If God values free will...

Discussions pertaining to scripture and theology from a philosophical approach.

If God values free will...

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:35 pm

If God values free will, why does he limit our choices? We don't get to choose our parents, where we are born, whether we have food or shelter. These things are basically a lottery.

If God values free will, why does he take it away when we die? If God doesn't force us to worship him and we die without doing so, why does he force us into Hell? I mean, why does he value my choice here on earth, then take away that choice after I die? Why can't I choose him after I die and see him?

If God values free will, why is he said to have intervened with certain past events? For example, the road to Damascus. Where was free will involved there?

Why would God intervene to convert Paul, but fail to protect a girl who is tortured and raped? It can't be free will, as he already violated the will of Paul... Why not violate the will of the evil men/women who prey on children?

I don't think the answers to these questions exist, except by way of one form, but I am curious what answers are reasonable to you fine philosophers.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:05 pm

Gabe - we all know that the Problem of Evil is the biggie of theological questions.

The big one for philosophers is: why is there something rather than nothing?

Neither question can be answered satisfactorily; we are at our limits of understanding. We can choose to gather knowledge that might lead us to faith; or we can choose to believe and have that belief guide our quest for knowledge.

People have been asking those exact questions for thousands of years. I think Job got the only answer we will ever have.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Origen; » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:04 am

Gabe Grinstead wrote:
(1) If God values free will, why does he limit our choices? We don't get to choose our parents, where we are born, whether we have food or shelter. These things are basically a lottery.

(2) If God values free will, why does he take it away when we die? If God doesn't force us to worship him and we die without doing so, why does he force us into Hell? I mean, why does he value my choice here on earth, then take away that choice after I die? Why can't I choose him after I die and see him?

(3) If God values free will, why is he said to have intervened with certain past events? For example, the road to Damascus. Where was free will involved there?

(4) Why would God intervene to convert Paul, but fail to protect a girl who is tortured and raped? It can't be free will, as he already violated the will of Paul... Why not violate the will of the evil men/women who prey on children?



(1) It's debatable if such a thing as libertarian free will (LFW) even exists. Assuming it does, what Scripture reveals is that it is the moral choices & decisions with respect to God that matter, not where one is born, if they chose eggs instead of pancakes for breakfast, etc.

(2) God will give the believer immortality, incorruption & to always be with the Lord. So it seems there will be no choice to sin & ruin one's eternity. That's a good thing. Though there's nothing saying LFW won't exist. Nothing saying you won't be able to choose to time travel on Tuesday, explore your choice of any one of a trillion universes on Wednesday, or have sex with a thousand angels on Thursday.

As for hell, it's the very best place for those who are there to be. It will make them ready to join the saved. If LFW is true, they will certainly have it to choose for, or continue to choose against, God. Until they'll eventually choose Him.

(3) Saul, who was like a serial killer, made the choice to believe the voice from heaven was the Lord & not a demon. OTOH some of the Jews made the choice to say Jesus had a demon & did His miraculous works via the devil, blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Saul received mercy since His persecutions of Christians were done ignorantly, in unbelief.

(4) The movie "The Shack" is a good answer to this. The little girl who was murdered was seen to be in heaven forever after her relatively momentary sufferings of a short lifespan. Neither did God deliver the early Christians from the lions, crucifixion or being burned alive. He didn't even deliver His perfect Son. But i suppose we don't see much of that in cushy modern scientifically advanced Western civilization, which is heavenly relative to what the ancients endured.

https://www.theopedia.com/libertarian-free-will
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http://www.tentmaker.org/ScholarsCorner.html

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby steve7150 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:36 am

If God values free will, why is he said to have intervened with certain past events? For example, the road to Damascus. Where was free will involved there?

Why would God intervene to convert Paul, but fail to protect a girl who is tortured and raped? It can't be free will, as he already violated the will of Paul... Why not violate the will of the evil men/women who prey on children?





God's purposes "trump" free will IMHO so to the extent possible God allows us to make choices but if the ship needs to change direction God may intervene. So God may value free will but He values His purposes more.
Re the allowance of evil, this is only my own speculation which is that God allows evil because there is much to be learned from it because we learn by contrasting everything and actually experiencing it. Also if God intervenes in one act of evil then shouldn't God intervene in all acts of evil and so we would be a lot safer and comfortable but would we learn, would we grow? These are just my thoughts, i have no evidence or proof for this view.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:15 am

Here's my take on the topic.

