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Not Another *&^% Free Will Thread!

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SalixIncendium, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Veteran Member
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    Yeah, I'm sure we've all seen enough free will vs determinism threads for one lifetime, maybe two. But the purpose of this thread is not to debate free will vs determinism. You likely already belong to one of these schools of thought and have no intention of shifting your belief regardless of pages of debating. But which school of though you subscribe to doesn't matter for all intents and purposes of this thread.

    In this thread, we examine how your life would be impacted if you suddenly were enlightened to the fact the opposite whatever school of thought you held was true.

    What if you were a determinist that didn't believe in free will, and suddenly you found out that the choices that you have been making your whole life were actually yours unhindered by predestination through free will?

    What if you believed in free will and you suddenly found out that all of the choices that you made throughout your life were predetermined by something external to you?

    What impact, if any, would such a discovery have on your religious beliefs or spirituality?

    How would such a revelation impact, if at all, the way you make decisions moving forward?
     
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  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    *#&$&^#@!!!! Why can't we have another free will thread!

    Just kidding.

    In one sense, I don't think it would make much difference to me. That is, I currently act to obtain various pleasant or good things, and to avoid various unpleasant or bad things (such as free will threads). I don't think that would change much.

    On the other hand, however, I might expect a sense or feeling of liberation upon learning that I had free will and could actually spend the rest of my days in strip clubs without ever feeling an overwhelming need to go home, do the chores, pay the rent, remove the g-strings stuck in my teeth, etc.
     
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  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    If it feels like free will, that's good enuf for me.
    (No way to detect if it isn't anyway.)
     
  4. Kuzcotopia

    Kuzcotopia If you can read this, you are as lucky as I am.

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    Well, I feel like there's a difference between choosing to get behind a wheel of a car and being thrown in the trunk.

    Not sure how you can know more than that.

    I suppose I'd be happy to be enlightened either way though. I can say that the only factor in my enightenment that is truly going to be pre-determined is when I am told which way is correct, I shout, "Ha, I knew it!"
     
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  5. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Veteran Member
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    Suppose the trunk popped open and you found you could be behind the wheel. Obviously, you'd make some changes in how you rode in the car. What changes do you think you'd make?

    Or conversely, what changes would you make if you were plucked from behind the wheel and locked in the trunk?
     
  6. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I don't really believe in either one, free will or predestination. I believe in probabilities, and each choice can be analogous to placing a bet at the roulette wheel. "Free will" implies that I should already know which number to bet on, while "predestination" implies that no matter what number I choose, it will automatically come up no matter what. Neither scenario seems plausible to me.
     
  7. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Veteran Member
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    While I understand that there are different schools of thought on this subject, and that there are those that subscribe to one, the other, or neither, the plausibility of either is not really the question posed here. It's more of a hypothetical: If you found out that your school of though was incorrect, and either free will or predestination was true, how would you change how you live or the decisions you make?
     
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  8. Kuzcotopia

    Kuzcotopia If you can read this, you are as lucky as I am.

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    I can see you're trying to extend the metaphor. . . but I'm having trouble getting past the material constraints of my example. Being plucked from the wheel and locked in the trunk, for example, are exclusive material conditions that require an outside force to produce.

    Can you come up with an metaphor that fits your hypothetical a little better? One where I am "behind the wheel" in both instances, only one is free will and one is determinism? I can't think d a good example myself.

    I promise I'll be able to answer properly, in the spirit of your thread. . . . Thanks!
     
  9. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Veteran Member
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    Easy enough. Let's stay with the "behind the wheel" analogy and put you in a go-kart. In the determinism metaphor, you are on an oval track where your only option is to turn left (the track width does not allow you to turn around). In the free will metaphor, you are simply on a road and can drive down any road you choose.

    You have now come to a realization that either the track has a gate that you could have opened at any time, and all that time you could have driven on any road you chose. Or conversely, you realize that "any road you choose" is simply roads on a closed road course and found that even though you could turn left and right, they were the same lefts and rights all along.

    Does that adjustment to the metaphor help at all?
     
