Wondering how to respond to free will argument.

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Wondering how to respond to free will argument.

 Hi, I'm a 19 year old from Fort Worth, Texas. I'm currently involved in an email debate with a Christian. I was trying to make the point to him that if God knows the future we cannot have free will because we must follow what he knows will happen or else he will be wrong. He is arguing that God doesn't know the future, he just knows what decisions we will make so he is merely a "witness" to our decisions we have already made. He is saying that we have already made every decision for the rest of our lives already and God has just watched them happen. He compared it to humans watching a sports game from the future, saying that we are not making the decisions for the players we just know what will happen when that game comes to present day. I was wondering how I can respond to this? Thank you.

 


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I'm not seeing how that

I'm not seeing how that doesn't make God omniscient.

 

There is prophecy in the Bible, so clearly God knows the future in the traditional sense.

 

I think I would just ask for clarification, because his statement is not logically coherent as you explain it.

 

Also, you might ask him to talk to his pastor, because if he is denying that God is omniscient that is a pretty heavy blow to traditional Christian doctrine.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Your interlocutor is

Your interlocutor is expressing the doctrine of predestination. However, that is a huge topic and if we are going to figure out what his perspective is on the matter, we should probably hear it from him.

 

Would you please copy/paste a couple of his emails into the thread so that we can get a better idea of where he stands on the matter?

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I didn't create the sports

I didn't create the sports players. Furthermore, I didn't create them with the specific goal of having one team win and the other lose. Furthermore, I didn't create the rules of the game. Ultimately, I have no influence on the sports game.

God, on the other hand, created the entire universe *already knowing* how everything would play out to the very last detail. He purposely set it out to be exactly the way it is.

He doesn't just watch the 'players', he created them, he created everything about them. If they like ketchup, it's because god created them to like ketchup. He knew *before* he created me that I would like ketchup. He *could have* instead created me so that I would not like ketchup. But no, he *chose* to create me knowing I would like ketchup. Before I even *existed*, it was a forgone conclusion that I would ask for ketchup for my fries.

As one of our legendary posters used to say, God is perfectly responsible for every aspect of his creation. If he is not, then he is either not omniscient or not omnipotent.

He could have created our free will so that I could 'decide' to fly to Mars for vacation. But no, he chose to limit my free will so that my will is not free in that dimension. I cannot simply will myself to fly to Mars. I can't just will myself to solve world hunger and poverty, although I would if I could.

Every limit of free will is a limit that god specifically chose to install *before* he created humans. Every aspect of free will is under his supreme control.

God could have given Adam the free will to resist the temptation. But He didn't. He chose to limit Adam's free will so that he'd eat the apple. In fact, he knew he'd eat the apple even before he created Adam. You could rightfully say that when he created Adam, he created him *for the purpose* of eating the apple. Every aspect of Adam's life was laid out in a rock-solid plan of God's own design from the very beginning, and this is true of every human.

So, no, the Christian idea of free will is the worst kind of self-retardation imposed by religions on humans. It makes zero sense, and the fact that many Christians think it makes sense just goes to show how seriously fucked up your brain can get on religion.

It reminds me of Nigel from This is Spinal Tap!, "Ummm, these go to eleven."

If God is omniscient and omnipotent, we cannot have free will, and the whole rickety structure of Christianity comes crumbling down, since it depends crucially on free will. If we have free will, then God is not omniscient or omnipotent, and so the whole rickety structure of Christianity comes tumbling down, because it depends crucially on the prophecies of Jesus.

Without the prophecies, there's no connection to the Old Testament. Without the Old Testament, there's no Original Sin. Without Original Sin, Jesus' sacrifice is meaningless.

None of it makes any sense anyway. The simpler explanation is that it's a story written by humans with a few giant plot holes in it that die-hard fans choose to ignore.

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If god already knows whats

If god already knows whats going to happen what is the point in this test. What is free will? It's a term they have deemed their own, everyone has "free will" but they play like it's a special gift god gave it to us. But free will and him already knowing an outcome seems redundant and pointless. Free will to choose but he already knows what you will choose. It's like asking a kid if he wants chocolate ice cream or chocolate ice cream, if he excercises free will then god already knew he would do it obviously. It's a circle of stupid.

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Hi, welcome to the forum.Ask

Hi, welcome to the forum.

Ask him to define free will.

RedGiant wrote:
He is arguing that God doesn't know the future,

Then he's not omniscient. 

Quote:
He is saying that we have already made every decision for the rest of our lives already and God has just watched them happen. He compared it to humans watching a sports game from the future, saying that we are not making the decisions for the players we just know what will happen when that game comes to present day. I was wondering how I can respond to this? Thank you.

This entire argument is just a red herring. Most Christians don't understand the implications of their own definition. God is usually defined as omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and the creator of absolutely everything. Assuming free will is a coherent, well-defined concept, which I don't think it is, it simply contradicts their own definition of God. God designed every person and everything down to the very last detail, so everything they do must be a direct result of his actions. Everything that occurs must be exactly what God wanted and willed because if something is not, then God must not be omnipotent. And, since God is infinitely good, anything he governs can only be infinitely good. There can be no evil. The existence of any evil at all is a direct contradiction to omnipotence + omnibenevolence. The idea that God allows humans to make poor decisions because this is only way to promote the greater good of free will is just retarded. Any omnimax God can easily give everyone free will and persuade them all to worship him and send everyone to heaven.  

Let me tweak that sports game analogy a little.

In this case, the person watching would have perfect memory and knowledge of everything, he would have invented the rules of the sports game being played, precisely designed every single one of the players, and be all the umpires, announcers, referees, scorekeepers, etc. combined. He doesn't have to be from the future. He knows who is going to win because he made everything about the game, and he knows everything about the game. He knew which team was going to win when he designed them. And, since everything that happens is part of his purpose, he designed them with the purpose of having one of them win.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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The reason you don't have a

The reason you don't have a response to this is because you are totally wrong.  God's foreknowledge is consistent with our free will.  Your opponent is an open theist and he doesn't seem to believe that God is omniscient, which is totally false.  So I would pick a more formidable opponent.

God created us in order to share his greatness with other sentients.  It was an entirely selfless act which would have been fundamentally useless if he simply created objects with no self-awareness.  But self-awareness isn't enough.  To truly share with another being, that being must have the capacity to reject the offer.  Otherwise, it would be no different than simply creating some mindless entity with no objective capacity to appreciate the act.  Therefore, he created beings with a free will, so that he may truly share with them.  In doing this, he knew that some would inevitably reject him, but some would also accept him.  Those who accepted him were predestined for salvation.  Why person A is predestined for salvation instead of person B is unknown at this stage and we may never find out.

In short, God created human beings fully known which ones would freely choose to reject him.  There is no causal relationship between God's actions and the choices that we make. 


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Oh, the towering

Fortunate_S wrote:

God's foreknowledge is consistent with our free will. 

To truly share with another being, that being must have the capacity to reject the offer. 

Therefore, he created beings with a free will, so that he may truly share with them.  In doing this, he knew that some would inevitably reject him, but some would also accept him. 

Those who accepted him were predestined for salvation.  Why person A is predestined for salvation instead of person B is unknown at this stage and we may never find out.

In short, God created human beings fully known which ones would freely choose to reject him.  There is no causal relationship between God's actions and the choices that we make. 

 

Contradiction...a god who knows everything but does nothing.

FS, does this mean god is just watching the world go on around him like a 4-dimensional TV show? Is he an interventionist god, or can he simply not influence his creation? An all powerful god can choose to do what he likes. He could stop the world on the cusp. He could remake our minds to love him, with our freewill intact. He is god. Nothing is impossible. It's my opinion that freewill is an adhom designed to undermine those who are possessed of an urge for rational thought. The believer insists our doubts about the veracity of the case are not based in reality - no they are a moral rejection of his royal highness of hissy fits, the lord god. It's my contention that it's the believers themselves, who by some quirk of mental nature, some disconnection of executive function, are incapable of freewill. Verily, my friends. The followers of god are become robots.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Fortunate_S wrote:In doing

Fortunate_S wrote:
In doing this, he knew that some would inevitably reject him, but some would also accept him.

Why does he allow people to reject him? Why doesn't he just get them to accept him? Does he not want everyone to accept him?

Quote:
Why person A is predestined for salvation instead of person B is unknown at this stage and we may never find out.

God knows. God created person A to go to heaven, and he created person B to go to hell. They are predestined because that's the way God made them. This conclusion is much more consistent with God's omni characteristics.

Quote:
In short, God created human beings fully known which ones would freely choose to reject him.  There is no causal relationship between God's actions and the choices that we make.

There isn't?

So, he is not responsible for creating our genome? Our brain? Our personality? Our environment? He doesn't influence any of those things, huh?

So, if I decide to do something evil, that's not part of God's plan? I had the free will to do it. He's just powerless to stop me, huh? 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Fortunate_S wrote:   To

Fortunate_S wrote:

 

  To truly share with another being, that being must have the capacity to reject the offer.   ~ snip ~   Therefore, he created beings with a free will, so that he may truly share with them.

 

   Free will entails the capacity to "reject the offer" as you say.  In your opinion how will this free will principle manifest itself in heaven among the redeemed saints ?  Would God's redeemed saints still retain the capacity to reject the offer ?  ...eg, can they still choose to disobey and sin even in Heaven ?

   God had allegedly in the past created a vast multitude of sinless angels who dwelt in heavenly paradise in his very presence and, as sentient spiritual beings, "shared in his greatness."          In spite of that, some of these sinless, supernatural beings eventually employed free will to ensure their subsequent expulsion from God's presence as punishment,   ....just curious, but what would prevent the saints from falling into the  same potential "free will" trap ?

 Like the fallen angels, could a saint likewise get kicked out of heaven ?

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:
 

Contradiction...a god who knows everything but does nothing.

I don't see where there is a contradiction.  God knows everything but permits evil to occur.  Where's the contradiction?  Simply because somebody knows something does not entail that s/he must by logical necessity act to stop it.

Quote:
FS, does this mean god is just watching the world go on around him like a 4-dimensional TV show? Is he an interventionist god, or can he simply not influence his creation? An all powerful god can choose to do what he likes. He could stop the world on the cusp. He could remake our minds to love him, with our freewill intact. He is god. Nothing is impossible. It's my opinion that freewill is an adhom designed to undermine those who are possessed of an urge for rational thought. The believer insists our doubts about the veracity of the case are not based in reality - no they are a moral rejection of his royal highness of hissy fits, the lord god. It's my contention that it's the believers themselves, who by some quirk of mental nature, some disconnection of executive function, are incapable of freewill. Verily, my friends. The followers of god are become robots.

God can do what he likes and he chooses to allow evil. 

There is no point in addressing the other stuff you said because it is just based on your opinion.  I really am not concerned if you believe that Christians have no free will.  I'm not interested in a game of "I know you are, but what am I."


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Why does he allow people to reject him? Why doesn't he just get them to accept him? Does he not want everyone to accept him?

