Response to ‘Not So Polite Dinner Conversation’ on the topic of free will

This is a blog in response to ‘Not So Polite Dinner Conversation’ blog. In the blog the author claimed that the Bible doesn’t support the concept of free will. As a Catholic, I’d obviously disagree.
To support the claims, the author copies several passages that were put forward by ‘biblestudytools.com’ that supposedly suggest free will, and then sets out to point out that these verses don’t help in suggesting that. I will copy the exact words as to show that my response is honest. The author’s words will be italic, mine will be plain text.

A fellow I’ve corresponded with on Facebook gave me a link to bible verses he claimed supported the idea of free will. I’m bored, so I went through and looked at all of them. My usual readers will recognize quite a bit of this, no reason to waste your time again.
Okay, let’s look at these verses that are claimed to support free will. They may even do so, but then they contradict all of the verses that have this god interfering with human action, destroying free will.


First of all, intervention doesn’t take away free will, it could just simply help us with the outcome that came from using free will; i.e I freely choose to sin, and then ask for God’s help. That doesn’t mean I’m not free to sin, only that I need help with the repercussions of that sin. Why would intervention take away free will? We have societal constructs that intervene every day, but that doesn’t take away freedoms. Law intervenes when there’s been a crime, but man still has to, and can still, freely break the law.
There’s nothing in the Bible (that I can think of) that suggests God stopped man from doing something, only that He responds to the action after. But even if God were to stop man from doing something, it doesn’t do away with free will; we were still going to do something of our own choice. An analogy would be a police officer stopping a bank robber as he walked into the bank: the man has still freely chosen to steal, even if he isn’t able to go through with the act.

I’ve added some of the context to some of these if appropriate. One has to wonder about the Biblestudytools.com staff if they think all of these verses support the idea of free will. They do list some of those verses that indicate predestination but not all. In my opinion, one can get a far more comprehensive listing of verses by subject out at openbible.info

1 Corinthians 10:13
“13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

Nothing in this about free will. It’s also a great verse to show how this bible lies when it says that this god won’t test people beyond their strength. Christian suicides show this to be false. Of course, Christians will always blame the victim to excuse their god.

I will deal with the suicide comment first. Yes, Christians commit suicide, but that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t provided a way out from the situation that led to the suicide. What it means is that the cannot accept the way that has been provided, because tragically they are overcome with despair. The harsh truth is that a way out is provided, but some freely reject it because they can’t see past today. Another words, the act of suicide seems a lot more appealing than taking the way out without certainty of the outcome.
I would agree that this verse doesn’t aid or hinder the Christian belief in free will, so yes, this verse is pretty useless in regards to the context of the topic. The author goes on:

Unsurprisingly, a little earlier in the chapter, in context, has Paul claiming that the Israelites were just examples made for Christians. “6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. “ This destroys free will when someone was forced to do something for someone else’s benefit as part of a plan. This matches what Paul states in Romans 9 that pots are used to be examples and to be destroyed.

I had a quick check of the passage, just to make sure that I am understanding the entire context. St Paul is writing to the Church in Corinth, reminding them of Israel’s past acts of idolatry. The Israelites had complained that God had brought them from slavery, and led them to the desert. In an act of rebellion, the people of Israel had built an idol, complaining that God had abandoned them.
In response, God sent poisonous snakes to punish them for their lack of gratitude. Paul concludes that these things happened as a warning to us, not to grumble against God when things become difficult.
The writer suggests that if God ’caused’ Israel to grumble so that the Church could learn from her error, then God had taken away free will. But when reading the verse, I found the author had made a mistake; there’s nothing in the verse that tells us that God had caused the act of rebellion, only that He responded to it and used it as a teachable moment for His Church.

