God is hiding because of free will ?
I am sure that every Atheist that has heard this one at one time or another : "God can not reveal himself to us because to do so would interfere with our free will."
Free will, an issue that I had never really given a lot of thought to until a couple of years ago.
As a matter of fact, I had never given it much thought until I really started becoming more involved in debating people on the Web and in person.
Perhaps it was a hold over from all my days as a theist. Perhaps, it is just one of those popular memes that has been so ingrained into people that they never stop and give any thought to the reality that things could be any other way. But, I had always assumed that free will was just a given.
Now granted, there have been countless discussions on here about free will and morality, some threads very long and some threads very short, and I am not really going to touch upon the subject here in any other context other than the free will argument as it relates to the religious excuse for why god is hiding.
Like a lot of theists arguments that I have encountered that make excuses for god's absence in times of peril, it sounds good on the surface. Kind of like the theists that like to throw the : "God is probably testing you" argument at me when things are going bad. The reason I bring this up is because of the contradiction.
To start with my own personal experience, as I have shared on here many times, my own family has all but completely cut ties with me because I "CHOSE" to turn my back on god and after all, god is not going to interfere with all of the evil things that I do because I "CHOSE" to turn my back on god and "CHOSE" to refuse his gifts and salvation. The fact that this supposed god gave me intellect to think about what I was taught is chalked up to the devil trying to tempt me and winning.
But here is where the rub comes in. The few times that I have been down, like with the loss of my home, a sprint in jail over nonsense, a motorcycle wreck that left me on crutches for damn near a year and other problems, that is god sending me a sign that I need to turn back to him and start praising him and thanking him for the rest of my life, lest I suffer eternal damnation. When things go good for me, that is then switched around to argue that : "Well, worldly things are not what is important, material things are not important, only god is important.You may enjoy a good life now, but you are going to answer to god for what you are doing."
Have we wandered off of the topic of god hiding and free will ? Not far. If god can not interfere with the evils of man because that would fuck up man's free will, then why are some of the wordly misfortunes ascribed to god's punishment of the wicked, good fortunes brushed off as wordly pursuits,and why all this talk from many theists about god "testing" us ?
After all, god is not going to interfere because to do so is some sort of imposition on our choices, but he does like to mess with us for time to time so that we will go back to him right ? Right ?
Often times, fellow church members in my life would talk about catastrophes that were raining down upon them, they would assert that it was either god testing their faith, the devil trying to make them turn away from the faith, etc. etc. etc.
But if god needs to "test" the faith to see how things are going to turn out, isn't that messing with people's supposed free will ? Or if god needs to set up some sot of catastrophe that will benefit us in the long run and : "Everything happens for a reason." Isn't that sort of messing with our free will again ? Oh but that's right, I have no right to question what god's will for me is, after all he is working in mysterious ways his wonders to perform right ? Another contradiction. If he's working in mysterious ways, then that means he is interfering. But he can't interfere, because we have free will. First we do and then we don't, then we do and then we don't.
My own church growing up was filled with countless testimonies of people that had experienced some pretty horrific things. Rape victims, robbery victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, war veterans, and every other type of story that you can imagine. All of these people would often make the same assertions :
Drug addict example :" I was hopelessly hooked through the bag and was an Atheist ( it makes me sick when people use that word as it applies to despair) but then I found god and realized that he had allowed me my self-will and free-will to destroy my life until I found HIM and HE saved me. Now, I know that god wants his me to do better."
(Wait a minute, it was your self will that got you in that mess, but god's will that got you out of it ? I thought god gave you free will ? But he did that only for a temporary time, took control of your life when you decided that you had had enough, and now you found out that it was god setting you up to be a talking head lobbyist for him ? Where's your free will ?)
Robbery victim example : "All I cared about was myself, but when I had that pistol in my face and knew that I could have died, I know that god saved me from certain death, so that I could draw closer to him."
(Wait a minute, you had the free will to only care about yourself but god carefully placed that robber in your path so that you would draw closer to him ?)
I could keep giving examples, but I think 99% of the people on here have heard this bullshit before.
Free will, like a lot of the supposed "gifts" that god gives us, is one of those things that we are only allowed when we are failures, or when we are feeling good about the wonderful happy-pappy world that "god" has given us (ANOTHER contradiction, for if god GAVE us all this and allowed us to be born for a reason, then we had no choice from the get go) and everything else that happens is because of god working in mysterious ways.
So are theists being deliberately obtuse when they use these types of contradictory arguments ? I doubt it. It is just another coping mechanicism given to us by snake oil salesmen and it is a dangerous one IMO.
Dangerous because it constantly puts people in a position where they have to try and discern some sort of meaning to all of the pain that they are experiencing and when some people can absolutely find no meaning in the unneccessary pain that life has brought them, they fall into the depths of despair and hopelessness because they can't make sense of it So they are now faced with the probability that their is no ultimate meaning to anything and they need to escape. They drink, they drug, they eat a bullet, they fall into depressive states that destroy their lives.
Then what are these people told ? Their free-will got them into those states, THEIR choices, THEIR decisions, THEIR free-will to ruin their lives. But GOD, can get them out. BUT, here's the good part, GOD allowed them to get into those states because of their free will. But, when times of crisis hit, it is GOD that we need to turn to.
Theists often shake their head at me in debates and take the condescending tone of : "Well, I'll pray for you." (Not that I buy that for one moment). But what are they praying for ?
Oh that's right, their praying that god will dig deep into his all-knowing heart and not throw me into eternal hell for abusing the gift of his "free will" to not believe. Worse, their probably praying that something really terrible will happen to me so that I will see what a bastard I have been for not believing in him. But, until that miraculous day comes when god is going to step in and fuck my life up, he has to wait, because to do other wise is to fuck up my free will gift.
But, until that miraculous day comes, I guess god will continue to hide.
He'll continue to hide while people get robbed, raped, beaten, killed, tortured, paralyzed and not do anything because that is an imposition on our free will.
BUT, when the timing is right, when the timing is right, he'll conveniently reveal himself to the rape victim, robbery victim, and the poor bastard that got his jaw and ribs cracked when he got mugged and let them know that it was all a test, it was all set up to bring them closer to him, and he could not interfere with the heinous crimes against them, because to do so would be to fuck up their free will.
Hmm. Not only has god stood silently by for thousands of years, likely indicators seem to say that he will do so for thousands more. That would imply that untold gazillions that have not come into existence yet are just floating along in some limbo dimension, waiting to be pulled out of the womb into this world and they get to play the game because they have "free will."
Nope. I don't think anyone is watching all of this unfold and refusing to step in because of free will.
But hey, that's just me.
“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno