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On the lunacy of free will
#1
On the lunacy of free will
In the Christian view of the world, the concept of "free will" must create more pretzel logic than just about any other topic.

On one hand Christians believe that God is Omnipotent and not time-bound in scope, and supposedly controls everything from massively macro / global events down to how you feel when you wake up in the morning.

Things that happen are by "God's will". If a natural disaster happens, that's God's will. If there is a drought and all your crops die, it's God's will. If someone dies from disease, it's God's will. etc. In this simple, human-action disconnected level of thinking, the paradigm works well (and explains a bunch of otherwise unexplainable things, makes people feel better for there being some explanation other than just pure chance - ie. we must pray harder next year to save our crops - creates a sense of power where there is none, and power to the priests who seem to have the answers)

Christians also believe that individual people have free will. The will to choose whether to believe in God, for one (what fun would it be if your path to the afterlife was predetermined?) The extent to which you follow God's "laws". At a micro level again, at this human-action-centric level of thinking the "you actually are responsible for your own shit" paradigm works well. 

In today's society one person frequently has the ability to affect not just the lives of their immediate circle of relations, something that in the past would have been extremely rare, unless you were a king for example and interactions between the micro and macro views would have been quite rare also. 

Today, when you bring the two views together, the whole concept of free will fails miserably. 
  • If a pilot with a plane full of passengers decides to commit suicide using his free will, and kills everyone on board, doesn't that disrupt Gods "plan" for the entire set of passengers, their families and everyone related without giving them any free will? 
  • If a CEO of a pharmaceutical company decides to ignore laws concerning safety of operations and dumps chemicals into a local river this affects the health of thousands of people for generations.
In Christian ethos either God has a plan for us individually, or he does not. If he does, then clearly this plan can be completely disrupted by any one of the other billions of people on this planet. This makes the plan meaningless. None of this of course makes any sense at all.

On a sidenote, I had a frustrating conversation on another forum with a Christian in relation to a news story of a drug addict who later in life managed to get clean, go to university, graduate and become a successful person. There was no mention of God or religion anywhere in the story at all - just a good news story about a woman who managed to pull herself out of the quagmire of drugs by her own strength and fortitude (not many stories like that around these days). 
This Christian posted that this was proof that God was great and God pulled this woman from her life of sin and misery. There are so many contradictory things with this viewpoint that I don't even know where to start:
  • The woman was not a Christian, otherwise her thanks to God for her successes would have been plastered all over the story
  • The Christian poster ignored the obvious point that if it was God that pulled the woman out of drug dependency, then he must have also put her in it in the first place unless free will only works in one direction? 
  • So Christians believe that God only ever saves people, but people themselves get into trouble by giving in to Satan, but that is just a little too convenient - kind of like a terrible good cop, bad cop routine.
  • The woman in the story clearly was not born again or recently come to God, so how she managed to "extract herself from Satan" without coming to Jesus is anyone's guess, or why God would save her when she clearly does not give him any credit!
Thoughts?
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#2
RE: On the lunacy of free will
Those people freely chose to sinfully fly, the captain was just enacting gods will that they be removed from the earth. He was the only one who -didn't- have free will.
It's bad for the rest of the world when americans are paid so little they can only afford chocolate mined by child slaves and clothes made in overseas sweatshops. - Robyn Pennacchia
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#3
RE: On the lunacy of free will
If the concept of free will is confusing to you, then don't conceptualize it from a Christian point of view. Simple.
"Imagination, life is your creation."
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#4
RE: On the lunacy of free will
christian god =/= free will
The things that pass for knowledge I can't understand



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#5
RE: On the lunacy of free will
I think many Christians believe that free will is all around, but God does "tweaks" in the minds of other Christians who pray, and also does "tweaks" to the physical world in response to prayer as long as the prayer is consistent with God's plan.

So, the plan can get bent, but not really broken -- but only if you're a Christian.
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#6
RE: On the lunacy of free will
(October 11, 2021 at 4:05 pm)Ahriman Wrote: If the concept of free will is confusing to you, then don't conceptualize it from a Christian point of view. Simple.