2 Chronicles 9:7
“7 Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!”

Nothing in this about free will. Servants are under control. This is the queen of Sheba speaking to Solomon. No evidence that Solomon ever existed or that this story is true. The amounts of gold and other precious things are quite ridiculous (42 tons of gold? aka 666 talents), and funny how they all simply vanished. For the world’s wisest man, the kingdoms in that area contributed nothing of note to the knowledge of the sciences.
Not doing so well so far

I think the author may seem to be conflating ‘wisdom’ with ‘knowledge’, but that’s neither here nor there. Just to be clear, wisdom can mean knowledge, but it also means ‘the quality of having experience, good judgement’. Also, I don’t see why wisdom would be measured by contributions to the sciences; did Shakespeare, Hemingway, or Gandhi contribute to the sciences? Yes, they contributed to society in other ways, but remember that the author is only measuring wisdom by how much a society contributes to the sciences. When we think of other great men, we understand that we measure contribution to the world beyond the scope of what they did for science.
Anyway, onto the response. Control doesn’t negate free will, at least not the control that is wielded over a servant. The verse clearly states that the happiness of these servants is due to the fact that they serve Solomon, and so get to hear his wisdom. It doesn’t suggest that these servants are happy in spite of their circumstance, but because of it.

2 Peter 3:9
“9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”
Ah, we’re getting closer now. There still is the problem of the claim of a plan by this god, which requires no free will since with free choice the plan cannot be assured of coming to fruition. 2 Peter is a pseudepigraph, falsely attributed to the apostle Peter 2 Peter (earlychristianwritings.com) That it contradicts other parts of the bible isn’t surprising considering that many scholars see gnostic influences in it, showing it was written long after any supposed Jesus events.

I don’t think we need to get into the source of this Epistle; it’s not the purpose of this response.
The author’s issue with this verse comes from a lack of understanding is regards to Christian Theology. The writer supposes that we believe ‘if God wishes ‘x’ to occur, then ‘x’ must occur.’ Put simply, if God wishes all to come to repentence, then all must come to repentence. I think (I can only guess) that the author believes that all of God’s wishes must be carried out, due to the fact that God is omnipotent. So, to put simply:

“God wishes all men to believe. God is all powerful. All men must believe.”

Not at all, let me explain why. God has certain attributes that are always in effect, we can all these ‘passive attributes’, because God need not ‘do’ anything for them to be in effect. A human example would be breathing, we’re not actively choosing to breathe.
But there are attributes of God that are ‘active’, in that God must actively put that attribute to use. I will give examples. God is all knowing, it is a passive attribute that requires God to ‘do nothing’ in order to know. God is all powerful, but this is a potential quality- it doesn’t mean that God is constantly displaying that power, but He has the potential to do all things according to His will and nature. This ‘omnipotence’ is active; God isn’t always displaying His power, He must actively do something that denotes power.
In regards to this verse, yes God wishes that all men come to repentance, but that doesn’t mean that God is taking away our free will to ’cause us’ to repent.
The writer speaks of a plan, and I’m not sure if they are speaking about the plan of salvation, or just the divine plan in a general sense. If it is about the plan of salvation, I don’t see how it requires no free will. The plan was that man be afforded the opportunity of salvation, not that all men will be saved. The offer is there, it isn’t a demand on God’s part.

Galatians 5:13
“13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.”

Again, nothing about free will. This reflects Paul’s claims that believers were already chosen by this god and allowed to accept it, having been called. Earlier in the chapter, in context, Paul mentions grace again, where we know from Romans that grace is what Paul means when he says this god already chose who could accept it and then damned the rest as an object lesson. “4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”

This verse has to do with freedom from sin, not free will. Yes, these topical websites are useless. The author assumes that God’s calling must be responded to by our belief, that there is no other option. While it’s true that no one can believe unless first called, it doesn’t follow that all who are called must believe. The Bible also never suggests that only a certain number are called.
On to the word ‘grace.’ The Greek word used for ‘grace’ in this text is ‘charis’. In Greece and Rome, charis was a system in which one person gave something of value to another, and the receiver gave service, thanks, and lesser value back to the giver. The Church has always defined ‘grace’ as:

“favour, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life”

John 7:17
“17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”

The verse differs a little from the one I see in the NRSV.

“17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.”
In this again, we don’t see free will, especially in the second version where it has believers already knowing
about what JC says. We see that believers are already able to know teachings, which again indicates that what JC says in Matthew 13 that only certain people are allowed to accept this god and again is reflected in what Paul claims. Small changes in translation make big theological differences.

