Is there such a thing as destiny, a path that we're set on? Where all our 'free will' has already been determind? Or do we have free will where we decide what we do and how we act? Could we prove it either way?
Is there such a thing as destiny, a path that we're set on? Where all our 'free will' has already been determind? Or do we have free will where we decide what we do and how we act? Could we prove it either way?
Most theists are quite confused on this topic and cannot seem to understand that you can't have your cake and eat it too. They will tell you their gods provide both predetermination and free will as cult doctrines for their followers, spiraling into endless circular reasoning.Originally Posted by Sciler
All we have is the will to do things, governed by our genetic makeup. That's it.
it is my destiny to have free will
If god already knows every outcome that can ever show up, and you choose one of those outcomes, is that still free will?
To clarify let say theres 2 doors, god already knows that if you go through door A you will die and if you go through door B you'll get punched, but it is up to you to pick which door you want to go through.
No, such knowledge by God does not contradict free will.Originally Posted by Trix
However there is another problem.
Does God have any influence on our choices?
Does God know what the effect of his involvement in our lives is going to have on our choices?
If God has such knowledge, then His involvement results in absolute control and there is no free will.
Therefore I think we are left with only three choices. 1) We have no free will. 2) God limits His involvement and does not try to influence our choices. OR 3) We have a God that is able and willing to choose NOT to know what effect His involvement in our lives will have upon on our choices.
1) is the choice of Calvinism.
2) is the choice of Deism.
3) is the choice of Open Theism.
Now most of Christianity waffles on this question, switching between the stances of 1 or 2, taking whichever is convenient to them at the moment, because both of these positions have fatal flaws: 1) leaves us without any responsibility and 2) make God irrelevant to the living of our lives.
However option 3) embraces full human responsibility and full involvement of God in our lives, so why not option 3)? Many imagine that option 3) contradicts their concept of God as all knowing. For some strange reason omnipotence means that God can do whatever He chooses but that omniscience allows God no choice or control over what He knows at all. Why does not omniscience simply mean that God CAN know whatever He chooses to know, just as omnipotence means that God CAN accomplish whatever He chooses to accomplish? Why is it that physics tells us that knowledge without interference is impossible, that knowledge is an act of power imposing ones will on reality. Frankly the evidence is against the typical absolute foreknowledge interpretation of omniscience so why do so many Christians insist upon it?
In questioning such people, I have found that they think that God can only be the perfect answer to our difficulties if God can remove all the uncertainties of life. But I think this is a consequence of a childish mentality. Religion requires faith - God teaches us faith and demands faith of us precisely because uncertainty is an essential component of life that cannot be eliminated. God can only eliminate this uncertainty by taking absolute control, crushing our free will and transforming life into a play where everyone follows scripts that are written for them. I think this childish mentality is just another facet of the same old human pathology which continues to seek some way to dodge responsibility for human life.
Interwoven into such thinking, however, are also Biblical passages that have been interpreted in a absolute manner to support this idea of God's absolute knowledge or absolute control. However this interpretation of these passages not only conflicts with the overall context of the Bible but are certainly no more inevitable than the literal interpretations of Genesis that people think leaves no room for compromise with science. The truth is, that just as evolution leads to a more meaningful Christian theology and more consistent exegesis of scripture and which is more resonsant with Christian thought in praxis, so also does open theism.
I do enjoy your posts, Mitchell, with coordinated eloquence, you support unsubstantiated nonsense with sufficiently contrived explanations one would be hard-pressed not to accept.Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
Ever thought of starting your own cult?
Why thank you Q. But I think what you are experiencing is the fundamental limitations of anger and name calling in dealing with complex issues for this really is no substitute for thinking things through and you really ought to get more practice with doing the latter rather than the former. If you did that you would see a lot more clearly that something being consistent and rational has nothing at all to do with whether it is true.Originally Posted by (Q)
The delusions of grandeur which smart people are prone to, are only overcome by a dedication to an honest appraisal of ones own limitations.Originally Posted by (Q)
mitchellmckain, although Q was being a bit rude, I have to agree that you have a habit of spending a great deal of time trying to thoughtfully rationalize things that you would like to be true, even if they aren't actually supported by evidence. Often you seem to reach conclusions that are at best merely not internally inconsistent, rather than actually supported.
