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Is Free will really "Free"?

  1. profile image0
    Deepes Mindposted 4 years ago

    On several hubs and forums, I see a lot of my fellow (to an extent) believers posting about how God give us the free will to do things our way, then on other hubs state that we must "Pray that God's will be done" in everything we do.. If we have to pray to God for his will to be done, wouldn't that infringe upon our own "free will" since his will would override our own?

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
      Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      This is a great question, Deepes Mind.
      1. Free Will is ours to Guide. 
      2. The Ten Commandments give the boundaries we need. Within them we guide our own wills as we see fit.
      3. Without God we cannot properly guide our lives. We need a rudder and sails, or otherwise drift aimlessly.
      4. Every person is a unique individual with special talents and desires.
      5. Loving God does not take away our individuality ever. Instead it gives us the sails for our onward progression with joy of life in our present life and in the after life.
      6. It is His will for us to have Our Will. We are a work in progress as far as all this. The Way I See It

      Other questions:
      How do we know what God's will is??? Even for those of us who are willing to do His will, how do we know what it is in every circumstance? If it is God's will that I exercise command over my will... do I ever give up my will? or would I willingly give up My Will to do His Will?

      1. A Troubled Man profile image60
        A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, I can see how the intellectually challenged would need guidance, but getting it from myths and superstitions only further decreases the intellect.



        Yes, the tens of thousands of children who starved to death today must surely be joyful in the after life. Such a loving God.



        Ask any believer, they'll tell you. Unfortunately, not one of them can agree with another.



        Just make it up as you go along, that's what other believers do.



        You will the will of your will, if you will.

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks for your input ATM. very interesting answer

      2. profile image0
        Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for your response Kathryn. But I do note that three of your points actually contradict one another..

        In point one, you said free will is ours to guide. In point three you said without God, we cannot properly guide our own lives, then on point six, you said his will is for us to have our will.. These three do not add up because God giving us our own will means (in my opinion) that we actually have been empowered to guide our own lives as long as it is keeping inside the laws.. By your declaration on point three, you basically still say that we aren't in control of our own lives which means our will is not free.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
          Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          - that is pretty much right!  free will is not free!  for instance, we can't just do as we like without considering the effect on others!  We can't just do as we like without considering the consequences! I would say that God waits for us to Love Him with our true will....  which is being cultivated daily (or not) by us according to our thoughts, determinations and awareness.
          TWISI

          1. profile image0
            Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Free will is free as long as you obey the laws of the land.. This is different than what I was referring to. What I was referring to is that How Free is our will if we are asking God to intervene if it isn't his will

            1. JMcFarland profile image88
              JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              I think that there's a bigger issue at stake as well.

              If god is all-knowing and timeless and he already knows what's going to happen, then how free is your free will really?  The plan is all laid out, and no matter what you choose it's already pre-determined.  In that manner, what is the point of intercessory prayer at all?  God's will is going to be done - no matter how much you ask for it not to be.  Look at what happened to Jesus.

              Speaking of Jesus, that's another interesting side note.  His whole purpose for coming to earth was supposedly to die as a perfect sacrificial attonement for the sins of the world.  The sentence I always love to say is that god's "perfect" plan was to send himself to earth in order to sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself for the laws that he himself created.  After an admittedly horrible (but relatively short) death, he returned back to himself and resides in heaven with his father at this moment.  The question is a) can it really be a sacrifice if you know that you're going to go right back to where you were after temporary discomfort and b) how could he have asked for "this cup to pass from him" if he was perfectly human and perfectly god?  Isn't that his whole reason for being there?  It doesn't sound like a perfect deity to me - it sounds like a scared human being who didn't want to suffer.

              1. profile image0
                Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Is the plan all laid out, or is it possible to stand in a position to observe the full course of history? Knowing, without participating?

                1. JMcFarland profile image88
                  JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  That would make it a deistic version of god, not a theistic one.

                  There are two possibilities here:
                  a) a god exists
                  b) no god exists.

                  Out of those possibilities, if a is true, then
                  1) it's a god who is involved and participates in the natural world, which should come with evidence
                  or
                  2) it's a god that observes the natural world without getting involved.  If this possibility is true, then that god is virtually indistinguishable from a god that doesn't exist.

                  1. profile image0
                    Emile Rposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    Yes. But, the options are not quite so limited. A deistic God could exist who, although does not alter reality, does move within it in such a way as to make itself known, to some extent, to those in search of it.
                    I don't rule out personal testimony so much as I question the validity of conclusions achieved after personal experience. So, to me the deistic God who does not alter anything in the course of its interaction is still possible while being entirely unprovable.