Some strange leaps here. Jesus is claiming that if man is actively seeking God, they will be able to deduce whether His words are from God or not; the verse doesn’t say ‘how’ they deduce that. I’m not going to read into this next- neither should the author.
In ‘Matthew 13’ Jesus tells us the ‘Parable of the Sower’. A man goes out to sow seed:

  • some falls on rocky ground and never takes root. This alludes to the hardness of man’s heart, leading to a rejection of Jesus
  • some fall on places with little soil, and because of a lack of root, they grow quickly but are scorched by the sun. This alludes to people who believe at first, but don’t take the time to develop knowledge in the faith, and so allow themselves to be deceived.
  • other seeds grow but thorns choke them. This is a warning to those who allow earthly worries to distract them, and lead them away from God.
  • and then we have the good seed, which are those who believe and endure to the end

The parable doesn’t talk about being ‘allowed to believe’, it deals with what may happen to those people after they have already begun to believe, or have actively chosen to reject the Gospel. In fact, the parable has the seed/Gospel being poured out on all kinds of ‘soil/people.’ If Jesus really wanted to suggest a lack of free will, it would make more sense for the Gospel to only be preached to a select few, the seed being thrown onto a certain soil only.

Joshua 24:15
“14 “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”


This is the strongest verse to indicate free will in the bible. Considering how Christians are never sure if they want to admit that OT is in play or not, this presents them a problem since the NT doesn’t mention free will as a possibility and many Christians try to claim that there is a new covenant that they follow, not having to pay attention to the inconvenient laws in the OT.
There is also the problem that earlier in Joshua we see this god destroying free will for humans “20 For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed, and might receive no mercy, but be exterminated, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Joshua 11
If this god destroys free will here, that causes a ripple effect where any event coming from this one was
interfered with too.

Not sure if I would agree that this is the best evidence for free will in Scripture. There is only one aspect of the Old Testament that is not ‘in play’- the Mosaic Law. Christians are not bound by this Law, since Christ fulfilled it on the Cross. We are still bound by the moral law, which is written on the hearts of all men. Just to clear that up.
In regards to the ‘hardening of people’s hearts’- this happens a lot in the Bible; it’s not what people think. If we read the verse, the people whose hearts are hardened were:

Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Ach′shaph, 2 and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chin′neroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, 3 to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Per′izzites, and the Jeb′usites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah.
And they came out, with all their troops, a great host, in number like the sand that is upon the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 And all these kings joined their forces, and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight with Israel.

These people had already set out to destroy Israel, because they were terrified that Israeal was coming to take their country. The force of Israel was huge, and so when the kings saw the force they were facing, there was a good chance they would’ve had second thoughts! It was then that God hardened their hearts, but the initial choice to attack Israel was their own; God just solidified that choice. This verse doesn’t do away with free will, it demonstrates consequences that we can’t always escape from.

Proverbs 16:9
“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.”

Again, nothing about free will and it shows that this god moves people around like chess pieces. We also have this earlier in the chapter “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Again supporting JC and Paul in the claims of how this god does not allow free will. Here’s another verse from the same chapter, and this god still imposes its will on others “When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.” And finally “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is the Lord’s alone.”

Nobody is being moved like chess pieces in this verse. The planner is man, the director is God; this would mean that man has to make the plan or decision, and God directs us on how to put that plan into motion. I’d also point out that if a person is given directions, they’re not obligated to follow them, even if those directions are from God!
As for the other verse, yes all things are made for a purpose, including evil men. But that doesn’t track that God made men to be evil, since that contradicts verses that say God cannot do or cause evil, and God would no longer be good. Rather God created men knowing that some would be evil, and uses that to demonstrate His power.
I don’t understand why the writer quotes Proverbs 16:7, that’s odd. When man works the will of God, things go well for us. By following God’s command’s we can have peace with enemies, but it is us following the commands, and our enemies response to that, that is the cause of peace, not an active move by God.

Revelation 3:20
“ 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come into you and eat with you, and you with me. “
Nothing about free will. Per JC and Paul, no one will be able to hear JC if they aren’t already chosen.

This verse is clearly an example of free will. Imagine you are talking to your kids, and you say
“if you clean your room, then you can have ice cream.”
To deal with the idea of being ‘chosen’ first. As I’ve said, no we cannot believe if we are chosen, but not all who are chosen have to believe. Therefore, it doesn’t limit all who are called, it only suggests that not all who are called will believe. Put simply, the idea that only the ‘chosen can believe’, doesn’t mean that the chosen are of a certain number, and that they ‘must believe’.
The sentence clearly implies that they have the option to not open the door. The word ‘if’ denotes a movement/circumstance/event that can go either way. Therefore, when Christ says ‘if you open the door’, those who hear the knock can certainly choose not to answer the door. Otherwise, the wording makes sense; for the author’s point to be accurate, Christ would’ve said:

“when you hear my voice, and when you open the door.”

