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Is there free will in Christianity?


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Posted by aspirin99

 

 

 

The other day, I was trying to recall what it was that started me down the path of free thinking (which ultimately resulted in my leaving Christianity). One thing that did it was my realization that hell could not be real. This video summarizes how I came to this conclusion. It compares the doctrines of free will and eternal punishment, and concludes that they cannot coexist.

 

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http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/07...ristianity.html

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Guest Cathal

I don't see how Free Will and Eternal Punishment cancel each other out... but Omnisentience and Free Will certainly do cancel each other out.

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Guest god of the gaps

if humans had no free will, then a benevolent divinity exacting punishment upon humans would be unjust. in any religion with a tenet of eternal punishment, such as Christianity, free will is a necessity. free will and eternal punishment aren't necessarily incompatible; however, combining free will and divine omniscience or eternal punishment and omnibenevolence can prove to much more problematical. and don't even get me started on the free will vs. determinism issue. ;-)

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How the fuck is it that christians talk about people having free will, then say shit about "God's will" or "God's plan"? WHICH IS IT?!! If people have free will, then "God's will" won't affect their actions, and their god wouldn't be able to plan on a damn thing.

 

Usually the concept of people having free will is used to absolve God of any responsibilty for people burning in hell, but this bullshit cop-out doesn't work either. People can freely choose how they act, but what happens to them is, according to the christians, ultimately "God's will". If their god wills for people to burn in hell for all eternity, that god IS NOT GOOD and DOES NOT deserve praise.

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There is no free will. The mere concept of saying that Jesus wants a loving relationship with us...And if we don't then we'll rot in hell. Where is the free will in that? When I believed it was all about the "get out of hell free" card.

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The free will response by Christians can get a little frustrating, especially if your philosophical views give you a stance that at least partially leans more towards determinism.

 

Debating it can be interesting though.

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Guest BackSlyder
if humans had no free will, then a benevolent divinity exacting punishment upon humans would be unjust. in any religion with a tenet of eternal punishment, such as Christianity, free will is a necessity. free will and eternal punishment aren't necessarily incompatible; however, combining free will and divine omniscience or eternal punishment and omnibenevolence can prove to much more problematical.

 

 

Before "forsaking" my faith, I believed that the bible taught that man has no free will. I held a somewhat calvinistic view of the bible. But at the same time, I was a universalist (all men will one day be saved).

 

What you say is true. If there is no free will, punishment would be unjust. But, this is what makes the claims of the bible totally absurd. As far as I'm concerned, the bible (though it may contradict itself on certain points in this matter) predominantly teaches that God is sovereign and man has no free will. Read Romans 9 to see what I mean.

 

This is why I have come to the conclusion that christianity is a load of bull. As the bible teaches, God has predestined every event in history (from stubing your toe in the morning to the Holocaust), and then turns around and punishes us for what he ultimately caused. This is crap.

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This was one of my big reasons for turning away from organized religion in general. The whole concept of free will, plus the bible saying that god was all knowing. If he knows what I am going to do before I do it, then it's not free will. I am merely following a script. I am therefore punished for what he has already decided I am going to do. When I asked a priest about this I got this mangled response that was more like smoke and mirrors then an honest answer.

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This was one of my big reasons for turning away from organized religion in general. The whole concept of free will, plus the bible saying that god was all knowing. If he knows what I am going to do before I do it, then it's not free will. I am merely following a script. I am therefore punished for what he has already decided I am going to do. When I asked a priest about this I got this mangled response that was more like smoke and mirrors then an honest answer.

 

 

Thank you. This free will issue was one of the main things that turned me against Christianity. It was used over and over as an excuse for God/Christ, such as "he/she's hellbound but had the choice to follow Christ". I came to the conclusion that it was the only excuse they had for their God cursing Adam and Eve. God knew what would happen in the Garden (he is omiscient), but there was always "free choice". It started there and is used every day as the ultimate excuse for anything their Bible God does. The fact that the "fall of man" was a setup by God is excused by free will.

 

The Calvanists do not believe in free will; but unfortunately then we have the absurdity of an omiscient God planning or at least knowing from all eternity that millions or billions will go to hell without any possiblity or hope of redemption. As you say, Reka, "I am therefore punished for what he has already decided I am going to do." Does this make any sense at all? How could the priest or anyone else reasonably answer this?

 

I decided it made no sense at all, there is no such thing as free will, so I left.

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If god is all-knowing and all-powerful, then there can be no free will. We are just actors on a stage reading lines written at the Creation. If any of us can think, speak, or write anything that god doesn't already know, then he is not all-knowing. He knew before I was born that I would be an apostate who would burn in Hell. Could I change the outcome?

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Saying christians have free will is like saying a theft victim had free will when the theif gave him the choice to either give him all his cash or get a bullet in the brain. That's not free will, that's bullying.

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