A personal relationship is a two way street of acceptance.  My marriage would not be a happy one if I knew that my wife only loved me because she was hardwired to do so.  It is special because she genuinely accepted me when she could have rejected me.  God created us in order to have a personal relationship with us.  Logically, there is no personal relationship if the other being is forced to accept you.  It would be like having a personal relationship with a wind-up toy.

Quote:
God knows. God created person A to go to heaven, and he created person B to go to hell. They are predestined because that's the way God made them. This conclusion is much more consistent with God's omni characteristics.

God created the world and free beings knowing which ones would accept him and reject him.  He did not "create to go to Heaven or Hell". 

Quote:
There isn't?

So, he is not responsible for creating our genome? Our brain? Our personality? Our environment? He doesn't influence any of those things, huh?


What do these have to do with free will?

To answer the question, yes, he is responsible for them in a sense.  He created all of matter and therefore, these things would not exist without him.

Quote:
So, if I decide to do something evil, that's not part of God's plan? I had the free will to do it. He's just powerless to stop me, huh? 

It is part of God's plan.  God's plan included the free choices that he knew you would make.

 


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:  

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

   Free will entails the capacity to "reject the offer" as you say.  In your opinion how will this free will principle manifest itself in heaven among the redeemed saints ?  Would God's redeemed saints still retain the capacity to reject the offer ?  ...eg, can they still choose to disobey and sin even in Heaven ?


I don't know.

Quote:
God had allegedly in the past created a vast multitude of sinless angels who dwelt in heavenly paradise in his very presence and, as sentient spiritual beings, "shared in his greatness."          In spite of that, some of these sinless, supernatural beings eventually employed free will to ensure their subsequent expulsion from God's presence as punishment,   ....just curious, but what would prevent the saints from falling into the  same potential "free will" trap ?

I do not know the answer, so I did a little research.  This question isn't answered in scripture, but the general consensus among apologists seems to be that once we enter Heaven, our free will is removed.  By the time we enter Heaven, we will have already freely made our covenant with God here on Earth. 

 

The Bible describes heaven in great detail in Revelation chapters 21-22. Nowhere in those chapters is the possibility of sin mentioned. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). The sinful are not in heaven, but in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:Cool. Nothing impure will ever enter heaven (Revelation 21:27). Outside of heaven are those who sin (Revelation 22:15). So, the answer is no, there will be no sin in heaven.

What does that mean for us? If there is no possibility of sin, does that mean we will no longer have a free will in heaven? Perhaps in heaven, our ability to choose will be similar to that of the angels. The angels had a one-time choice to obey God or follow Satan. There is no possibility of further angels sinning and joining Satan in his rebellion. The holy angels are "elect angels" (1 Timothy 5:21). Similarly, the elect in heaven will be "sealed" in their decision to forsake sin and trust in Christ. We will not even have the choice to sin. At the same time, having been delivered from sin and evil, and viewing the wonderful glories of heaven, we would not choose sin even if we had the choice.

http://www.gotquestions.org/heaven-sin.html

My own inclination is for a view along the lines of (3). God has created us at an “epistemic distance,” so to speak, which allows us the freedom to rebel against Him and separate ourselves from Him. This world is a vale of decision-making during which we decide whether we want to live with God forever or reject Him and so irrevocably separate ourselves from Him. As discussions of the so-called “Hiddenness of God” have emphasized, God could have made His existence overwhelmingly obvious, had He wanted to. During this life, we “see in a glass darkly,” as St. Paul put it; but someday we shall see “face to face” (I Cor. 13.12). Medieval theologians liked to talk of the “Beatific Vision” which the blessed in heaven will receive. There the veil will be removed, and we shall see Christ in all of His loveliness and majesty. The vision of Christ, the source of infinite goodness and love, will be so overwhelming as to remove all freedom to sin. I like to think of it like iron filings in the presence of an enormously powerful electromagnet. They would be so powerfully attracted to the magnet that there is simply no possibility of their falling away. So with the blessed in heaven.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6101

 


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  Yes, it is an interesting

  Yes, it is an interesting question.  I have been popping around from a few different theist websites ( Catholic, Protestant, etc.. ) and there are of course varying views regarding this topic.  It's a riddle ....

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ProzacDeathWish wrote: 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  Yes, it is an interesting question.  I have been popping around from a few different theist websites ( Catholic, Protestant, etc.. ) and there are of course varying views regarding this topic.  It's a riddle ....

Some theologians believe we do have free will in Heaven, but that there would no reason for us to sin because sin only exists where temptation exists.   In Heaven, it is impossible to be tempted because all desires are fulfilled.

In the end, this issue is inconsequential to the Christian faith.


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Fortunate_S wrote:Some

Fortunate_S wrote:

Some theologians believe we do have free will in Heaven, but that there would no reason for us to sin because sin only exists where temptation exists.   In Heaven, it is impossible to be tempted because all desires are fulfilled.

 

    Hmmm, okay.  The objection that I had come across on other forums was that if God ( for those Christians who believe free will exists in Heaven )  is capable of enabling free will to co-exist with the inability to choose sin then why not implement those qualities into his creation from the very beginning ?  It's truly puzzling ( at least to me ) as God's original free will "format" results amount to unimaginable pain, strife, destruction.... why not just make things right the first time around ?

   Anyway, I will click on the links that you have provided and examine their arguments.  Thanks.

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Fortunate_S wrote:Some

Fortunate_S wrote:

Some theologians believe we do have free will in Heaven, but that there would no reason for us to sin because sin only exists where temptation exists.  

 

    Just a last thought as I was rereading your reply,

       if sin only exists where temptation exists  ..then who tempted Lucifer ? 

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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:

Some theologians believe we do have free will in Heaven, but that there would no reason for us to sin because sin only exists where temptation exists.  

 

    Just a last thought as I was rereading your reply,

       if sin only exists where temptation exists  ..then who tempted Lucifer ? 

According to the theology, Satan did not dwell in Heaven with God.  He simply had access to it, as he roamed between Heaven and Earth.  Satan was tempted by the desire for power.  

It is plausible to assume that God created angels for entirely different reasons than those for which he created mankind and under completely different circumstances.  Therefore, we cannot apply the same ideas to them as we would to people who go to Heaven after they die.  Angels are not humans and humans are not angels.


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Fortunate_S wrote:A personal

Fortunate_S wrote:
A personal relationship is a two way street of acceptance.  My marriage would not be a happy one if I knew that my wife only loved me because she was hardwired to do so.

But, I believe that you're wife is hardwired to do so though, as we all are. Everything she does is a result of her environment and what she is; there's nothing "transcending" that. I believe that the essential difference between the "free will" of a person and a robot is merely a matter of complexity and the type of algorithm.   

So, now you know that naturalists' marriages are always unhappy. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
It is special because she genuinely accepted me when she could have rejected me.  God created us in order to have a personal relationship with us.  Logically, there is no personal relationship if the other being is forced to accept you.  It would be like having a personal relationship with a wind-up toy.

I didn't ask why doesn't he "force" us to accept him. I asked why doesn't he just give us free will AND act in a way that will result in everyone choosing to accept him. Is God too inept to convince me to accept him?

Fortunate_S wrote:
God created the world and free beings knowing which ones would accept him and reject him.  He did not "create to go to Heaven or Hell".

So, whether they go to heaven or hell is not part of his plan? He didn't intend for them to go to heaven or hell?

If God created me with "free will" knowing that I would go to hell, why did he create me this way? Why didn't he create me with "free will" some other way? Doesn't he want me to go to heaven? Why didn't he make me born from Christians parents that taught me the Bible, instead of apathetic non-theists, so then I would use my "free will" to "choose" to go to heaven?

butterbattle wrote:
There isn't?

So, he is not responsible for creating our genome? Our brain? Our personality? Our environment? He doesn't influence any of those things, huh?


Fortunate_S wrote:
What do these have to do with free will?

Everything. All of our decisions and everything that happens in our lives is correlated or caused by these things. And, God designed my brain and DNA, did he not? He designed my personality. God made my environment. Are you implying that these things have no influence on my decisions?

Fortunate_S wrote:
To answer the question, yes, he is responsible for them in a sense.  He created all of matter and therefore, these things would not exist without him.

In a sense? It is true in every sense. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and he created everything. There is nothing for which he is not directly and absolutely responsible for.

Fortunate_S wrote:
It is part of God's plan.  God's plan included the free choices that he knew you would make.

So, God's plan is to create me in such a way that I would use my "free will" to make all the choices that he knew I would make. Okay. Got it.  

Since my "free choices" are part of his plan, if I "choose" to go to hell, that's part of God's plan too, right? 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:Hmmm,

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Hmmm, okay.  The objection that I had come across on other forums was that if God ( for those Christians who believe free will exists in Heaven )  is capable of enabling free will to co-exist with the inability to choose sin then why not implement those qualities into his creation from the very beginning ?  It's truly puzzling ( at least to me ) as God's original free will "format" results amount to unimaginable pain, strife, destruction.... why not just make things right the first time around ?

It's a good question and it may be that our existence here on Earth is the means through which our personal relationship with God is strengthened.  Our devotion to other people is tested through our capacity to stand by through good and bad, which requires bad to exist.  That's just a theory, but in the end, it is all speculation. 


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

But, I believe that you're wife is hardwired to do so though, as we all are. Everything she does is a result of her environment and what she is; there's nothing "transcending" that. I believe that the essential difference between the "free will" of a person and a robot is merely a matter of complexity and the type of algorithm.   

Okay.  That's what you believe.  But I was answering a question that you asked.  If you want to discuss materialism/physicalism/naturalism, we can do that in another thread.

Quote:
I didn't ask why doesn't he "force" us to accept him. I asked why doesn't he just give us free will AND act in a way that will result in everyone choosing to accept him.

That would require that there actually be a way for God to reveal himself in a way that everyone would accept him and there isn't.  People have contradictory standards of evidence.  Even if a light appeared in the sky and a big voice spoke, eventually people would start asking where the light and voice came from and erase God from the explanation.

Quote:
Is God too inept to convince me to accept him?

God cannot accomodate someone who believes A and someone else who believes ~A.  Only one of them can be correct.

Quote:
So, whether they go to heaven or hell is not part of his plan? He didn't intend for them to go to heaven or hell?

We have to define what we mean by "intend".  Do I believe that God gleefully cackled as he created some people who he knew would go to Hell?  Absolutely not.  I believe he created the world with the realization that free will necessitates that some people are not going to be saved, just as a government knows that when you send everyone off to war, some people are going to die.  Obviously, this is not a perfect analogy.  God knows every detail about what is going to happen and who is going to die and what not.  I do not know the basis for which he decided to create the world in the way that he did, knowing full well how it may influence people's choices.  Could God have done it differently?  Probably.  Why didn't he do it differently?  I do not know.

Quote:
If God created me with "free will" knowing that I would go to hell, why did he create me this way? Why didn't he create me with "free will" some other way?

Why are you a human instead of a frog?  Ask God those questions. 

Quote:
Doesn't he want me to go to heaven? Why didn't he make me born from Christians parents that taught me the Bible, instead of apathetic non-theists, so then I would use my "free will" to "choose" to go to heaven?