I have taken theology and philosophy courses - in an academic setting. And I can give you answers - from the most renown, contemporary and current, philosophers and theologians.

And I can give you my opinion - on which ones work best - for me.

Image

And I can tell you this...to experience suffering and pain...while God puts us through a Matrix Trilogy environment, of no free will - raises more questions than answers.

As a pragmatist, I will wait - until the end of time. And let God answer these questions.

In the meantime, I follow the Christian faith - along Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, lines of theology. And practice contemplation, like the Buddhists (Zen and Mindfulness) and New Thought pioneers (i.e. Fox Golden Key) - envision it.

This works well for me :!: :D

"Last night I dreamt I ate a ten pound marshmallow. When I woke up the pillow was gone."-- Tommy Cooper


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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:31 am

steve7150 wrote:Also if God intervenes in one act of evil then shouldn't God intervene in all acts of evil


Precisely my point. If this logic is correct, then I must not believe any person who claims God saved them from "X" person wishing to do them harm. Because, if God did save them, why does he neglect most everyone else? Therefore, based on this evidence, I must reject every believer who claims some miraculous salvation from the hands of evil men.

Take the total eclipse recently. Imagine with me living 3,000 years ago. You are praying to God for a sign. Now, many people pray for signs, and they are told to just 'wait' and allow God to work on his time. So you pray, pray, pray and you are about to give up. Someone in your faith says to keep pressing forward and let God answer the prayer in his own time. Finally, you are at your wits end and you say "Ok, God, I am about to ready to give up... Please show me a sign" and then while working out the fields the entire earth goes dark and the son is blotted out... Wow, God spoke to me. This is the way I see it when we try and say that God "Did such and such" give enough time, coincidences will in fact happen. The perfect recipe for it to be attributed to God? Keep praying and keep waiting. Time is on God's side, because given enough time, and given enough wonders of the world, you will see something that doesn't happen on a regular basis and interpret that as a sign from God.

I have had such things... In fact, I was convinced, complete convinced God has spoken to me... But as I reflect back, I only believe that because of how rare the situation was... I was basically saying "Because I had a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of this happening (think of hitting the lottery twice in one day) I basically said "God had to be the reason." when in reality, he doesn't have to be the reason at all. People do, in fact, hit the lottery multiple times in their life time. Just because it is rare, almost never happens doesn't mean it is God who caused it. It was 'coincidence'... Just randomness working out in our favor. So have I ever won the lottery? No. But two events did happen which people can say were miracles, or merely coincidence.

When I was 2, I crossed an extremely busy highway with no guardian. I lived to tell about it. No idea how, but I did. I have no memories... Had to be God? Or maybe I just had some drivers that swerved to miss, drove slower like waiting for ducks to cross the street, or maybe I say some people and followed closely after them. No idea. But it happened.

When I was 35, I looked down, then looked up and someone was driving the wrong way down the highway... As I looked up I saw two headlights staring right at me and swerved just in time to avoid a head on collision. Had I looked down longer (I think I was changing the radio station) I would be dead, or worse, a battered up brain damaged person. You don't survive 60 Mph head on collision with other cards going the same speed (think 120+) You end up dead.

So, did God save me? Maybe. But it is just as likely that I hit the lottery twice in my life. I avoided death when it was nigh or the likely outcome. Now, if God protected me, why does he not protect others? Why should I think I am special? Isn't that an egoist position to hold? That, surely, God has plans for me. He must love me so much and has so much work for me to to do that I am worth saving, while some other poor sap around the world starves to death at a young age of... 10. Or maybe, another boy is raped every day his entire life, until he commits suicide. Yep, I must be more important than all of those people! No, the truth is, I am not more important than those less fortunate and to think God saved me from the above, is really just another form of "I am better than others".

