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Free Will?


vampyre
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A question I have always had about Christianity is God's plan. Now, according to myth, God has a plan for everything and everyone. God knows everything that is ever going to happen and knows what everyone is thinking.

 

How can a Christian then say that humans have free will? How can a person have free will and still be a part of this giant machine that is God's plan?

 

I would appreciate answers from all religious and secular viewpoints.

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Free will means you are free to choose without reward or repercussions regardless of choice.

 

The Christians present free will in much the same fashion as the Mafioso that tells you that you are free to pay them for protection or have your property destroyed. The same one's you pay for protection are the one's who would destroy you, just like in blind "faith".

 

(PS, the love is also about exactly the same).

 

Best Rasmus

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A question I have always had about Christianity is God's plan. Now, according to myth, God has a plan for everything and everyone. God knows everything that is ever going to happen and knows what everyone is thinking.

 

How can a Christian then say that humans have free will? How can a person have free will and still be a part of this giant machine that is God's plan?

 

I would appreciate answers from all religious and secular viewpoints.

 

Omniscience and free actions are mutually exclusive. They cannot be reconciled unless you are willing to state that God's omniscience does not include future events, which would imply that the future is random and undetermined.

 

 

Free will means you are free to choose without reward or repercussions regardless of choice.

 

No it isn't.

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May I ask what free will means to you then, Asimov?

 

An action is free if and only if the person could have chosen to not do x at point t.

 

What Gnosisguest was referring to was coerced actions.

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i might add that free will vs. determinism has always been debated in the history of the church.

 

No clear view emerges in the New Testament.

Augustine and Jerome vs. Pelagius and Julian was a rawkus!!

Calvin and Luther vs. Erasmus was a good one.

Nowadays every one loves free will but that will probably change the more we learn about AI and brain chemistry, etc.

 

The think I think is funny is the half assed and contradictory ways that my fundies dealt with that... for instance, the world was determined to end according to the apocalypse... but we were supposed to make our own decisions for Christ!?

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i might add that free will vs. determinism has always been debated in the history of the church.

 

No clear view emerges in the New Testament.

Augustine and Jerome vs. Pelagius and Julian was a rawkus!!

Calvin and Luther vs. Erasmus was a good one.

Nowadays every one loves free will but that will probably change the more we learn about AI and brain chemistry, etc.

 

The think I think is funny is the half assed and contradictory ways that my fundies dealt with that... for instance, the world was determined to end according to the apocalypse... but we were supposed to make our own decisions for Christ!?

 

What kind of determinism? There's fatalism (hard determinism) and just determinism.

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i think the church always resisted "fate" because she was a pagan goddess, but basically appropriated the powers of fate and syncretized them with God's sovereignty.

 

Augustine, Luther, Calvin and their ilk always denied free will on the defiinition of God's sovereignty or offered arguments from God's "foreknowledge." If God truly rules the universe then God must rule the outcomes, or if God's already knows the outcome then that outcome must have necessarily proceeded over calculatable previous steps. so many famous theologians denied the freedom of human will. and these forms of softer "Christian determinism" don't seem hard enough to contradict the Church's "common sense."

 

to me, Christianity's like having your Fate and eating her too!

 

asimov,

 

i'm unclear of what you mean by "just determinism."

 

is it in reference to "fair" or to "only" determinism?

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asimov,

 

i'm unclear of what you mean by "just determinism."

 

is it in reference to "fair" or to "only" determinism?

 

What do you mean by "fair"?

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"fair" as a synonym of "just"... i'm still not sure what you meant by "just determinism."

 

is it "mere" determinism?

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"fair" as a synonym of "just"... i'm still not sure what you meant by "just determinism."

 

is it "mere" determinism?

 

Oh, hahaha....no I mean plain ol' determinism.

 

Fatalism states that it doesn't matter what we do because we are fated anyways.

