HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

FREE WILL IS NOT A GIFT FROM GOD


"It is in the essence of a benefactor to refrain from giving any gift which he knows would be the ruin of the recipient........free agency is not a good gift after all, for it has caused the ruin of the human race in Adam's sin, the eternal damnation for the greater part of his descendants, and created a world of a dreadful deluge of moral and physical evils."  Pierre Bayle

 

Free will, according to many, refers to the God-given ability for human beings to make decisions and act without human or divine or any interference. It is your choice and even you cannot interfere with that!

 

Freedom means belong to no one.  But religion says that if you act freely this is only a metaphor for God has more to do with you and your action than you do.  Free will cannot be  gift from God but only a curse.  It will invite rebellion and aggression and idolatry - where your image of God is what matters to you not God.

 

The faculty we call free will does a lot more harm than good for it only gets it right after loads of harm has been done in the process.

 

The doctrine that God in his mercy and goodness give us free will so that he is not to blame for our sins and the evil we do and cause puts the will before happiness.  It is even put before life!  The person who murders others is treated as if his free will to kill matters and theirs to live does not.  But in any case it is put before life.

If it were not for people wilfully hurting each other we would not be interested in the idea of free will.   Is the assumption man does bad therefore man is free?  Yes - that cynical guess is what roots religion.  It is not even logical and just a way of trying to avoid having to blame God. If it were not for the pleasure of thinking that there is part of me that is all mine to control there would be no interest in free will either.  That is cynical too and self-serving.  You are saying that if there is a God then he gives the gift of free will with the attendant risk of suffering and immorality just so people can feel there is part of them that is all theirs - and which is theirs to manage.  Another self serving issue is how free will can't really have very much to do with the bad in the world.  Most of it is out of our control.  All free will is really good for is giving a rationale for paying back evil for evil to criminals.

GIFT OR "GIFT" - ITS A JOYLESS GIFT

Free will belief does not spring from happiness or give happiness.

If free will is a gift then it is a gift the way giving somebody toilet roll for Christmas is a gift.  It is not a gift the way taking somebody for a lavish meal is a gift. 

Free will fans don't like the thought that they are programmed or determined meaning that there is no true free will.  So it is not much of a gift as it is a headache pill.  It is a reaction to the pain of feeling programmed and fearing you may be programmed.  Thus there is a danger of hating anybody who challenges free will.

If believers have a choice between saying free will is true for the consequences of believing in determinism are terrible or it is true for we seem to sense it none of that is honest.  It is not honest to use a belief to avoid bad things.  It is not honest to think that feeling you have free will means you have it.  There is no free will to believe in it sensibly or without selfish or arrogant motives.

Its a bad doctrine.  If it does not actually hurt another it stops some good from being given to them. An added benefit is not given to them.

Life is more important than free will and life is a curse if it is unhappy. It is better to be insane (that is to have no free will) or a puppet who thinks she is free and feels it but who has no free will at all but happy than to be sane and miserable. Funny how God sends insanity to make life a misery for its victims. To believe in God and to love him is to evilly put the will above happiness and that is sick. Free will, supposing it should be given, should be given to make us happy so that if we abuse it, it is our problem. This means that happiness is more important. Having a good time is incompatible with loving God.

 

Even if we accept that the will matters more than happiness, it should take the joy out of religion and worship.  Religion and prayer would be necessary evils and nothing to revel in.  The joy would in fact be a warning sign!  Do the believers delight because they want to denigrate the happiness of others?

 

BUT GOD IS ALL IN CONTROL
 
God is all-powerful and the maker of all things. So even when we are free we are not free.
 
Religionists sometimes argue that God has freely chosen to self-limit his control in order that we may really be independent of him.
 
They say that it is because God is all-powerful that he is able to impose a limitation on himself so that we can make our decisions freely. This limitation is about God serving his own plan. He does his will by restricting it.
 
But this contradicts the view that nothing exists without God's input. He cannot restrict. Even if he does restrict he is still all-powerful so he is not really restricting.

 

To understand what we mean by creation it is helpful to see the doctrine as saying that God has more to do with what we are and do than we do. Creation being distant enough from God to diminish his responsibility for what happens in it is out. I may choose to hit a ball with a stick but God enables me to do it and choose it and enables the influences that cause me to do it. My own part if any is not even worth thinking bout. And if I make a choice I make it because of God’s assistance and creative power and not against it.  God as creator does not diminish his involvement when we sin.  It deepens it.
 
