Free Will and Evil

This is a topic that incurs endless discussions on the internet (and elsewhere) with neither side “winning.” Nonetheless, when I watched this video, I couldn’t help saying to myself … whaaaaat??!!? Is it just my imagination or is this guy talking in circles?

P.S. If I knew how, I would have taken out the “advertisements” at the end. Sorry about that.

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104 thoughts on “Free Will and Evil

  1. Let me guess — the “holy spirit” gave him this insight? He claims that people who go to heaven will have free will but there will be no reason to sin because they won’t lack anything? So does this mean that when Lucifer supposedly sinned along with a 3rd of the angels because there was lack in heaven at the time? If so, what was lacking?

    He also states that if his Abrahamic, Iron/Bronze Age war god were to stop evil today, he would have to take away free will, and that in “our fallen nature, we would automatically choose evil if they have free will”, then he proclaims “and we do”. Then he goes on to say that if his Abrahamic, Iron/Bronze Age war god takes away our free will, we can’t do evil but we can’t love either?

    o_O

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Check out my the post I put up today on free will, Victoria. I find the topic as exciting as a root canal minus the Novocaine. I’m a bit sea sick still from watching that spinning video. One thing I can say about christians, they sure suck at camera work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Turek says in the video, ” when we are in Heaven , we won’t have any reason to sin because we won’t lack anything at all”.

    So using his logic , We lack therefore we sin. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jeff, your post was timely, and very will stated. I was thinking the very same thing as I was watching the video Nan posted. I’m going to post a excerpt of your post here because I think it compliments this subject:

    ” There is not a shred of empirical evidence to prove such a ridiculous hypothesis, nor will there ever be. In fact, all evidence points to the contrary. We are not free. We do not control our destiny. We did not choose to be born. We did not choose when we were born nor to whom.

    We did not choose which country to be born in nor in which century. We did not choose our race, our gender, our sexual orientation nor our eye and hair color. We also did not choose whether or not to be born with or without genetic defects.

    We did not choose whether we were born into poverty or wealth or into an Islamic, atheist, or Catholic family. We did not choose whether we were loved, or neglected and abused, by our parents and/or primary care givers as children.”

    http://variouspontifications.com/2015/01/17/free-will-hunting/#comment-12298

    I can tell that this man has never opened a biology book, and if he has, he is in serious denial about gene expression, neurotranmitters, etc, and how the environment, even in utero, impacts our behavior. A mother who doesn’t produce enough oxytocin to bond (love) with her child (no fault of her own), just that one neurotransmitter imbalance, will greatly impact her offspring’s outcome, and that’s only scratching the surface. How can this guy boldly claim that if you take away free will you can’t love? I was embarrassed for him as I watch the video.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for reading my post, Victoria, and sorry for pluggin’ my sh*t on your blog, Nan. I try never to do that, but, I was in the neighborhood so I figured, “What the hey!?” I’m still hung over from watching that video. I suggest Mr. Christian worry more about hiring a sober camera operator next time rather than blabbering on about free will and evil. The camera work on his video is the only thing evil here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the part that I’m still trying to wrap my head around:

    … if god were to stop evil today, he would have to take away our free will. But in our fallen nature, we would choose evil if we have free will … and we do. If he takes away our free will, we can’t do evil …

    Think about what he’s saying.

    God could stop evil by taking away our free will.

    But because we are “fallen,” we choose evil.

    BUT … if god took away our free will, how would we be able to choose evil?

    Because we are “fallen.”

    But god has taken away free will … so how does being “fallen” cause us to choose evil if there is no free will?

    ??????