I am not declaring there isn't a God, but I am suggesting that I don't think this God is all good, all powerful and all loving. Whatever it is, it wants to hide from us, only reveals itself to certain people (according to their claims) and acts unjustly according to human reason (which ironically, he gave us)... Or, of course, that God doesn't exist at all. I know, that isn't a popular position to hold here, but is not not, will you grant me, at least a possibility? If you say "Then where did we come from if there is no first cause"? I say "Who caused God?" and if he always was, then why can't the universe always have been? I mean, both arguments fail to account for a first cause... They can both say it isn't needed, but ultimately both boil down to the same concept.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:55 am

I shared this on another post. But because of the last answer by Gabe, I will share it here - for reflection. :D

Perhaps because of the Texas hurricane crisis, this is a good story - to reflect upon: https://www.reddit.com/r/Jokes/comments/67ouq5/two_boats_and_a_helicopter/

A storm descends on a small town, and the downpour soon turns into a flood. As the waters rise, the local preacher kneels in prayer on the church porch, surrounded by water. By and by, one of the townsfolk comes up the street in a canoe.

"Better get in, Preacher. The waters are rising fast."

"No," says the preacher. "I have faith in the Lord. He will save me."

Still the waters rise. Now the preacher is up on the balcony, wringing his hands in supplication, when another guy zips up in a motorboat.

"Come on, Preacher. We need to get you out of here. The levee's gonna break any minute."

Once again, the preacher is unmoved. "I shall remain. The Lord will see me through."

After a while the levee breaks, and the flood rushes over the church until only the steeple remains above water. The preacher is up there, clinging to the cross, when a helicopter descends out of the clouds, and a state trooper calls down to him through a megaphone.

"Grab the ladder, Preacher. This is your last chance."

Once again, the preacher insists the Lord will deliver him.

And, predictably, he drowns.

A pious man, the preacher goes to heaven.

After a while he gets an interview with God, and he asks the Almighty, "Lord, I had unwavering faith in you. Why didn't you deliver me from that flood?"

God shakes his head. "What did you want from me? I sent you two boats and a helicopter."


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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:35 am

This forum had some good thoughts when I was asking the same questions, Gabe.
viewtopic.php?f=38&t=5792&hilit=+some+days
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby steve7150 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:06 am

I am not declaring there isn't a God, but I am suggesting that I don't think this God is all good, all powerful and all loving. Whatever it is, it wants to hide from us, only reveals itself to certain people (according to their claims) and acts unjustly according to human reason (which ironically, he gave us)... Or, of course, that God doesn't exist at all. I know, that isn't a popular position to hold here, but is not not, will you grant me, at least a possibility? If you say "Then where did we come from if there is no first cause"? I say "Who caused God?" and if he always was, then why can't the universe always have been? I mean, both arguments fail to account for a first cause... They can both say it isn't needed, but ultimately both boil down to the same concept.








Well sure i'll grant the possibility there is no god but to me it's infinitely remote. For me the only issues revolve around God's intervention or lack of such in human life. I just think of each human having 50 trillion cells that work synergistically and i ask myself if this could have happened coincidentely? To me the universe is pretty unimportant as it's just a materially created thing like the sun but God is eternal even though we as limited human beings do not have the capability to understand what eternal really means.
In other words material things like the universe are not static, they always change and are subject to physical laws therefore IMO it can't be eternal. I accept certain beliefs like God being eternal because there must be a First Cause IMO and i don't believe it can be a materially created thing.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:12 pm

Gabe said:
I have had such things... In fact, I was convinced, complete convinced God has spoken to me... But as I reflect back, I only believe that because of how rare the situation was... I was basically saying "Because I had a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of this happening (think of hitting the lottery twice in one day) I basically said "God had to be the reason." when in reality, he doesn't have to be the reason at all. People do, in fact, hit the lottery multiple times in their life time. Just because it is rare, almost never happens doesn't mean it is God who caused it. It was 'coincidence'... Just randomness working out in our favor. So have I ever won the lottery? No. But two events did happen which people can say were miracles, or merely coincidence.


Hmmm, My son and I had a similar bible study at one point: Providence vs. Probability.

There is no way to explain to others how God works in your individual life, all of the miracles and wonders...

I think it is in the trying to translate what God does, that we get into trouble but at the same time we boldly profess the historical account of the messiah.

And that is good News!
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby LLC » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:12 pm

Gabe Grinstead wrote:So, did God save me? Maybe. But it is just as likely that I hit the lottery twice in my life. I avoided death when it was nigh or the likely outcome. Now, if God protected me, why does he not protect others? Why should I think I am special? Isn't that an egoist position to hold? That, surely, God has plans for me. He must love me so much and has so much work for me to to do that I am worth saving, while some other poor sap around the world starves to death at a young age of... 10. Or maybe, another boy is raped every day his entire life, until he commits suicide. Yep, I must be more important than all of those people! No, the truth is, I am not more important than those less fortunate and to think God saved me from the above, is really just another form of "I am better than others".