Confining ourselves to this specific topic, do you have any actually evidence that Calvinism or Deism are incorrect? Clearly you find the consequences of both unpleasant, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that something isn't necessarily untrue simply because it has unpleasant consequences. Can you give us any evidence that either Calvinism or Deism is wrong? Can you give us any reason to believe that Open Theism is correct?
As I recall there are many places in the bible where a literal reading make it appear that god deliberately caused people to make certain decisions - usually so that he could pile some divine wrath on them. It often says that "god hardened the heart of soandso, so that they would do (some sin) and god could smite them with Y. Combined with the places in the bible where it appears to explicitly say that god knows all things, it appears that a Calvinist "predestination" approach is most compatible with scripture.Interwoven into such thinking, however, are also Biblical passages that have been interpreted in a absolute manner to support this idea of God's absolute knowledge or absolute control.
Edit: And of course there is always Romans 9, where it appears to directly address this very issue:
For the scripture says to Pharaoh, "I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?But of course there is a giant mountain of empirical evidence to support evolution, while so far as I know there is no evidence one way or the other for free will vs. predestination.However this interpretation of these passages not only conflicts with the overall context of the Bible but are certainly no more inevitable than the literal interpretations of Genesis that people think leaves no room for compromise with science.
In any case, you really seem to be taking biblical interpretation to an uncommon level here. Often people say that the bible should not be taken literally because it was intended to impart religious truth, rather than historical facts. So, for example, the point of the creation story in Genesis was simply that god created the universe/world/etc, but it wasn't necessarily a literal account of how he did it. Okay, that's fine I suppose...but here you appear to be interpreting not only the historical facts imparted by the bible, but the "theological" facts as well. The bible clearly says that
1) God knows everything.
2) God sometimes causes people to sin, and then punishes them for it.
3) You might think this isn't fair, but it's not your place to complain.
If want to say that this wasn't the true message of the bible, that's fine, but I think it's worth noting that you seem to be going beyond the usually level of interpretation that people apply to the bible. I also have to note that if the bible really was inspired by god as a way of conveying information to humans and even the theological information in it can't be taken literally, I am going to be very unimpressed with god's ability to convey information to us.
Or if you're Buddhist, your will is to realize destiny.Originally Posted by marnixR
Oh brother! Your accusation is a waste of text space. I can waste this text space with accusations about your rationalizing things that you want to be true and imagining all sorts of personality flaws in you that causes you to believe what you do, but really!!! Instead of daydreaming and massaging your ego you could actually demonstrate some of these internal inconsistencies you charge me with. But frankly considering the example of your post I think this might be expecting too much from you.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
First example of the lack of rationality: demanding evidence for something a person has never said. If you claim it then you prove it.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Yes I find the idea of 1+1=3 very unpleasant too, and you know I just got all emotional ...whimper... and decide that I wasn't going to accept hateful things like that. LOL LOL LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
On the basis of what? Can you prove that the God that these are talking about exists or doesn't exist?Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
If I say that "Green fairyism" is the name for the belief that fairies are green, can you provide any proof that this belief is correct to me? Could I prove it is correct to you? The very idea is stupid unless this is a contention between two people that believe that fairies exist. Then at least they would have a basis for carrying on a discussion based on the reasons WHY they think that fairies exist in the first place.
So do you believe that God exists? Is there any point to this discussion and your post at all?
My post was a response to that of Trix intending to show that the problem is far more complex than his proposed idea can solve. No I don't like the Calvinist and Deist answers to the logical problem which I explained, for the reasons which I gave. These do not agree with the my experiences of God, the reasons I believe in Him, or with my reading and understanding of the Bible. This is sufficient only for my decision that these are not very good solutions to the logical problem which I explained. You of course have your own solution to the logical problem, for obviously there is none, if there is no God. Congratulations on your towering achievement of logic.
So are you actually interested in Bibilical Hermeneutics and want to argue with me that these passages can only be interpreted in one way? Well I can understand the pope claiming the authority to tell everyone how the Bible must be interpreted but now you want to do the same thing?Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Atheist Biblical hermeutics... LOL How to properly interpret the Bible in support of the truth of atheism... LOL Why this certainly shines a whole new light on what it means to be an atheist. LOL LOL LOL
Sorry but I find the idea of arguing Biblical interpretation with you to be preposterous.
I think your Christian roots are showing. Frankly, the last thing I have any interest in doing is in dragging you back to such roots. I say, "Onward March! To the peaks of atheism and beyond with you." LOL
Why thank you. LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Hmmm what is a "theolgical" fact do you think?Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
You know I searched the Bible for that scripture, and I couldn't find it anywhere. You must have picked that Bible off the shelf from between the Bible that says evolution is wrong on one side and the Bible that says the pope speaks for God on the other side.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Ditto.. That Bible of yours has the most peculiar passages in it.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Not that you would care, but most Christians would find that a contradiction in terms since sin is usually considered going against the will of God (that is not the way I would define sin, but that is the most common definition), so if God wills someone to do something then that could not be a sin by the very definition of the word, would it?
While you are at it you may want to consider the example of Judas whose betrayal of Jesus was also part of the plan of God, yet we have in this case a little detail that is missing in the Pharoah example, that "Satan entered into Judas". God was not the actual cause of what Judas did. I think the point here is that the Deist idea that God only stands back and watches is pretty much in the crapper. God most certainly does interfere in the lives of human beings and is not above manipulating people so that they fall in with His plans. But one of the repeated refrains of the Old Testament is God saying, I have put before you blessing and curse -- life and death, so choose the blessing and life. So I think that despite the fact that God does interfere in our lives, the Calvinist idea that God is in absolute control of everything is also in the crapper. Read Genesis chapter 6:5-8 and then tell me how God has absolute control of everything.
But hey, far be it from me to say that the Bible can only be interpreted my way! LOL
Yep! While I am writing this my two year old is standing right next to me screaming because my mother expelled him from her room, which she did because he refuses to accept that he cannot have any more candy. Life is so unfair! LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
God does not stop you or me from complaining any more than I can stop my two year old from screaming. I can only be consistent in order to help him understand that his screaming will accomplish nothing. So Romans 9 is quite correct in pointing out this same simple fact that complaining will accomplish nothing and is thus a waste of energy. But my two year old is stubborn today and complaining is a favorite human pastime.
Is that a compaint? Is it terribly unfair of me to refuse to interpret the Bible in the stupid manner of the Christians you are accustomed to? Am I making your life and rhetoric as an atheist difficult for you? You have my sympathy, if that is what you are going for. LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
That of course presumes that conveying information to us is what God is trying to accomplish with the Bible. If I were to agree with your premise then I think I would also agree with this conclusion of yours.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Ahh.... My two year old, Akito, is now sitting quietly in my lap.
1 year ago in 6 months time then I'd fancy dress as The Doctor for New Years Eve. I didn't know that at the time, yet I was going to do it on that date and was not aware at that time. So there was no free will in that, I guess. :?
If you read what I wrote more carefully you might note that I said you usually seem to rationalize what you want to be true until you have managed to make it internally consistent. But so far as I know, you have never actually posted any sort of evidence that any of your beliefs are correct.Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
Well gee, I apologize for assuming that you were advocating a position that you spent 4 paragraphs extolling the virtues of. I didn't realize you were just chattering about hypotheticals instead of actually taking a position.First example of the lack of rationality: demanding evidence for something a person has never said. If you claim it then you prove it.
Heh. I like the way you try to make it out to be a bad thing that my world view doesn't require me to do mental gymnastics to rationalize all sorts of outlandish bullsh*t.You of course have your own solution to the logical problem, for obviously there is none, if there is no God. Congratulations on your towering achievement of logic.