I'm not confused by the concept of free will. I believe in life everyone has complete free will to do whatever they like - there is no man in the sky directing anything from a magic playbook script, nor is there such a thing as fate. There are no contradictions.

What I don't however understand is how Christians get around the crazy-ass (to me anyway) contradictions their world view introduces. Therefore I am posting my view and hopefully get some interesting thoughts posted in return which is the whole point of this forum, n'est-ce pas?

BTW. it's not simple at all. Let me turn the question around for you - being an ex Catholic - why does the concept of Christian "Free Will" not confuse you?
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#7
RE: On the lunacy of free will
(October 11, 2021 at 4:05 pm)Ahriman Wrote: If the concept of free will is confusing to you, then don't conceptualize it from a Christian point of view. Simple.

What is the alternative(s) that does not involve physicalism?
And without delay Peter went quickly out of the synagogue (assembly) and went unto the house of Marcellus, where Simon lodged: and much people followed him...And Peter turned unto the people that followed him and said: Ye shall now see a great and marvellous wonder. And Peter seeing a great dog bound with a strong chain, went to him and loosed him, and when he was loosed the dog received a man's voice and said unto Peter: What dost thou bid me to do, thou servant of the unspeakable and living God? Peter said unto him: Go in and say unto Simon in the midst of his company: Peter saith unto thee, Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And immediately the dog ran and entered in, and rushed into the midst of them that were with Simon, and lifted up his forefeet and in a loud voice said: Thou Simon, Peter the servant of Christ who standeth at the door saith unto thee: Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou most wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And when Simon heard it, and beheld the incredible sight, he lost the words wherewith he was deceiving them that stood by, and all of them were amazed. (The Acts of Peter, 9)
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#8
RE: On the lunacy of free will
(October 11, 2021 at 6:53 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: I think many Christians believe that free will is all around, but God does "tweaks" in the minds of other Christians who pray, and also does "tweaks" to the physical world in response to prayer as long as the prayer is consistent with God's plan.

So, the plan can get bent, but not really broken -- but only if you're a Christian.

This does not resolve any of the dissonance. Even assuming there is any logic to what you said above - one thing that you MUST have free will over is whether you believe in God or not. If this is not the case, then your path to heaven / hell would be predetermined. So how can anything be "tweaked" only for Christians, if God doesn't know whether someone is going to convert to Christianity, or stray from it in the future. 

One could argue that even though you have free will to decide, God already knows which path you take if he can see into the future, but that implies you DON'T have free will and the outcome is already determined, so this is a logical fallacy.
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#9
RE: On the lunacy of free will
You can ask them what “free will” means. I ask them when they make mention of it. They seem to only have a vague notion that it means that you are free to make your own decisions.

I disagree. You aren’t free. You are limited by your biological components. Your hormones, your entire chemical makeup controls who you are.
There is a reason why men are more violent than women. There is a reason why some people hate arguing, they hate stress and some are not bothered by stress.
There is a reason why I like chocolate. I don’t have free will as to what I like. It has to do with how the brain functions.

Christians seem to think that all humans are equal and we just all have our “free will”. Nope. There are differences between us. Reality is complicated.

I think that a lack of education comes into play. When you learn about how a CPU works, how to write a program, you understand that a program does make decisions. A simple if else statement is a decision maker. A simple light bulb and a switch is a decision maker (if switch is on, turn lightbulb on, else turn light bulb off).
The human brain is just a very sophisticated software/hardware and it can handle certain tasks well and others not so well. People are working on software/hardware that mimics it to a certain degree.

Here is a short article on the subject:
https://www.extremetech.com/computing/32...neural-net

Right now, such things are at the baby stage. Imagine what they’ll have in 1000 y, 5000 y, 10,000+ y.

On top of that, it is pretty clear that the intelligence of an animal depends very much on the frontal cortex of that animal.
For example, a worms brain is quite different than ours and very limited.
Compare that to chimpanzees who are capable of playing games with humans, they play with each other and laugh and they solve basic problems. There was one case where they thought a chimp american sign language and this chimp thought another chimp.