Gabe, I agree with what you are saying. I often feel the same way, especially when people start talking about guardian angels. In the case of the person who was being raped and killed, the questions that come to mind are:
1. Where was this person's guardian angel?
2. Did the angel fall asleep on the job?

That being said, I do believe there is a God, and I think that those who follow Him in spirit ARE His right hand. Matthew West has a song called "Do Something". I think his words are true. We often ask God, "Why don't you do something?" God's reply is, "I did. I created you."
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:17 am

LLC wrote:[
Gabe, I agree with what you are saying. I often feel the same way, especially when people start talking about guardian angels. In the case of the person who was being raped and killed, the questions that come to mind are:
1. Where was this person's guardian angel?
2. Did the angel fall asleep on the job?
"


Well, this thought occurred to me. Perhaps the angels are union workers. And that means they are entitled to personal time off, vacations, holidays, etc. ;)

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Another thought is we will not know all the answers...until the end of time...and God reveals it to us. In the meantime, we can read what the renown philosophers and theologians - say regarding these subjects. And pick the philosophers and theologians - that resonate with us. :D
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Origen; » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:13 pm

This book is from a Universalistic Calvinist determinist POV, opposed to LFW, but has some interesting things to say on the subject titled "The Problem of Evil & the Judgements of God". Can be read for free, or purchased at a nominal cost as a book, at:

http://concordant.org/expositions/probl ... -contents/
Scholars Corner:
http://www.tentmaker.org/ScholarsCorner.html

Minimal Statement of Faith for Evangelical Universalists:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=57
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:26 pm

Origen; wrote:This book is from a Universalistic Calvinist determinist POV, opposed to LFW, but has some interesting things to say on the subject titled "The Problem of Evil & the Judgements of God". Can be read for free, or purchased at a nominal cost as a book, at:

http://concordant.org/expositions/probl ... -contents/


Somewhere in the middle - between those 2 extremes - is something called Compatibilism. Which one can find out more at http://www.iep.utm.edu/freewill/. Let me quote a bit:

The question at the end of the preceding section (Could we have free will even if determinism is true?) is a helpful way to differentiate the main positions regarding free will. Compatibilists answer this question in the affirmative. They believe that agents could have free will even if causal determinism is true (or even if near determinism is true.


I'm just pointing this out. Since there are more perspectives, then just determinism and Libertarian Free Will.

And here's what the Calvinist site - Got Questions and Theopedia - have to say on this topic:



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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Paidion » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:58 pm

Gabe wrote:If God values free will, why does he limit our choices? We don't get to choose our parents, where we are born, whether we have food or shelter. These things are basically a lottery.


I don't think God does limit our choices. How could we choose our parents or our place of birth at a time in which we did not yet exist? We ARE able to choose concerning food and shelter. However, food and shelter don't magically come our way by shouting the words, "I choose food and shelter!" If we truly choose food and shelter, we will work for it. True, some people don't have the opportunity to work for it, but many of them still choose food and shelter even if they have to beg. And some succeed in getting them on that basis.

If God values free will, why does he take it away when we die?


Do you have any evidence that He does take it away when we die?

If God doesn't force us to worship him and we die without doing so, why does he force us into Hell?


God never forces anyone in any way; He influences people. However, consignment to hell is God's loving act in order to correct those who have resisted Him throughout their lives. He will never give up on anyone until all become righteous.

I mean, why does he value my choice here on earth, then take away that choice after I die? Why can't I choose him after I die and see him?


If that's what you mean, I think you are mistaken. On what basis do you affirm that God "takes away that choice" after you die?

If God values free will, why is he said to have intervened with certain past events? For example, the road to Damascus. Where was free will involved there?


Intervening has no relevance to valuing free will. If you intervene with the bad choices of your children, does that mean you don't value their free will?
I think it means you love them, and want to influence them to make good choices—choices that will help them rather than harm them.

Why would God intervene to convert Paul, but fail to protect a girl who is tortured and raped? It can't be free will, as he already violated the will of Paul... Why not violate the will of the evil men/women who prey on children?


I think I understand your reasoning, but I still don't think it's a violation of free will in Paul's case. God didn't override Paul's free will. Rather He influenced him. Paul COULD HAVE resisted that influence if he had so chosen. But he chose to respond positively to it instead. His free will was still totally intact.