See above.

Quote:
Everything. All of our decisions and everything that happens in our lives is correlated or caused by these things. And, God designed my brain and DNA, did he not? He designed my personality. God made my environment. Are you implying that these things have no influence on my decisions?

That's begging the question.  Free will means that there is some spooky element within us which is unrelated to the causal chain of events but which can move our bodies to action.  We have no account for exactly how this works because it is not a case of materiality causality.  To say that our actions are caused by our brain or environment is an assumption.

Quote:
In a sense? It is true in every sense. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and he created everything. There is nothing for which he is not directly and absolutely responsible for.

If you ask me who was responsible for my computer, I could answer the question on two levels.  On one level, I could say that God was responsible for it because the very existence of matter, which he created ex nihilo, allows for my computer to come together.  On a different level, I could mention the engineers and computer programmers at Dell and Microsoft.  What answer would you find more preferable?

Quote:
So, God's plan is to create me in such a way that I would use my "free will" to make all the choices that he knew I would make. Okay. Got it.  

Since my "free choices" are part of his plan, if I "choose" to go to hell, that's part of God's plan too, right? 

Yes.


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Free-will is false

Free-will is false regardless of Omniscience.

Omniscience is false regardless of free-will.

 

If people are delusional enough to believe in compatibilism, they probably aren't worth arguing with, but if you must:  Go lower level, and disprove each in their own rights, and not relative to each-other.

 

 


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Fortunate_S wrote:Okay. 

Fortunate_S wrote:

Okay.  That's what you believe.  But I was answering a question that you asked.  If you want to discuss materialism/physicalism/naturalism, we can do that in another thread.

Okay.

Fortunate_S wrote:
That would require that there actually be a way for God to reveal himself in a way that everyone would accept him and there isn't.

How do you know there isn't a way? Surely, God can figure out a way to convince everyone to accept him.

Fortunate_S wrote:
People have contradictory standards of evidence.  Even if a light appeared in the sky and a big voice spoke, eventually people would start asking where the light and voice came from and erase God from the explanation.

 

So what? It doesn't have to be a light and a booming voice. Why can't God just use whatever means necessary to satisfy everyone's requirement of evidence? 

butterbattle wrote:
Is God too inept to convince me to accept him?

Fortunate_S wrote:
God cannot accomodate someone who believes A and someone else who believes ~A.  Only one of them can be correct.

I don't see how this addresses my question. Why would God need to "accommodate someone who believes A and someone else who believes ~A?" God just needs to convince everyone to accept him.

Fortunate_S wrote:
We have to define what we mean by "intend".

You can think of it as, did he want them to go to heaven/hell? Was that part of his plan?

 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Do I believe that God gleefully cackled as he created some people who he knew would go to Hell?  Absolutely not.  I believe he created the world with the realization that free will necessitates that some people are not going to be saved,

Why? Why does free necessitate that some people are not going to be saved?

Fortunate_S wrote:
just as a government knows that when you send everyone off to war, some people are going to die. Obviously, this is not a perfect analogy.  God knows every detail about what is going to happen and who is going to die and what not.

But, that's just it. If God is the government, people DON'T have to die. He is all powerful. He can save everyone as long as he wants to.

butterbattle wrote:
Everything. All of our decisions and everything that happens in our lives is correlated or caused by these things. And, God designed my brain and DNA, did he not? He designed my personality. God made my environment. Are you implying that these things have no influence on my decisions?

Fortunate_S wrote:
That's begging the question.  Free will means that there is some spooky element within us which is unrelated to the causal chain of events but which can move our bodies to action.  We have no account for exactly how this works because it is not a case of materiality causality.  To say that our actions are caused by our brain or environment is an assumption.

Okay. But even assuming the existence of free will, our "soul" would only be part of what influences our decisions. Our brains, genes, etc. would also influence our decisions. Do you agree?

Btw, he created our free will too.

Fortunate_S wrote:
If you ask me who was responsible for my computer, I could answer the question on two levels.  On one level, I could say that God was responsible for it because the very existence of matter, which he created ex nihilo, allows for my computer to come together.  On a different level, I could mention the engineers and computer programmers at Dell and Microsoft.  What answer would you find more preferable?

God. God is still infinitely more responsible for the computer. Not only did he create the energy and substance for the computer, he created a universe in which the creation of this computer was possible, and he precisely designed all the engineers and computer programmers at Dell and Microsoft knowing that they would create this computer.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Yes.

So, if I go to hell, that's part of God's plan? Does he want me to go to hell?

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:
That would require that there actually be a way for God to reveal himself in a way that everyone would accept him and there isn't.

How do you know there isn't a way? Surely, God can figure out a way to convince everyone to accept him.

Again, people have contradictory standards of evidence.  What suffices as acceptable for one person may not be acceptable to another person and vice versa.

 Anyway, why should God cater to skeptics?  If they were too hard headed to accept the revelation that he gave over the course of 1,000 years (which is the time period covered by the scriptures, though I may be off), then why should he bother accomodating them?  Do you think he is going to do so out of intimidation? 

Quote:
So what? It doesn't have to be a light and a booming voice. Why can't God just use whatever means necessary to satisfy everyone's requirement of evidence? 

Because there is no everyone.  You are presuming that everyone has the same standards of evidence.  Free thinkers believe things that contradict one another.  But even if we assume that God could reveal himself in such a way, why should he?

Quote:
I don't see how this addresses my question. Why would God need to "accommodate someone who believes A and someone else who believes ~A?" God just needs to convince everyone to accept him.

I just explained. 

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You can think of it as, did he want them to go to heaven/hell? Was that part of his plan?

It was part of his plan and he did not want them to go to Heaven/Hell. 

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Why? Why does free necessitate that some people are not going to be saved?

Because some people will choose to violate the law of God.

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But, that's just it. If God is the government, people DON'T have to die. He is all powerful. He can save everyone as long as he wants to.

No he cannot.  And he does not have to.

Quote:
Okay. But even assuming the existence of free will, our "soul" would only be part of what influences our decisions. Our brains, genes, etc. would also influence our decisions. Do you agree?

Our decisions, or mental events, are predicated on our irreducible self.  Our self does not influence our decisions because that would mean that our decisions are separate from our will and that's not how it works.  Nothing causes our will.

Quote:
Btw, he created our free will too.

He created man in his image and gave him free will, yes.

Quote:
God. God is still infinitely more responsible for the computer. Not only did he create the energy and substance for the computer, he created a universe in which the creation of this computer was possible, and he precisely designed all the engineers and computer programmers at Dell and Microsoft knowing that they would create this computer.

Okay, now you are just being disingenuous.  By that logic, the parents of the programmers were also responsible for the computers as well as the air that had to be breathed by the programmers and the people who had to make the food in order for the programmers to eat.  After all, if those conditions were not in place, then we would not have any programmers and therefore no computer.  Therefore, we will list them on the credits as well.

Quote:
So, if I go to hell, that's part of God's plan? Does he want me to go to hell?

It's part of God's plan and he doesn't want you to go to Hell anymore than a president wants soldiers to die when he sends them off to war.

 


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I don't get it though, he

I don't get it though, he made the war, he made the soldiers, he made the rules of engagement, he made the guns, he made the enemy....How is that a valid comparison?  If a President had total control over the situation and set things up so people would die, wouldn't that make him, I dunno, evil? 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:I don't get

mellestad wrote:

I don't get it though, he made the war, he made the soldiers, he made the rules of engagement, he made the guns, he made the enemy....How is that a valid comparison?  If a President had total control over the situation and set things up so people would die, wouldn't that make him, I dunno, evil? 

It's not a perfect analogy.  The point is, people do things while accepting the necessary evils.  God can do all things possible, but he cannot do anything that is actually impossible. 


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weeeeee!

Fortunate_S wrote:

The reason you don't have a response to this is because you are totally wrong.  God's foreknowledge is consistent with our free will.  Your opponent is an open theist and he doesn't seem to believe that God is omniscient, which is totally false.  So I would pick a more formidable opponent.

God created us in order to share his greatness with other sentients.  It was an entirely selfless act which would have been fundamentally useless if he simply created objects with no self-awareness.  But self-awareness isn't enough.  To truly share with another being, that being must have the capacity to reject the offer.  Otherwise, it would be no different than simply creating some mindless entity with no objective capacity to appreciate the act.  Therefore, he created beings with a free will, so that he may truly share with them.  In doing this, he knew that some would inevitably reject him, but some would also accept him.  Those who accepted him were predestined for salvation.  Why person A is predestined for salvation instead of person B is unknown at this stage and we may never find out.

In short, God created human beings fully known which ones would freely choose to reject him.  There is no causal relationship between God's actions and the choices that we make. 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Fortunate_S wrote:Again,

Fortunate_S wrote:

Again, people have contradictory standards of evidence.  What suffices as acceptable for one person may not be acceptable to another person and vice versa.

So what? God can just present whatever evidence is necessary to satisfy everyone's standard of evidence. Person 1 needs this. Okay, God will give him that. Person 2 needs something else. God can give him that too. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Anyway, why should God cater to skeptics?  If they were too hard headed to accept the revelation that he gave over the course of 1,000 years (which is the time period covered by the scriptures, though I may be off), then why should he bother accomodating them?  Do you think he is going to do so out of intimidation?

No, I don't believe that he is "intimidated." God will "bother accommodating" everyone because he wants people to believe in him. That's what the Bible says. That's what Christians say. Right? As such, logically, he would do what is necessary to get people to believe that he exists. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Because there is no everyone.  You are presuming that everyone has the same standards of evidence.

No, I'm not. Why the hell would everyone have to have the same standards of evidence in order for God to convince them of his existence? He can present evidence specific to each individual that satisfies their specific requirements. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
But even if we assume that God could reveal himself in such a way, why should he?

Because he wants people to believe that he exists. He wants people to accept him. He wants people to go to heaven. Doesn't he?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Because some people will choose to violate the law of God.

That doesn't answer the question. Why are there necessarily some people that violate the law of God?

Fortunate_S wrote:
No he cannot.  And he does not have to.

He cannot? He can do anything, can't he? Isn't he omnipotent?

Doesn't he want to save people? 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Our decisions, or mental events, are predicated on our irreducible self.  Our self does not influence our decisions because that would mean that our decisions are separate from our will and that's not how it works.  Nothing causes our will.

So, you're answer is no? Our brains, genes, environments, etc. don't influence our decisions?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Okay, now you are just being disingenuous.  By that logic, the parents of the programmers were also responsible for the computers as well as the air that had to be breathed by the programmers and the people who had to make the food in order for the programmers to eat.  After all, if those conditions were not in place, then we would not have any programmers and therefore no computer.  Therefore, we will list them on the credits as well.

The parents only brought the programmers into existence. They do not know everything about them, everything that is going to happen, and/or designed their every detail with everything that is going to happen perfectly and precisely planned out. The air breathed by the programmers, and the food they've eaten are not intelligent, so they cannot be responsible for anything in the sense that we're using. Furthermore, God created those parents and all the air and all the food, again, knowing EVERYTHING that is going to happen. 

