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Do We Have Free Will?

Updated on August 25, 2022

Free Will is a very important philosophical issue. If we have free will we have moral responsibility for our actions if we do not have free will then we have no more responsibility for our choices than a bullet being shot out of a gun does for killing the person that hits.

Free Will is Central to Christian faith because not only are we morally responsible for your own actions but Salvation depends upon acting on our free will to accept Jesus as our personal savior. The same would go for any other religion where moral responsibility is part of its makeup; this would include religions like Judaism and Islam.

By its nature, bright nature atheism requires a denial of free will, because atheism is inherently materialistic resulting in our mind being nothing more than the result of the chemical reactions in our brain. As a result, everything we do say and think would have been predetermined at the moment of the Big Bang because everything we do now is a result of cause and effect event going back to the beginning of time.

Benjamin Libet’s Experiments are often used to claim that Free Will is an illusion However, a closer look shows that this is far from the truth. The experiment was conducted by putting electrodes on a person's head in recording brain impulses when the person chose to make a particular action. Libet measured a building potential in the brain a couple of hundred milliseconds before the time of the decision is recorded by the participant. Libet did not conclude that his research disproved free will on the country to recognize the ability of the participant to veto the impulse, also a couple of hundred milliseconds is a very short time from a human perspective and clearly within the margin of error of our experience. It also limits the moment of choice to an instant of time when the entire process probably takes at least a couple of hundred milliseconds.

There are the implications of Free Will being an illusion for example if Free Will is an illusion then so is reason because without free will we can only come to the conclusion that we come to regardless of the facts. Without free will, there is no way to trust or reasoning and that includes the very “science” that supposedly shows free will is an illusion.

If we did not have free will we would be slaves to the impulses of our bodies but we do have the ability even resist those impulses even to our own harm. The simple fact that we can make a conscious choice to not follow through on a craving of our bodies is clear and obvious evidence that we do have free will.

© 2019 Charles Creager Jr


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