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: 1310

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

Comment by Jimmy on March 27, 2013 at 6:43am

@Strega Do you recall the example I gave about the tree on page 14? I suppose what I'm getting at is that consciousness isn't fully explained unless you have something like "quantum biology" in the picture. If you reduced it solely to a chemical process, then what do you think about something like "hard determinism" being true?

In other words, if you reduced it to the "physical," that means brain processes, including thought, must succumb to the same principles of physics that so-called "unconscious" objects do. For an example, think of dice thrown on a table; depending at the momentum thrown, trajectory of the fall, etc. the dice will have a "specific" place to land, i.e. due to the laws of physics. Well, it would also go that thought would have to the succumb to the same thing, which would hint at "no free will," the original topic of this thread.

I want to link you to someone who has accepted "hard determinism" as truth, and he has an interesting take on it. It's not my position, but I can see how someone could rationalize this position. I'll leave the link below. "Hard determinism", as you may know, the idea of "no free will" is quite akin, by metaphor, as the universe being like a movie burnt to a DVD. While people believe they're making choices and doing things, the fact of the matter is, if you accept this point-of-view... then that means choice is an illusion, and that everything; your thought, the sway of every grass blade, the motion of every cloud, the fall of every rain drop, has been predetermined throughout all eternity.

Ramesh Balsekar - Uniquely Programmed Individual

I do realize I've been quite brief here, but if you respond, I will be more elaborate on my next post. I think I could respond more efficiently if I knew your position on this. Do you believe we have free will? Are you a hard determinist? Perhaps you've accepted "compatibilism"? Hmm..?

@archaeopteryx As you may have noticed, I deleted my original post. However, that was quite funny. You may be interested in a parody on YouTube of Terence McKenna entitled "Most Intense DMT Experience." You know, you could deliver that line, and people may laugh or find a way to parody it, but I really doubt you'd be so inclined to indulge in humor if you had five dried grams of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Until then, you're right, it's moot point.

Comment by Unseen on March 27, 2013 at 8:49am

You don't have to leave the site to find a hard determinist. I'm a hard determinist.

Comment by kOrsan on March 27, 2013 at 9:05am

I'm pretty sure there are many hard determinists here, including myself.

Comment by Unseen on March 27, 2013 at 9:31am

You can be a hard determinist, believe that everything one does is the only thing that could happen at that moment, and still believe that reality isn't predetermined. That's because it's never clear how and when the world of quantum randomness rears its head and changes something on the world of everyday life. But physical laws keep plodding along with whatever is thrown at them.

Now, I, like you I'm sure, FEEL free, and if feeling free is freedom than we are. But you can see that that sort of free is just a feeling which happens to be false. I wouldn't call it an illusion.

Comment by archaeopteryx on March 27, 2013 at 1:46pm

@Unseen - that not what she said --

@Jimmy, RE: "I really doubt you'd be so inclined to indulge in humor if you had five dried grams of psilocybin-containing mushrooms." - given an option, I'll stick with humor.

Comment by Unseen on March 27, 2013 at 1:53pm

@archie  Is Jimmy a she? I didn't know.

Comment by archaeopteryx on March 27, 2013 at 2:27pm

I'm sure that sooner or later, someone will explain it to you, very slowly, using one-syllable words --


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