 

So, if I contract a disease:

 

1. I can go to the doctor.

2. I can not go to the doctor.

 

If I'm fated to get well then I'll get well regardless of whether or not I go to the doctor. So it doesn't matter if I go to the doctor.

 

Determinism is similar but it states that human action is the result of the future so we will be fated to get well if we go to the doctor and he cures us.

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I'm corn-fused...

 

Is determinism just a fancy way of saying "My actions determine the outcome?"

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Determinism is the idead or proposition that all event and even human decisions and actions are predetermined through a unbroken chain of causes. Each event is a cause to the next event, and all can be drawn back to the Big Bang. In essence its based on the ideas that cognition is a totally natural phenomenon, and that all matter and energy is entangled. But even if it is so, the system is so highly complex that it is perceieved as "random" or chaotic, so it's not predictable, only determined. I think there is one problem though, and that is there still are uncertainties on the quantum level, like quantum fluctuations, so not until it can be established a predictable cause-and-effect on that level, determinism isn't completely written in stone.

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I don't think I like determinism then. I like to believe that I have at least some semblance of control over my life and that I am not just typing these words because of cause and effect.

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yeah, alot of people hate determinism and prefer freedom of will.

 

i'm up in the air about it. everybody's life is based on factors which they did not choose... race, economy, parents, biochemical/biophysical, culture, technology.

 

i guess my position is sort of a "soft" determinism... i make the choices on some psychological level but the choices i make are very limited by both internal and external factors that are often out of my control.

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Determinism is the idead or proposition that all event and even human decisions and actions are predetermined through a unbroken chain of causes. Each event is a cause to the next event, and all can be drawn back to the Big Bang. In essence its based on the ideas that cognition is a totally natural phenomenon, and that all matter and energy is entangled.

 

I'm a determinist, but not so hadr-lined as what you described, Han. I accept quantum events as uncaused contingencies and I accept that there ARE causal relationships. I think we can predict future outcomes using these causal relationships and that the future is determined, but since humans are cognitive and have volition we in essence create our own determined future through that volition.

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I don't think I like determinism then. I like to believe that I have at least some semblance of control over my life and that I am not just typing these words because of cause and effect.

 

:lmao: But this preferrence is just what the Fates determined you would like to believe.

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I'm a determinist, but not so hadr-lined as what you described, Han. I accept quantum events as uncaused contingencies and I accept that there ARE causal relationships. I think we can predict future outcomes using these causal relationships and that the future is determined, but since humans are cognitive and have volition we in essence create our own determined future through that volition.

Sure. I'm certain we can divide the "deterministic" camp into strong or weak deterministic views. I think too that most is within the deterministic system, and still there's the unpredictable quantum events. I think you and I actually agree on this point. :)

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I don't know much about determinism. I think that since all events procede out from the begining of time, and the first actions that took place afterward (big bang, or whatever event heralded the beginning of the universe as it is) that no event afterward is not a direct result of the preceeding ones, down to the most minute atomic fluctuations. To me that means ultimately, everything we are and do, even down to the fact that in about two seconds I'm going to blink is because of the events leading up to it.

 

Would that make me a determinist, and if so, would I be a hard determinist?

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I don't know much about determinism. I think that since all events procede out from the begining of time, and the first actions that took place afterward (big bang, or whatever event heralded the beginning of the universe as it is) that no event afterward is not a direct result of the preceeding ones, down to the most minute atomic fluctuations. To me that means ultimately, everything we are and do, even down to the fact that in about two seconds I'm going to blink is because of the events leading up to it.

 

Would that make me a determinist, and if so, would I be a hard determinist?

 

Yes, and:

 

1. Do you think that human effort effects the future in anyway?

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Well, I don't think that just knowing everything that will happen is because of everything that did happen means you just sit around waiting for shit to happen.

