God is hiding because of free will ?

harleysportster's picture

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

Manageri's picture

The whole argument is

The whole argument is irrelevant until someone demonstrates how we have free will despite all physical and logical evidence to the contrary.

Vastet's picture

There isn't sufficient

There isn't sufficient evidence to draw a conclusion either way, otherwise there'd be no debate.

I liked the OP. But I'm going to stick with my "if there's a god, and it's hiding from us, yet demands fealty, then we don't have the free will to choose to have faith in it".

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Manageri's picture

Vastet wrote:There isn't

Vastet wrote:
There isn't sufficient evidence to draw a conclusion either way, otherwise there'd be no debate.

Right, just like the theism debate proves there really are tons of logical reasons to believe in god.

Vastet's picture

The theism 'debate', is

The theism 'debate', is anything but.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

Brian37's picture

Hitchens in his speeches,

Hitchens in his speeches, debates and in his books have brought up this issue.

Even if we go by the stupid and absurd claim that the earth is only 10.000 years old, that is still 10,000 years of selective interjection when an all powerful god could settle the matter in a blink of an eye.

Hitchens applied this to the numbers of evolution. billions of years for the planet, millions of  years of evolution 500,000 years of our current form of homo sapeint,  and only 10,000 years ago god finally decides to say something, but even after that there seems to be in that time till now, the same violence and death and tribal beefs.

Why his this asshole sitting on his hands?

The reality we all know is that a god doesn't exist and good and bad happen no matter what and always have. What the theist calls "free will" we call "choices" but even with the word "choices" we know scientifically speaking that life is neither all deterministic or all choice, but governed by both the affects of randomness, laws of nature, evironment, luck and choices.

The mistake the theist makes in calling it "free will" is claiming that choices are the only thing that affect us which is utter bullshit. A person who doesn't smoke can get cancer. A driver who obeys the speed limit can get t-boned by another driver. A healthy non smoker can get a deadly bacteria.

"free will" is nothing but the comic book narcissism used to blackmail the believer into buying into the horrible meme of an authoritarian parent motif.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

harleysportster's picture

Brian37 wrote:The reality we

Brian37 wrote:

The reality we all know is that a god doesn't exist and good and bad happen no matter what and always have. What the theist calls "free will" we call "choices" but even with the word "choices" we know scientifically speaking that life is neither all deterministic or all choice, but governed by both the affects of randomness, laws of nature, evironment, luck and choices.

The mistake the theist makes in calling it "free will" is claiming that choices are the only thing that affect us which is utter bullshit. A person who doesn't smoke can get cancer. A driver who obeys the speed limit can get t-boned by another driver. A healthy non smoker can get a deadly bacteria.

"free will" is nothing but the comic book narcissism used to blackmail the believer into buying into the horrible meme of an authoritarian parent motif.

 

Totally agree.

“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

ex-minister's picture

How come Adam and Eve got a

How come Adam and Eve got a different test? They could see god daily. They were supposedly perfect. We, on the other hand are weak and frail have a more stringent test. We can fail the test far easily because there are so many ways to fail. We don't have just one test to fail, which is avoid eating a piece of fruit. Doesn't that seem backwards?

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

harleysportster's picture

ex-minister wrote:How come

ex-minister wrote:
How come Adam and Eve got a different test? They could see god daily. They were supposedly perfect. We, on the other hand are weak and frail have a more stringent test. We can fail the test far easily because there are so many ways to fail. We don't have just one test to fail, which is avoid eating a piece of fruit. Doesn't that seem backwards?

I hadn't thought of it like that until you brought it up. One test, one piece of fruit and the "perfect" humans could not pass it. WE on the other hand, get it from every direction from a god that is currently in hiding and being silent.

Unless of course, the old theist dodge about god speaks to us everyday.

It was a hard pill for me to swallow when I stopped believing, to realize that all of those intuitions and "signs" were simply the creation of my own imagination.

“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

Beyond Saving's picture

 Good post Harley. It also

 Good post Harley. It also brings up the question of why god apparently had no problem interfering with free will in all of the biblical stories. There are countless cases where he appeared before people, ordered people killed, killed people and apparently had no problem at all interfering with free will. And now it is suddenly taboo?

Also, while arguing with some friends of mine many years ago I once joined a prayer circle and we all prayed that god would reveal himself to me. So obviously, if he chose to do so it would not be interfering with my free will because using my free will I directly invited him to do so. He has not, which means this all powerful being isn't smart enough to figure out how, this omnipresent being didn't hear the invitation, this all caring being doesn't care about me, or he doesn't exist. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken

harleysportster's picture

Beyond Saving wrote: Good

Beyond Saving wrote:

 Good post Harley. It also brings up the question of why god apparently had no problem interfering with free will in all of the biblical stories. There are countless cases where he appeared before people, ordered people killed, killed people and apparently had no problem at all interfering with free will. And now it is suddenly taboo?

Also, while arguing with some friends of mine many years ago I once joined a prayer circle and we all prayed that god would reveal himself to me. So obviously, if he chose to do so it would not be interfering with my free will because using my free will I directly invited him to do so. He has not, which means this all powerful being isn't smart enough to figure out how, this omnipresent being didn't hear the invitation, this all caring being doesn't care about me, or he doesn't exist. 

Smiling

Good story.

Come to think of it. God does all sorts of things in the OT that would be a direct interference with man's free will. In fact, OT god had no problem killing people, ordering murders and anything else that he might desire.

But nowadays, god is a namby-pamby that has to cleverly hide so that no one can ever find him "for our own good."

Kinda like a lot of violent abusers that beat their wives and kids : "for their own good."

I guess god is biding his time from the prayer circle in the hope that in the face of some misfortune you can do like a lot of the members of my church and say : " Damn, twenty five years ago I was in that prayer circle and sure as shit, god finally revealed himself to me !"

Another theist thing that I like is " Prayers are answered, but not on your time they are answered on god's time."

Does the bible say anything about god hiding because of free will or answering prayers on his time ?

Or is this another convenient theist excuse for the invisible sky father ?

“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

Heaven Limited

Sin is only possible if there is free will.

If sin is impossible in heaven, there is no free will in heaven.

 

At the pearly gates, Peter says:

"Face the wall, bend over and spread 'em"

He then proceeds to crudely extract the precious gift of free will from the mugged one.

The de-willed zombie automaton then sorely staggers onwards into the loving aura; doomed to helpless, eternal, fawning worship.

 

If sin is possible in heaven, then what larks and what danger.

It'd be hellish for many.

 

Maybe that's why he daren't reveal himself.