My argument is not that simple. It's not as naive as saying P caused/maintained Q, therefore, P is responsible for what Q does. God knew everything that we were going to do when he created us, and everything that we do is part of his plan. Therefore, he responsible for everything. Completely.  

Fortunate_S wrote:
It's part of God's plan and he doesn't want you to go to Hell anymore than a president wants soldiers to die when he sends them off to war. 

Okay, so it is part of his plan that we will go to hell, but he doesn't really want us to go to hell. This part of the plan is necessary for the existence of free will. Is this what you're saying?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Fortunate_S wrote:mellestad

Fortunate_S wrote:

mellestad wrote:

I don't get it though, he made the war, he made the soldiers, he made the rules of engagement, he made the guns, he made the enemy....How is that a valid comparison?  If a President had total control over the situation and set things up so people would die, wouldn't that make him, I dunno, evil? 

It's not a perfect analogy.  The point is, people do things while accepting the necessary evils.  God can do all things possible, but he cannot do anything that is actually impossible. 

 

Why would it be impossible to create a system with free will and no suffering (or even no pointless suffering, if that is easier)?  There are situations that happen in the world with zero potential for 'good'...situations of pure suffering where there is literally no causal chain leading to anything but 'evil'.  That doesn't make sense to me, I have never heard a rational explanation for that.  "Free will" causes situations of pure evil to evolve without benefit and without a chance for human redemption.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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ignoring F_S

To respond to the original post, this is how I view the whole free will argument:

 

Ask the theist: Do we have free will?

If yes: Then, god/s/dess made me the way I am and s/he/it knew I would not be able to accept religion and the concept of him/her/itself.  S/he/it made me logical/analytical which makes it real hard for me to buy into the mystic stuff.  I need hard physical evidence.  S/he/it hasn't given me any physical evidence, and in fact what evidence I have discovered points to a lack of gods.  Therefore, my optimal choice is to assume there is no god/s/dess.  I refuse to be condemned by a lazy god/s/dess who is going to punish me for using the brain s/he/it gave me.

 

If no: Then, god/s/dess made me the way I am and s/he/it knew I would not be able to accept religion and the concept of him/her/itself.  S/he/it deliberately made me so that I would spend eternity burning in hell - s/he/it gave me no choice.  And being proselytized to will not change that, since it was his/her/its plan to slam dunk me into hell from the get go.

 

I live my life as if I have free will.  I try to be aware of environmental, developmental, and internal triggers for my decisions and I try to compensate and be a rational as I am able.  It may all be pretense, but it works for me and I am comfortable with it.  But whether or not we have free will from a religious perspective is a moot point since god/s/dess has stacked the deck against us.  As my mom used to say, "You're screwed, coming and going."

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Fortunate_S wrote:It's not a

Fortunate_S wrote:
It's not a perfect analogy.  The point is, people do things while accepting the necessary evils.  God can do all things possible, but he cannot do anything that is actually impossible. 

As in, logically impossible?   

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:

Again, people have contradictory standards of evidence.  What suffices as acceptable for one person may not be acceptable to another person and vice versa.

So what? God can just present whatever evidence is necessary to satisfy everyone's standard of evidence. Person 1 needs this. Okay, God will give him that. Person 2 needs something else. God can give him that too. 

No he cannot because person 1 may only accept A, while person 2 may only accept ~A... which means that God cannot satisfy both, he can only satisfy one. 

Quote:
No, I don't believe that he is "intimidated." God will "bother accommodating" everyone because he wants people to believe in him.

Umm, no.  If God is mocked by skeptics who demand that he adhere to their standards of evidence, then he will not accomodate them.   I may want someone to be my friend, but if that person tells me that he will not be my friend unless I do X and Y, then I am not going to bother.  I will leave it to him to change.  I'm not going to cater to his demands.

Here is a good article for you to read:

http://www.carm.org/atheists-you-wont-find-god-that-way

Quote:
That's what the Bible says.

Actually, I don't believe the Bible says that.   

Quote:
That's what Christians say. Right? As such, logically, he would do what is necessary to get people to believe that he exists. 

No, you are being black and white and reducing an entire theology to soundbytes.  It isn't just as simple as, "A person who wishes to have a personal relationship with someone will do whatever it takes to acquire that."

Quote:
No, I'm not. Why the hell would everyone have to have the same standards of evidence in order for God to convince them of his existence? He can present evidence specific to each individual that satisfies their specific requirements. 

I've already explained. The evidence that one person wants could entirely contradict the evidence that someone else wants.  As such, what God revealed to the first skeptic will become nullified by what he has to reveal to the second skeptic.  And you still have not established that this is necessarily the way that God should operate.

Quote:
Because he wants people to believe that he exists. He wants people to accept him. He wants people to go to heaven. Doesn't he?

Again, you are being too simplistic.  He does not just want people to believe in him.  Satan believed in God.  What he wants is to have a personal relationship.  He will have no desire to have a personal relationship with someone who rejects the 1,000 year revelation that he has already given. 

Quote:
That doesn't answer the question. Why are there necessarily some people that violate the law of God?

It does answer the question.  People have free will.  There are billions of people on the planet.  More than a few will be apt to violate the law of God.

Quote:
He cannot? He can do anything, can't he? Isn't he omnipotent?

He can do anything which is possible in theory.  He cannot violate the law of non-contradiction, which is what you are asking him to do when you say he should somehow convince everybody of his existence.  You have presuming that this is theoretically possible and it is not unless by some rolling of the dice, everybody has standards of evidence which are logically consistent with everyone else's. 

Here is a good article on omnipotence:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm

Quote:
So, you're answer is no? Our brains, genes, environments, etc. don't influence our decisions?

There is possibly an influence, but nothing causes our decisions.  That is why it is known as free will.

Quote:
The parents only brought the programmers into existence.

And this was necessary in order for the computer to get made.  Therefore, the parents are responsible for the computer.  Your logic, not mine.

Quote:
They do not know everything about them, everything that is going to happen, and/or designed their every detail with everything that is going to happen perfectly and precisely planned out.

Which has nothing to do with anything.  Even if the parents knew all of these things, it would not change the main point. 

Quote:
The air breathed by the programmers, and the food they've eaten are not intelligent, so they cannot be responsible for anything in the sense that we're using.

By your logic, they are.  Without air and food, the programmers would be dead and there would be no computer.

You are going back to defending errors.  Just retract your original statement and focus on a different point.

Quote:
Furthermore, God created those parents and all the air and all the food, again, knowing EVERYTHING that is going to happen. 

Which has nothing to do with anything.

Quote:
My argument is not that simple. It's not as naive as saying P caused/maintained Q, therefore, P is responsible for what Q does. God knew everything that we were going to do when he created us, and everything that we do is part of his plan. Therefore, he responsible for everything. Completely.  

Your argument is that simple and it is fallacious.  You are making the classic mistake of conflating foresight with causation.  This line of reasoning was dealt with in medeival times and I don't see how you will do any better with it.  Just because someone knows what will happen does not mean that s/he causes it.

Quote:
Okay, so it is part of his plan that we will go to hell, but he doesn't really want us to go to hell. This part of the plan is necessary for the existence of free will. Is this what you're saying?

Yes to the first sentence.  I have no idea what you mean by the second sentence.  Therefore, I cannot answer the last question.

Anyway, I'm going to give you the last word because I need to take a break for a while.  Lots of vehicle trouble to deal with as well as a hectic work schedule. 

If you are serious about these questions, do a Google search.  Plenty of great websites out there that address everything you are asking. 


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agreed.

cj wrote:
ignoring F_S

Sometimes you have to lead by example, cj.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Fortunate_S wrote: Again,

Fortunate_S wrote:

 

 

Again, you are being too simplistic.  He does not just want people to believe in him.  Satan believed in God. 

    What he wants is to have a personal relationship

 

 

        ....and here are the terms of that "relationship" that God wants so badly:  

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me." Luke 19:27

Reminds me of an obsessive boy friend whose "love" is rejected...."If I can't have you ...nobody can,  ....die you bitch !!!"    Bam Bam Bam !!!

 

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:

        ....and here are the terms of that "relationship" that God wants so badly:  

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me." Luke 19:27

Bad form.

This is the problem with debating atheists.  They continually take passages out of context.

Luke 19:27 is Jesus quoting the Master in the parable of the minas.  It is not God commanding that an unbeliever be killed. 

Here is a good read for you:

http://www.voiceofonecrying.com/Parables%20of%20Jesus_Part%208.htm

 


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Fortunate_S wrote:I've

Fortunate_S wrote:
I've already explained. The evidence that one person wants could entirely contradict the evidence that someone else wants.  As such, what God revealed to the first skeptic will become nullified by what he has to reveal to the second skeptic.  And you still have not established that this is necessarily the way that God should operate.

Okay, so you're assuming that if God presented some evidence, every skeptic would have access to it?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Again, you are being too simplistic.  He does not just want people to believe in him.  Satan believed in God.  What he wants is to have a personal relationship.  He will have no desire to have a personal relationship with someone who rejects the 1,000 year revelation that he has already given.

Okay, so he has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone that read the Bible and rejected it? 

Couldn't he.....try a little harder? You know, some solid empirical evidence instead of just a book?

Fortunate_S wrote:
It does answer the question.  People have free will.  There are billions of people on the planet.  More than a few will be apt to violate the law of God.

Alright. You've answered the question now if you're assuming that everyone has access to the same evidence.

Still, couldn't he just present an overwhelming amount of logic and empirical evidence to convince at least the vast majority of skeptics? 

Fortunate_S wrote:
He can do anything which is possible in theory.  He cannot violate the law of non-contradiction, which is what you are asking him to do when you say he should somehow convince everybody of his existence.  You have presuming that this is theoretically possible and it is not unless by some rolling of the dice, everybody has standards of evidence which are logically consistent with everyone else's.

I don't see how that violates the law of non-contradiction. He can present different evidence for each individual to fit their requirements, but ultimately, they're all believing the same thing, which is that God exists.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Here is a good article on omnipotence:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm

From the article:

"Any action on the part of God which would be out of harmony with His nature and attributes;" 

So, any action that is out of harmony with God's nature and attributes is impossible for God. So, for example, it is impossible for God to lie?

Fortunate_S wrote:
There is possibly an influence, but nothing causes our decisions.  That is why it is known as free will.

There is "possibly" an influence? A significant influence is, essentially, a cause. How much of an influence do you think this is? There are cases where people's entire personalities have changed after suffering brain damage.  

Fortunate_S wrote:
And this was necessary in order for the computer to get made.  Therefore, the parents are responsible for the computer.  Your logic, not mine.

No. That is NOT what I said. The fact that the parents are necessary for the programmers to exist is a necessary condition for them to be responsible, but it is not sufficient. The parents have to know exactly what the programmers were going to do, etc. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Which has nothing to do with anything.  Even if the parents knew all of these things, it would not change the main point.

Wtf? It has everything to do with responsibility. Knowing that some effect would result from your actions makes you more responsible. Intentionally producing that effect makes you completely responsible.  

Fortunate_S wrote:
By your logic, they are.  Without air and food, the programmers would be dead and there would be no computer.

NO. I never said that God was entirely responsible just because he created everything. He's responsible because he created everything, knowing everything that would happen, with the intention of those things happening.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Which has nothing to do with anything.

It has everything to do it. God created everything, knowing everything that was going to happen. So, he is ultimately responsible for everything. The entire free will argument is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient God is entirely incompatible with free will. I see no way out of it. God created free will too, knowing exactly how people would use that "free will" to make their "choices," and he precisely fixed the parameters of this "free will" so everything would happen the way he wanted it.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Your argument is that simple and it is fallacious.  You are making the classic mistake of conflating foresight with causation.  This line of reasoning was dealt with in medeival times and I don't see how you will do any better with it.  Just because someone knows what will happen does not mean that s/he causes it.

But that's just it. It's NOT just foresight. God planned for everything to happen the way it happens, he intended for everything to happen, and he set everything up according to his plan.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Yes to the first sentence.  I have no idea what you mean by the second sentence.  Therefore, I cannot answer the last question.

I mean, he doesn't want to us to go to hell, but the good of free will is greater than the bad of people making poor decisions, which is why God has this plan. Yes? 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Anyway, I'm going to give you the last word because I need to take a break for a while.  Lots of vehicle trouble to deal with as well as a hectic work schedule. 

If you are serious about these questions, do a Google search.  Plenty of great websites out there that address everything you are asking. 

Okay, sure.  

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

        ....and here are the terms of that "relationship" that God wants so badly:  

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me." Luke 19:27

I can back up Fortunate_S on this one. This was a king in one of Jesus' parables, not God. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

        ....and here are the terms of that "relationship" that God wants so badly:  

"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me." Luke 19:27

I can back up Fortunate_S on this one. This was a king in one of Jesus' parables, not God. 

  FS is absolutely correct regarding the issue of context and I make no attempt to dispute that as being the source of my quote.  I respectfully concede.  Nevertheless, isn't the issue of any relationship with God contingent upon the fact that to refuse that loving offer will result in a future compulsory visit before a heavenly King who will behave in an identical manner as referenced in Luke 19:27 ?

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:FS is

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

FS is absolutely correct regarding the issue of context and I make no attempt to dispute that as being the source of my quote.  I respectfully concede.  Nevertheless, isn't the issue of any relationship with God contingent upon the fact that to refuse that loving offer will result in a future compulsory visit before a heavenly King who will behave in an identical manner as referenced in Luke 19:27 ? 

According to what Christians seem to believe, I will....pretty much agree on that; the situation will definitely be similar. Although, Christians will insist that God is justified in his judgment, and those disbelievers deserve to go to hell.

I don't think I'm backing up Fortunate_S on this one, lol. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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False alarm on the vehicle

False alarm on the vehicle trouble and I have nothing else to do today, so I will continue this.

butterbattle wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:
I've already explained. The evidence that one person wants could entirely contradict the evidence that someone else wants.  As such, what God revealed to the first skeptic will become nullified by what he has to reveal to the second skeptic.  And you still have not established that this is necessarily the way that God should operate.

Okay, so you're assuming that if God presented some evidence, every skeptic would have access to it?

It is the skeptics who are responsible for getting themselves educated and seeking out the evidence for themselves.  If I want to learn about quantum mechanics, which I know very little about, I am going to do my own research.  I am not going to wait for some physicist to appear at my door and give me an impromptu lecture.  God only reveals himself to those who seek him with an open heart, rather than people who are going to patronize and mock him if he does not adhere to their arbitrary standards of evidence. 

Did you check out the article I cited by any chance?  It quotes a passage from James which says that God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 

Even if every skeptic had access to the same evidence, that does not mean that they will accept it.  Proof is not persuasion.  Every argument that gets presented for the existence of God will always be rejected by atheists.  Apologists expect that.  Conversion does not occur by debate.  It occurs by personal experiences. 

Quote:
Okay, so he has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone that read the Bible and rejected it? 

Couldn't he.....try a little harder? You know, some solid empirical evidence instead of just a book?

The grammar of your question is unfair.  You use loaded terms like "solid" and loaded phrases like "just a book".  You have assumed the truth of your presupposition that the evidence for God is insufficient or that your methodology and standards of evidence are superior to all others.  This is the myth of neutrality that I pointed to earlier. 

No, he has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone that read the Bible and rejected it.  But he also has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone who reads the Bible and simply believes.  That is just passive.  To be a Christian, you have to seek God actively and not passively.  Once you have that conversion experience, the words in the Bible are made real to you.  The first Christians did not have the Bible, as it took a few years before the whole thing got compiled.  They came to God through their experiences with him.  It is not just being able to rationalize God with your mind.  It is knowing him personally.

Quote:
Still, couldn't he just present an overwhelming amount of logic and empirical evidence to convince at least the vast majority of skeptics? 

He could condescend to more and more skeptics,  but why should he?  What obligation does he have to do this?

Quote:
"Any action on the part of God which would be out of harmony with His nature and attributes;" 

So, any action that is out of harmony with God's nature and attributes is impossible for God. So, for example, it is impossible for God to lie?

Yes, it is impossible for God to lie because God's nature is wholly good.  I know I pressed this by citing the article, but I would rather stay on topic than get into the paradox of omnipotence.

Quote:
There is "possibly" an influence? A significant influence is, essentially, a cause. How much of an influence do you think this is? There are cases where people's entire personalities have changed after suffering brain damage.  

This is a philosophical discussion, not a court of law.  In a court of law, they would determine that someone who convinced his friend to commit suicide caused it to happen and should be jailed.  But philosophically, this was not an instance of causality.  Simply being an influence, significant or otherwise, is not enough to qualify as causality.  Causality entails necessitation.  In other words, if A causes B, then B is necessitated by A, such that given A, B must occur.  Significant influences do not necessitate actions. 

Another example is if you give a child a choice between eating a slug or eating a chocolate bar.  The kid is no doubt disgusted at the cite of the slug and it gives way to intense physical reactions within him, but that in no way necessitates that he eats the chocolate bar, even if we know with 100% certainty that he will. 

Free will means that we have made a genuine choice between two or more options.  It means that there is no causal relation between our choices and external events.

Quote:
No. That is NOT what I said. The fact that the parents are necessary for the programmers to exist is a necessary condition for them to be responsible, but it is not sufficient. The parents have to know exactly what the programmers were going to do, etc. 

If I put a slug and a chocolate bar in front of my son, who I know very well, then I know exactly what he is going to eat if he is given a choice between them.  I also am responsible for his existence and for buying the chocolate bar.  Did my son not eat the chocolate bar by his own volition?  Did he not move himself to action, even though I knew exactly what he would do and was integral to this very situation being in place from the outset?

Quote:
Wtf? It has everything to do with responsibility. Knowing that some effect would result from your actions makes you more responsible. Intentionally producing that effect makes you completely responsible.  

No it does not.  See my previous example.  This is not a court of law.  This is a philosophical discussion, it is metaphysics.  We have to be precise.  Simply knowing what would happen does not make you causally responsible.

Quote:
NO. I never said that God was entirely responsible just because he created everything. He's responsible because he created everything, knowing everything that would happen, with the intention of those things happening.

God created everything.  Did that necessitate that people would choose as they did?  No.

God knows what people will choose to do.  Does that necessitate that people will choose as they do?  No.

God has some intent that we are unaware of and is aware of how all of our actions will fit in with his plan.  Does that necessitate that people will choose as they do?  No. 

It just means that God's plan accords with what he knows about people's choices. 

Quote:
It has everything to do it. God created everything, knowing everything that was going to happen. So, he is ultimately responsible for everything. The entire free will argument is a joke. An omnipotent, omniscient God is entirely incompatible with free will. I see no way out of it. God created free will too, knowing exactly how people would use that "free will" to make their "choices," and he precisely fixed the parameters of this "free will" so everything would happen the way he wanted it.

Your rebuttal is a joke.

By your logic, a person into the stock market who is an expert in the market and knows how the numbers will play out is responsible for everything that happens when, based on his knowledge of the buy/sell choices that people make, sells his stock at just the right time in order to make $20,000.  This is an instance where a guy knows exactly what is going to happen (or close enough that we can call it "exact"... hey, it's my hypothetical and I can do what I want with it) and is formulating a plan based on the free choices that people are making. 

God did not create free will.  Free will is something that exists in God's nature, though it means something a little different for him than it does for us.  Nevertheless, the ability to make choices was imputed upon us when God created us in his image.  It is not something that he decided to craft in a factory. 

Quote:
But that's just it. It's NOT just foresight. God planned for everything to happen the way it happens, he intended for everything to happen, and he set everything up according to his plan.

And where in this did he cause us to choose as we did?  I'm waiting for an example of causal necessity, and not just creating circumstances which increased the likelihood that we would choose as we do.

Quote:
I mean, he doesn't want to us to go to hell, but the good of free will is greater than the bad of people making poor decisions, which is why God has this plan. Yes? 

I still do not understand your question.


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Fortunate_S wrote:God only

Fortunate_S wrote:
God only reveals himself to those who seek him with an open heart, rather than people who are going to patronize and mock him if he does not adhere to their arbitrary standards of evidence.

Okay. What counts as seeking him with an open heart?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Even if every skeptic had access to the same evidence, that does not mean that they will accept it.  Proof is not persuasion.  Every argument that gets presented for the existence of God will always be rejected by atheists.  Apologists expect that.  Conversion does not occur by debate.  It occurs by personal experiences.

Okay. So even if God presented overwhelming evidence for his existence, the vast majority of atheists would reject it because they are closed-minded? Or, I suppose that you think there is already overwhelming evidence for God, and atheists reject it because they are closed-minded?

Conversion never occurs through debate? So, in general, no one would be ever be convinced of any truth through reason and evidence? They have to have some personal experience?

Fortunate_S wrote:
No, he has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone that read the Bible and rejected it.  But he also has no desire to have a personal relationship with anyone who reads the Bible and simply believes.  That is just passive.  To be a Christian, you have to seek God actively and not passively.  Once you have that conversion experience, the words in the Bible are made real to you.  The first Christians did not have the Bible, as it took a few years before the whole thing got compiled.  They came to God through their experiences with him.  It is not just being able to rationalize God with your mind.  It is knowing him personally.

I see. Okay, I admit that your beliefs are a bit more internally consistent than I thought on this issue.

Fortunate_S wrote:
He could condescend to more and more skeptics,  but why should he?  What obligation does he have to do this?

Well, he has no obligation to do it. I thought he wanted to do it, but you said that God has no desire to have a relationship with people who reject him. 

Is presenting evidence condescending?

Fortunate_S wrote:
This is a philosophical discussion, not a court of law.  In a court of law, they would determine that someone who convinced his friend to commit suicide caused it to happen and should be jailed.  But philosophically, this was not an instance of causality.  Simply being an influence, significant or otherwise, is not enough to qualify as causality.  Causality entails necessitation.  In other words, if A causes B, then B is necessitated by A, such that given A, B must occur.  Significant influences do not necessitate actions.

Ah, I see.