                  2. profile image0
                    Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    This is sorta Where I am.. Not that he is indistinguishable from a god that doesn't exist. This means that if God does exist, then he set things in motion to the point that We don't need him as much as Some Christians lean on him for

              2. profile image0
                Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                I understand those points as well and that does lead to a bigger issue

          2. A Troubled Man profile image60
            A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Funny how Evangelists never think about that.

            1. Soul Man Walking profile image59
              Soul Man Walkingposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              Funny how misinformed you are about how evangelists think.

              1. A Troubled Man profile image60
                A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Evangelists think? Since when?

    2. bBerean profile image60
      bBereanposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Although the ramifications of free will may be myriad, the purpose of it may be simple.  Providing free will allows a choice, to follow God, or not.  Following Him means what?  That you acquiesce to His will, believing it better than your own.  Even in an eternity of following Him, that person has, at the inception of the relationship, exercised their free will to be there.  If in this current manifestation, we struggle to follow and know His will, prayer can be useful.  Hope that helps.

      1. profile image0
        Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Free will offers us a choice.. To go our own way or to give up that will and let him have control? then that in itself isn't total free will. That is more of a heavy handed suggestion. That translated out to "You don't have to follow me if you don't want to, but I strongly suggest you do what I say".. Sorry.. In this whole free will thing that cannot hold water.

        1. bBerean profile image60
          bBereanposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Not for anyone who believes their own will is better for them than God's, or who simply has too much pride to follow their Creator.  If you believe the bible, that God has much more in mind for us and that this is really just a vetting of who wants to be part of that program, acquiescing to His will is an honor.  If you love and trust Him to have your best interest in mind, it is also a relief.  You don't have to buy into it, nobody does.  That is your free will.  But for those who do, it is also their choice to do so, and therefore their free will.  If I invest my money in a business, and work for that boss, trusting his judgement and leadership over my own, am I giving up free will, or exercising it?

          1. profile image0
            Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            But if it's God's will that we can act and do things for ourselves, then how is it that we are putting our own will above his?

            1. bBerean profile image60
              bBereanposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              In my view the purpose of free will is to allow you the choice to be on board with God's plan or not.  Once that choice is made, if you truly believe He knows more than you and has your best interest at heart, going along with His will, IS your will.  Your only conflict in this life is keeping up your end of that as best you can.  If you are deciding to not follow His will, thinking your knowledge and way better than His, then great, you are exercising your free will too.  Either way it is free will.  One way your are counting on God for your outcome, and the other you are thinking your way to be better and taking accountability for your own outcome.

              1. Kathryn L Hill profile image86
                Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                perhaps self-guided will is a better explanation than " free" will.

              2. A Troubled Man profile image60
                A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                That's it? That's the extent and purpose of free will?

                That would only serve to show that one gives up their free will once they make that choice, that is, unless there are other purposes for free will.

                Are there?

                1. profile image0
                  Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  I agree with this.. If you choose to give up your free will, it is no longer free

              3. Disappearinghead profile image83
                Disappearingheadposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                I find a contradiction in Christianity which makes little sense to me. A Christian says they need God's guidance to make the right choices in life, such as what job to take, house to buy, or choice of breakfast cereal. Yet when it comes to what is considered the most important decision, to become a Christian, this must be entirely the choice of the individual with no God influence at all. In fact God must be excluded from this decision because if he influenced it in any way, he could be accused of favouritism. That is, those he did not influence and did not make the right choice end up in hell.

                Contradictory to Christian belief, the Psalms and Proverbs state on numerous occasions that God orders the steps that men take. So to become a Christian was not the Christian's choice at all.

              4. profile image0
                Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Ok.. Now here comes a trickier one.. If you have the choice to go along with his plan and choose not to go with his plan, there is a consequence (according to the bible and some people's interpretation of it). Free will isn't free if God telling people that there is an eternal punishment for not following him. Nobody wants to be punished, especially not for eternity, so that's not total free will. That's an option with a heavy handed suggestion. Kinda like telling your kid to do whatever they want but they will get a spanking if they do the opposite of what you want them to do

    3. pennyofheaven profile image78
      pennyofheavenposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      That would depend on your understanding of God.

      1. A Troubled Man profile image60
        A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Sorry, but no one can have an understanding of God, but only an understanding of scriptures.

        1. Soul Man Walking profile image59
          Soul Man Walkingposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Don't lean on your understanding, it will not support your weight.