Men who torture and rape a girl have exercised their free will. God doesn't override that free will. Many such persons have not chosen to do the loving thing. We don't know how often God may have intervened in such cases to influence these evil doers. I have known men who have deeply repented of mistreatment of others, and have never repeated their evil acts.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:13 pm

Well, here's my favorite articles today, from the Patheos evangelical site. They might be relevant here:


And I also present a helpful video:


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Re: If God values free will...

Postby JamesAH81072 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:10 pm

Holy-Fool-P-Zombie wrote:
Origen; wrote:This book is from a Universalistic Calvinist determinist POV, opposed to LFW, but has some interesting things to say on the subject titled "The Problem of Evil & the Judgements of God". Can be read for free, or purchased at a nominal cost as a book, at:

http://concordant.org/expositions/probl ... -contents/


Somewhere in the middle - between those 2 extremes - is something called Compatibilism. Which one can find out more at http://www.iep.utm.edu/freewill/. Let me quote a bit:

The question at the end of the preceding section (Could we have free will even if determinism is true?) is a helpful way to differentiate the main positions regarding free will. Compatibilists answer this question in the affirmative. They believe that agents could have free will even if causal determinism is true (or even if near determinism is true.


I'm just pointing this out. Since there are more perspectives, then just determinism and Libertarian Free Will.

And here's what the Calvinist site - Got Questions and Theopedia - have to say on this topic:



Image


Compatibilism is determinism in a nutshell no matter how the Calvinists or those who support it spin it around so there is no in between. There is determinism/fatalism and there is libertarian free will. No in betweens.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:14 pm

The in-between could be called 'humility'.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:08 pm

JamesAH81072 wrote:Compatibilism is determinism in a nutshell no matter how the Calvinists or those who support it spin it around so there is no in between. There is determinism/fatalism and there is libertarian free will. No in betweens.


DaveB wrote:The in-between could be called 'humility'.


For the record, I'm not a fan of compatibilism or determinism - when it comes to theology. But I do present compatibilism as a topic. It exists, whether we like it or not. And it won't go away - anytime soon. :lol:

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:21 pm

I agree Randy, it ain't going away soon. Since it's been a question like, forever. So, I won't give you the answer, which was communicated to me privately by the Duke of Windsor some time ago, apparently a secret that only DaVinci knew and passed on. :lol:
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Origen; » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:16 pm

JamesAH81072 wrote:
Compatibilism is determinism in a nutshell no matter how the Calvinists or those who support it spin it around so there is no in between. There is determinism/fatalism and there is libertarian free will. No in betweens.


Many would agree with the gist of that. For example the following thread i've been reading recently, especially posts by "Jason0047":

https://www.christianforums.com/threads ... m.8024186/
Scholars Corner:
http://www.tentmaker.org/ScholarsCorner.html

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:24 pm

Origen; wrote:
JamesAH81072 wrote:
Compatibilism is determinism in a nutshell no matter how the Calvinists or those who support it spin it around so there is no in between. There is determinism/fatalism and there is libertarian free will. No in betweens.


Many would agree with the gist of that. For example the following thread i've been reading recently, especially posts by "Jason0047":

https://www.christianforums.com/threads ... m.8024186/


I like the forum chap, with the Bugs Bunny avatar, called jimmyjimmy - Pardoned Rebel :D

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:26 pm

Can it be shown that there is 'nothing in between' determinism and LFW? No. A case has been made for each, and the other side has not been able to demolish it.
I realize that LFW is the lynch-pin of certain theodicies, most notably as put forth by Plantinga. And he makes a good case in his attempt to address the Problem of Evil; however his Free Will Defense is only as strong as its weak link, which is the unprovable LFW axiom.
All that being said, I lean (slightly) toward LFW, but it's a matter of taste, not of necessity.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:31 pm

DaveB wrote:Can it be shown that there is 'nothing in between' determinism and LFW? No. A case has been made for each, and the other side has not been able to demolish it.
I realize that LFW is the lynch-pin of certain theodicies, most notably as put forth by Plantinga. And he makes a good case in his attempt to address the Problem of Evil; however his Free Will Defense is only as strong as its weak link, which is the unprovable LFW axiom.
All that being said, I lean (slightly) toward LFW, but it's a matter of taste, not of necessity.


