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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 

God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  

 

But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.

 

Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?

 

I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.

 

It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  

 

My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

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Free will is nonsense.  It's a plot device for blaming the powerless and excusing God who is suppose to be all knowing, all powerful and all good.

 

God answering you wouldn't violate your free will any more than me answering you violates your free will.  I was able to post this response because I am real.  With God the only response is silence, coincidence or excuses.

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If god is omniscient, then he already knows what choice you will make.  If the choice you make is already known, then you are not really making a "free" choice, but a pre-determined one.  Therefore, free will is a lie.

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Free will is definitely a stupid way to justify the existence of a loving god that doesn't intervene.

 

The same christians that talk about god not wanting to interfere with anyone's free will are the ones that thank him for everything he does.  Do they not see the irony?

 

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Any discussion of free will should start with a working definition of the term…a working definition that can be agreed upon before further discourse.

 

Here is a proposed definition:

 

The ability to choose between at least two logically available alternative choices.

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Any discussion of free will should start with a working definition of the term…a working definition that can be agreed upon before further discourse.

 

Here is a proposed definition:

 

The ability to choose between at least two logically available alternative choices.

 

I agree that your definition is accurate.  I'd be interested in hearing how christians define free will, but if any christian even attempts to explain free will to us here, they will likely change definitions several times.  They're usually pretty good at that. 

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Any discussion of free will should start with a working definition of the term…a working definition that can be agreed upon before further discourse.

 

Here is a proposed definition:

 

The ability to choose between at least two logically available alternative choices.

 

I agree that your definition is accurate.  I'd be interested in hearing how christians define free will, but if any christian even attempts to explain free will to us here, they will likely change definitions several times.  They're usually pretty good at that. 

 

I agree.  Even that definition has nuanced issues.  If choice A is a much better choice than choice B, then choosing A is based more on why it is better than any sort of freedom to choose between two equally "good" choices.  Even in that situation, however, the definition still works.  For example, if I can choose between going to the bank and the store, I may choose to go to the bank first because it closes in 20 minutes, or I may choose to go to the store first because I will be purchasing fresh seafood, it is hot outside and I don't want the fish to spoil.  As a more extreme example, imagine a robber comes up to me with a gun and says, "Your money or your life".  Well, I would choose giving the robber my money instead of letting him kill me.  But I would rather choose neither.  Is choosing neither a "logically available choice" (per the definition)?

 

If a god exists and is omniscient, it knows the choice I will make before I make it.  In that situation, I really have no choice.  At best I have the mere illusion of choice.

 

If a god exists, is omniscient and merely has foreknowledge of all possible logical alternative choices available to me (akin to WLC's "middle knowledge" speculation), and does not have actual knowledge of what choice I will actually make, that would necessarily include a series of choices that were always "proper" and would never result in the commission of a sin.  This would negate original sin and its claimed effects, among other things.  Of course, this particular god's omniscience doesn't quite fit the definition of omniscience, as it has restrictions.

 

I don't seem to remember any Christian putting forth a definition of free will for the purpose of rational discourse.  Usually, they say "free will" means "freedom to choose" and not much more.  That is a weak and unacceptable definition.  As to Christians changing definition of words or moving the goalposts, yes that is a common tactic of Christian Apologists.  It is quite lame.

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god's omniscience would not only know of all possible alternative choices I might make when making any given decision, it would also allow him to know all of the possible circumstances under which I would be making the said decision.  This would further give the illusion of free will.  However, god would also know the precise set of circumstances in which I will find myself when making the choice; therefore, though a variety of alternatives may exist, and a plethora of circumstances under which I may have chosen an alternative may also exist, god's omniscience simply precludes free will.  If he is, in fact, all-knowing, then predestination is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn.

 

If, on the other hand, god is omnipotent, then he can change the choice from what it would have been to something different.  If he can change the choice, then, theoretically, he doesn't actually "know" what I will choose until he makes the decision himself.  This means that if god is omnipotent, then he cannot also be omniscient.  In this case, however, I still make whatever choice I have been predestined to make.

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god's omniscience would not only know of all possible alternative choices I might make when making any given decision, it would also allow him to know all of the possible circumstances under which I would be making the said decision.  This would further give the illusion of free will.  However, god would also know the precise set of circumstances in which I will find myself when making the choice; therefore, though a variety of alternatives may exist, and a plethora of circumstances under which I may have chosen an alternative may also exist, god's omniscience simply precludes free will.  If he is, in fact, all-knowing, then predestination is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn.