The author then goes on to list every verse that openbible.info suggests on the topic of free will, then says they have nothing to do with the topic. I’ve already said that this site produces verses that have nothing to do with the subject, we’re in agreement.

Galatians 5: 16-17
“16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”


This differs again a bit with theological implications:
“16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.”

The list returns to Galatians and still it has nothing about free will. Indeed, it says that there is no free will since this god has arranged it that there is something to prevent people from doing what they want.

Notice how the author chooses to refute the translation that supposedly takes away free will, but doesn’t state that the other translation supports it?
God hasn’t arranged that there be something that prevents us from doing what we want; the verse states that what the Holy Spirit desires for us is contrary to what we desire for ourselves. If St Paul directs us to not ‘gratify the flesh’, logic dictates that the option to gratify the flesh must be there for us. I think the issue comes when Paul uses the word ‘prevent’, in the case of ‘preventing us from doing what we want.’ Read carefully. Paul never states that we can’t sin as we choose, only that if we are truly living by the Spirit we would not choose to, as the first translation implies.

12 thoughts on “Response to ‘Not So Polite Dinner Conversation’ on the topic of free will

  1. Define “free will”, Alan. I define it as: “Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.” from the wikipedia entry. The ability to act, not just choose, is implicit in this. I do not believe that humans have free will. We have the illusion of free will since we cannot be continually aware of what influenced us from the past. We have no free will to fly without aid since reality/physics does not allow it. My desire cannot cause action, making a choice to fly moot.

    Do you agree?

    Like

    1. I would think it best to stick to the Dictionary’s definition of terms, just so we don’t define them in a way that benefits our points.

      “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.”

      There is no action that you’re bound to by necessity; not even eating. You seem to think that true freedom is a lack of accountability when it is employed.
      Having a past that may influence our decision still doesn’t impede free will. You’re making the assumption that in order for will to be ‘free’ it must be unaided by past endeavors. But past occurrences only effect ‘how’ we ‘could’ respond, not how we ‘will respond.’ In that sense, you’re still free to ignore the results of an action, and repeat the same action over and over.
      Your next point about flying without aid being impossible is moot; no one is suggesting that free will would have an effect on reality. You can absolutely choose to fly without aid, but because our nature doesn’t allow us to change the parameters of existence, you’re not free to choose to not die as a consequence.
      Free will only effects the person exercising it, and maybe the person they exercise that will upon. It doesn’t effect universal laws or constants, because they would cease to be constants and laws. You can’t redefine a term like ‘free will’ to mean something that it has never meant, then say we don’t have it.

      Like

      1. “In that sense, you’re still free to ignore the results of an action, and repeat the same action over and over.”

        that’s insanity

        Free will does not only effect the person exercising it. But nice try at solipsism. I’m very pleased with the definition you’ve given free will. It’s even more fun that you ignore it when convenient. I’ll repeate it ““the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.””

        you do see the word act there, don’t you?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Free will and acting without constraints is a ridiculous notion. Our will is constrained by our nature, as I’ve explained; you’re free to jump off a mountain, you’re not free to fly. So even without a God, you don’t have free will, you have constraints, because by your very definition, your choices are impeded . There’s nothing within Christianity that takes away free will. What about atheism?
      If someone is a materialist atheist, they’d have to concede that they have no free will. If matter and energy are all that exist in the universe, then how do you rationally defend the idea that you have free will and can properly use logic?
      How does one chemical state of the brain that is altered by the electrical firing of neurons, which leads to another chemical state in your brain, produce free thought and logical inference?
      If your brain is hardwired and constrained by the physical laws, then it cannot act outside of those laws or outside the limits of the hardwiring. It is, in essence, caged in by the limits of physical properties and cannot break free of them.
      This would mean that whatever stimulus you receive, such as being asked a question, will result in a specific response that must be in accordance with whatever arrangement your brain’s nuero-chemical wiring requires.

      Like

      1. So, now we don’t have free will? Per Christianity, humans can do miracles, and aren’t limited by “nature”. So your argument fails.

        I have already said that I know we don’t have free will.