I think that the changes in mental states ARE caused by changes in physical states. So, if you can analyze the regions in the brain that correlate to personality, and change the physical state of these regions, then the personality of the person necessarily changes in way that directly results from how you changed their physical state. Btw, how do you explain this phenomena in your belief system? You are implying that it is never necessary for the mental state to change no matter how you change the physical state. Do you mean a logical necessity?  

Fortunate_S wrote:
If I put a slug and a chocolate bar in front of my son, who I know very well, then I know exactly what he is going to eat if he is given a choice between them.  I also am responsible for his existence and for buying the chocolate bar.  Did my son not eat the chocolate bar by his own volition?  Did he not move himself to action, even though I knew exactly what he would do and was integral to this very situation being in place from the outset?

Ah, the analogy is still a bit off; you aren't omniscient, and you didn't precisely design your son, the slug, the chocolate, his "free will" etc. So, this isn't sufficient to say he doesn't have any free will. But, I think this is sufficient, even if you don't seem to agree, to establish that you are morally responsible for his actions. If, for example, you put a bottle of poison in front of your son, knowing that he would drink it, then you should be held at fault for what occurs.

Fortunate_S wrote:
No it does not.  See my previous example.  This is not a court of law.  This is a philosophical discussion, it is metaphysics.  We have to be precise.  Simply knowing what would happen does not make you causally responsible.

Intentionally producing that effect does make you causally responsible. It also makes you morally responsible.

Edit: Ah, actually... so there's two different things, I think. If the effect is necessitated by your actions, then it makes you causally responsible. However, that isn't necessary for you to be held morally culpable. Do you agree with this?

Fortunate_S wrote:
God created everything.  Did that necessitate that people would choose as they did?  No.

Right.

Fortunate_S wrote:
God knows what people will choose to do.  Does that necessitate that people will choose as they do?  No.

Right.

Fortunate_S wrote:
God has some intent that we are unaware of and is aware of how all of our actions will fit in with his plan.  Does that necessitate that people will choose as they do?  No.

Here's where my problem is. Everything that occurs must be what God wanted, must be part of his plan, so he designed everything to fulfill that plan. So, to me, it seems like a mere semantic ploy to say that we have the "free will" to choose whatever God had already engineered to be chosen.

You can claim that the person with free will does not have the "necessity" to do anything, but if any person possessing free will is absolutely indistinguishable from a person that doesn't possess free will, then whether or not they have the free will or the necessity to do things is simply meaningless. Free will would change nothing; as such, it is simply nothing. It seems that "free will," in reality, is just a rhetorical device to take responsibility away from God and put it on humans.   

Fortunate_S wrote:
By your logic, a person into the stock market who is an expert in the market and knows how the numbers will play out is responsible for everything that happens when, based on his knowledge of the buy/sell choices that people make, sells his stock at just the right time in order to make $20,000.  This is an instance where a guy knows exactly what is going to happen (or close enough that we can call it "exact"... hey, it's my hypothetical and I can do what I want with it) and is formulating a plan based on the free choices that people are making.

The person is only using his knowledge of the stock market to make a profit. He does not control the stock market. He did not create the stock market.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Nevertheless, the ability to make choices was imputed upon us when God created us in his image.  It is not something that he decided to craft in a factory.

Of course. He doesn't need a factory. He can just point at things and shout "abra kadabra." The important point is that he intentionally made these "choices" knowing what would happen, with the intention of those things happening. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
And where in this did he cause us to choose as we did?  I'm waiting for an example of causal necessity, and not just creating circumstances which increased the likelihood that we would choose as we do.

Increasing the likelihood to 100% is the same as causal necessity. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:
God only reveals himself to those who seek him with an open heart, rather than people who are going to patronize and mock him if he does not adhere to their arbitrary standards of evidence.

Okay. What counts as seeking him with an open heart?

I don't know how serious you are about this question, but I'll bite:

First of all, you have to believe he exists.  If you do not, then you already have presuppositions about reality which will close yourself off from him.


Then you have to genuinely seek a personal relationship with him, which requires you to not so much rationalize what will have to happen in order for him to be made real, but to simply allow itself to occur in whatever way it should manifest.  I really cannot explain it.  It is something that has to be experienced. 

Quote:
Okay. So even if God presented overwhelming evidence for his existence, the vast majority of atheists would reject it because they are closed-minded? Or, I suppose that you think there is already overwhelming evidence for God, and atheists reject it because they are closed-minded?

Some reject it because out of ignorance they truly believe it is insufficient, others reject it because they think it would be horrible if God really existed.

Quote:
Conversion never occurs through debate? So, in general, no one would be ever be convinced of any truth through reason and evidence? They have to have some personal experience?

Absolutely.   Can you point me to one atheist who was converted because s/he heard some apologetics argument?  Who wants to pray to the conclusion of a syllogism?

Quote:
Well, he has no obligation to do it. I thought he wanted to do it, but you said that God has no desire to have a relationship with people who reject him. 

Is presenting evidence condescending?

"Condescending" means "lowering one's self".  God would essentially be lowering himself to the atheist by adhering to his or her standards of evidence, rather than waiting for an atheist to ascend to the revelation that he has given.

Quote:
I think that the changes in mental states ARE caused by changes in physical states. So, if you can analyze the regions in the brain that correlate to personality, and change the physical state of these regions, then the personality of the person necessarily changes in way that directly results from how you changed their physical state. Btw, how do you explain this phenomena in your belief system? You are implying that it is never necessary for the mental state to change no matter how you change the physical state. Do you mean a logical necessity?  

There may be some causal link between mental states and physical states.  That's irrelevant.  The issue is whether or not we are able to make free choices.  This requires a metaphysical fork in the road whereby our choices bypass the causal chain of events.  It is possible that given some injury to our physical body, the immaterial self is unable to move it to action. 

Quote:
Ah, the analogy is still a bit off; you aren't omniscient, and you didn't precisely design your son, the slug, the chocolate, his "free will" etc. So, this isn't sufficient to say he doesn't have any free will. But, I think this is sufficient, even if you don't seem to agree, to establish that you are morally responsible for his actions. If, for example, you put a bottle of poison in front of your son, knowing that he would drink it, then you should be held at fault for what occurs.

Even if I designed him and knew everything, the fact remains that he still made a free choice.  This would apply even if I knew everything about what would influence his choices and even if I designed those things which would influence his choices specifically so they would get him to choose that way.

Quote:
Intentionally producing that effect does make you causally responsible. It also makes you morally responsible.

No, it does not make you causally responsible.  I've given you numerous examples of why this is a flawed line of thinking.  I've given you the example of the stock market.  A man intentionally produced the effect of making $20,000 and did so using the choices that he knew people would make, which you tried getting around by interpolating this bizarre criteria about how it is not analogous because he didn't create the stock market.  Umm, ok.  Let's assume he did create the stock market.  How does this actually change anything?

Quote:
Here's where my problem is. Everything that occurs must be what God wanted, must be part of his plan, so he designed everything to fulfill that plan. So, to me, it seems like a mere semantic ploy to say that we have the "free will" to choose whatever God had already engineered to be chosen.

"Free will" has been clearly defined in this context:  It is the mechanism through which we move ourselves/physical bodies to action and bypasses the causal chain of events which exists outside of us.  It is not a semantic ploy.

Quote:
You can claim that the person with free will does not have the "necessity" to do anything, but if any person possessing free will is absolutely indistinguishable from a person that doesn't possess free will, then whether or not they have the free will or the necessity to do things is simply meaningless. Free will would change nothing; as such, it is simply nothing. It seems that "free will," in reality, is just a rhetorical device to take responsibility away from God and put it on humans.   

Our ability to observe differences has no bearing on whether or not these differences actually exist. 


Interesting how this "rhetorical device" is continually invoked in court rooms across the country when they are discerning between first degree murder and manslaughter. 

Quote:
The person is only using his knowledge of the stock market to make a profit. He does not control the stock market. He did not create the stock market.

Okay.  Let's say that he created the stock market.

How does this change anything?

Furthermore, there is nothing in Christianity which states that God "controls" the world.  God is not up in a control room pressing buttons for "rain", "earthquakes", etc.  There were instances in the bible where he directly caused floods or storms, but that was during the course of his revelation to humanity.  After Jesus redeemed mankind, the revelation was complete and now it is up to humanity to come to God. 

Quote:
Of course. He doesn't need a factory. He can just point at things and shout "abra kadabra." The important point is that he intentionally made these "choices" knowing what would happen, with the intention of those things happening. 

He gave us the ability to make choices.  He did not create our choices.

Quote:
Increasing the likelihood to 100% is the same as causal necessity. 

No it isn't.  100% probability only references our ability to make a prediction but says nothing about whether this needed to have happened given the circumstances. 


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Fortunate_S wrote:First of

Fortunate_S wrote:
First of all, you have to believe he exists.  If you do not, then you already have presuppositions about reality which will close yourself off from him.

If I am agnostic and unbiased, then I have no presupposition about reality. Believing that he exists is a presupposition.

So, he doesn't reveal himself to anybody unless they already believe he exists? Wow, good ol' Christianity, why am I not surprised?

Quote:
Then you have to genuinely seek a personal relationship with him, which requires you to not so much rationalize what will have to happen in order for him to be made real, but to simply allow itself to occur in whatever way it should manifest.  I really cannot explain it.  It is something that has to be experienced.

Okay.

Quote:
Some reject it because out of ignorance they truly believe it is insufficient, others reject it because they think it would be horrible if God really existed.

I know you believe there are philosophical arguments that prove the existence of God. Do you believe there is empirical evidence?

Quote:
Absolutely. Can you point me to one atheist who was converted because s/he heard some apologetics argument?  Who wants to pray to the conclusion of a syllogism?

Eh, I disagree with you on this too, but I'd rather not argue about it. We're already discussing too many different things. 

Quote:
"Condescending" means "lowering one's self".  God would essentially be lowering himself to the atheist by adhering to his or her standards of evidence, rather than waiting for an atheist to ascend to the revelation that he has given.

Does God have a standard of evidence?

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There may be some causal link between mental states and physical states.  That's irrelevant.  The issue is whether or not we are able to make free choices.  This requires a metaphysical fork in the road whereby our choices bypass the causal chain of events.  It is possible that given some injury to our physical body, the immaterial self is unable to move it to action.

Or, the immaterial self is unable to prevent the physical body from making some action that the immaterial self didn't want to make? So, it's like you're some person inside a giant machine, and the machine is malfunctioning?

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Even if I designed him and knew everything, the fact remains that he still made a free choice.  This would apply even if I knew everything about what would influence his choices and even if I designed those things which would influence his choices specifically so they would get him to choose that way.

Are you serious? What then, is the meaning of a free choice? He can't choose anything other than what you set up the system for him to choose.

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No, it does not make you causally responsible.  I've given you numerous examples of why this is a flawed line of thinking.  I've given you the example of the stock market.  A man intentionally produced the effect of making $20,000 and did so using the choices that he knew people would make, which you tried getting around by interpolating this bizarre criteria about how it is not analogous because he didn't create the stock market.  Umm, ok.  Let's assume he did create the stock market.  How does this actually change anything?