Actually, Dave - from the standpoint of professional philosophy at http://www.iep.utm.edu/freewill/, they have this outlined discussion:

Arguments for Incompatibilism (or Arguments against Compatibilism)
The Consequence Argument
The Origination Argument
The Relation between the Arguments

Arguments for Compatibilism (or Arguments against Incompatibilism)
Rejecting the Incompatibilist Arguments
Frankfurt’s Argument against "the Ability to Do Otherwise"
Strawson’s Reactive Attitudes
Related Issues


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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:35 pm

I've read a lot of professional philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the present over the past 35 years or so, still haven't spotted that elusive proof. Of anything. :D
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:41 pm

DaveB wrote:I've read a lot of professional philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the present over the past 35 years or so, still haven't spotted that elusive proof. Of anything. :D


If you make a salve of Limburger cheese...like Curly does in the Three Stooges... rub it all over the body...and walk into a sauna...I can prove that you will have the sauna - all to yourself. :lol:

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:47 pm

That was YOU that grossed us all out the other day? :lol:
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:29 am

Apropos to the discussion of free will and other philosophical knots, here's a note from MavPhil today:

begin quote
"Philosophers contradict one another, but that is not the worst of it. The grandest philosophical conclusion is and can only be a proposition about reality and not reality itself. But it is reality itself that we want.

Can religion help? Its motor is belief. But belief is not knowledge, either propositional or direct. And if an appeal to divine revelation is made, then the question inevitably arises: how does one know that a putative revelation is genuine?

If you certify the revelation by appeal to the authority of your church, then I will ask how you know that your church is the true church. After all, not every Christian is Protestant or majuscule-'o'-Orthodox . Are those stray dogs who refuse Rome recalcitrant rebels who simply reject the truth when it is plainly presented to them? I think not.

The motor of philosophy is discursive reason. The motor of religion is belief and obedient acquiescence in authority. Neither Athens nor Jerusalem seems to be a wholly satisfying destination. Nor is straddling them with a leg in each a comfortable posture.

That leaves Benares.

The motor of mysticism is meditation. Its goal is direct contact with ultimate truth. Direct: not discursive or round-about. Direct: not based on testimony.

So should we pack for Benares? Not so fast. It has its drawbacks." - end quote
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:30 am

Well, Dave. You mention philosophy, reality and mysticism. I look at theology, philosophy and mysticism - as tools - to understand reality...And our place in it.

In fact, I distinctly remember a philosophy professor at College of Dupage. She had been ordained at a seminary. But was working towards a PhD in philosophy. In order to better defend the Christian faith. Very interesting.

And that brings up to Immanuel Kant - who is a personal favorite of mine (from https://www.britannica.com/topic/thing-in-itself):)

Kant. in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the thing-in-itself ( das Ding an sich) as opposed to what Kant called the phenomenon—the thing as it appears to an observer. ... Thus it is not possible to know about “things-in-themselves” or about the ultimate causes of experience.


Perhaps - in Mexico - instead of a philoosphy professor, we should seek out a Nagual (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagual)

In Mesoamerican folk religion, a nagual or nahual (both pronounced [na'wal]) is a human being who has the power to transform either spiritually or physically into an animal form: most commonly jaguar and puma but also other animals such as donkeys, birds, dogs or coyotes.[1]


Such a nagual is believed to use their powers for good or evil according to their personality.


A Nagual would have a different perspective...then the ordained seminary Christian...who would soon have a PhD in philosophy. But both have their place.

Just like I studied with the academics (i.e. philosophy, theology, literature and psychology)...the Native American medicine men and women...and true saints from the east...

I visited an Anglican church, that also has a Charismatic component. In other words, they believe in the gifts - of the spirit. Actually, I hung around a Roman Catholic priest, who had the gift of healing and hearing God speak. He has since moved to Wisconsin - a different state. Anyway, I did enjoy the service. And will probably go back. They also bought a former manufacturing plant. And converted it to a church.

I asked a pastor if they believed in the real communion presence (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist). And if so, do they side with the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Lutheran explanation,

And I accept the Eastern Orthodox perspective:

While the Roman Catholic Church believes that the change "takes place at the words of institution or consecration", the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the "change takes place anywhere between the Proskomedia (the Liturgy of Preparation)" and "the Epiklesis ('calling down'), or invocation of the Holy Spirit 'upon us and upon these gifts here set forth'".