        Like

      2. Humans can do miracles? Don’t know what you were taught at Sunday school, but it was terrible.
        It is God that performs the miracle, using man as the instrument, No Christian believes Moses parted the Red Sea, or Peter raised a child from the dead.
        In the case of Christians, we can be enabled by the Holy Spirit to perform a work, but it isn’t by our nature. The truth is quite logical really, because if miracles were part of nature, they wouldn’t be miracles.

        And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;- Mark 16:7
        Who’s name is casting out demons? Christ’s

        11 And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. ” Acts 19:11-12
        Who’s doing the miracle according to the verse? God.

        “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” Mark 16:20
        Who performed the accompanying signs? The Lord.

        “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” Acts 14:3
        Who granted that signs and wonders could be done by their hands? The Lord.

        ” To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor 12;8-11
        Who’s assigning these attributes and working them? God.

        “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues”
        1 Cor 12:28
        Who appoints miracles, gifts of healing and tongues? God

        Like

      3. My position is that we do not have free will but we have an illusion of it. We are indeed limited by physics.

        Per your bible, free will does not exist since this god interferes and has a “plan”. That plan has that this god intentionally picks some people that can accept it and then damns those who cannot for no fault of their own. That plan requires this god committing genocide, having genocide committed and killing children for no fault of their own for events to proceed. Those actions by your god eliminate free will. A person has no choice when a god kills them, taking away their free will and their lives.

        atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. It has nothing to do with free will. Some atheists may believe in it, some do not. Nothing about free will has to do with logic either. Logic works, free will or not. You try, and fail, to use the common theist bit of nonsense of dualism. Thought is not “free” it is based on chemistry and electricity. We know what a normal brain does and what an abnormal one does. We know that changes will change how we think. For example, if someone is hungry, they often don’t think well since their brain needs glucose. We don’t know yet​ exactly how the brain works but that doesn’t mean it is magical.

        you are right, what stimulus I receive is reacted to by chemistry, physics and my prior experiences.

        still no god to be found.

        Like

      4. “christianapologeticsministry.wordpress.com

        “If you don’t have free will, how are you sure that you’ve observed creation objectively? Perhaps your lack of freedom has hindered your deduction” – alan

        okay, you’ve made the claim, now support it. how would this work, Alan. Or are you just throwing shit against the wall and hoping that some of it sticks?

        why would free will or the lack of it interfere with objective observation?

        we have the scientific method to check if we have observed objectively.

        Like

      5. Sorry, only just saw this, let me explain. Let’s say you don’t have free will, but you do have a brain. This brain contains the entire sense of ‘I’: thoughts, feelings, aspirations, moral compass etc. This brain has neurons that fire, chemicals that are released, and it reacts to certain stimuli.
        Now, if your brain reacts to stimuli in one way, how is it to react when exposed to the same stimuli, the same parameters, the next time you’re exposed to it? The same chemicals would be released into the body, and our reaction would have to be the same. If not, why not?
        It’s pretty obvious that this is a huge hindrance when it comes to observing objective reality, because reality becomes nothing more than how we observe it. Another words, reality becomes what we perceive it to be, rather than our perceptions being changed by what reality actually is. After all, it’s the same stimuli (nature), the same calculations (chemicals released in the brain), so how does the result change? And in this case, reality becomes subjective, since no two brains are the same. And if reality becomes subjective, then there’s no correct perception of reality at all. Mental illness can’t be identified, because there’s no standard to how the brain ought to be.
        Imagine a scenario: We see a person walk away from a cash machine, and a ten dollar/pound note is left in the machine. If our brain tells us that it’s unacceptable to take the money, would that remain the same if faced with the same scenario in another time?
        So you would lack free will, since we’ve boiled man down to nothing but the material, but it would also means that objectivity goes out the window too. No matter what stimuli was placed in front of you, you’d be forced to react the same way over and over, provided the stimuli remained consistent and constant.
        Yes, of course we’d have science to help us, right? No. Science helps us understand creation, macro and micro. So while the laws of creation wouldn’t shift, once we’d responded to those laws in a certain fashion, we’d have to respond the same way over and over because it’s the same neurons, the same mind.
        Of course free will aids us in grasping reality. I’m free to accept the theory of relativity, gravity and so on. Yes, we can test gravity, but if my free will is non-existent, then my chemical wiring may just tell me to reject it, regardless of what was placed before me. You would say ‘but we have evidence of gravity.’ But what is evidence without a free mind to accept it? In fact, without free will, why would evidence need to be a thing? We would simply be exposed to a supposition, our neurons would fire and beep, bop, boop: we’ve come to a conclusion.
        Because you lack free will (as you claim), you are trapped in the notion that you perceive all of science correctly, or that science even suggests that which you think it does. You don’t know, that’s just the chemicals in your brain telling you so.