          1. A Troubled Man profile image60
            A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Gibberish.

            1. Soul Man Walking profile image59
              Soul Man Walkingposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              Whatever's clever.

    4. PhoenixV profile image80
      PhoenixVposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      We are drops of water in a river of reality. We can believe we can go to the bed of the river and to the bank of the river. We can go over the waterfall and through the rapids. We can dwell among the reeds for awhile. We came from the spring and we return to the sea.  We can evaporate into the sky and be rained back into the sea, or back into the river.  We are along for the ride.

      You have a choice to believe this just happens or it was designed to happen.  One choice.

      1. wilderness profile image92
        wildernessposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hardly "just".  You can start with an unknown reason for the big bang, following it with the natural laws that caused hydrogen to form, collect, and made possible the fusing of that hydrogen into helium; laws that are for the most part incomprehensible or unknown to us.

        Or you can postulate another universe, inhabited by a single intelligent creature even more incomprehensible to us and assign the cause and design to it.  You can even apply a label, or name, to that creature.

        As you say, you have a choice although I wouldn't limit to only one - there are lots of other possibilities one can dream up, too.

        1. PhoenixV profile image80
          PhoenixVposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          There was no intent upon my part to "slight" reality by using the word "just".

          Apart from accepting reality as we know it, or believing that it is or is part of a purposeful design,  I personally do not see any choices.

          I cannot choose to step out of reality.

          When I die, reality won't skip a beat. I suspect it will keep on going, despite whatever "choices" I chose to believe I made.

          1. wilderness profile image92
            wildernessposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Accepting reality as natural or a purposeful design isn't all there is.

            We're a science project of some alien student that screwed up.  Intentional, yes, correct by design, no.

            We're a creation of an alien that simply threw us together without any real design work, just to see what would happen.

            Designed, yes, but by one of a whole culture of aliens (Gods).  Who may or may not have been the design or creation of yet more Gods.  You can take that back just as far as you wish to go, with as many variations of design/accident/designed but incorrectly as you would like to insert. 

            Created unintentionally by an unintelligent alien, just as a bear sharpening it's claws might create artwork on the bark of a tree.

            The possibilities are limitless if imagination is all that's required.

            1. PhoenixV profile image80
              PhoenixVposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              If I choose not to believe or be a part of an alien that just unintentionally threw reality together.

              Did he stop doing that? Retroactively?

              1. PhoenixV profile image80
                PhoenixVposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Yea, I do not want to choose an alien unintentionally throwing reality together. Is there any way we could create a machine, that could, you know, go backwards in time, I don't know, maybe we could call it a "time machine" and go back and stop that alien, so I can have an actual choice? But of course if I stop him from unintentionally throwing reality.. ( I need to stop here because I have been using a masculine personal pronoun of a hypothetical alien unintentional reality creator, and to prevent the slighting of a possible feminine or even parthenogenetic or other type alien, I will rephrase that ) But of course if I stop him/her/it/none of the above  from unintentionally throwing reality together, wont that make it impossible for me to later come into existence to invent a time machine? We created a paradox. How do I choose not to have a paradox? We will need to invent a non-paradox machine too?

  2. janesix profile image60
    janesixposted 4 years ago

    Is Free Willy really free?

    The truth may never be known.

  3. peeples profile image88
    peeplesposted 4 years ago

    You have hit upon one of the main things that strayed me to non belief. It simply makes NO sense. If there is a god it's powerful and controls our actions, and to my belief cruel, or we are in control of everything and and there is an all powerful being giving up that power to us so we can destroy each other, also in my belief, cruel.
    It just makes no sense at all. When I hear it explained by believers it just makes less sense. It seems the answer always just fits whatever makes the believer happy.

    1. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Those are some very interesting points peeples. Question, why or how is it cruel for us to be given control over our own lives?

      1. peeples profile image88
        peeplesposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Because if there is an all powerful being he would have been able to take out whatever part of us makes us do bad. Not make us all the same, but simply not include the bad part. By giving us "free will" without removing that allows us to destroy ourselves, which is cruel. It's like a parent setting a child up for failure. Just doesn't seem right.

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          But then again if he takes away the part of us that makes us do "bad" then how would we have known or learned the difference between good and bad if we have nothing to compare it to?. This would have also eliminated free will because then we wouldn't have the choice to act one way or the other

          1. peeples profile image88
            peeplesposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            My question is why would he need to know bad?  Why put his creations in a position to destroy innocent people, also his creations? Aren't there thousands (if not millions) of things to do that are good to choose from? So certainly we can be individuals with out evil. I just don't get the idea of saying "here you go, prove to me you want me by doing good or bad"  to one's creations.