 

If, on the other hand, god is omnipotent, then he can change the choice from what it would have been to something different.  If he can change the choice, then, theoretically, he doesn't actually "know" what I will choose until he makes the decision himself.  This means that if god is omnipotent, then he cannot also be omniscient.  In this case, however, I still make whatever choice I have been predestined to make.

If a god exists that is neither omniscient or omnipotent, or if a god does not exists at all, is free will (as defined above in post #6) then possible?

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god's omniscience would not only know of all possible alternative choices I might make when making any given decision, it would also allow him to know all of the possible circumstances under which I would be making the said decision.  This would further give the illusion of free will.  However, god would also know the precise set of circumstances in which I will find myself when making the choice; therefore, though a variety of alternatives may exist, and a plethora of circumstances under which I may have chosen an alternative may also exist, god's omniscience simply precludes free will.  If he is, in fact, all-knowing, then predestination is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn.

 

If, on the other hand, god is omnipotent, then he can change the choice from what it would have been to something different.  If he can change the choice, then, theoretically, he doesn't actually "know" what I will choose until he makes the decision himself.  This means that if god is omnipotent, then he cannot also be omniscient.  In this case, however, I still make whatever choice I have been predestined to make.

If a god exists that is neither omniscient or omnipotent, or if a god does not exists at all, is free will (as defined above in post #6) then possible?

 

Personally, I don't believe it is.  My decision-making skills were developed under circumstances which were beyond my control.  Environment, nature/nurture, physiology, culture etc. all played a part in making me who I am.  And the choices I make are an extension or expression of who I am (the sum of the various influences which were beyond my control).  In other words, our lives design us to be the kind of people who will make the choices we end up making. 

 

Given the choice between Coke and Pepsi, I will always choose Pepsi.  This is so, because my life has made of me someone who prefers Pepsi (it tastes better to me, for example; and I certainly have no control over my taste buds).  Sure, I'm free to choose Coke, but I would only be doing so as a reaction to the sound knowledge that I am a devout Pepsian; not because I am free to enjoy Coke as much.  So, for me, the even the ability to "choose" Coke is only an illusion of free will.

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god's omniscience would not only know of all possible alternative choices I might make when making any given decision, it would also allow him to know all of the possible circumstances under which I would be making the said decision.  This would further give the illusion of free will.  However, god would also know the precise set of circumstances in which I will find myself when making the choice; therefore, though a variety of alternatives may exist, and a plethora of circumstances under which I may have chosen an alternative may also exist, god's omniscience simply precludes free will.  If he is, in fact, all-knowing, then predestination is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn.

 

If, on the other hand, god is omnipotent, then he can change the choice from what it would have been to something different.  If he can change the choice, then, theoretically, he doesn't actually "know" what I will choose until he makes the decision himself.  This means that if god is omnipotent, then he cannot also be omniscient.  In this case, however, I still make whatever choice I have been predestined to make.

If a god exists that is neither omniscient or omnipotent, or if a god does not exists at all, is free will (as defined above in post #6) then possible?

 

Personally, I don't believe it is.  My decision-making skills were developed under circumstances which were beyond my control.  Environment, nature/nurture, physiology, culture etc. all played a part in making me who I am.  And the choices I make are an extension or expression of who I am (the sum of the various influences which were beyond my control).  In other words, our lives design us to be the kind of people who will make the choices we end up making. 

 

Given the choice between Coke and Pepsi, I will always choose Pepsi.  This is so, because my life has made of me someone who prefers Pepsi (it tastes better to me, for example; and I certainly have no control over my taste buds).  Sure, I'm free to choose Coke, but I would only be doing so as a reaction to the sound knowledge that I am a devout Pepsian; not because I am free to enjoy Coke as much.  So, for me, the even the ability to "choose" Coke is only an illusion of free will.

 

Then, as a "Pepsian", perhaps the choice of Coke is not a logically available alternative choice because of your personal logical reasons (as per the definition in post #6 above), and would only be an illogical available choice, for you.  But one example does not negate the possibility of free will as being a choice between two logically available alternatives.  Are you claiming that there can never be a choice between two logically available alternatives?