Which means that Lutheran and Anglican clergy - can invoke the real presence. And the Eastern Orthodox, chalk up the process to divine mystery. Kind of like Medieva alchemy (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemy). As talked about, in the Morning of the Magicians at https://www.amazon.com/Morning-Magicians-Societies-Conspiracies-Civilizations/dp/1594772312/.

Perhaps the real communion presences, is like Kant's thing-in-itself.

We may never arrive...at the thing-in-itself...but getting close to it...from different perspectives and traditions...is the next best thing.

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:13 am

Here's an email I've sent out, to a church I visited yesterday:

Hello everyone:

I just visited your church this Sunday. Just let me add a few observations:

I value churches that:

    Honor the real presence in communion
    Acknowledge the charismatic elements
    Follow a conservative theology

You manage to blend:

    The conservative Anglican tradition, as found in All Souls
    With the apparent group creation, as found in Parkway community church

I classify myself as a Charismatic Eastern Anglo-Catholic. Which for me means:

    I honor the Charismatic elements. In fact, used to attend the healing masses, of a Roman Catholic priest. He had the fit of healing and hearing the voice of God
    I try to first find theological answers, via renown Anglican scholars - like C.S. Lewis or N.T. Wright.

If I can't find satisfactory Anglican answers - via noted conservation scholars, I look to:

    The Eastern Orthodox / Eastern Catholics - first and foremost
    An answer from the Roman Catholic church

The only objection I had, was an element in the bishop's Sunday homily. He implied that demon possession might be widespread - in modern times. I'll just note the Roman Catholic position - on exorcisms. Before the Roman Catholic church gets involved, they first rule out:

    An organic disease cause, as determined by a general practitioner and/ or medicinal specialists.
    A psychiatric disease cause, as determined by a psychiatrist.

In other words, rule out scientific causes, before seeking a supernatural one.

The only other element I add, is that I value contemplation (as found in RC and EO churches) - for the laity.

I like to use the RC terms of "having a dialogue". So I will continue my visits and continue to "have a dialogue".

I did speak briefly, with clergy member Dan - during my first visit.

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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Jonny95 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:31 am

Gabe Grinstead wrote:If God values free will, why does he limit our choices? We don't get to choose our parents, where we are born, whether we have food or shelter. These things are basically a lottery.

If God values free will, why does he take it away when we die? If God doesn't force us to worship him and we die without doing so, why does he force us into Hell? I mean, why does he value my choice here on earth, then take away that choice after I die? Why can't I choose him after I die and see him?

If God values free will, why is he said to have intervened with certain past events? For example, the road to Damascus. Where was free will involved there?

Why would God intervene to convert Paul, but fail to protect a girl who is tortured and raped? It can't be free will, as he already violated the will of Paul... Why not violate the will of the evil men/women who prey on children?

I don't think the answers to these questions exist, except by way of one form, but I am curious what answers are reasonable to you fine philosophers.

Hey Gabe.

I think this depends heavily on what is meant when you say that God "values" free will. How and why does God value "free will"? It can't be that "free will" is an end in itself, (except in the sense that we must ultimately arrive at a state where our will freely chooses God). "Free will" must have a purpose; it must be a means by which we come to God. As such, the valuing of free will as if it cannot ever be disturbed by God or anything 'external' of ourselves is probably idolatry. On the other hand, to argue that God has made us without a single iota of free will is just as problematic, if not more so.

There's a lovely little contrast I find in Acts 17:26-27 - "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him." There is a distinction there made between God's own workings, which cannot be undermined, and the initial liberty of will that He gives humanity, a will that exists so that we ultimately choose God. As George MacDonald argues, in creating us for Himself, God must, in some sense, separate us from Himself so that we may ultimately learn to consciously choose Him.

I believe we have enough will to be able to choose to act towards and 'take part' in the will of God. The natural limitations of our relationship to the world and to nature, as well as the possibility of divine intervention of course mean that our will is not unrestrained. I do not, however, think that this undermines the value of free will, the value of which is built on us ultimately becoming one with God.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Paidion » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:26 pm

Dave wrote:Can it be shown that there is 'nothing in between' determinism and LFW? No. A case has been made for each, and the other side has not been able to demolish it.


Yes, it can be shown—and very simply.