    Liked by 4 people

  6. This expert in reasoning has convinced me that free will only fits in Christian (i.e. perfect) circles. Sometimes, I regret not having chosen for evil when I was a child, it seems so much more fun than simple goodness….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve heard a similar sermon before, and it always astounds me how Christians can bring up the problem of evil, and lump all bad things that happen under one umbrella: human decisions (free will). Not all of the bad things that happen are the result of human decisions. I think the problem of evil is somewhat misnamed, because an omniscient, omnipotent God would be guilty of creating plenty of things that aren’t necessarily evil, just bad catastrophes. Is an earthquake or a tornado or an epidemic evil? No. They’re not man made, but they can be deadly, and if one believes in an all powerful, all knowing creator who made everything, then he would have to have created those things too. They can’t be explained away by spinning in circles and saying “But we have free will!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Nancy! Thanks for your comment. And I agree … especially about the spinning in circles part. 😉

      To my way of looking at it, this whole “omnipotent” thing — about “god” knowing all there is to know (and ahead of time) — kinda’ takes away from the free will thingy anyway. But then who am I? Just a reasonable thinking kind of person who isn’t easily taken in by preachers in videos (who use drunk cameramen).

      Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. I tend to stick with the “problem of natural evil”, as I think it is a stronger argument, and does the job well enough on its own. No need to waste time arguing about free will.

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    • Well said Nancy. Your comment reminded me of Isiah 45:7

      “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

      We have significant evidence that natural disasters can affect the “fight or flight” areas of our brain, and they can especially impact how a child’s brain is developed and will interact with his/her environment and people. The younger they are the greater likelihood of being affected, neurologically and psychologically. These disasters can leave children orphaned and traumatized, and that can also significantly impact brain development and behavior. Many Christians are indoctrinated to believe that the reason for natural disasters is due to “fallen man”, and yet…

      Nan brings up a very good point — this god is supposedly all-knowing — knew what was going to go down from the very beginning and still allowed it to happen. Why? Because he was desperate to be loved and adored? A celestial orphan? Did Yahweh have a mommy and a daddy? Apparently not.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. According to Scott Adams’ book, “God’s Debris” , God was more bored than anything. There was only one challenge God wasn’t certain of achieving. Was he capable of destroying himself ?

    God’s Debris explains the creation of the Universe far better than any religion could and why pain ,suffering and evil exists. Though written as a novel, it’s explanation is certainly plausible.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. == Nan: …this whole “omnipotent” thing — about “god” knowing all there is to know (and ahead of time) — kinda’ takes away from the free will thingy anyway…

    If free will exists, why do believers pray? I also find these concepts contradictory.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

    That’s a revision, Neuro – the KJV says, “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

    Yours is a watered-down version that makes the Bible’s god less responsible for evil.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I thought Dick Cheney was responsible for all evil?” – I think Cheney was just subbing while the big guy took a Penthouse to the john for a crapper break – they were doing a special, “Virgins ‘R’ Us” edition, but he only read the articles.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. All great comments in this thread.
    Nan, has the Christian asked themselves if god has free will? If their answer is yes and continue to say that god can’t choose to do evil, they must explain why could not make man with free will but unable to choose to do wrong.
    Frank Turek and all those who use the FWD as an excuse for evil, in my view, haven’t thought the matter out seriously.
    Nan, if you haven’t, you should spare an afternoon to read Scott Adam’s book mentioned by Ken. It is such a great read. Apart from the part about god, he writes the skeptics biggest problem is they are hardly wrong, since where they don’t know, they say I don’t know or something of that kind.
    Anyone who says when they go to heaven they will not sin, must explain the question Victoria has asked and must also tell us why we weren’t created in heaven in the first place. And if we sin because we lack, what would stop an omnipotent god from making everyone is sufficiently provided for?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Makagutu, thank you for your very thoughtful comment (contrary to some others on this posting …) and excellent questions.

      Of course the Christian god has free will … at least to those who believe humans have it since “god” is no more than a replica of “us.”

      Of course Turek hasn’t thought the matter out seriously! No preacher has. He is simply parroting beliefs that have been passed down from the pulpit for hundreds and hundreds of years. No one questions the “why” behind the church’s doctrines. They just accept them as being direct from the mind of that “special guy” that lives somewhere “up there.” You know … God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

      As it so happens, I have read God’s Debris. Excellent book! In fact, I intend to re-read it since I’m sure I’ll find new nuggets the second time around.

      Hmmmm. Why weren’t we created in a “heaven” to begin with? Excellent question. But then, what fun would that be? If we were perfect and sinless and spending our day worshipping … when would we have time to spend on blogs like this and others to hash out our opinions and persuasions? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  12. The phrase, ”Baffle them with Bullshit” comes to mind.
    Just listening to this bloke makes my teeth hurt. Not as bad as WLC, but close.
    It is the pitch of the voice. I am convinced they are taught to speak in this fashion.
    Obviously John Lennox never attended the Special Speaking Class. lol.

