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Thread: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rexedgar View Post
    I’m from Missouri, but on the subject of evolution, if the human race evolved from some lesser entity, why have there not been recorded events of other species also in flux? (Say crawling out of the slime?) I am not religious at all, except when I curse a blue streak, but I am not entirely sold on evolution.
    lmao... "I'm from Missouri"... My favorite boss used to say that all the time, haven't heard the expression since. Funny part - we worked for AB InBev, and of course, once we bought Anheiser Busch, our head office was in Missouri... lol.. He had to change that expression...or should have. Sorry, off topic.

    Most things have evolved. Here's a link for you:

    The History of Animal Evolution
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by soylentgreen View Post
    Ok! Playing by your rules.
    Look at it as you would evolution. ( meaning science of evolution and not christian propaganda of evolution) In evolution the role of a species is determined in as much as it will evolve. But within the species any one particular animal in that species may or may not evolve and even devolve or just do as it chooses. So perhaps you could consider gods omni's as a thing effecting only the species of man and not any one particular member of that species.
    lol...first, thanks, Soy, for not blowing it up, and staying within the boundaries of the chat. I promise, I won't try to convert you.

    So, I get what you're saying, but evolution is chaotic, a series of random mutations, with the most beneficial mutations leading to survival and shaping of the species, but disconnected from any kind of directed plan (speaking strictly from my understanding of the scientific definition of evolution, without doing a quick Google to make sure, but I think I'm mostly right, or at least right enough for this discussion). God, on the other hand, has stated he has a specific plan in mind, and that we are a part of it. He has also said he has a plan for each and every one of us individually.

    If we say he has the means to do anything - as Elvira pointed out, "nothing is impossible for God", then the only thing we need to determine is IF God would use his power to direct us to execute his plan, or if we, as humans, have the power to thwart his plan by choosing to do what we want to do instead.
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMOSS View Post
    This is something that has been argued about for ages. The 'free will' verses 'foreknowledge' is basically broken up into two major camps.. with many subdivisions in each one. One is called 'compatabilism', saying that free will and foreknowledge of God is compatible. The opposite type is called "Incompatibilism". There are at least 3 or 4 different subcategories under each of the two categories.

    I personally lean to incompatibilism. The basic overall belief there is 'free will is incompatible with foreknowledge.

    On the other hand, it is a purely metaphysical lean. I see no way to test. I see no way to test the opposite of that. That in some respects, makes the discussion along the lines of 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin'.
    Sure, of course...I think for most discussions that seek to understand or define the mind of God are hopeless, which is why I wouldn't base my faith off of this kind of thing. I think it's just interesting.

    I've thought long and hard about it, and I can't come to any other conclusion. I think the perception of free will is important, we are a willful species. Biblically speaking we are made in the image of a being that was so willful that they needed to create a universe in which to drive a giant master plan...hehe... But I don't see how free will is compatible with the notion that God has a plan that he is going to make happen, and has all the omni's attached to make it happen. I'm open to better logic, which is why I opened the thread, but I haven't been able to come up with it on my own.
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Sure, of course...I think for most discussions that seek to understand or define the mind of God are hopeless, which is why I wouldn't base my faith off of this kind of thing. I think it's just interesting.

    I've thought long and hard about it, and I can't come to any other conclusion. I think the perception of free will is important, we are a willful species. Biblically speaking we are made in the image of a being that was so willful that they needed to create a universe in which to drive a giant master plan...hehe... But I don't see how free will is compatible with the notion that God has a plan that he is going to make happen, and has all the omni's attached to make it happen. I'm open to better logic, which is why I opened the thread, but I haven't been able to come up with it on my own.
    I think there is a difference between a 'plan' and 'absolute foreknowledge'. From my viewpoint. I see a contradiction between having all omni's attached to one point, since I see absolute knowledge is mutually exclusive with absolute power.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hannah Arendt
    "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist."

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Visbek View Post
    I can know exactly what someone is going to do, say or decide, without in any way impeding in their free choice. Predictability does not deprive the subject of free will.

    I find the "God has a plan" to be little more than a crude rationalization to compensate for unpleasant events. That said, I don't think that omniscience and having a plan is incompatible with free will in all circumstances. E.g. God can interfere with someone's life, even deliberately forcing someone to make a specific choice while thinking it was an independent choice, without permanently depriving them of free will in all subsequent decisions. Even a temporary removal of free will in a given situation does not mean that free will is permanently removed.

    I will say that IMO, these theological claims do largely render human life rather pointless, as it makes us all basically rats in a cage for a deity's amusement; and the deity that claims to have a plan knows how it will turn out eons before humans came into existence. (It is also plausible that the deity actually doesn't give a **** about humanity, and its plan is to make pretty patterns out of galactic superclusters. Anyway....) This is just a small component of the larger (and IMO more serious) issue of theodicy.

    On a side note, there are all sorts of problems with the concept of free will, mostly coming from a neurological and psychological perspective. For example, dopamine agonists (which are used in some cases to treat Parkinson's) can send the brain's reward system into a tailspin, and cause some patients to exhibit compulsive behaviors -- compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, overeating, compulsive shopping and so on. The patients don't subjectively experience a change, so it took time and research to determine that the drugs had an impact.

