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

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    Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.
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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.
    Here's the problem with free will in this case:

    This god created the universe, everything in it and the rules by which souls are judged. That includes Hell.

    If there is nothing that doesn't go according to this god's plan, that means this god is ultimately responsible for literally everything and that include people it sends to Hell.
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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanngrisnir View Post
    Here's the problem with free will in this case:

    This god created the universe, everything in it and the rules by which souls are judged. That includes Hell.

    If there is nothing that doesn't go according to this god's plan, that means this god is ultimately responsible for literally everything and that include people it sends to Hell.
    But, if you believe that God's plan is infallible, and that you cannot circumvent the plan of an all powerful, all knowing God, then everything, including what we perceive as "bad" or "uncomfortable" would be part of his plan. It's not a comfortable thought, but there it is. Also, the Bible states that God works in "mysterious ways"...that leaves a lot of room for accepting that we don't understand everything, especially exactly what happens after death. Could we hypothesize that even the notion of Hell is a part of that plan? God is said to be just, and from our human understanding, it is hard to understand that someone who doesn't have faith in God goes to hell, when faith itself is given solely by God (via the Holy Spirit). Could the concept of Hell be a tool to further the plan? Is God required to tell the truth, if the truth doesn't support his plan? It's a tough one to wrestle with, since the idea that a human mind could grasp a timeless plan of an immortal, all knowing, all powerful being is highly problematic.

    (I get it, you don't believe in any of this, so this is simply a hypothetical based on given variables, I'm not trying to convince you of anything)
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    Re: Christianity: Free Will, or Pre-Determination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.
    We all like to speak of free will, whether Catholic or Atheist. But, while the religious can put it down to the mystery of the faith, atheists cannot but suppose it is probably a fable.

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

    Let's look beyond the oversimplified responses to this.

    The premise is that God created humans in His image. This is telling us that we all have a seed of God within us. God is our true nature. Hence we are born as love, unity, feeling at home, feeling all-knowing. These aren't just body feelings that come and go but they are spiritual feelings ingrained deeply within us. They are permanent, they are the bedrock. So much so that they are the first, primary, feelings. One could even call them primary reality. It is beyond mind and beyond memory.

    Our true nature is pre-determined. We are this love. Free will allows us to diverge from it on an egoic level but it doesn't change the base nature. Free will also includes choices we make subconsciously or unintentionally, like when we are babies... the choice to turn away from the true nature out of pure stimulus response or suffering. Actually, suffering is the main reason why people grasp at the outside rather than look inside. We all do this. We all give in to the distortion because as children we don't have the cognitive development to recognize what we are doing. So the whole choice over whether or not to choose God is where free will comes in. Most people in life just want to be comfortable and to ease suffering. Others want to know the truth, and to do this they have to reverse engineer all their wounded acquisitions that have caused them to no longer experience their original selves.

    The whole idea of heaven and hell is based on working with or turning a blind eye to this true nature. The Garden is here. Jesus said the Father and I are one. Jesus said to reject the Churches, mainly because they are externalizations of this inner truth. You are the Church, you are the Temple. You already have everything you could ever need or want.

    God resides in you, as you. You are an individual and you are part of the plan. Really, the answer is both. It's a co-creation.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    But, if you believe that God's plan is infallible, and that you cannot circumvent the plan of an all powerful, all knowing God, then everything, including what we perceive as "bad" or "uncomfortable" would be part of his plan. It's not a comfortable thought, but there it is. Also, the Bible states that God works in "mysterious ways"...that leaves a lot of room for accepting that we don't understand everything, especially exactly what happens after death. Could we hypothesize that even the notion of Hell is a part of that plan? God is said to be just, and from our human understanding, it is hard to understand that someone who doesn't have faith in God goes to hell, when faith itself is given solely by God (via the Holy Spirit). Could the concept of Hell be a tool to further the plan? Is God required to tell the truth, if the truth doesn't support his plan? It's a tough one to wrestle with, since the idea that a human mind could grasp a timeless plan of an immortal, all knowing, all powerful being is highly problematic.

    (I get it, you don't believe in any of this, so this is simply a hypothetical based on given variables, I'm not trying to convince you of anything)
    Part of my confusion with this whole idea is that "God's plan" for "his creation" that he "loves" involves a lot of suffering to be shouldered by his "beloved" "creation".

    What is the point of the suffering, death, evil, etc.? I have heard the arguments saying we must suffer to be "perfected", or whatever term you want to use, but it seems to me that there would be less horrible ways to obtain the same result. Think of all the death and suffering that has occurred throughout history.

    Sorry if it seems I'm hijacking your thread. Not my intent at all, you can ignore me if you like.
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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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.


    Free will. Predestination is a misunderstanding of the nature of omniscience, which is unsuprising as omniscience is extremely hard for the mortal mind to comprehend.

    In brief, that God knew beforehand which way you'd jump, doesn't mean you didn't choose by your own will.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by OlNate View Post
    Putting this out to Christians in the crowd...atheists, feel free to jump in as well, just know that we know you don't believe in God, so you can skip all the usual trolling, and just apply your logic to this as a hypothetical / philosophical discussion. Just trying to keep things respectful, I think the discussion will be more interesting that way, vs. the usual rinse and repeat us vs. them that always happens in this sub forum.

    Been wrestling with this one for years. Christians like to talk about free will, that God always gives a choice, but I struggle with that because of the following assumptions:

    1) God is infallible, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent
    2) God has a plan or purpose for his creation
    3) The Holy Spirit determines who receives the gifts of the spirit, one of which is Faith
    4) We are saved through Faith alone.

    (Can provide biblical references, but would assume most people jumping into this conversation would be aware of these precepts).

    If the above is true, then Choice would allow you to thwart God's plan. If Choice is not possible, then it is impossible for us to save ourselves, as faith is given by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Christian claim of "free will" actually a claim that we are mightier than God? If so, is that what we really believe, and if not, must we conclude that every aspect of our life, which would be knowable before it happens by an omniscient God, and shapeable by an omnipresent, omnipotent God, must conform to an undefeatable Plan? Is everything in life pre-determined by an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing God, and choice is actually an illusion?

    Looking for a logical discussion based on the above, or, if you wish to present scriptural references, I'd be interested in how you think they trump the above logic.

    No axe to grind here, just something I'm interested in, it in no way shapes my own faith, I'm just posting a chat, and would be interested in your thoughts.
    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'.
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