    Did I catch a glimpse of two guys n white coats around 58 seconds, hiding behind a tree?
    How did you ever become a Christian , Nan and remain even marginally sane.

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    • How did you ever become a Christian , Nan and remain even marginally sane.

      The concept of all-encompassing forgiveness touches every nerve we’ve ever cultivated in regard to our parents, and it’s a powerful magnet, even from an imaginary entity.

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        • That’s great. If we truly had free will, we’d be able to choose NOT to have it. 🙂 Besides, if we truly had fee will, would be not be like god and not exist? Just gets nuttier the more you think about it. Now, back to Kirk Douglas’ ghost…Bastard ran out without paying his part of the bill. The bastard.

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        • Actually, the pyramid appears in Central and South America, and in ancient Sumeria, as well (known as the “ziggurat”) —

          — for a very good reason, and I’m sure that Mak, the architect, can back me up – before Humankind began to learn of footings and foundations, often reaching deep into the soil to bedrock, the pyramidal form was a primitive means of building tall structures without fear of them sinking into the soil.

          With a wide base, and with each additional layer inset, all of the weight was dispersed over a large area, reducing the amount of actual weight on each square inch of area covered.

          In fact, that’s the very reason that the Tower of Babel fable is so ridiculous. Imagine that you are an architect – I know, but quit laughing and work with me here! – and you think that “Heaven” is 500 feet above the surface of the earth, so you do your calculations for that height, and determine the size of base you need to support such a structure. You find minions dumb enough to do all of the work, and you get to 500 feet, and as Gertrude Stein once said, “There’s no there, there,” so it’s back to the drawing board.

          To go higher, you have to construct yet another base, adding to the last one, and construct a new pyramid, using the old for support. Still no heaven, and so you must do it again.

          This is why I’ve maintained for years now, that if there was a god, and if he had a brain in his head, he would rock back in his Laz-E-Boy with a plate of steaming nachos on his lap and a Bud parked on a nearby cloud, and cackle his ass off as on the Celestial BigScreen (and I mean, BIG screen!), the laborers reached the point where they were passing out from lack of oxygen. There was no need at all to interrupt the fun.

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    • @Ark,

      “How did you ever become a Christian , Nan and remain even marginally sane.”

      Oh, you know, I thought I was steeped in SIN. And then I realized one day … what a crock of sh__. Does that answer your question?

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ark, it’s a rather long story but briefly …

          I wasn’t raised in church. It wasn’t until I was married that I actually began to consider “religion.” It all came about from a conversation with some friends of my ex-husband where we got to talking about all the horrible stuff predicted in the book of Revelation … and it scared me! (BTW, I had never read the bible up to this point.) Being a researcher at heart, I headed for the library to see what I could find out. Most of the books I came across were written by Seventh Day Adventists.

          My MIL (who was essentially a Christian but didn’t attend church) became worried that I was being lead into dangerous territory so she put me in touch with a preacher who told me what a SINFUL person I was … and the rest in history.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ark — as to when I realized it was all a crock? That’s difficult to answer as it took several years. Probably one of the big things that got me to thinking was why was there so much emphasis on sin and so little on God’s love (at least in the church I attended). From there, I read a lot of books and little by little, I came to the conclusion that this whole “God” idea was not what it was cracked up to be.

          Liked by 1 person

        • For me, it was simple – I cannot love someone I’m expected to fear. The poor man in Saudia Arabia, who, while the Saudi Ambassador is marching in Paris for Human Rights, is being given 1000 lashes, spaced over weeks so that he will survive, for the thought-crime of blasphemy – saying there is no god – is not more likely to believe when it is finally finished, only more likely to keep still about it. Which is likely the objective.

          Liked by 1 person

        • ” I cannot love someone I’m expected to fear. ”

          Arch, this is a good point for a number of reasons, based on psychological studies I read, but looking at it through a free will lens brings up a few other questions: Why the need to threaten punishment — eternal damination — if you don’t worship this god?