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god's omniscience would not only know of all possible alternative choices I might make when making any given decision, it would also allow him to know all of the possible circumstances under which I would be making the said decision.  This would further give the illusion of free will.  However, god would also know the precise set of circumstances in which I will find myself when making the choice; therefore, though a variety of alternatives may exist, and a plethora of circumstances under which I may have chosen an alternative may also exist, god's omniscience simply precludes free will.  If he is, in fact, all-knowing, then predestination is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn.

 

If, on the other hand, god is omnipotent, then he can change the choice from what it would have been to something different.  If he can change the choice, then, theoretically, he doesn't actually "know" what I will choose until he makes the decision himself.  This means that if god is omnipotent, then he cannot also be omniscient.  In this case, however, I still make whatever choice I have been predestined to make.

If a god exists that is neither omniscient or omnipotent, or if a god does not exists at all, is free will (as defined above in post #6) then possible?

 

Personally, I don't believe it is.  My decision-making skills were developed under circumstances which were beyond my control.  Environment, nature/nurture, physiology, culture etc. all played a part in making me who I am.  And the choices I make are an extension or expression of who I am (the sum of the various influences which were beyond my control).  In other words, our lives design us to be the kind of people who will make the choices we end up making. 

 

Given the choice between Coke and Pepsi, I will always choose Pepsi.  This is so, because my life has made of me someone who prefers Pepsi (it tastes better to me, for example; and I certainly have no control over my taste buds).  Sure, I'm free to choose Coke, but I would only be doing so as a reaction to the sound knowledge that I am a devout Pepsian; not because I am free to enjoy Coke as much.  So, for me, the even the ability to "choose" Coke is only an illusion of free will.

 

Then, as a "Pepsian", perhaps the choice of Coke is not a logically available alternative choice because of your personal logical reasons (as per the definition in post #6 above), and would only be an illogical available choice, for you.  But one example does not negate the possibility of free will as being a choice between two logically available alternatives.  Are you claiming that there can never be a choice between two logically available alternatives?

 

I view Pepsi and Coke as two logically available alternatives, especially for me, given that I live in Atlanta (birthplace of Coke), but was born and raised in the Carolinas (birthplace of Pepsi).  Both are logically equal for me, though for different reasons.  Coke is logical due to the pressure to conform and be accepted within my current place of residence.  Pepsi is part of my heritage.  What I am saying is that life has made me a person who values heritage over peer pressure; and, thus, I will chose Pepsi.  This is where logic and rationality fail.  I know there is no logical reason to choose Pepsi over Coke.  My father claimed that, blindfolded, I'd never know the difference, until I proved him wrong.

 

I would, therefore, posit the argument that, when we make the choices our lives have designed us to make, we choose based upon more than logic, even if the alternatives (to a disinterested third party) appear to be equal.

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Christians, why do you justify your loving creator's apathy by claiming that him taking action would violate our free will?  

 

givemeyourmoney.jpg

 

Would you rationalize an armed robber's actions by blaming his victim?  

What is the difference?

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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 
God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  
 
But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.
 
Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?
 
I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.
 
It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  
 
My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

 

 

I read your post. I'm trying to understand.

 

"But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?"

 

What "sign" were you looking for?

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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 
God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  
 
But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.
 
Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?
 
I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.
 
It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  
 
My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

 

 

I read your post. I'm trying to understand.

 

"But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?"

 

What "sign" were you looking for?

 

 

What part of my post do you struggle to understand?

As for a sign, anything where I would have been reassured that he was real and I had a real relationship would have sufficed.

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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 
God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  
 
But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.
 
Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?
 
I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.
 
It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  
 
My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

 

 

I read your post. I'm trying to understand.

 

"But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?"

 

What "sign" were you looking for?

 

 

What part of my post do you struggle to understand?

As for a sign, anything where I would have been reassured that he was real and I had a real relationship would have sufficed.

 

 

I do not understand what you mean by a sign.

 

What sign would have reassured you?

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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 
God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  
 
But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.
 
Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?
 
I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.
 
It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  
 
My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

 

 

I read your post. I'm trying to understand.

 

"But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?"

 

What "sign" were you looking for?

 

 

What part of my post do you struggle to understand?

As for a sign, anything where I would have been reassured that he was real and I had a real relationship would have sufficed.

 

 

I do not understand what you mean by a sign.

 

What sign would have reassured you?