    What does free will mean, if taking a drug can deprive you of it, without you even realizing it?
    I think you bring up a really interesting point about free will, actually... We don't seem to really be wired for it, which is very evident in the exceptions. I think the following is a great example of that:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article...e-paedophilia/

    So the concept of free will is problematic even on the scientific front, when it can be "hijacked" so easily. If that's how we were created, then one must question the importance of us having free will in the mind of our creator.

    The God having a plan thing isn't any attempt to rationalize anything, though...it is a direct quote from God, if you believe the Bible. And, again, if you believe the Bible, it was important enough to have it that concept committed to it, God definitely wants us to know that he's got a plan, and plans to execute it. I've posted elsewhere here that what we perceive as bad things in their own context may not be seen at the deity level as being bad, and may be necessary to fulfil the plan. All I can say about that is that we can't hope to understand everything...and we can't see all the alternative strings that would show us if the bad thing really was a bad thing, or the best possible thing, given the other possibilities. I think that's why faith plays such an enormous role in religion - it's not just believing that God exists, it allows us to follow God even though sometimes it would appear that God doesn't give a crap about us, or even seems out to get us. Faith in the wisdom of God's plan can sometimes be harder than having faith in God's existence.

    I don't see being bound to a plan, without freewill, a dismal statement on life, though. We get to experience life the way we experience it, certainly it doesn't feel like we're being controlled, but the thought that all the randomness that we go through serves a higher purpose is a comforting one for me. If you have faith in and love God, but have had a life of one unexplainable mishaps or failures, it is nice to think that perhaps your bad day meant a win somewhere else. It gives purpose, but it also gives security, knowing that at least you can't screw anything up, in terms of the overall plan. In fact, what you might consider a screw up might be a critical part of the success of the plan. Only God knows...that clichéd expression carries with it a lot of pretty heavy contemplation, if and when you allow it.
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMOSS View Post
    I think there is a difference between a 'plan' and 'absolute foreknowledge'. From my viewpoint. I see a contradiction between having all omni's attached to one point, since I see absolute knowledge is mutually exclusive with absolute power.
    Interesting...why?
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Interesting...why?
    If you know everything you are going to do, precisely, you do not have the power to change it. If you change what you were going to do because you have the power, that makes your knowledge wrong... and if it was wrong, you don't know everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hannah Arendt
    "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist."

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
    The notion of predestination actually undermines Jehovah’s wisdom, for it implies that he cannot control his ability to look into the future....

    I've heard God's omniscient powers explained like this...if you had a singing voice of unparalleled beauty, would you then have no choice but to sing all the time? Of course not...the notion is absurd...just as God has the ability to foreknow the future, he does not use it all the time...to do so might infringe upon our own free will, a precious gift that Jehovah will never revoke...Deuteronomy 30:19, 20
    Interesting thought...but I read it differently than you. Here's the verse you quoted:

    19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

    The word choose is used, but the choice God presents is similar to the choice presented in a shotgun marriage arrangement...hehe... It's either do as he says, or die, and if you choose life, that includes obeying him. Again, not a great testament to freewill. And, had they chosen death, what would that have said about God's plan? Was it thwarted? Are we, as humans, that powerful? Or, would we say "Well, that was God's plan all along", in which case did they choose death, or was it predetermined?

    I feel like it's one or the other...what's the third option I'm missing?

    I disagree that predetermination undermines God's wisdom. If you can control millions of people over hundreds of thousands of years to come to a specific, desired, result, I think you get to put Wisdom on the resume...
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMOSS View Post
    If you know everything you are going to do, precisely, you do not have the power to change it. If you change what you were going to do because you have the power, that makes your knowledge wrong... and if it was wrong, you don't know everything.
    Hmm...another possibility, though. When making a plan, you can see all the possible outcomes, given all the possible variables, because you are all knowing, so you can choose the best path to achieve the desired results, and being all powerful allows you to shape circumstances to ensure that plan is executed properly, regardless of what it takes to get it done...
    Life's too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mashmont View Post
    Winning comes so easily, I barely have to think about it. I've been called the Donald Trump of forum for good reason.

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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Interesting thought...but I read it differently than you. Here's the verse you quoted:

    19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

    The word choose is used, but the choice God presents is similar to the choice presented in a shotgun marriage arrangement...hehe... It's either do as he says, or die, and if you choose life, that includes obeying him. Again, not a great testament to freewill. And, had they chosen death, what would that have said about God's plan? Was it thwarted? Are we, as humans, that powerful? Or, would we say "Well, that was God's plan all along", in which case did they choose death, or was it predetermined?

    I feel like it's one or the other...what's the third option I'm missing?

    I disagree that predetermination undermines God's wisdom. If you can control millions of people over hundreds of thousands of years to come to a specific, desired, result, I think you get to put Wisdom on the resume...
    There has always been a conflict between good and evil, ever since Satan rebelled and took the first human pair along with him...there is no 3rd option with God...you're either for Him or against Him...that choice is prevalent throughout the Bible...

    Whether man wants to admit it or not, deep down we know it to be a fact...novels, movies, plays...most of our creative skills revolve around it...
    "Will a papyrus plant grow tall where there is no marsh? Will a reed grow tall without water?" Job 8:11

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