          What god in its right mind would demand you love it or else? How is that free will?

          Liked by 2 people

      • I thought I was steeped in SIN. And then I realized one day … what a crock of sh__.” – Sounds like an epiphany to me —

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    • I may not be a fake architect, Arch, but I am a fake lawyer, and as a fake lawyer, I must tell you you’ve offered no evidence to show that the non-existent evidence I have showing that space aliens built all the pyramids and ziggurats on the Earth is, indeed, insufficient to prove that, “Yes, indeed, aliens did, indeed, build all the pyramids and ziggurats on the Earth.” No real architect is needed when you’ve anti-gravity rays to build these structures. The fact no evidence exists to prove this is evidence that it is true. So sayth he who is not a fake architect, but, rather, a fake lawyer. $Amen$

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  13. Btw, Nan, did you ever join the SDA church? I was fascinated by Revelations and received a pamphlet in the mail for a 21 day “Amazing Facts” seminar. I attended every one of them. They don’t tell you until the last 3 days that they are SDA affiliated. They are brilliant marketers. Anyway, looking back, I am so glad I went to that seminar because they encouraged people to study the OT, and that was the catalyst for me questioning and ultimately leaving Christianity.

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  14. No, no SDA for me. My MIL saw to that. I ended up in a bonafide holy-roller church!

    I have to admit, there was a time when I was too embarrassed to admit this. Not so much while I was one, but afterwards. It still makes me twinge a little, but since I’ve read about others who got caught up in this fanatical denomination, I’m a little less reluctant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I ended up in a bonafide holy-roller church!”

      I can relate. I was a member of several denominations over the course of 40 years, including a few charismatics like Assembly of God. With each denomination I joined, eventually I knew something wasn’t quite right, and at the time, I had a thirst for “truth”, so I’d move on to another denomination in pursuit of that “ultimate truth”.

      Eventually I left all organized religion and just studied the bible. What I find interesting, though, is when I became an unbeliever, that pursuit waned, and it was the first time I’d ever experienced authentic peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Certainly some of the great minds down through history have already addressed this issue. I’ve even written a couple of posts about it myself. Anymore, though, I find that this is an issue that atheists push in an attempt to prove there is no God, as if one can prove a negative. Of course, the deists aren’t much better since they really have no grasp of the concept of a Creator. In the end, I side with the atheists not because they are right, but rather because the deists arguments are so bad.

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  16. The ‘Free will cannot exist without evil, therefore God is good because He created free will’ argument is deeply flawed. When factoring in an omnipotent and omniscient creator one cannot include an outside factor that influences His actions. The entire premise is built on the hypothesis that evil is necessary for free will to exist, and that God is limited by this fact. This would mean that God is not omnipotent, since the assumption is that He could not have created free will without evil being a necessary side effect. But an omnipotent God most certainly could have created free will without evil, unless we are willing to deem Him subservient to a hypothetical external law.

    The only way to rationalize the existence of evil is to conclude that God wanted evil to exist. Anything less would make Him an impotent divine consequentialist. This is why I could never call God ‘good’, since He must have wanted rape, murder and torture to exist for the sake of rape, murder, and torture. A omnipotent God cannot claim that it was the ‘lesser evil’ when He sets the rules to begin with. The usual dodge is that God did create a place like that called Heaven, but that does not forgo the fact that God still wanted this type of suffering to exist, even temporarily. Add to that the concept of Hell on top of that, and you’ve got a God with a serious sadistic streak. What good father would knowingly subject their kids to rape and torture, then afterward, throw them in fire where they would burn forever?

    I have been planning on writing an article about this. Although it seems these subjects have been discussed so much, there is very little to add.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Join the club on this topic. Migraine producer it is. It’s either so far beyond me, I’m lost (which is probable) or so full of sh*t, it’s meaningless (also highly probable). But, like a tall slippery-sided mountain, it’s there, compelling us to climb it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As Miss Piggy would say … ‘I’m sooo confused!’” – That was John Travolta, as “Vinnie Barbarino,” in “Welcome Back Kotter” – whatsa matter you –?!

      Like

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