powerful and all knowing and perfect, follow me and good things will happen, but if you don't I'll drop you into this fire to suffer forever.... But you have free will to do whatever you want." This doesn't seem like true free will to me; it seems like free will only at the point of a gun and the threat that God will fire it if you don't do exactly as he pleases. Can you imagine if someone put a gun to your head and said you had free will to do whatever you want but if you don't do exactly as he pleases he will kill you? That is by no means free will.

None of this really follows, but rather than logic chop everything you wrote; I think you'll receive more out of researching,

Metaphysical Libertarianism
Molinism

^If these are even possible, it follows that free will is compatible with at least CHristian theism.

However, I don't think free will follows on a naturalistic world, for if everything is physical, and mental states are physical states, then such states simply follow physical laws. At best here you'll have compatabalism.
cbrhawk1
Posts: 588
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5/1/2012 9:19:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/1/2012 8:22:51 PM, jat93 wrote:
The Relationship Between Religion And Free Will

"You can have all the faith you want in spirits, and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don't be an idiot. Cause you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways." - Dr. House

You're right. This is likely the reason we're saved from sin. We've lost our ability to have complete faith in God. What we do have, however, is a relationship with God, and that is the real important thing.

Anyone can blabber on about "faith" as much as they want, but in the end nobody seems to trust God's supreme plan enough that they won't look both ways before they cross the street. Which is interesting, because you'd think if one truly believes there's a perfect deity who has devised a perfect plan for all of us, whatever happens is going to happen regardless of whether or not you look both ways - so why not just walk?

This is what a lot of people choose to do, walk. That's the difference between someone who loves God and an atheist. We seek truth, they want out. We're in it for the long haul, and we realize that, as easy as it is to say tat we are animals, we are not animals. We are different in that God has made a promise to us.

Truth hurts, not the easiest thing to swallow every day that I am absolutely sickening in my ignorance, just as every human is, but it's better to accept it and get better than to deny it and pretend everything is good. The shell an atheist creates for himself can only take so much punishment before it cracks.

Let's say there is a God and he is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He creates a natural order - his divine will. If this God is all powerful and all knowing (in other words, perfect) then his will, the natural order should be perfect as well. If this perfect God and his perfect plan both exist, it has been around since he first established the universe and its natural order and all of history is just that plan playing out. If all of that is true, if an event is going to happen as part of God's supreme, ultimate plan, that thing will happen whether or not you try to make it happen or try to prevent it - so looking both ways should be irrelevant, because God knows what's best, and as a perfect being with a perfect plan that best thing should happen whether or not there is human interference (looking both ways to be safe).

Our decisions are predetermined, yes, but that doesn't mean we don't go through with it. Free will doesn't mean "do whatever you want." It means "make your own decisions." There is a big difference. A computer, for example, makes decisions. It takes the position of a switch, be it open or closed (0 or 1), and goes a different path depending.

The difference between a computer and a human is that computers do not learn very well. They store information and then do as the processor(s) direct.

Also, further undefined is the problem of consciousness, something science has done absolutely nothing to answer with hard evidence.

If God already knows what we will choose, already knows the outcome of every choice, that is not free will, only the cruel illusion of free will. The choice was already made at the beginning of time, by God, meaning there never was any choice. And complicating this paradox is the fact that every single religion has some form of prayer. If God has a plan for everything and everyone, prayer could not affect his behavior. If he changed his plan according to a prayer, that would be an admission that God's original plan was flawed, making him fallible. If only those prayers that fit into God's original plan are answered, then prayer as a means of getting a response from God (changing his will) is rather pointless anyway.

We don't know in which manner God made his decisions. The Universe could be programmed around human consciousness where humans are free. But, even if that turns out to be the case that God pre-programmed humans, so what? It doesn't make me any less aware, my senses any less reliable, and it doesn't mean love is not there.

All religions also believe in some form of condition/commandments to be obeyed in order to truly receive God's love. I have a problem with saying such a God grants free will to his people. He's basically holding everyone over a pit of fire saying "I'm all powerful and all knowing and perfect, follow me and good things will happen, but if you don't I'll drop you into this fire to suffer forever.... But you have free will to do whatever you want." This doesn't seem like true free will to me; it seems like free will only at the point of a gun and the threat that God will fire it if you don't do exactly as he pleases. Can you imagine if someone put a gun to your head and said you had free will to do whatever you want but if you don't do exactly as he pleases he will kill you? That is by no means free will.

God doesn't drop you anywhere. Don't put the impetus on God for YOUR decisions. You choose to go with God, or not go with God. God doesn't "drop" you anywhere. God takes his followers, packs, and leaves.

You didn't want to go with God, and you got your wish -- free will!
"All science is 'wrong.'" ~ drafterman
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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5/1/2012 11:12:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Free will in what sense? Because most people, and certainly I, don't believe God controls our every action. He may have plans and he may be able to direct us, but I don't believe He writes our life in a way that completely alleviates choice. Now God may know our every action(omniscience) or not(I'm undecided), but that doesn't have to do anything with free-will, which some people do believe(not saying you do). Also if you're a Christian and you trust the scriptures to a certain extent, God does change His mind. Moses made Him shortly after the golden caff. There are other instances that I can't think of. And then of course there are certain commandments we have to obey. That is only to be expected, and it wouldn't be reasonable to assume we could do just whatever we want. We have a God ordained purpose and it is only natural that we obey Him.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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5/1/2012 11:19:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/1/2012 8:22:51 PM, jat93 wrote:

If God already knows what we will choose, already knows the outcome of every choice, that is not free will, only the cruel illusion of free will. The choice was already made at the beginning of time, by God, meaning there never was any choice. And complicating this paradox is the fact that every single religion has some form of prayer. If God has a plan for everything and everyone, prayer could not affect his behavior. If he changed his plan according to a prayer, that would be an admission that God's original plan was flawed, making him fallible. If only those prayers that fit into God's original plan are answered, then prayer as a means of getting a response from God (changing his will) is rather pointless anyway.


Never mind, you do believe omniscience alleviates choice...

Here's my problem with that; God knowing our every action has no relevance to free-will. Ask yourself the question, would I commit the same action whether God knew about it or not? As a hypothetical scenario, let's say God knows that on October 2 you will choose to have coffee instead of tea. Would you still have coffee if God wasn't omniscient? The obvious answer is yes. Making that choice is not dependent on God knowing that you will make that choice, for if God did not know you would make that choice you still would choose to have the coffee. Therefore free will is entirely and completely irrelevant to Gods omniscience.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)