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Old 07-03-2007, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,188,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffncandace View Post
I find your question fascinating since you are an athiest. To me, free will is connected directly to the whole "God thing", but I digress...

Everyone that knows me on this forum knows that I think free will is an illusion. We are of course able to make choices all day long, but ultimately, it is God "Who works ALL THINGS after the counsel of His Own will" (Eph. 1:11).

Of course, MG, I see this through the prism of my faith, so my answers will reflect that.

Alot of Christians get mad at me when I say all of this, saying to me that they aren't puppets! To this I say, we are obviously and considerably more complex than a mere puppet. But it is true that God controls us every bit as much as a puppeteer controls a puppet. And God is not ashamed to admit that this is the case. God says that a man CANNOT DIRECT HIS OWN STEPS, that the response of the tongue IS FROM THE ETERNAL, that ALL IS OF GOD, that God is operating ALL according to the counsel of His own will, that HE Himself is the CREATOR OF EVIL, it was God who planted the forbidden fruit tree in the garden than contained not only good, but a knowledge of EVIL as well, it is GOD who sets up the rulers of all governments, one can only come to Christ when God decides to "draw [Greek, drag] him to Christ," and a thousand and one other things. So why do my fellow believers have trouble believing all these Scriptures?
Again, I love you, Jeff, BUT... we don't "believe" those verses in the way you do because IMHO you've misapplied them.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:01 AM
 
7,455 posts, read 6,818,237 times
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Montana: You wrote:

"When someone picks up a pair of dice, shakes them and lets them roll across the table in a casino no one knows what numbers are going to turn up. However if that exact event could be replayed over again with an exact replication of the first event the result would be exactly the same"

--Have you been reading up on game theory lately???

Not even sure if I am applying the concept correctly here, but I just had to ask, as that was what initially entered my feeble, June 7th mind...

But in the meantime, I will have to think and get back to you all on this one!

Later,
June
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Plano, Texas
8,640 posts, read 14,188,658 times
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Default Sovereignty vs. our ability to choose

My take on this is that there are many, many things in our environment and lives that we cannot control, but I do believe we have the choice to "interact" with the environment too.

In the spiritual realm, I think God is sovereign. Nothing happens except what He allows. But at the same time, I think He has given man the opportunity to make choices. At the same time, sometimes I think God DOES intervene and override man's choices. Sometimes I think He does this in answer to prayer actually.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,917 posts, read 11,159,987 times
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A scientist named Benjamin Libet did some interesting experiments back in the seventies. He discovered some very unexpected results that seemed to suggest that free will was really an illusion. His very complex experiments revealed that our unconcious mind has already sent a message for our body to react in a particular manner milliseconds before our concious mind has made the decision to even do it. For example, a tennis player will already have responded to a tennis ball flying at them by initiating a particular movement before the concious mind has actually formed a "choice" to do so. His experiements suggest that our concious mind is actually playing catch up with activities that have already occurred. This has been puzzling researchers ever since.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Northern California
1,587 posts, read 2,642,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiangel_writer View Post
The christian belief is that God created man and gave him the ability to make choices which to me means free will.

I know I have read that many people actually believe since God knows all things, including the number of hairs on our heads that He knows if we will be with Him in the end or not. I have a problem with that simply because of the fact that he gave us minds to think and choices of what paths our lives will take.

There is the knowledge that God does not make mistakes, so then, how could Adam and Eve sin since God forbade them to eat the apple? He created man and walked with Adam for companionship and would not want him to disobey him, had the ability to make sure he did not disobey Him, but instead, gave Adam and Eve the ability to make the choice from their minds and hearts.

Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we are also born into sin. With that in mind, as we become of an age to understand what it means, we have the ability to choose if we want to continue a life of sin or to submit our will to Christ and become christian. It's a choice : to me it means, do we want to continue the path Adam and Eve were on, or do we want the opportunity to take our lives on the path that was destined for Adam and Eve before sin?

Think of it this way, you write a computer program that is perfect, then along comes a worm that invades it, corrupting it, in order to put this program back on it's original track, you must create a patch to fix it, and then proceed to do so. It is up to the users of the program to accept and download this patch so their program will run as it was designed to do, or they can simply live with the worm still invading it and have problems with it the whole time they use it creating anxiety and lost data that constantly disrupt the process you are trying to use it for. Eventually, the program will be so worm ridden you become tired of using it and delete it to the trash bin.

Now use this same concept with people, God and Christ.