MY WILL OR GOD'S?
 
God by definition is all good so he comes first. He opposes sin. If free will is about devotion to God then it is given that we might please him. It must be about that if there is a God.
 
God has the right to be free from people who sin. I do not mean they trap him. I mean he wants a universe of good people. God’s freedom matters and mine does not. Thus if God gives me the free will which can lead to sin, he is putting my will before his.
 
Religion will answer that he is not for he asks us to use free will to love him and that entails the risk of us not loving him. But that is actually a reason not to give us free will. A universe with a being with a perfect will is better than one with a being who sins or might sin.
 
But you may say that God cannot really literally have free will anyway. But you could make a case for saying that you still have to regard him as free though he is not and act accordingly. Believers talk about God's free will but they contradict this by saying he cannot sin. They say free will makes love possible and that God loves us though he cannot have free will. But let us for the purpose of argument assume they really believe God is free.
 
Believers in fact worship free will rather than God! They worship God for degrading himself in order that we might feel special and free! That is not a God but a mess.
 
THE HOBSON'S CHOICE
 
Religion claims, "Unless we have free will we will be less than what we are." That presumes that if you don't have it then you are dirt. But free will or not, we do not think of ourselves as dirt. Free will is no gift from God if it comes at the price of us becoming dirt without it.
 
Suppose we are dirt without free will.  Is it us who judges that or is it God? It is us. You cannot reason that there is a God who gives you free will. No you start with thinking you have free will and THEN reasoning that there is a God who gives it to you. It is not man's place to say that you are dirt without free will. That is just arrogant and malignant.
 
CASE FOR FREE WILL BEING A GIFT IN ITSELF
 
Do you have free will for the sake of free will or for your sake? This question presupposes that some being, a maker, a creator, gave you free will. It denies that we just have free will and that is all there is to it. If free will is given for the sake of free will then it is hardly a gift is it? Free will needs to be given for your own sake in order to be a gift.
 
The case for free will being a gift is: "Freedom is the majesty of humanity. If I did not have free will, I would be a lower being than what I am now. Better to become good of my own volition than to be made good like a robot might be. Then I would be a being to which absolute respect is due, but nature would not respect me much if I was a consciousness trapped in a universe in which I have no free will. Even if I FEEL FREE AND FEEL HAPPY I AM STILL TRAPPED. I AM STILL A VICTIM. If I am not, then we should condone kidnappers who steal children as long as they delude the children into a sense of wellbeing. You have free will therefore you are the creator of your actions, this celebrates your dignity."
 
Suppose it is true that this trap is bad and it is true that you really have free will. This would mean we have free will through luck and not through divine agency.
 
CASE FOR FREE WILL BEING A GIFT FOR ITS ROLE IN GOD'S PLAN
 
Creation means that God did not use anything at all to make the universe from. Religion insists that God does not create in the past and let things go on by themselves. If things just need to be started off, that comes pretty close to the notion that the universe does not really need a creator. God creates now - he stops all that exists in the present moment from going back to nothing.
 
So God is more in control of everything than it is in control of itself. Why do plagues and earthquakes happen with huge suffering and loss of life? Religion says God lets them happen as part of his plan for making us better and more moral people. Making us more moral matters more than making us happy.
 
Religion is clear that you abuse your free will because of God's assistance and not in spite of him. God must let us abuse our free will because it has a role to play in the plan too.
 
It would be hideous to argue that God can use earthquakes and plagues etc to bring a plan to fruit and to say he cannot use say adultery that way. Adultery cannot be as bad as suffering and death. To say adultery is useless in terms of good coming out of it and plagues are useful shows a really twisted hypocritical and vicious and sanctimonious mindset.

 

Some define free will only in spiritual or unspiritual terms - it is just about pleasing or displeasing God.  That is not the kind of free will we want and it will bear no importance to most people.  And often it is held to come from your soul or spirit meaning that as far as your body and brain are concerned anything resembling a will is programmed.  That appalling idea infers that even if it is proven you are programmed to murder somebody it still blames you for your soul somehow was still freely choosing to murder!
 
WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE ALL THE CREDIT
 
You need to feel you are dependent on yourself to make yourself reasonably happy. There are things that will happen that you have little or no control over. But you are dependent on yourself to be able to face up to them. Take charge of your own life and do not feel that God controls all things or that you are dependant on him or anybody. Remember that free will does not solve the God problem. Do not say, "God has given me free will and that means I am independent." That is merely contradicting yourself. We would be free because God lets us be and enables us to be. We are still as unfree as budgies put into bigger cages. The owner still has all the control he wants over the birds. But it is worse than that. Religion says that we are free because of God and not in spite of him. Our freedom is wholly dependent on God. Without God you cannot choose. Your battery has power but gets it from another power. So its power is not really its power. Your freedom then is not your freedom. But to be really free it has to be yours and yours alone.
 
If you cannot move your arm and you want to murder and somebody else moves the arm for you your freedom is dependent on them but is not your freedom at all. Religion will answer that we are talking about the will and nobody else can choose something for you and only you can choose. It says the will is different and not like somebody moving your arm for you. But the will is itself an action and so is moving the arm. God moving your will is the same as God moving your arm. Unless atheism is true, there can be no free will. The Church accuses people of abusing their freedom when in fact it is freedom in name only. Freedom means you make your freedom yourself. You make your own freedom. You cause your free will. Religion says God gives you free will but in fact it is only using words. It does not really believe in free will. Freedom would be a contradiction if there is a God. We are unfreely free and freely unfree. Our independence is itself dependence. Feeling really independent is fundamentally atheistic. So feel that. Failing to feel that it is up to you shows you think deep down that your life is safer if you let others take responsibility for you and the world. You do not feel you can make yourself feel safe or that you can trust yourself. You like to think you trust God for that is a diversion from the truth that you do not trust yourself to co-operate with others implying your trust in them is far too weak. You are trying to protect yourself from rejection by others and from feeling that you are really useless. It is not really about God. It can never be. It is about you.
 
Free will means you declare yourself to be your own God. An almighty God cannot give you free will as if you could use it in spite of him! That would imply that there is something he hasn't created - namely your choices. And if you use your free will and abuse it because of him then it follows that it cannot be real abuse for he is in control and has most of the responsibility. Sin must be good if God assists the will to abuse him.
 
Religionists sometimes admit that atheists can be strong in the face of great trouble. Some will lie that those people must be closet believers in God and getting strength from him. Others say that the atheists do have strength but because they depend on themselves the strength will burn out. So they advise the atheists to turn to God who will provide an endless supply of support that cannot burn out. But experience shows that believers can and do burn out. Then religion argues that it is God's plan that he knows what he is doing! And what about the atheists who get blow after blow but never burn out?
 
NONE OF GOD'S BUSINESS
 
Let us assume that the Christian reasoning that if God made all things and we have free will then it is a gift from God is valid and correct.
 
In fact if free will is really a gift then it is no longer any business of God's what we do with it. Yet religion claims that it is his business and lays down thousands of laws supposedly enacted by God.
 
Religion says that free will is necessary to make love possible. Unless we freely become love, we cannot really love but merely go through the motions. Free will is about what we become and is not, strictly speaking, about what we do. What we do speaks of what we are. Evil deeds do not make you evil. You do them because you already are evil. The doctrine then that we are to love sinners and hate sins contradicts the respect that is due to free will if we have it. You have to hate the sin with the sinner for the sinner is the sin. If free will is a gift, free will is only a gift for the loving and a curse for the unloving and those who encounter them for they must hate them.
 
God supposedly made all things, and made us because he wanted us to enjoy everlasting happiness in a relationship with him. But this is nonsense for God himself cannot have free will. The Church says that God has nothing evil in him at all and no potential to be evil. So he cannot have free will. He cannot really love. A God that does not have free will cannot give free will as a gift to us. If such a God has made us then clearly what we want matters and what he wants does not for his wants are not free. They are not really his wants but his programming. We are better than God if we are free.
 
If God has free will, his free will comes before ours for it is impossible for everybody to be given full freedom. Your freedom is limited by the freedom of others. Thus there is no excuse for God letting us do evil against his will. Yet religion says he has a reason for letting us do grave harm and that it is all our fault and not his at all.
 
My free will would be about me and not about God. Free will would imply that atheism is true.
 
Religion blames us not God for evil for God is said to be all-good and all-powerful. It says he gave us the gift of free will and we abused it.  This is the so-called free will defence - it claims to explain how an all good God can allow evil things to happen though he has the power to stop them.
 
If we have free will, then we have it by luck. We do not have it so that we may love with it. Indeed, if it has no purpose and we give it one that makes us far better people than if we have it from God for the purpose of being able to love. Religion is only demeaning us with its nonsense that its a gift from God and intended to enable us to love.
 