1. You either possess libertarian free will or you don't. If you have it, then LFW is true. If you don't have it, then all of your actions are determined by prior causes. Thus determinism is true. How can there be an "in between"?

It might be compared with having a new car or not. You either have a new car or you don't. Or is having a used car "in between"?

Some suppose compatibilism is "in between" determinism and free will. But it isn't. Compatibilism is just a particular way to express determinism—a way in which one has the illusion of free will, although one's actions are just as pre-determined as with classic determinism.

A criminal is no more responsible for his actions if compatibilism is true, than he is if determinism is true.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:44 pm

Paidion wrote:1. You either possess libertarian free will or you don't. If you have it, then LFW is true. If you don't have it, then all of your actions are determined by prior causes. Thus determinism is true. How can there be an "in between"?


Don, I don't think the underlined section is true, or logical, or necessary.
Would you accept free will, without that pesky 'libertarian' burdening it down?
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby steve7150 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:36 pm

Paidion wrote:
1. You either possess libertarian free will or you don't. If you have it, then LFW is true. If you don't have it, then all of your actions are determined by prior causes. Thus determinism is true. How can there be an "in between"?


Don, I don't think the underlined section is true, or logical, or necessary.
Would you accept free will, without that pesky 'libertarian' burdening it down?







Of course! Why can't we have limited free will subject to God intervening on occasion? Generally the biblical use of "free will" simply means that we can make choices as God often encouraged us to do in scripture. But also in scripture God intervened when it suited his purposes.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Origen; » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:27 pm

Some Christians believe that LFW & determinism are both true. You can call that illogical, but they call it a Biblical "mystery". Some things are mysteries than cannot be explained logically, e.g. the existence of God, endless past time, why there isn't nothing, etc.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Origen; » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:56 pm

steve7150 wrote:Of course! Why can't we have limited free will subject to God intervening on occasion? Generally the biblical use of "free will" simply means that we can make choices as God often encouraged us to do in scripture. But also in scripture God intervened when it suited his purposes.


Would that "limited free will" be Libertarian or determined by other causes?

Re choices, animals make choices but do not have LFW. So i suggest the Biblical references to choices do not prove man has LFW.

BTW, Martin Zender does not approve of the idea of LFW :lol:
http://www.pilkingtonandsons.com/art_ze ... solute.pdf
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby davo » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:59 pm

steve7150 wrote:Why can't we have limited free will subject to God intervening on occasion? Generally the biblical use of "free will" simply means that we can make choices as God often encouraged us to do in scripture. But also in scripture God intervened when it suited his purposes.

Yep… that’s where I’m at; pure and simple IMO, it’s a no-brainer. 8-)
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Paidion » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:23 pm

Hi Dave B, you wrote:
I wrote:If you don't have [libertarian free will], then all of your actions are determined by prior causes.

Don, I don't think the underlined section is true, or logical, or necessary. Would you accept free will, without that pesky 'libertarian' burdening it down?


Yes, but only because I see no difference between the two. To me, "free will" or "libertarian free will" signifies the ability to choose. I think we have absolute ability to choose (and thus libertarian ability). Of course, that does not imply that we can actually carry out our choices. I cannot fly over a house top by waving my arms. However, I could choose to do so, if I had the ability. However, a determinist (or compatibilist) believes that when I make a "choice" it is not a genuine choice, for what seems to be an act of my own choosing has actually been brought about by prior causes, such as my disposition that was caused by biological factors or parental training, etc. or developed tastes (If offered blueberry pie or apple, I would choose blueberry every time).

My concept of free will or libertarian free will is that if I have chosen some action to perform or object to peruse (say X) at time T, I COULD HAVE CHOSEN, not X at time T instead.
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby Paidion » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:30 pm

Steve, give a clear example of "limited free will." Does that mean that there are things we will to do but cannot actually carry them out? Or does it mean that sometimes we can choose something, and other times we do not have the ability to choose?
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Re: If God values free will...

Postby DaveB » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:41 pm

Like I've said before - I think - LFW and determinism are just concepts we use to interpret situations; as well, they serve to reinforce a theology we've already chosen.
It's my feeling that either 'extreme' locks a person into philosophical/theological knots that cannot be solved. For that reason I don't take sides or make it an issue that divides people.
For me, it's common-sensical to believe that we have 'free-will enough' to do our duty and to love our neighbor. About the rest of it I have no real opinion.
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