“The will to choose whether to believe in God”

==I don’t think I can just choose to believe in X. X would have to make sense, have good enough evidence and then I would be convinced.
Also, the jewish god plays a role in that. He chooses not to provide evidence.

“Things that happen are by "God's will". If a natural disaster happens, that's God's will. If there is a drought and all your crops die, it's God's will.”

==Yes, it is the classical view that when there is a weather problem or disease problem, that the gods are angry.
They seem to think that all natural disasters are caused by gods.
I think this notion is at the very heart of all religions. It might be 50,000 y old. Ancient man didn’t understand weather, they didn’t see the cause for disease and so, they presumed that some personality was upset and was trying to harm them. I think they figured that if the priest tries to communicate with him, or give a gift, that the personality would give them peace.
Conversely, I think when something good happens, the believer ends up believing that the personality gave him good luck (blessing).

In modern times, I think most of us just take acetylsalicyclic acid, paracetamol, ibuprofen if we have a fever, pain or headache. We don’t go to the priest anymore.
If we have a tooth ache, just go to the dentist and he’ll numb you and fix or pull the teeth. I think nobody prays over that.
If you have cancer ..... a lot of people get scared since there is a relatively high chance of death, so they call their priests and family to pray non stop.

“The woman in the story clearly was not born again or recently come to God, so how she managed to "extract herself from Satan" without coming to Jesus is anyone's guess, or why God would save her when she clearly does not give him any credit!”

==There are many possibilities. let’s explore them:
1. The woman in the story believed in the jewish god/Jesus combo and these guys helped her.
2. The woman in the story believed in satan and satan helped her.
3. The woman in the story believed in the aliens and they reprogrammed her brain and made her super intelligent.
4. The women is not aware of the aliens. The aliens decided to experiment on her and made her super intelligent.
5. Other examples involving invisible personalities........
6. Nature. There aren’t hidden gods, no hidden fairies, aliens. The woman did her best and things worked out.


Personally, I am not able to tell which of those 6 possibilities is the right explanation. There is no evidence either way.
So, what we do in science is use Occam’s razor.
Occam’s razor states that the most mundane explanation is probably the correct one. So, we remove gods, fairies, demons, aliens from our explanations and just assume nature (#6).

The same applies to other cases as well, such as the building of the Pyramids of Egypt, the hundreds of megalith sites (Stonehenge), Easter Island scuptures + plenty more.
Was it done by aliens, gods, satans, fairies or was it just humans being humany?

Ever heard of Eric Von Danicken? Christians are like Eric Von Danicken.
Eric Von Danicken explanation for every major archeologic find seems to involve aliens.
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#10
RE: On the lunacy of free will
(October 11, 2021 at 7:57 pm)Ferrocyanide Wrote: ==Yes, it is the classical view that when there is a weather problem or disease problem, that the gods are angry.
They seem to think that all natural disasters are caused by gods.
I think this notion is at the very heart of all religions. It might be 50,000 y old. Ancient man didn’t understand weather, they didn’t see the cause for disease and so, they presumed that some personality was upset and was trying to harm them. I think they figured that if the priest tries to communicate with him, or give a gift, that the personality would give them peace.
Conversely, I think when something good happens, the believer ends up believing that the personality gave him good luck (blessing).

Negotiating with death.  Tell you what mr volcano, if i give you one super pretty girl, will you leave the rest of us alone?  Ogg may have shuffled off the mortal coil, but I'm going to bury him with wealth so that he doesn't have to be poor in the next life.  

Now, If I could just get an audience with Mars to discuss how many rams will be needed to see me through raiding my neighbors village without any friendly casualties....

I think it makes alot of sense for our religious ideations to be about life and death - and that does seem to be how it started out. After all, that's when we come into each others view (and our own)..and go out. It's a pretty big deal for us.
It's bad for the rest of the world when americans are paid so little they can only afford chocolate mined by child slaves and clothes made in overseas sweatshops. - Robyn Pennacchia
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