            1. profile image0
              Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              This is a good point as well, But life requires balance. How would we know we are doing good if we don't know what good or bad really is? and if God designed us to only do what is "good" then that would basically take away our capacity for moral and ethical judgment, thus making us robots

              1. peeples profile image88
                peeplesposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                So if someone lives their whole life doing good (based on what we know now as good) then they are a robot? That is where I see the flaw. Many are good and yet still individuals not robots. I don't see it any different if the bad was taken away and all you had left were people who didn't go around hurting others. To me that would make us a  peaceful world. Ideally the world a parent or creator should want for us.

                1. profile image0
                  Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  But If God never created bad in the first place (from the beginning), We wouldn't know what bad was because we wouldn't have known the difference because you can't learn that which technically doesn't exist. We wouldn't even have an idea of what would be bad because there would be no opposite of Good to compare it to

                  1. JMcFarland profile image88
                    JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    okay, if death is the opposite of life, do you need to experience death and die to know that life is preferable?  Do you become a robot because you'd rather live than die?

                2. profile image0
                  Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  If God took away bad, then we weouldn't even have the "now" knowledge of what Good is or what bad is to compare it to.. We'd be robots

              2. JMcFarland profile image88
                JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                but a lot of christians don't make ethical or moral judgements either.  They abide by the laws (some of them) of the bible and they say that it's the ultimate source of morality because god said it.  They are taught (or at least I was) that I was evil.  I was sinful.  I was a bad person who was unworthy of love or forgiveness.  If human kind is automatically tainted with original sin (that hardly seems fair, since none of us were there and we're being judged by the disobedience of ancient people) then how can we trust our own moral/ethical judgment at all?

                I understand the comment about balance, but you don't have to experience heartache to know or appreciate love.  You don't have to see evil in order to know what's good.  Balance only goes so far.

                1. profile image0
                  Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  But this is based on what we already currently know about love, heartache, good, and bad.. If God never created evil in the first place, sorrow, or anything else of what is the opposite of what we know as "good, moral, or ethical", Then we wouldn't have that knowledge because we wouldn't have had anything to compare it to

                  1. JMcFarland profile image88
                    JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    do you need to die in order to appreciate and recognize the benefits of life?

                  2. A Troubled Man profile image60
                    A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    You don't need something to compare, you see your actions of good in others, not by comparing them to bad. That's ridiculous.

              3. A Troubled Man profile image60
                A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                Let's use your example. Program a robot to only do good things and program the robot so that it understands those things are good based on the results it produces as opposed to comparing to that which is bad. The robot could even possess artificial intelligence in that it keeps learning as it keeps doing. The robot will indeed have a capacity for moral and ethical judgment.

                See how easy that was.

                1. profile image0
                  Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Nope because by only programming it one way it can only do one thing.. The thing that it's creator programmed it to do.. Even with "AI" If you program it with good without programming it with an understanding of Bad, it will still do what it is programmed by its creator to do

                  1. A Troubled Man profile image60
                    A Troubled Manposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    Absolutely not, there is no need for an understanding of bad, at all. That makes no sense.

  4. JMcFarland profile image88
    JMcFarlandposted 4 years ago

    When I see a lot of christians discussing free will, they do it in an attempt to explain away the "problem of evil".  They claim that, as soon as adam and eve ate the fruit, they were cursed and original sin entered the picture, which gave way to their need to till the ground, problems with giving birth, etc.

    There's a fundamental problem that I see when it comes to this argument.  It's possible to have free will without evil at all.  Christians (a lot anyway) tend to believe that they have free will in heaven.  I mean, they don't automatically become an automated soul that is robotic without a mind of its own once they enter heaven or it wouldn't be a heaven at all.  There is also no evil in heaven - therefore, you can have free will without the necessity of evil.

    Also, in regards to the garden of eden - a lot of believers seem to think that satan was the serpent, or visa versa.  Except genesis tells us that the snake was the craftiest of all of the creatures that god had made.  When he tempted eve to eat the truth god "cursed" the snake - and by cursing it, he actually blessed it.  Snakes are now one of the most effective predators on the planet because they don't have legs.  They've evolved into phenomenal creatures that are PERFECT at what they do.  They don't always have to be on the run.  They don't have to rush to digest their prey.  They're magnificent creatures.

