Friday, February 11, 2011

Free Will(y)

Thank goodness for Mr. Deity!  I've now found the perfect response to show the next baptist or evangelical that explains to me that the reason an omniscient and omnipotent god can allow evil is because of free will.  What a terrible reason!  In other words, a god would be choosing evil and suffering so we can have free will?  Doesn't sound like a trade off that a merciful and compassionate god who wants us to be with him/her one day would do.  Let's see how Mr. Deity gets through this:


Jonathan said...

The main augment presented here is "why not just create beings that will choose to obey in order to avoid evil?"

Because, in doing so, the creator necessarily eliminates free will. Is a society really democratic if only those that choose to elect a particular king allowed to live?

Jonathan said...

I felt my previous point was incomplete and after some though, have decided to expand it.

Revisiting my response to "why not just create beings that will choose to obey in order to avoid evil" I wish to point out some other poor assumptions made in the video.

a) What about those who's choices are influenced by the presence of evil?

For example, some person choosing evil because of deceit. If the creator chose to not allow any evil by creating only beings that choose only good, then what of the person that would choose evil because he is deceived by a liar? Because the world free of liars now exists, he should be created. However, he now exists in a world in which the influences necessary to choice of evil are unavailable, and is denied free will.

Another example involves the person who chooses evil as a retaliation to a prior evil committed against him? The same outcome as above.

Another example involves the person who would choose evil, except when seeing the consequence of evil, choose good instead. Again, free will is denied.

b) What about those that sometimes choose good and sometimes choose evil?

The assumption made in the video is that a being can only choose good or evil. Are those that only chose evil once out of one-million choices to be eliminated?

Another argument posed by the video is that free will is somehow limited because we are unable to harm other telepathically. Huh? A weak argument at best. But, for sake of argument, who's to say we won't some day have the technology or discover the technique to harm others with our thoughts?

Another weaker argument refers to Heaven being without free will. Heaven, ultimately is being in the presence of God. This is the ends of the choosing, free will has already been exercised by those that are present.

(All that said, my argument is still incomplete in that while I believe the above is good philosophy, I don't believe that it's complete theology. But I don't have the time to develop that train of thought right now. It would require me to look up and quote several verses too.)

I believe the strongest argument here is not presented by the video at all, but in your introductory comments before the video: “...a god would be choosing evil and suffering so we can have free will?” That's really the bottom-line that needs to be addressed. Free will is not the ends. A love-relationship (agape) between Creator and created is the ends, free will is the means. In God's economy, the risk to allow evil and suffering, as a consequence of free will, is outweighed by the benefit of agape love, the alternative consequence of free will.

Cookulacrates said...

Free will is not obvious, and your assumption that we have it has been rightly destroyed by many contemporary philosophers and even a few from the enlightenment (perhaps before, but my knowledge is limited). Is god still not 'god' if there is no free will? At the very least, your argument implies that god had to make the world/humans the way he/she did (with evil) to ensure that we have free will. But if introducing free will actually causes so much suffering, pain, death, tyranny, oppression, etc. then how can you ever define your god as a loving being? Selfishness is not love. Jealousy is not love. Fear is not love. BUT - I am not even willing to grant you your notion of free will, so these rebuttals are meaningless.

Another point - this video is not making arguments. This video is lampooning weak christian arguments. This video is pointing out the holes in the bad logic of people like you who try to reconcile the idea of a loving god in a world plagued with evils. It does a pretty good job at it too.

Your conclusion is wanting, to say the least. When did "agape" come in to the average christian vernacular? The interpretation that a god wants to have the relationship you're trying to describe is something that did not come about until the 17th century - you should read a book by Karen Armstrong called "The History of God" - what you think Christianity is now, and what Christianity was when it began are very different. I would at least expect, if there was any truth to it, that the faith would be constant, and she makes a very good case that it is not constant or consistent.

Bottom lines: (1) You assume free will - I think that many contemporary philosophers would disagree with that notion, and I agree with that consensus. (2) If there really is a god that chooses to include death, suffering, oppression, tyranny, in his creation just so he can jealously have beings that blindly love him, regardless of their hypocritical actions, then your god is a dick.