        How do theists differ? We don’t believe man is simply ‘mind’. He was created by a rational, omniscient being. Because of the infinite knowledge of God, we can trust that our minds not only perceive reality in the correct fashion, but rather that they were intended to do just that. As an atheist, you’re forced to say that your mind is a ‘mistake.’ By mistake, I mean that evolution has no intelligent guiding force, but a haphazard collection of changes over the millennium that occurred because of a ‘need’ to adapt to the world around us, and that has led to where we are now. It doesn’t mean that we are functioning correctly, because ‘correctly’ implies an intent, which implies a designer.

        Like

      6. I do not see why that a brain, reacting to the same stimuli in the same way would prevent someone from observing objective reality. Indeed, if the reaction is appropriate, then it is confirming objective reality. If the brain reacts to stimuli in one way and then in a completely different way to the same stimuli, there is limit to what could be occurring: either new experience has been added to indicate that the prior response was wrong, or that there is an imbalance and this new reaction is wrong.

        Reality is not only how we observe it. It is a collective observation and the results of interacting with reality in a beneficial or less than beneficial way. You would have that there is no reality and the universe is some Dr. Seussian concept that a god’s will is the only constant. And from the claims of the bible, and believers, that will is not constant at all. As I noted, the scientific method is how we get rid of personal bias and perception.

        We do know how the brain ought to be, so your analogy fails completely. If a human brain starts not interacting with reality, then there are quite the problems. As I stated, no one gets a reality of their own. This set of arguments is very common from theists who want to claim that since we are fallible, then their god has a gap to lurk in. But again, we see no evidence of their claims.

        You then trip into the morality argument. If the circumstances were exactly the same, then yep, the morality stays the same, no god needed at all. It would hurt the person who lost the money and I choose not to hurt people if I do not have to.

        Yep, we lack free will. We have the illusion of it but that’s all. And man is indeed nothing more than material. All you have is wishful thinking that we are not.

        You want to pretend that now science can’t help us, but it is the scientific method that helps us remove perception bias. The scientific method shows that there is no reason to believe in your god and you try to split evolution into macro and micro, a common creationist bit of nonsense when it comes to evolution. Unable to deny evolutionary theory, some creationists want to accept part of it but still insist that their god is involved. Still no evidence for that and it shows creationists always following science, never the other way around.

        You don’t like this since you only have perception bias to argue for your god. Free will does not help us grasp reality it doesn’t make evidence nor does evidence care if someone accepts it. Reality doesn’t change depending on what we want to believe. The theories of relativity, gravity, etc work no matter if you “Freely” accept it or not. The universe doesn’t care about you. You can reject anything you want but you’ll still die if you jump off the cliff of Mount Thor and impact the bottom. There is nothing suppositional about dying here. Yep, we are computers. No problem with that at all. You simply need to pretend you are more important than that. I don’t.

        Again, no reason I don’t understand reality correctly if I am reacting correctly to it. I think you don’t’ like this since I am reacting correctly to reality now, that there is no god. Science is accurate. Religion? Not at all. And I know reality because the chemicals are telling me how it works. It is when they are not working correctly I can have a problem.
        I know that theists are dualists and unsurprisingly, you have no more evidence for the “soul” than you do for your god. You assume, without evidence, that your god is the creator. You assume it has “infinite knowledge” but per the bible, it does not. You only have made up it does. You assume you can trust your mind because of some god you can’t show even exists.

        You also have the problem of the Christian claim of the “fall” corrupting things, since now how do you know your mind isn’t screwed up by this god’s failure?

        I do not have to say my mind is a “mistake” at all. Again, you, as a creationist and a Christian, think that the universe is somehow completely random. It is not in the least. The laws of physics don’t let anything and everything that one can imagine happen. No “intelligent guiding force” needed. Only laws.

        Unsurprisingly, this ignorance of how the universe works feeds into the strawmen that Christians attack when it comes to science. You have no idea what the sciences actually say, so you attack what you need them to say.