We feel pleasure to some degree all the time for we cannot stop ourselves having likes. Even if we have free will we cannot control this. Therefore there is no reason why that pleasure should not be magnified and made permanent in us.
 
It is said, "To believe that we don’t have free will is to deny that we have any value. You can’t feel good about yourself if you truly believe your good works are just the product of programming not your own free agency. If you feel good about yourself then you believe in free will and can use your free will better for good. We need to believe in free will." What planet are some philosophers on? We don't get motivated to help others by our belief in free will. We help them for we feel happy enough to share our happiness with them and bring them into it.
 
Believers in free will say it is the faculty that allows us to freely choose to serve the self or to sacrifice your needs for others. But sacrificial love is only important to us in so far as it develops happiness in the practitioner so it can be done without and isn't really sacrifice then anyway. If you want to believe in God you have to claim that free will is important in so far as it hurts the person exercising it for that is the only real sacrifice and the freedom defence is about God calling us into sacrificing what we want to do for the sake of what is right. So who is it good for? It is good only for God if people doing good freely means so much to him. He is thinking only of himself. He shouldn't have made us at all if we are free. The defence does not manage to convince us that God is perfect or lovable or even likeable. The belief of antichrists that the God of Jesus is the God of the slaves is vindicated except that sometimes the masters on earth think something of the slaves.
 
The free will defence contradicts the fact that the human person is the absolute value. It is obvious that human happiness is our main goal. If people should be happy then it follows that they are more important than happiness. Do not say they are not as important as happiness for that would mean you could kill them to maximise happiness. It is because they are persons that they should be happy so persons are of more value meaning that there is nothing more precious.

It follows from this that it is better not to have the free will to kill. If God has given us that kind of free will then God denies that human life is so important. Our logic tells us that the respect for the supreme value of life sums up what good is and how it differs from evil. It is the essence of what doing right is. God then is a concept that demands that we be amoralists or that we accept that God has the right to arbitrarily decide what he wants us to consider to be good and we have no business disagreeing with him. To hold that free will is a choice between being life-affirming and life-hating is crazy when God has empowered us to kill by failing to put force-fields around people that prevent them from killing one another.

Every moment of life is important when life is of absolute importance. But we lose so much of our life for we forget most of the things we do and have done. God giving us such a bad memory implies that life is not the absolute value and that it is blasphemy to say it is. The Church says we will get our memories back at the resurrection. But as there is no need for them in Heaven then why should we?

The Church pretends to believe that life is the absolute value and yet it says that you should bar a man with heart-trouble who needs your telephone from the house if he would steal if your back was turned instead of telling you to let him come in for his life is so valuable and it is better to be robbed than for his life to be put at risk for he could need to call the doctor to save his life anytime. They say God set their standards so they are accusing him of being a hypocrite - hypocrisy then is worse when they commit it than when an Atheist commits it. The Atheist does not say that hypocrisy is right but if God is a hypocrite and you believe in him you have to say he is right so that is worse than just being a mere hypocrite. Believing in God gives evil more sanction.

The Church says that when anybody hurts me I should agree that I deserve it totally but still hold that it is wrong which is the paradox of holding that it was undeserved and yet my due (page 101, Moral Philosophy). The Church always uses paradox to cover up its incoherent and two-faced doctrines. In practice, if you believe you deserve to be hurt you will not resist the attacker and will feel guilty about reporting him to the police or defending yourself. The Church has been famous for producing doormats. Deserve means you asked for the bad consequences of your actions. It also means you earn them. The principal element is asking for you earned because you asked. The doctrine that evil is our fault is simply saying that we deserve to be exposed to all the evil we meet or can meet for we have asked for it. It could lead to terrible harm. I repeat, because it says we asked and asked is the main constituent of deserving, it is accusing us of deserving all we get and more. To have compassion then would be saying the evil should not be happening which means you deny people should get what they deserve which means that God was evil for letting us stay in this evil world instead of putting us on a better one. It is saying the freedom defence is itself hard faced and evil. If the freedom to harm yourself should be respected then not giving you what you deserve would be degrading you and cursing your freedom. The freedom defence cannot be used as a basis for compassion but only as a basis for pretend compassion for you cannot be compassionate towards people you believe deserve to suffer.