Wtf?

If he completely created and controls the stock market, with everything that happens to the stock market planned out, then he IS causally responsible for what happens to the stock market. I've had this criteria all along; I didn't ad hoc it. How is this so complicated?  

Intentionally producing an effect does not make you causally responsible? So, if I throw a baby into a lake, I'm not responsible for that baby falling into the lake? I didn't cause that baby to fall into the lake? < sarcasm> Oh right, I suppose you believe that the baby had the "free will" to not fall into the lake. Sure, I intentionally threw the baby towards the lake, having the plan of the baby falling into the lake, but the baby has free will, right? Therefore, it didn't necessarily have to fall into the lake; it just "freely chose" to fall into the lake. Instead, it's metaphysical self could have temporarily bypassed its physical self and levitated back towards dry land in mid-air. </ sarcasm>

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Our ability to observe differences has no bearing on whether or not these differences actually exist.

It does mean that there no evidence for such differences.

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Interesting how this "rhetorical device" is continually invoked in court rooms across the country when they are discerning between first degree murder and manslaughter.

You know that's not the same thing.

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Furthermore, there is nothing in Christianity which states that God "controls" the world.  God is not up in a control room pressing buttons for "rain", "earthquakes", etc.

 

Is everything that happens what God wanted to happen? Does anything ever happen that God didn't want to happen?

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He gave us the ability to make choices.  He did not create our choices.

He created our ability to make choices. Better?

Fortunate_S wrote:
No it isn't.  100% probability only references our ability to make a prediction but says nothing about whether this needed to have happened given the circumstances. 

Something that has a 100% chance of happening doesn't "need" to happen? 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Fortunate_S
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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Fortunate_S wrote:
First of all, you have to believe he exists.  If you do not, then you already have presuppositions about reality which will close yourself off from him.

If I am agnostic and unbiased, then I have no presupposition about reality. Believing that he exists is a presupposition.

If you are agnostic, then you are not unbiased.  According to the Christian worldview, belief in God is required to account for all rationality, existence, and morality.  Without belief in God, all of truth and rationality disintegrates to incoherence.  This is known as presuppositionalism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositionalism

By adopting an agnostic position, you are automatically presupposing that the world can be accounted for without God belief and therefore you presuppose the very validity and tenability of the other option, which is precisely what the Christian worldview denies.  You are presuming that it is possible that God does not exist and that the world makes perfect sense without him.  This is your *bias* and it is false according to the Christian worldview.  The Christian worldview does not stipulate that we must take on faith that "God exists" is true in the disjunct, "God exists or God does not exist."  The Christian worldview is that God's existence is known and we must trust in him in order that we be saved from his wrath.

Therefore, God will not reveal himself to you unless you change your presuppositions, which you do have and you are only fooling yourself if you truly believe that you adhere to some position of neutrality.  You clearly do not, especially given some of the things you've already said about the world which endorses naturalism/materialism/physicalism.

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So, he doesn't reveal himself to anybody unless they already believe he exists? Wow, good ol' Christianity, why am I not surprised?

Obviously you were not serious about the question nor are you serious about any of the questions that you are asking me, so I would ask that you please address what I am saying instead of responding to me with some question in which you are not expecting any answer that you will take seriously.  It really isn't a fruitful style of discussion. 

No, if you do not believe that God exists, then he is not going to come knocking on your door declaring that he is here.  His revelation has already been given to humanity.  If you reject it, then he has no interest in personally revealing himself to you.  "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:1-2).

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I know you believe there are philosophical arguments that prove the existence of God. Do you believe there is empirical evidence?

Please stop asking irrelevant questions and address what I am saying. 

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Eh, I disagree with you on this too, but I'd rather not argue about it. We're already discussing too many different things. 

Because you keep asking questions instead of addressing what I am saying and it is causing us to digress in many different areas.

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Or, the immaterial self is unable to prevent the physical body from making some action that the immaterial self didn't want to make? So, it's like you're some person inside a giant machine, and the machine is malfunctioning?

This is irrelevant so I'm not going to continue addressing this.

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Are you serious? What then, is the meaning of a free choice? He can't choose anything other than what you set up the system for him to choose.

No, you are completely wrong.  Now we are just going around in circles.  Here is how free will works:

We are given one or more alternatives.  And we choose the alternatives.  We make the choice citing specific reasons, but as rational beings, we have the capacity to disregard what we perceive to be logical reasoning and make the alternate choice.  Someone can have many good reasons to make a particular choice, but choose something else instead.  He is not necessitated by his reasons to make one particular choice instead of some other.

If what you say is true, then we do not have free will even if some intelligent being did not set up those external things which would influence us.  According to your logic, we are necessitated by the things that influence us to make choices.  Therefore, murderers have no choice but to kill.  After all, they are being influenced by external factors, and this applies whether or not they were set up by some intelligent sentient being.  Under your worldview, free will can't exist unless we do things for absolutely no reason.

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Wtf?

If he completely created and controls the stock market, with everything that happens to the stock market planned out, then he IS causally responsible for what happens to the stock market. I've had this criteria all along; I didn't ad hoc it. How is this so complicated?  

It's not complicated, you are just wrong.  First of all, I've already addressed the error that you made about God "controlling" the world.  Second, how did he cause everyone's choice to sell their stock, simply because he created the stock market? (Don't answer, it's a rhetorical question).  He didn't.  Your argument is totally flawed and a million "Wtf" acronyms are not going to change that.

Quote:
Intentionally producing an effect does not make you causally responsible?

Sometimes it does, other times it does not.  In the stock market example, the creator of the stock market did not cause the activity of the stock market and therefore, he was not causally responsible for the effect of earning $20,000.  Yet this was his full intention all along.

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It does mean that there no evidence for such differences.

I'm not permitting this tangent any longer.  Please stay on topic.  We are arguing whether or not free will is consistent with Christian doctrine, not whether or not there is evidence for free will.

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You know that's not the same thing.

It is the same thing.  But this is a tangent as well and I'd like to stay on topic.

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Is everything that happens what God wanted to happen? Does anything ever happen that God didn't want to happen?

Please stop deflecting.  God is not actively controlling the world.

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He created our ability to make choices. Better?

No.  Please do your homework.  He did not create our ability to make choices.  He created us in his likeness and because he is free, we are going to be free as well, though merely in the context of our fallen nature.

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Something that has a 100% chance of happening doesn't "need" to happen? 

Absolutely.  Probability is only relative to one's knowledge.  What actually occurs is not.  For example, if I am about to flip a coin, I would say that there is a 50% chance that it is going to land of tails.  What is my basis for this?  My basis is that I do not know if it is going to land on tails, but I do know that a coin has two sides and it can only land on one.  One over two options is 1/2 or 50/100.  The key point is that probability is not some real thing that exists outside of us.  It is based on what we know.  Hence, the values in probability may be anything between 0 and 1, whereas reality only contains what happens and what does not happen.  If you are omniscient, then statements about probability have no real meaning at all.  God knows what side the coin will land on and therefore, it would be meaningless for him to say that there is a 50% chance that the coin will land on tails. 

This is entirely consistent with the idea that some events are contingent and others are necessary.  Our free choices are contingent, yet God knows with absolute certainty what they are going to be and ultimately how they will fit in with his sovereign will.


ProzacDeathWish
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Fortunate_S wrote:: He gave

Fortunate_S wrote:

 

He gave us the ability to make choices.  He did not create our choices.

  

   Romans 9:11   "Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, she was told 'The older will serve the younger'.  Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' "

   Romans 9:16   "It does not, therefore depend on man's desire or effort but on God's mercy."

   Romans 9:17   "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

   Romans 9:18   " Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and hardens whom he wants to harden."

   Romans 9:19   "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us ?  For who resists his will ?"

 

          God's subsequent reply indicates no attempt at avoiding the accusation of sometime behaving as a puppet master ( as long as it brings him glory )....

   Romans 9:20  "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God ?  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it 'Why did you make me like this ?' "

  Romans 9:21  "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use ?

  Romans 9:22  "What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction."

    This example goes waaaay beyond mere omniscient foreknowledge on God's behalf.  In verse 21 God himself declares that he has the right to employ his sovereignty in any way he chooses even if it supervenes the supposedly cherished attribute of human free will.  Jacob and Esau, or Pharaoh never had a snowball's chance in Hell of ever deviating from their biblical roles that God had assigned for them.  They were simply following God's arbitrary appointments for them, made before their existence had ever begun, free will be damned. 

   So yes, according to this passage God does create our choices when it suits him, and apparently he doesn't give a damn who complains about it.

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


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I think Fortunate_S's god

I think Fortunate_S's god isn't omniscient or omnipotent. Or did I get lost in the sophistry?


EXC
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KSMB wrote:I think

KSMB wrote:

I think Fortunate_S's god isn't omniscient or omnipotent. Or did I get lost in the sophistry?

I think Fortunate_S's god is convenience. Like all theists.

 

 

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Fortunate_S wrote:By

Fortunate_S wrote:
By adopting an agnostic position, you are automatically presupposing that the world can be accounted for without God belief and therefore you presuppose the very validity and tenability of the other option, which is precisely what the Christian worldview denies.

No. The agnostic doesn't know whether or not the the world can be accounted for without God belief. It is not presupposing anything. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
You are presuming that it is possible that God does not exist and that the world makes perfect sense without him.  This is your *bias* and it is false according to the Christian worldview.  The Christian worldview does not stipulate that we must take on faith that "God exists" is true in the disjunct, "God exists or God does not exist." The Christian worldview is that God's existence is known and we must trust in him in order that we be saved from his wrath.

Well, I was just using the agnostic as the example of what is unbiased. I think God, or at least the God of Christianity, almost certainly does not exist, so I'm not an agnostic in the sense that I was using. However, I don't presume that world makes perfect sense without God; I've simply observed that everything already makes sense, without requiring any supernatural deity to explain it. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
Therefore, God will not reveal himself to you unless you change your presuppositions, which you do have and you are only fooling yourself if you truly believe that you adhere to some position of neutrality.  You clearly do not, especially given some of the things you've already said about the world which endorses naturalism/materialism/physicalism.

I am not neutral. I was just saying that a pure agnostic is, in principle, really neutral. 

I do, however, think that I can evaluate evidence honestly. You can interpret that any way you want.

Fortunate_S wrote:
No, if you do not believe that God exists, then he is not going to come knocking on your door declaring that he is here.  His revelation has already been given to humanity.  If you reject it, then he has no interest in personally revealing himself to you.  "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Okay. So, the evidence for God is already overwhelming; we have rejected this evidence, so God no longer has any desire to have a relationship with us. I think I understand that part, although I wish I knew where all this evidence was, if it exists. 

I still don't see why he does this though. I mean, he seems to be getting discouraged or losing interest quite easily; if I knew people were going to hell, I would give them as much evidence as I possibly could to save them. The potential for "condescending" them would seem to be a completely insignificant consideration. I would continuously point out empirical evidence for everyone and show them what a great guy I am. The way he does things doesn't make sense to me.

