I am sure that most of you, weather you be Atheists of Theists have heard a whole lot about God's Will. This is thrown out like verbal diarrhea every time that someone dies or a natural disaster occurs. I have often questioned why people are so quick to say that a kid that gets caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting received a "gift" and that it was God's Will that she get shot and killed in a park. How is that a gift? What proof is there that she is in a better place? Who are you to make such claims? It may sound nice and comforting at the time, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. As the title of this post implies, I am going to be talking about God's will and our own freedom. Does God's Will take away our freedom?
To start let us look at the Frankfurt Cases. This is a thought experiment that involves two cases that are identical, except for one part.

Case 1
There are two men: Smith and Jones. Smith is pointing a gun at Jones and is deciding whether or not to shoot him. There is also an evil demon that COULD control the outcome. In this case Jones decides not to shoot Jones, however the evil demon forces Smith to pull the trigger and kill Jones.

Case 2
There are two men: Smith and Jones. Smith is pointing a gun at Jones and is deciding whether or not to shoot him. There is also an evil demon that COULD control the outcome. In this case Smith decides to shoot Jones with his own free will, and the evil demon does nothing.

Take a good look at these cases. What do you notice? First off, they are identical except for one part, which is where the evil demon comes in. The other thing is that the outcome was the same, but the method of getting to that outcome was different. If it was Smith's choice to shoot Jones or if the evil demon commanded him to, the result was the exact same. So, my question is, if "God's Will be done" then the end result will always be the same. So are we really free to make our own decision? If we are, what is the point of making them if it is just going to achieve God's Will in the end?

Another thing that I question is how a person would know what God's Will is. I really don't have a concrete answer for how one would definitively know what God's Will is, but I can speculate as to why it would be appealing to chalk up the bad things in life it "it was God's Will".
The same sort of thing happens (in someone's mind) when there is a conspiracy about something like 9/11. Sometimes when something horrible happens it scares people, which is normal. However, being humans it is in our nature to want an explanation of why something happened. In the case of conspiracy theories Jodi Dean says,

People hate thinking about, in the flash on an eye terrorist bomber...

I think that the same thing happens in the minds of Theists when a natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, occurs. It is much more comforting to think that there is a plan in place. People don't like to think that bad things can just happen, they would rather be optimistic about some plan that would take them to a better place (heaven supposedly, but I'll save that for another post). Michael Martin said it best in his book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification -

If pessimism is justified by the evidence, then we must be pessimistic. If we are optimistic when pessimism is justified, we are irrational.

If you are a Theist or an Atheist, please leave your comments and opinions, I would love to know more about the topic from all perspectives. Bear in mind, however, I will research what you say if I think that you haven't done your research.

Views: 1311

Tags: Atheism, Conspiracy, Demon, Disaster, Evil, Freedom, God, Humans, Natural, Philosophy, More…Religion, Skepticism, Theism

Comment by Strega on March 21, 2013 at 4:48pm

Honestly, when it comes to feelings, most atheists are automatons

I'm kind of surprised at this - it's not been my experience at all.  Perhaps you are either insensitive to their feelings, or you are mixing with an odd crowd.  "Most atheists" as a term other than the absence of deity, isn't a collective that I think any atheist would subscribe to.

But, smiles, if you think that applies to other atheists but not to you, why do you suppose that might be? 

Comment by Jimmy on March 21, 2013 at 4:58pm

@Strega Because they've never had a DMT experience, perhaps?

Comment by Strega on March 21, 2013 at 5:01pm

@Jimmy - not knocking your points in your post, but if that explanation stands, the immediate inference from my previous posted question, is that Angela has had a DMT experience, and all theists have also had a DMT experience, but that singularly, most atheists have not.

Comment by Jimmy on March 21, 2013 at 5:06pm

No, theists are just as confused as atheists alike. More accurately, most theists and atheists have not had a DMT experience, but I have to go to work, and so my time is up. I'll be back, folks.

Comment by archaeopteryx on March 21, 2013 at 5:32pm

I don't argue Jimmy, that you've had your own experiences with alcohol, but there are other alcoholics who have experienced delirium tremens, who maintain that they have seen things that aren't there, and we call those hallucinations.

Comment by Unseen on March 21, 2013 at 5:45pm

Automaton? I'm sure my daughter or anyone who saw me with my cat or anyone who saw me weeping over the recent death of my father would be surprised to hear that. 

Are you sure, Angela, when you say "feelings" you don't really mean something like "gullibility"?

Comment by Unseen on March 21, 2013 at 6:26pm

I don't know, Angela, if you are serious or not. And that hurts my feelings. Deeply.

Comment by Unseen on March 21, 2013 at 9:26pm

Speaking of me and my cat, you can judge how robotic I am in this video:



Comment by archaeopteryx on March 21, 2013 at 9:30pm

Unseen has that effect on people, in addition to nausea, heartburn and general disorientation --

Comment by Strega on March 21, 2013 at 9:38pm

@ Unseen he's gorgeous!  He chatters like that all the time?  Amazing!

@Angela - its the way text can come across without enunciation.  It seemed as if you were saying that Unseen only talks about feelings rather than experiences any. 

@Arch - you need antibiotics for that :)


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