 

 

Something more than a coincidence.  Hearing his voice perhaps.  A sensing or feeling that would take away the doubt.  A sense of peace about him being god.  Any of those, or anything he would want to do.  

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I have heard this argument in various forms from the time I was a young child: 
God couldn't intervene to do X, because he didn't want to violate our free will.  
 
But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?  Wasn't I using my 'free will' to find God?  If he even gave me one uplifting and encouraging thought, it would have helped me remain a christian and it would NOT have violated my free will, since I freely chose him.
 
Jesus said, "ask and ye shall receive."  I asked him to help me become closer to him when my faith was dwindling.  I pleaded and begged him to strengthen my faith.  I guess you could say, I willed it as much as any human with free will could.  I chose him freely.  Would it have violated my free will for him to have helped me believe he was real?
 
I offered myself to Jesus for years.  I was a willing participant in the 'relationship'.  I put him above everything in my life... even felt guilty that I might actually love my sons more.
 
It was a gradual, painful process, but eventually I realised he wasn't there.  I was only torturing myself with a self-made mental illness.  
 
My question is, how would God helping me remain christian violate my free will when I was willing to follow him all along?  

 

 

 

I read your post. I'm trying to understand.

 

"But what about the fact that I called out to God, begging him to give me any sign that he was there for me?"

 

What "sign" were you looking for?

 

 

What part of my post do you struggle to understand?

As for a sign, anything where I would have been reassured that he was real and I had a real relationship would have sufficed.

 

 

I do not understand what you mean by a sign.

 

What sign would have reassured you?

 

 

Something more than a coincidence.  Hearing his voice perhaps.  A sensing or feeling that would take away the doubt.  A sense of peace about him being god.  Any of those, or anything he would want to do.  

 

 

 

Thanks...that helps.

 

As a believer the thing that helped me was, when taking the "leap of faith" towards God,

I did not gauge my relationship in Christ simply by my feelings or emotions. I just accepted

Christ in faith.

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How can we possibly exercise free will since god has told us if we don't do what he wants (believe in Jesus, etc.) that he will cast us in the burning lake of fire for eternity? If he wants us to trust in Jesus, what gratification can he get when the only way he can get it is through the threat of eternal torture? That is anything but free will. Indeed the courageous people are those who honor god by disbelieving that the real god would make such a horrible threat to his creatures. Now that is honoring the real god.  bill

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"As a believer the thing that helped me was, when taking the "leap of faith" towards God,


I did not gauge my relationship in Christ simply by my feelings or emotions. I just accepted


Christ in faith."   ironhorse


 


That is the same faith that radical Islamist rely on. Tell me, how do you have faith without reason or emotion? What's left but guesswork?   bill

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"As a believer the thing that helped me was, when taking the "leap of faith" towards God,

I did not gauge my relationship in Christ simply by my feelings or emotions. I just accepted

Christ in faith."   ironhorse

 

That is the same faith that radical Islamist rely on. Tell me, how do you have faith without reason or emotion? What's left but guesswork?   bill

 

 

Good point, Bill.  What if you had grown up learning that Allah was the one true god?  How would you know if it were true?  

You say you don't gauge your relationship in Christ by feelings, but just accepting sounds like an emotional decision to me.

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"As a believer the thing that helped me was, when taking the "leap of faith" towards God,

I did not gauge my relationship in Christ simply by my feelings or emotions. I just accepted

Christ in faith."   ironhorse

 

That is the same faith that radical Islamist rely on. Tell me, how do you have faith without reason or emotion? What's left but guesswork?   bill

 

 

 

No, it's not the same leap as a radical Islamist. I can take my leap with a ham sandwich

and a cold glass of beer. I'm not jumping into law, but grace.

 

I didn't guess...I just took the leap.

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so.. it's the ham and beer that makes one choice right, and another not?

 

Now that is the weirdest reasoning I have ever heard.

 

 

You know Jesus didn't eat pork, right?

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so.. it's the ham and beer that makes one choice right, and another not?

 

Now that is the weirdest reasoning I have ever heard.

 

 

You know Jesus didn't eat pork, right?

 

 

That was not my point Ravenstar. The point is that God accepted me with my 

ham sandwich and beer (plus all my other luggage) by his grace and love.

 

As a Jew, Jesus did not eat pork but he did destroy the idea that by simply following  certain laws made one right with God.

There is no saving grace in either eating or not eating certain foods. 

 

“the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”

~Romans 14:17

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