I've been in a foul mood lately ( lord only knows why a 8.9 magnitude earthquake, a tsunami, an active volcano, and a damn nuclear meltdown would put me in a bad mood) and the invariable discussion between those of us waiting in line at the red cross of why god would allow bad things to happen to good people came up. In discussing this we ended up reaching a slight variation on this topic, namely what purpose does free will serve?
If you assume that (1) there is an omnipotent creator of all things and that (2) he created mankind with free will then that begs the question of what purpose it served to do that? If the purpose was to have people choosing to worship him wouldn't it have been easier to simply not have that element at all?
And on a slightly related note a large part of catholic and Islamic dogma is that satan rebelled against god. The reasons for doing so vary, the catholics claim it was jealousy and the muslims claim it was because "unable to perceive the Divine Image in Adam and capable only of seeing the exterior, disobeyed the divine mandate to bow down. His refusal (according to the Tawasin) was due to a misconceived idea of God's uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love." Either way the idea that Satan was cast out of heaven for ignoring gods will is quite clear, raising the question of how an angel (somone ostensibly without free will) was able to rebel against god at all.
sounds to me like you are trying to put reason and logic into a myth. The paradox serves religious leaders well. It allows them to justify or criticize anything they want, while always remaining irreproachable themselves.
maybe god views the world as a large reality TV show. If we didn't have free will it would be boring, just like Big brother wouldn't be as good if it was all scripted... maybe that is the purpose of free will. maybe god even orchestrated the rebellion of satan, as I imagine it gets boring knowing and seeing everything and having ultimate control over all he sees, so he thought he'd give this one powerful being freewill and blind himself to his doings, and so a rebellion and a bit of excitement could enter his life. besides, all the big brother contestants were in bed and there was nothing else good on.
In my opinion, I think free will serves as a way of testing which will prevail, good or evil. Assuming there is an omnipotent God, what he does can't be considered good or evil unless there is a contrast to it, something to show what the opposite is. For a God to do good does not prove good prevails over evil or vise versa, there needs to be a third party, us, to show that good will be chosen over evil and therefore prevail. If we couldn't chose, then us doing good or evil means nothing. It's just simple something we're programmed to do. I'm not a religious guy anymore so you won't get "God is testing you to see if you do the 'right thing'" from me. I just think our character is being challenged with everything that goes on in life. The stronger you are, the less you will bend and forfeit your values and desires. The weaker you are, the more you'll give up until you're broken.
I would argue the fact that are we even sure free will exists? If there is an all knowing and all powerful God then no, free will can not possibly exist. If God knows everything then God knows what will happen already. God knows every choice every person will make and has made. This means destiny is what is controlling our lives and our choices have already been made for us. All we can do is attempt to understand why we make the decisions we do. People just created the idea of free will so they would feel like they are in power of there life. Which would line up perfectly with the rest of humanity because we all want power over something in some small way. It's greed. It's how we were built, can't change it.
But by what you say you seem to believe free will does exist. I would say that if there is a god he lost hope in humanity and does not care anymore. God decided that he/she would no longer take part in the life of humans and just watch us slowly destroy ourselves. God could even be like a scientist, created us to see the effects of greed on a life form and the rules of the experiment are that God can have little to no interaction with humans.
There are many possibilities to what exactly could be happening with a God or any higher power. I know that I do not know what possibility is correct and am very open to other opinions on what a possibility could be.
Your mention of angels exposes another hole in the fabric of western religion. If Satan was an angel who rebelled, it would mean that either God commanded him to rebel because he had no free will, or, that angels do in fact have free will. If the former were valid, the paradox is obvious. However, if angels do have free will, and so many of them have obeyed God faithfully for the past umpteen thousand years, then who exactly is the perfect in-the-image-of-God species? It supposedly took us about fifteen minutes to destroy the integrity of the universe with one action, yet I don't often see angels just falling from heaven because they screwed up. Except in the form of hot chicks. Ya know.
I like this question a lot. . . It made me think for awhile but here is my take on it So if we go with the first assumption that there is an omnipotent and all knowing being that created the universe or this world then we can assume that this world we are in is the best possible because why would a omnipotent and all knowing being create any less . . . please stick with me here. . .My opinion is that a world with free will is better then a world without it but thats just me . . . now if you put that into consideration to create this best possible world then there needed to be free will. . . so in the end that would be the purpose of free will so this world or universe could be the best possible
Any attempt to explain why you feel that way since tbph, you didn't really say much more than "I think the world would be better if we had free will because it would be better with free will than not."