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  10. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Not at all since my understanding of 'predestination' does not infer a predetermined damnation. Sin is permitted, not predestined by God.
    To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy.
    When he establishes his eternal plan of predestination, he includes in it eachperson's free response to his grace.
     
  11. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    If I were to suddenly realize that Calvinist double-predestination was truth, then it'd basically be a game of Russian Roulette.

    The thing is, at that point I could live however I want, but it still wouldn't affect whether I'd be saved or damned. I could decide to start going to church, reading the Bible, praying, having a relationship with Jesus, doing good and being faithful all my life, only to discover at the end of it all that I was never among the saved to begin with, and so my churchgoing meant nothing. Conversely, I could decide I'm probably damned anyway and not worry so much about life, but when I die it turns out I'm in Heaven and I was numbered among the saved all along and I'm like "What the crap?!" And any scenario between these two would also be possible.
     
  12. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    In that case, I don't think I'd change much at all. If we're talking about moral choices, such as whether to lie, steal, or kill - then I would still mostly tend to make the same choice. I would try to make the moral choice, unless there were external circumstances which may cause me to change my mind. Whatever external circumstances there may be, they are outside of my control, yet still might affect my choices - so actual "free will" may be questionable. And "predestination" implies that those external circumstances were all set up in exactly the right way as to make no other choice possible.

    "Free will" is made even more complicated by the idea that even thinking about sin can be just as bad as actually doing it. The whole idea of lusting after someone in one's heart. We're designed that way, and yet somehow, we're supposed to use the power of our "will" to refrain from lustful thoughts.

    Not just that, but any kind of negative emotion - such as anger and hatred. If I was facing someone who murdered my entire family, I might feel hatred and anger - and I might even be tempted to take revenge. But "free will" would imply that I should keep my emotions under control and rationally conclude that to take revenge would still be murder, for which I could be charged and imprisoned (or executed). Religion also seems to take a dim view of revenge, so that would suggest some sort of punishment for making the "wrong" choice when I supposedly had the "free will" to make the right choice.

    But even just "wanting" to take revenge but not actually doing it would be considered sinful, so you really can't win either way, at least when it comes to "free will" - unless your heart and mind can be completely purified of all evil thoughts.

    But who can actually do that? Who can develop the extreme mental discipline required to purge all evil from their minds? I suppose it's possible, but you'd probably have to spend your entire life in a monastery doing nothing but praying and meditating all day.
     
  13. Kuzcotopia

    Kuzcotopia If you can read this, you are as lucky as I am.

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    It does. Thanks for adjusting.

    I am not sure what kind of track I am currently on. I suspect I am on the second one, a series of tracks that seem like an open road, but are actually contained.

    If I found out I could go anywhere after all, I'd probably be happy, because I am more free than I thought I was. . . I just had incomplete information.

    I think a lot of this discussion might be taking place in a vacuum of incomplete information, and regardless of what the truth is, I'd be happy to know either way, I think.
     
  14. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    As the hard determinist I am, after having looked at the evidence I probably say something like: "Hmm. Okay. Please pass the peas."

    As for the death of Free Will
    I think there could be a significant impact on the free will community, many of whom have come to regard free will as the foundation for Sin and Salvation. After the blow to their sensibilities subsided the "finding out" would be immediately pushed to the back of the mind where it would be locked away for the rest of their lives. There would be an enormous number of preachers and scholars tap dancing around this assault on their faith, trying to make some kind of theological sense of it. And those Christian leaders who didn't join in would simply deny the truth of determinism, joining the many lay folk who couldn't abide the thought. These would become the standard bearers of a new mainstream fundamentalist Christianity. In fact, I can see them pronouncing an amended Apostle's Creed.

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth;

    And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;
    the third day he rose from the dead;
    he ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic church,
    the communion of saints,
    the denial of determinism
    the affirmation of free will
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.​


    This isn't to say that some wouldn't follow the voice of reason in their heads, recognizing the rationality of determinism, but it would be a fraction of the freewill population.

    .

    .
     
    #14 Skwim, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
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