You are, of course, free to interpret the bible however you want. That's one of the great things about the bible; you can interpret it to mean whatever you want, as you have skillfully demonstrated. Despite the fact that the bible explicitly states that god sometimes punishes people for sins that he caused them to commit, you have managed to interpret it to mean exactly the opposite! Bravo, sir.So are you actually interested in Bibilical Hermeneutics and want to argue with me that these passages can only be interpreted in one way? Well I can understand the pope claiming the authority to tell everyone how the Bible must be interpreted but now you want to do the same thing?
A piece of information about the nature of god and his relationship with humans. As opposed to a piece of information about, say, exactly how speciation happens.Hmmm what is a "theolgical" fact do you think?
Just so you can't accuse me of simply making things up:You know I searched the Bible for that scripture, and I couldn't find it anywhere. You must have picked that Bible off the shelf from between the Bible that says evolution is wrong on one side and the Bible that says the pope speaks for God on the other side.
Ditto.. That Bible of yours has the most peculiar passages in it.
Somewhat more succinct and disturbing is Joshua11:20Exodus 4:21
The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD."
Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me."
Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercyYes, it appears to be quite a conundrum! And as I said, this very dilemma appears to be acknowledged and addressed in Romans 9:Not that you would care, but most Christians would find that a contradiction in terms since sin is usually considered going against the will of God (that is not the way I would define sin, but that is the most common definition), so if God wills someone to do something then that could not be a sin by the very definition of the word, would it?
The official answer from the bible, then, appears to be “Who cares if it doesn’t seem fair to you?”You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, a man, to answer back to God?
You are, as I said, free to interpret it as you wish. As for "making my life and rhetoric difficult," as I said you appear to have reached a point were your own beliefs are not even supported by the very book that you claim to base your religion on. Since you appear to have zero evidence for your beliefs - not even the relatively lame evidence of a 2000+ year old book full of magical stories that christians usually rely on - I see little reason to take your theological views seriously.Is that a compaint? Is it terribly unfair of me to refuse to interpret the Bible in the stupid manner of the Christians you are accustomed to? Am I making your life and rhetoric as an atheist difficult for you?
Of course I am taking a position, BUT this is NOT the same thing as saying that everyone else is wrong. Your presumption that these are the same thing seems like the height of silliness to me, but of course, this is the typical excessive rationality of the atheist where you (at least pretend that you) will do nothing, think nothing or believe nothing without the permission of reason (or evidence) first.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Such is the personal root of the arrogance of cultural imperialism, where just because the choices that one people make works for them, they think that everyone should make the same choices and the same rationalizations (same mental gymnastics) to support those choices.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
But frankly my dear little atheist, I see absolutely NO REASON to trade my bullsh*t for your bullsh*t.
Only to the same degree that this is true about life in general. So also does one have a great deal of liberty in interpreting what your life mean and in choosing to live as you please. But reality does intrude, both in the fact of the words of the Bible and in the consequences that will surely follow action in the living of your life.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Very good. And what is this "fact" about exactly how speciation happens? 8)Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Now why would I do that? If you say it is in your Bible I can simply assume that your Bible is different than mine.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
But now I do have a little trouble because although this is in my Bible, even the computer cannot find the words "God knows everything" or the words "God sometimes causes people to sin, and then punishes them for it" anywhere in this text. So if you are not interpreting but actually see these words in this text then I must advise you to see a doctor about a possible neurological disfunction.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
I already gave my interpretation, which is that God does indeed interfere in human affairs incluing the manipulation of people in order to direct the course of events when He decides that this is best. ect... etc.......but I am repeating myself so you can read this in my previous post if you are really interested.