Thats the problem with my idea. . . it involves a lot of assumptions the opinion statement "I think. . . " is in truth a giant assumption but I will try my best to explain why I think this is an adequate assumption to make: with free will humanity has the ability to learn and to grow on its own without the need of predetermination or predestination making it have more meaning than a world where everything is already predetermined. Using this logic we can say that a world with free will is better then that of a world without it. . . the problem with this is that it is an assumption because it doesn't really prove anything
I'm personally of the opinion that it's all a social experiment. If there's a god, he's up there with a hundred other universes testing out different scenarios. I don't think our universe is the winner.
There came to 'BE' consciousness. Consciousness provides the requirement of sheer will. Will spawns chaos. Chaos creates choices. Choices are made in pursuit of means to an end. That 'means' is consciousness which makes the choices to create chaos that makes more choices in pursuit of a means to an end. and so on and so on and so on until all these variables compound enough to form something with substance. Substance that becomes conscious which instills 'will' on choices in pursuit of a means to an end.
My point is, the possibility is there. We are conscious and make choices driven by WILL in pursuit of means to an end. Its just math. The who, were, why is simply just hearsay and quite impossible to track. The point of religion is to assign experiences to ideas to convey some message.
In my opinion the details are of no consequence and even if they were it wouldn't matter because a choice would eventually be made to change. Not because of any REASON at all, just simply because its chaos. The only order that can come of chaos is brought about by consciousness and in turn consciousness creates chaos.
That paradox my friend is FREE WILL....... I'll be watching
through deductive reasoning, we can conclude that satan was created to rebel. since this creation was specific to this entity, it can appears similar to a computer becoming self-aware (but not really the same). when in actuality, it was like that from the start.
good and bad are two sides to the same coin. you cant have a front without a back and a beginning without and end.
if you look at the concept of virtue, how can one be truly virtuous if there is nothing to gauge them on. there has to be something to test the values for one to confirm them. it's easy for me to say i have integrity, however i still have to walk the road of doing the right thing when no one is looking.
keep in mind that just because someone falls at one point in their life they are always going to be that way. experience is something you dont have until just after you need it. so in order to get man the things needed to test our faith, morals, ethics and everything else there has to be something in place to make the engine go.
Free will serves a method for us to decide who we are and what we become. This concept doesn't have to be applied to a religious point of view, it just is a way for us to live in ways that we that modern society deems as good or evil
On a personal note... free will has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and prepared me to act with wisdom later on. It sure as hell beats being programmed to run on instinct. Now if only youth wasn't wasted on the youth things would be interesting.
Which, should free will be something given or imposed, rather than grown naturally through evolutionary process, seems to be the point, not allow as many segments of existence (life) to experience as many facets as possible at once.
This question came up in a World Religions course I took. I think the reason behind a god giving his creation free will, is so the can make their own choices and show there true selves. Thus proving whether or not the are good enough to reach salvation. If god didn't allow us free will there would be no point in life because he would just decide we were all going to be good and allow everyone in to heaven regardless of what the would have do given the choice.
Free will is a very interesting concept, and since i study psychology, it makes it all the more so. Free will, defined as our ability to make decisions independently, but what makes us chose the choices we do? According to the "Behaviourist approach", all behaviour is derived from responses to stimulus' in the environment. These can range from pressing a button to receiving food, or to shooting another stranger to save someone close to you. Albeit this example it extreme, but it presents the point.
This ties heavily into good vs. evil, right and wrong, but what i personally think is that it is down to the individuals perception and understanding of the world. One mans right might be another man's wrong, and within this lies the limits of each persons choices. Some may be limited by their understanding, biology, physiology but "free will" is always present. Everyone has a choice. You can be influenced by internal and external sources but when it comes down to it, you always make your own decisions.
Catholic dogma says that God gave free will to both humans and angels. As spiritual beings, the angels decided the moment Satan rebelled against God in his arrogance whether they joined Satan or remained with God. Their means of moral decision are different from ours, as they are pure spirit. So although God gave them free will, their decisions have already been made. For instance, Satan will never return as an angel of God. In reply to ErokDragun, #2:
The explanation I've heard is that God gave us free will because He loves us. He wishes to respect our decision to either suffer for Him and join Him or leave Him for something else we desire, such as a love of sin.