Fortunate_S wrote:
We are given one or more alternatives.  And we choose the alternatives.  We make the choice citing specific reasons, but as rational beings, we have the capacity to disregard what we perceive to be logical reasoning and make the alternate choice.  Someone can have many good reasons to make a particular choice, but choose something else instead.  He is not necessitated by his reasons to make one particular choice instead of some other.

Okay.

If the exact situation was replicated, would a person ever make a different choice? If he actually always only makes one of the choices, then it doesn't seem any different from not having free will at all. In that case, it doesn't seem like free will has any practical value, even if you may argue that it has intrinsic value. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
If what you say is true, then we do not have free will even if some intelligent being did not set up those external things which would influence us.  According to your logic, we are necessitated by the things that influence us to make choices.  Therefore, murderers have no choice but to kill.  After all, they are being influenced by external factors, and this applies whether or not they were set up by some intelligent sentient being.  Under your worldview, free will can't exist unless we do things for absolutely no reason.

I do believe that, except maybe for the last sentence. 

You are imagining a kind of soul that can observe the external world, but is wholly independent of it, so that the decisions made by this soul are ultimately uncaused by anything. So, I think my analogy of the person inside the giant machine was pretty accurate. 

In my worldview, free will is logically possible. I just don't think it exists in this universe. Although we seem to be making free choices, this is just an illusion caused by complex algorithms. I really think "consciousness" and our "choices" are merely emergent properties of our physical brain. So, in my case, there is no person inside the machine. The machine IS the person, and everything that it does is based on its programming and its external stimuli. In fact, I do not think there is any difference between a person and a sufficiently complex machine, as that is all a human is. 

I think your perspective would be an inherently supernatural view, as it requires this "soul" to be outside the scope of our understanding. I mean, one might ask how this soul makes and reaches its decisions, and you would have to assert that this is intrinsically unknowable. Otherwise, we could pry the soul apart, and try to understand its processes in the same way that we are analyzing the brain. This would ultimately make the actions of the soul determined, which is unacceptable.

I find this kind of assertion, that something is simply beyond our understanding, to be a copout, but I suppose that would be another tangent. 

Fortunate_S wrote:
It's not complicated, you are just wrong.  First of all, I've already addressed the error that you made about God "controlling" the world.  Second, how did he cause everyone's choice to sell their stock, simply because he created the stock market? (Don't answer, it's a rhetorical question).  He didn't.  Your argument is totally flawed and a million "Wtf" acronyms are not going to change that.

Okay.

- So, God doesn't control the world. 

- And, everything goes according to his plan. 

Then, how does everything in the world progress according to his plan if he doesn't control it?

butterbattle wrote:
Intentionally producing an effect does not make you causally responsible?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Sometimes it does, other times it does not.  In the stock market example, the creator of the stock market did not cause the activity of the stock market and therefore, he was not causally responsible for the effect of earning $20,000.  Yet this was his full intention all along.

When I say, "intentionally producing," I do mean that the creator of the stock market intentionally caused the activity of the stock market. 

butterbattle wrote:
Is everything that happens what God wanted to happen? Does anything ever happen that God didn't want to happen?

Fortunate_S wrote:
Please stop deflecting.  God is not actively controlling the world.

Okay. Assuming that he is not controlling the world, answer these two questions.

Is everything that happens what God wanted to happen? Does anything ever happen that God didn't want to happen?

butterbattle wrote:
He created our ability to make choices. Better?

Fortunate_S wrote:
No.  Please do your homework.  He did not create our ability to make choices.  He created us in his likeness and because he is free, we are going to be free as well, though merely in the context of our fallen nature.

I don't see how that contradicts what I said. If God has the ability to make choices, and he created us in his likeness, then he created our ability to make choices. He just made sure that our ability to make choices was like his.

Fortunate_S wrote:
Absolutely.  Probability is only relative to one's knowledge.  What actually occurs is not.  

...

This is entirely consistent with the idea that some events are contingent and others are necessary.

Okay. So, you're using a more rigorous definition of necessary than me. What is necessary is what is true regardless of what values you assign to the premises. If I stand on the Earth and drop a ball, I should say that the ball falling towards the Earth is contingent on me dropping it while standing on Earth. I should not say that the ball necessarily falls towards the Earth because this is an improper use of the term "necessary?" If it was necessary for the ball to fall towards the Earth, then it would travel in the direction of the Earth regardless of where I dropped it and whether I dropped it or not. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:  

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

   Romans 9:11   "Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, she was told 'The older will serve the younger'.  Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' "

The passage you've cited actually reveals something really compelling:  God hates someone.  Most people believe that God loves everybody and he just hates sin.  This is actually not true.  He hates sinners.  It is not comforting, but think about how much you hate someone like Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson.  We base our hate on the gravity of an offense that someone commits, but to God, any sin is as offensive to him as the actions of Adolf Hitler are offensive to you.  You have offended God so much, that he has hatred towards you.  God's love is not unconditional.  Now you may be thinking that this contradicts the Sermon on the Mount, but it does not.  Notice that Jesus never uses the word "hate".  It uses the word anger.  Here is a good article on hatred in the Bible:  http://www.gotquestions.org/love-sinner-hate-sin.html

This part of the passage illustrates predestination in action.  God, without any reference to Esau and Jacob's behavior, mentioned that one was among the elect while the other was not.  That's not to say that God makes this determination without any preconditions, as he knew he would eventually develop a personal relationship with Jacob and Esau would fall away from him.  But God's sovereign will included the free choices that he knew both of them would make and his plan included his love for Jacob and his hatred of Esau.  This says nothing about free will, nor does it say anything about the lack of free will.  It just attests to predestination, which I've already agreed is in the bible.  Throughout the course of this thread, I have been explaining how this is consistent with free will and your citation of this passage does nothing to refute anything I've said.  I've admitted that everything is preordained by God.

 

Quote:
  Romans 9:16   "It does not, therefore depend on man's desire or effort but on God's mercy."

You've cut out the part where Paul asks if this makes God unjusts and then cites scripture in order to demonstrate that it does not.  When God determines who will be among the elect, he does not use criteria such as man's desire or good works.  God chooses his elect in the same way that a potter chooses which lump of clay becomes a statue and which lump of clay becomes a spit bucket.  There is absolutely no criteria given. 

Again, this is just the doctrine of predestination, which I have already agreed is part of Christianity.  Nothing in Romans says that we have the inability to make choices.  This addresses the other verses you've cited.

Quote:
This example goes waaaay beyond mere omniscient foreknowledge on God's behalf.

Right, and I would acknowledge that predestination is more than just foreknowledge.  God moved himself to action to create a world full of free beings.  He did this knowing full well who would accept him and who would reject him.  He knew exactly what choices people would make and knew what circumstances had to be in place to serve as a criteria for choice for all of those decision-makers.  It was in God's hands to change those circumstances and he knew full well what circumstances would influence them otherwise, but this was not the course of action that he chose.  Nowhere does this contradict free will.  People make the false assumption that any cases of 100% certainty cannot be a matter of free choice.  That's true for us, but not for an omniscient being.

Quote:
In verse 21 God himself declares that he has the right to employ his sovereignty in any way he chooses even if it supervenes the supposedly cherished attribute of human free will.  Jacob and Esau, or Pharaoh never had a snowball's chance in Hell of ever deviating from their biblical roles that God had assigned for them.  They were simply following God's arbitrary appointments for them, made before their existence had ever begun, free will be damned. 

Let me repeat: 

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

 


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Fortunate_S

Fortunate_S wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

   Romans 9:11   "Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, she was told 'The older will serve the younger'.  Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated' "

The passage you've cited actually reveals something really compelling:  God hates someone.  Most people believe that God loves everybody and he just hates sin.  This is actually not true.  He hates sinners.  It is not comforting, but think about how much you hate someone like Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson.  We base our hate on the gravity of an offense that someone commits, but to God, any sin is as offensive to him as the actions of Adolf Hitler are offensive to you.  You have offended God so much, that he has hatred towards you.  God's love is not unconditional.  Now you may be thinking that this contradicts the Sermon on the Mount, but it does not.  Notice that Jesus never uses the word "hate".  It uses the word anger.  Here is a good article on hatred in the Bible:  http://www.gotquestions.org/love-sinner-hate-sin.html

This part of the passage illustrates predestination in action.  God, without any reference to Esau and Jacob's behavior, mentioned that one was among the elect while the other was not.  That's not to say that God makes this determination without any preconditions, as he knew he would eventually develop a personal relationship with Jacob and Esau would fall away from him.  But God's sovereign will included the free choices that he knew both of them would make and his plan included his love for Jacob and his hatred of Esau.  This says nothing about free will, nor does it say anything about the lack of free will.  It just attests to predestination, which I've already agreed is in the bible.  Throughout the course of this thread, I have been explaining how this is consistent with free will and your citation of this passage does nothing to refute anything I've said.  I've admitted that everything is preordained by God.

 

Quote:
  Romans 9:16   "It does not, therefore depend on man's desire or effort but on God's mercy."

You've cut out the part where Paul asks if this makes God unjusts and then cites scripture in order to demonstrate that it does not.  When God determines who will be among the elect, he does not use criteria such as man's desire or good works.  God chooses his elect in the same way that a potter chooses which lump of clay becomes a statue and which lump of clay becomes a spit bucket.  There is absolutely no criteria given. 

Again, this is just the doctrine of predestination, which I have already agreed is part of Christianity.  Nothing in Romans says that we have the inability to make choices.  This addresses the other verses you've cited.

Quote:
This example goes waaaay beyond mere omniscient foreknowledge on God's behalf.

Right, and I would acknowledge that predestination is more than just foreknowledge.  God moved himself to action to create a world full of free beings.  He did this knowing full well who would accept him and who would reject him.  He knew exactly what choices people would make and knew what circumstances had to be in place to serve as a criteria for choice for all of those decision-makers.  It was in God's hands to change those circumstances and he knew full well what circumstances would influence them otherwise, but this was not the course of action that he chose.  Nowhere does this contradict free will.  People make the false assumption that any cases of 100% certainty cannot be a matter of free choice.  That's true for us, but not for an omniscient being.

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In verse 21 God himself declares that he has the right to employ his sovereignty in any way he chooses even if it supervenes the supposedly cherished attribute of human free will.  Jacob and Esau, or Pharaoh never had a snowball's chance in Hell of ever deviating from their biblical roles that God had assigned for them.  They were simply following God's arbitrary appointments for them, made before their existence had ever begun, free will be damned. 

Let me repeat: 

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

God's sovereign will includes the choices people make.

 

With every "interpretation" you make, your god seems more and more like a petty 2000 year old man.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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robj101 wrote:With every

robj101 wrote:

With every "interpretation" you make, your god seems more and more like a petty 2000 year old man.

It's not an interpretation.  I'm going by exactly what scripture says.  It is atheists who are interpreting it.  Romans 9 never says anything about free will and Prozac somehow makes the inference that it is.

By any chance, have you done your homework in these areas?  Have you ever read an apologetics book?  Or are you just another atheist who criticizes things that he knows very little about?