I hope this is a good example to describe how I feel. Still reeling from travel lag.
Great analogy!
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
7,159 posts, read 10,687,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stretch00 View Post
It is possible, maybe, that free will exists (although I doubt it). If so, I would think it is an emergent property, similar to consciousness, or wetness (in water).

To illustrate, we all know that water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Each on their own is a gas at standard temperature and pressure. Yet combine them in a particular way, and they turn into water. Water has properties that the two component molecules do not have. One of these properties is wetness, and this property is 'emergent'.

Consciousness is an emergent property of the living human brain. Get enough chemicals together in a particular way, and the brain becomes a person. Again, an emergent property. I do not pretend to understand how this works, but it self evidently does.

The question of free will goes one step farther though. Does the emergent property of consciousness include the ability to manipulate matter? Move things? Influence the world around us? Or does it only appear this way? I see no reason to think that it does, so I would have to err on the side of caution, and state that I think free will does not exist.
We don't have the ability to move matter, but we do have the ability to change matter into energy, or from one form of energy into another. I don't gamble so I'll use some other examples. Look at sailing or flying, taking the wind's energy and transferring it into forward motion and/or upward motion. This can't be just chance causing these things to happen, it has to be men or women exerting free will against these forces. When you watch a professional golfer appear to bend the laws of physics, by adjusting for wind speed, club pitch, distance, lay and slope of the green, swing speed, posture, and an infinite other influencing factors, and STILL land within a foot of the cup, you know it can't possibly be chance. It's that athlete exerting (at least some) free will against the universe. No?

Quote:
A scientist named Benjamin Libet did some interesting experiments back in the seventies. He discovered some very unexpected results that seemed to suggest that free will was really an illusion. His very complex experiments revealed that our unconcious mind has already sent a message for our body to react in a particular manner milliseconds before our concious mind has made the decision to even do it. For example, a tennis player will already have responded to a tennis ball flying at them by initiating a particular movement before the concious mind has actually formed a "choice" to do so. His experiements suggest that our concious mind is actually playing catch up with activities that have already occurred. This has been puzzling researchers ever since.
Yes, I can understand what he is saying, but you can also choose to not take the action, even if all factors seem to ready to go. I've done that, and felt and pictured my hit in my mind (golf and tennis especially), but have then just prior to hitting aborted my shot. But maybe my subconscious aborted the shot for me?
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:50 AM
 
2,952 posts, read 81,929 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaGuy View Post
A scientist named Benjamin Libet did some interesting experiments back in the seventies. He discovered some very unexpected results that seemed to suggest that free will was really an illusion. His very complex experiments revealed that our unconcious mind has already sent a message for our body to react in a particular manner milliseconds before our concious mind has made the decision to even do it. For example, a tennis player will already have responded to a tennis ball flying at them by initiating a particular movement before the concious mind has actually formed a "choice" to do so. His experiements suggest that our concious mind is actually playing catch up with activities that have already occurred. This has been puzzling researchers ever since.
This is interesting. What else?

You are questioning whether we are nothing more than the sum of chemical reactions. . . is this correct?
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Northern California
1,587 posts, read 2,642,395 times
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God made the worm! Yes! God even created Satan and KNEW he would do the things that he did. But what we are all missing is that we are trying to look at it from our limited perspective. God sees the big picture that we do not. God is God! God is in control in the sense that he is in contol of the decision to give us free will or to not give us free will to accept Him.

Every day we have choices...walk with God or walk away...actually every second we have that choice. We go in and out...we are human we have sin...the worm. I don't think the human mind can grasp a God who knows everything past, present and future. That is where the faith comes in...the belief in things unseen.

My point is just that the free will aspect applies to accepting Christ as Savior. The Calvinistic view of God's elect is in my opinon very damaging. Why evangelize if certain people are already chosen for salvation? God knows ahead of time what our choice will be in the end...and thus by that we are chosen by God...when we accpet his offer of salvation through Christ.

A great book on the subject: Chosen but Free by Norman Geisler
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:59 AM
 
2,952 posts, read 81,929 times
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I agree with Jazzed. If I thought everything was predetermined and we didn't have a choice it would be very depressing. In fact, so depressing I might just not get out of the bed in the morning!
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,917 posts, read 11,159,987 times
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spunky1 wrote:
Quote:
You are questioning whether we are nothing more than the sum of chemical reactions. . . is this correct?
Yes, that is correct although I'm also saying that I haven't made up my own mind either. I can see both sides of the issue. Our consciousness is still not clearly understood and it's incredibly complicated. I'm not sure where I stand on the matter of free will but I do think it's an interesting subject.
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