        The idea of “correctly” has nothing to do with needing an intellect to design us. It does not imply an intent at all. It only means correctly as with perceiving reality, in this context.

        if I thought that molten steel was harmless, I’d quickly die and there goes my chance of reproduction, so that bit of malfunction dies with me. The preserved attributes of animals aren’t preserve “haphazardly”. They are preserved as what is the most effective in a given environment.

        No “designer” needed. But do just say God since “intelligent design” is no more than a creationist attempt to lie and pretend they don’t really mean their particular god.

        Like

      7. Not at all, a brain can react the same way over and over, it doesn’t mean that it’s reacting in the ‘correct’ fashion. Take someone with a mental illness, living secluded from society. They may react the same way every time to the people they see on a television screen; I don’t think that would be the healthy way to perceive that, right? Notice how you’ve said ‘if the reaction is appropriate’, then didn’t define how we are to know what ‘appropriate’ is?

        I never said that reality is how we observe it, please read what I actually said, because you did this before. I said:

        “It’s pretty obvious that this is a huge hindrance when it comes to observing objective reality, because reality becomes nothing more than how we observe it. Another words, reality becomes what we perceive it to be, rather than our perceptions being changed by what reality actually is”

        Reality would BECOME nothing more than what we observe it to be, not that it actually is. I haven’t once suggested that there’s no such thing as reality, and that’s very clear from the last sentence of my last comment. My suggestion is that because ‘mind’ and ‘reality’ share the same source, we can align ourselves with how reality ‘is.’ This same origin stops each mind subjectively claiming an individual reality.
        My moral argument stands, you just skipped it completely by saying that you wouldn’t take the money. I never inserted you personally into the scenario. If a person decided not to return the money the first time, and the parameters remained constant the second, they wouldn’t return it the second time. If they may, why? The brain hasn’t changed, the scenario hasn’t.

        ‘Thought’ is not material, ‘love’ is not material; yes they are produced ‘by’ the material, but these things are realities that aren’t material in of themselves, but would not exist without a mind to experience them. So yes, there are aspects of humanity that aren’t physical.
        The concept of man being ‘just material’ is, in of itself, immaterial- it’s a concept.
        If you lack free will, how are you so sure that God doesn’t exist? Have you not freely come to that conclusion? If not, how can you be sure you’re correct?

        Your reasoning for suggesting that your mind is operating correctly is nothing more than the reaction being consistent. You said that if the mind stops interacting with reality, that’s when there’s a problem. But you can’t tell me how we know which mind is regarding reality in the correct fashion, other than a kind of ad populum; most people know the sky is blue and if you think otherwise, you’re crazy.
        If we lack free will, why do we have the right to punish criminals? I’m making an assumption here, but would you say that child abusers must be segregated from the rest of society? Aren’t we just punishing them for a lack of free will? Once you reject free will, moral objectivity flies away, because even if there is a standard, we can’t hold people accountable when they fail that standard.
        Where did I break evolution into macro and micro? What I said was:

        ” Science helps us understand creation, macro and micro. ”

        There’s more to creation that can be observed on the macro and micro level than evolution, not sure why you jumped straight to that. An example of the macro would be the study of the solar system, the micro would be the reaction that particles have in ‘x’ scenario. That’s what I was alluding to, please reply to what’s actually said.
        I don’t believe the universe is random, not at all. And I know you don’t either. But as an atheist, saying things have a certain order doesn’t automatically mean it’s not all random. An atheist can only say it ‘appears’ that there’s an order, not that there is. Because if there’s no intelligence behind creation, there’s no way to say that’s how creation ought to act, relate, or react. Other than ‘oh, it’s always been that way.’

        The concept of the Christian concept of the ‘Fall’ has nothing to do with our reaction to reality, the Catholic Church clearly teaches that. We can still use our faculties in the material sense, with our perception of creation. It only hinders our spiritual view. Remember, I’m Catholic, not Calvinist. I don’t believe in total depravity.

        Ok, I’m trying to understand you. There’s no intent behind creation, it’s only how we correctly perceive it to be. But if creation has no intent behind it, who’s to say what is ‘is’ to be perceived as? You can say you’ve answered this, but you haven’t, you only said ‘either new experience has been added to indicate that the prior response was wrong, or that there is an imbalance and this new reaction is wrong.’

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s