 

I think not knowing exactly what will happen means we and at least act as though we have some control, although things like mental instability and the like are determined by ppreceeding events, if that makes any sense.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

 

 

Yes, and:

 

1. Do you think that human effort effects the future in anyway?

 

Human effort effects the future, but those efforts are caused by events that preceeded them and so on back to the beginning. If I realise that I can affect the future, and therefore it is not determined, I may decide to make no effort at all and call it my free will to do so. But that decision was the result of a chain of events and not an instant autonomous action. This idea of having the freedom to do what you will could only be an illusion. It seems to me that the choice you make is the only choice you could have made given the infinite number of variables that led to the moment of decision.

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Well, I don't think that just knowing everything that will happen is because of everything that did happen means you just sit around waiting for shit to happen.

 

I think not knowing exactly what will happen means we and at least act as though we have some control, although things like mental instability and the like are determined by ppreceeding events, if that makes any sense.

 

Soft determinist.

 

Human effort effects the future, but those efforts are caused by events that preceeded them and so on back to the beginning.

 

What if a certain chain of efforts was caused by an uncaused contingent event?

 

If I realise that I can affect the future, and therefore it is not determined, I may decide to make no effort at all and call it my free will to do so. But that decision was the result of a chain of events and not an instant autonomous action. This idea of having the freedom to do what you will could only be an illusion. It seems to me that the choice you make is the only choice you could have made given the infinite number of variables that led to the moment of decision.

 

In a way, yes. You could say that they are INFLUENCED by past events, but not directly the cause of them. A ball my hit you in the eye and you might automatically react in pain, but then you have the choice of throwing the ball back at the person or walking away.

 

Now, in the fatalist version of events, you would be fated to throw the ball back at the person regardless of what happened.

 

In the determinist version, your choice to throw or walk away determines the course of future events.

 

Either view is unsupportable, methinks...but oh well.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
What if a certain chain of efforts was caused by an uncaused contingent event?

 

I'd need an example of an uncaused contingent event to even understand the question.

 

In a way, yes. You could say that they are INFLUENCED by past events, but not directly the cause of them. A ball my hit you in the eye and you might automatically react in pain, but then you have the choice of throwing the ball back at the person or walking away.

 

I'm going to react to the ball, one way or another. Other preceeding factors in addition to the impact of the ball determine exactly what that reaction will be. I may be a generally angry person, but this week I've turned over a new leaf, so even though I immediately want to throw the ball, I stop and rethink it. I walk away proud of my ability to make free decisions about my behavior, knowing that if that had happened last week I would have reacted differently. But we ignore the fact the a particular set of circumstances, many of which we are completely oblivious to, led us to make that decision in that moment. If say, our breakfast that morning wasn't very good, so we didn't eat it and we're grumpy, so even though we're trying to be nicer, we forget that fact long enough to lauch the ball back.

 

It's a complex chain of cause and effect so all encompassing that it overwhelms us. We couldn't possibly see every cog in the machine for what it is (except maybe on acid) so we go about doing what we "choose" to do.

 

Now, in the fatalist version of events, you would be fated to throw the ball back at the person regardless of what happened.

 

More to the point, you are fated to respond however you respond because of everything that has happened to you up to and including the ball whacking you.

 

In the determinist version, your choice to throw or walk away determines the course of future events.

 

Yes, but your choice was determined by previous events. It's not as if every choice is a first cause.

 

Either view is unsupportable, methinks...but oh well.

 

 

The fact that I can go out and change my life into almost anything gives me the illusion that I have free will. The fact that I am living this one makes me wonder.

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Guest tigg13

I think the most important factor in this issue is whether or not the universe is finite or infinite.

 

To accurately predict any given event, one must know all of the variables involved. When you consider the butterfly effect and the idea that the entire universe is inter-connected (as quantum theory suggests), then 100% accuracy is only possible in a finite universe. In an infinite universe there would be an infinite number of variables constantly interacting with each other all of the time. Short term predictions on a macro-scale would be possible (even easy in some cases), but the further into the future you try to "see" the more indeterminate reality becomes. That infinitely large number of infinitesimally small variables will always untimately lead to unpredictable results.

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