    Additionally, a lot of believers claim that proof for god's existence would negate free will, which simply isn't true - and the believer's own beliefs point out this contradiction.  Lucifer was an angel that knew positively that his god existed - but he still rebelled and chose to go against his known creator.  Therefore, free will is not impeded by proof or knowledge.

    1. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Glad to see you chimed in JM!! I believe the people that say that God's manifestation will negate free will. I believe it absolutely would negate free will.. for those who only operate in their free will because there currently is no proof of God. If God were to manifest, there would be a whole lof of people (on both sides of the belief spectrum)suddenly changing their lives and living "right" since they know for sure that God is real. That's the thing about beliefs.. once proof is provided the sliver of doubt is removed thus allowing people to adjust their actions as according to that certainty. The lack of evidence and the not knowing for sure that God exists is the only thing that is holding some people back from going crazy on one extreme or the other

      1. JMcFarland profile image88
        JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        I would apparently appear to be the antithesis to your theory.  If I knew for certain that the biblical god existed and that the accounts of his actions in the bible were true, I would absolutely refuse to worship him and fully except the consequences.

        Knowing something is real does not necessarily mean that you have to fall in line.  The german people knew that the holocaust was real - at least eventually - and they still fell in line with the Nazi party.  There were pockets of resistance that went against the norm.  both sides were actively using their free will in that scenario, regardless of what they new to be true - or because of it.  You still have a choice. 

        While I may not be able to say in that instance that there was no proof for gods' existence, I wouldn't automatically have to abide by his rules or guidelines.  Some may choose to for fear of the consequences, but belief out of fear is not true belief.  Belief out of the hope of reward is not true belief either.  neither of those options are love - and if it's love, worship and adoration that the god of the bible is truly after (and he does seem to be incredibly arrogant and egotistical) then fear or the promise of reward is not the way to gain love.  Not real love.

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          You aren't the antithesis of my statement.If you are the antithesis of my story, then I am as well. I said a lot of people would change their routine. I didn't say everyone. There will also be some that would have nothing to fear because they are already living their lives in total free will ad believers or atheists.



          what if he told you that the writers of the bible had it all wrong? Would you follow him then if he clarified what should have been written (if you liked it)?


          Agreed
             





          Agreed

          1. JMcFarland profile image88
            JMcFarlandposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            It would take more than this deity telling me that all of the authors that claimed to be writing for him were misguided.  I would have a lot of questions for him, and my questions would not be easy.  I would want to know the real reason for suffering - and saying "free will" wouldn't cut it.  I would want to know why he apparently heals believers of their financial woes in america while leaving millions to die of starvation elsewhere.  I would want to know how substitutionary atonement could ever be considered moral (if the jesus part was real) and I would want to know why he waited until now to make himself known while he sat by and did nothing while millions were dying in his name and because of it.

            As it stands now, if the god of the bible were true, he's a monster.  If even a fraction of it is true, then he's a monster.  I would rather die today and suffer eternity in hell than bow my knee and pretend to worship him.

            1. profile image0
              Deepes Mindposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              I understand your position totally

  5. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 4 years ago

    I think you have a point, but isn't it selfishness which drives a great deal of prayer? Does desire to benefit by pleasing a deity negate universal free will, or does it mean you are offering to relinquish it in exchange for what you perceive as gain?

    But, 'Thy will be done' doesn't imply that you are willing to negate the concept of free will. What it requests is that one who sees all and is in a better position to understand the needs of all juxtapose your perception of your needs and or desires as stated against those of others.  Ensuring the cosmic balance remains intact. As a stand alone request it allows the individual to use the concept to accept that, in the moment, life can sometimes not appear to be fair. It can allow them to believe that, with time, they will be able to understand that what appeared unfair was the better outcome; because in the moment of desire they were not considering the needs of all parties. It can help the individual suppress emotional response when selfish desires are not met. So, it doesn't negate free will as much as it creates an environment in your mind that nourishes compassion, empathy and pragmatism. No harm in any of that.

  6. profile image0
    Deepes Mindposted 4 years ago

    I just want to quickly note that I do not profwess to have the answer to any of the questions that I am asking.. I am asking questions of all the conversations that I am having to continue to encourage dialogue as well as to keep increasing my learning of you all, my fellow hubbers

  7. SwordofManticorE profile image75
    SwordofManticorEposted 4 years ago

    There is nothing free about free will, because according to church doctrines, the real price in the end for most of mankind for having a free will, will be more than most can bear.

 
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