Wow, another interesting interpretation of scripture from an atheist theologian. LOL Who says that atheists cannot be theologians? Perhaps atheists should even get a seminary education and go into the ministry. LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Your Christian roots are showing again, for only someone raised as a Christian would imagine that they could support the claims of Christianity with references to the Bible as evidence. But my roots are quite different and so this presumption of people who have been raised as Christians, appears rather absurd to me.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
I don't require you to take my theological views seriously. My views are always offered on a take or leave it basis, even to other Christians (or maybe especially to other Christians), for I will never pretend that I speak for God or that my words and the words of the Bible are the same thing.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Ah, how silly of me to assume that just because you were taking a position that a particular idea was true, you were also taking the position that any contradictory ideas were false. In the future I will try to remember that just because you take position A, you are not necessarily against position B, even though B is contradictory to A.Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
The difference between this and cultural imperialism, of course, is that we are talking about matters of objective fact. It is impossible for us to both be correct. Your rationalizations might "work for you," and mine might "work for me," (although it's not clear to me what exactly I am supposed to be rationalizing here), but one of us is wrong.Such is the personal root of the arrogance of cultural imperialism, where just because the choices that one people make works for them, they think that everyone should make the same choices and the same rationalizations (same mental gymnastics) to support those choices.
Okay, you've got me there. When the bible says that god hardened the heart of pharaoh so that he would not let the Israelites go, and that god did this so that he could demonstrate his owns powers in a spectacular display of divine wrath, taking that mean that god caused the pharaoh to sin and then punished him for it is mere my interpretation. Likewise, when the bible says of god "He knows everything" (1 John 3:19-20) it is merely my interpretation that this means he knows everything.But now I do have a little trouble because although this is in my Bible, even the computer cannot find the words "God knows everything" or the words "God sometimes causes people to sin, and then punishes them for it" anywhere in this text. So if you are not interpreting but actually see these words in this text then I must advise you to see a doctor about a possible neurological disfunction.
Ah, I see - then you clearly have some non-biblical evidence that Jesus was divine. I would be fascinated to hear it. Or am I making silly assumptions again?Your Christian roots are showing again, for only someone raised as a Christian would imagine that they could support the claims of Christianity with references to the Bible as evidence. But my roots are quite different and so this presumption of people who have been raised as Christians, appears rather absurd to me.
Hogwash! You were NOT simply coming to the conclusion that I disagreed with positions contrary the the position that I thought was best. You were demanding evidence as if I were seeking a conviction of being wrong against all Deists and Calvinists in a court of law, and that is the absurdity that I was telling you to stuff where the sun don't shine.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Matters of objective fact??? Now who is the one subscribing to fairy tales? Everyone imagines that what they know are "matters of objective fact". But the only actual objectivity that is worth speaking of has to do with how something is known and NOT what really is the case. But it is modern science which examines that which can be known by objective observation, and what we have been talking about most certainly does NOT fall into that category. Questions of religion are purely subjective judgements based on the choices that people make for the living of their lives, so I quite emphatically disagree that there is ANY difference whatsoever between cultural imperialism and the imposition of ones religious choices on other people.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Again I say that as fascinating as your Biblical interpretations may be and as amusing as the insistence by an atheist, that these passages should be interpreted in some way, may be, I don't really see any point in arguing with you about the interpretation of this story when I have cause to doubt that you have any sincere interest in what my interpretation is. LOLOriginally Posted by Scifor Refugee
Clearly neither of us is interested in the other person's bulls*t. I have a vested interest in making sense of these stories in the light of my own views of God (as only motivated by the best interests of mankind) and you have a vested interest in making sense of these stories in the light of your views of God (as nonsensical and unbelievable). It is hardly going to be surprising that our interpretations reflect this. So the question I think you have to ask yourself is whether I could possibly have an interpretation of these stories that fit my view of God and whether you are actually interested in hearing such an interpretation if I do and NOT whether you are going to like such an interpretation, because obviously you will not.
Actually no, I do not. Not a shred. That is a conclusion that I came to, just as it was the conclusion that the Christian church came to, largely as a matter of logical consistency with the saving power they experienced in Christianity. Perhaps some Christians could claim evidence of some subjective sort, but I cannot say that I am one of them. Interestingly enough it was in a discussion with daytonturner here in this forum that I came to that conclusion.Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
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