 

Prayer is said to imply that we must try to do God's will and to do it with a sense of personal responsibility. Keith Ward states the doctrine that we take responsibility for doing God's will (page 209, More than Matter? Keith Ward, Lion, 2010). But if God is creator of all he creates my power to decide and enables it all the way. Suppose a person existed who has no will at all and just lies there. Doctors come along and insert a device to enable her to make decisions. She will then feel responsible for what she does. But is she really when it is the device that is doing this not her? God is even more involved than any doctor could be for it is said that everything returns to nothing if he should hypothetically die. He sustains all things. So, God is responsible more than I am. Or it is more logical to say that I am not responsible at all. There is a better sense of personal responsibility if a person feels that his responsibility is entirely his doing not God's and that he self-creates it. In other words, he would need to be an atheist and theorise that somehow we make ourselves and choose our circumstances though it may seem we don't. Prayer undermines responsibility a lot if not completely. You cannot have responsibility unless you create it yourself as if you are God.

 

Responsibility implies sufficient freedom, knowledge of what one is doing and the moral sensibility to do the right thing as opposed to the wrong (Ward, page 209, ibid). Freely understanding what one is doing and one's moral options would be another way to put this. It is what responsibility is all about.

 

There is no real freedom to choose unless there is sufficient understanding. If a person does not understand that killing other people is bad, then he will only get a manslaughter conviction under the law. He is not guilty of murder. But nobody can know if you really understand what you say you understand. If a person says, "I committed murder and I understood what I was doing" you cannot prove that they are telling the truth or just saying what they know others expect them to say. They might not really understand and this could be down to some defect in their biological or or genetic or psychological makeup. Or perhaps they are super-intelligent in a few things and realise that morality is hypocritical rubbish. Or perhaps they made errors of judgment that led them into murdering. People who claim to love sinners and hate sins prove that they are hypocrites for they say that part of loving sinners is refusing to judge how actually responsible for evil they are for nobody can know that. And the same people agree with burglars and murderers going to jail and being accused of fully responsible.

 

In so far as you do not understand what you are doing, you are not free. There is no real point in believing in free will for the theory of free will lets you down in the most important matters.

 

It is a very serious matter if John murders his wife and you blame John for it when if there is a God he may have his share of the blame too for letting it happen. John's crime is less of a crime than it would be if there is no God and he has free will. That is because he only sins within boundaries set by God. God enables him to murder and is supposedly right to do this for it is for a good purpose. You do not have the right to accuse a person if you have evidence that there is a God who may be blamed as well. Or blamed even more! Perhaps God is still innocent but you cannot prove it. Then should God be innocent until proven guilty? Certainly not!
 
Free will or responsibility contradicts belief in God. They are only twisted to make them fit the belief.

 

We are the ones who have free will. If it is a gift from God or just appeared by itself it is still ours.  If nothing is really ours then there is a sense that if something is part of what we are even if it was never given to us is more ours than a gift.  So what questions would come with it if we are the ones with fee will and if it is ours as in possession?  Thus seeing how free will and having it so that you can torment several people to death is necessary and how God cannot do anything about it should be feasible. But it is not. Believers resort to mystery. They cannot do anything else because they have to recognise the sheer danger and horror both direct and indirect that comes from the will of humankind.  They insult the the human race with their mystery cop-out.  If free will were really given to us by God we would be told explicitly why evil is allowed to happen and what precisely it is for.  With serious stuff like that you need to see the plan in enough detail.


FINALLY
 
Free will is not a gift from God. And it is bad to say it is. The implications and what is tacitly endorsed are horrendous. Plantinga argues that free will is inherently good. But what if we tell him that most of us only love it up to a point? We detest the amount of error and suffering that this free will has brought and what about the even would be worse evil than it asked for but which fortunately never took place?  Hitler for example willed the total savage destruction of the Jews.  The evil and suffering is inherently evil to nearly everybody. What about that? Free will as the Christian God gives is given at a massive cost – too massive. God himself never tells you why your free will is so important. He should.  But he cannot.

 

Free will is a function for deciding what you will do. It is about deciding first. It is not about morality first. Giving it a religious role is vile for it suggests, “If you do x then you have done wrong in the eyes of God and that is what matters.” God based forgiving and seeking his pardon is inherently degrading. It involves denial of what free will is all about.

 

It is a boast to think that your free will is so precious that you should have it even if you would kill everybody on earth with it.  You are really saying that you are so special that your autonomy is worth that.  Even worse, you are not truly autonomous [eg you can't drink a litre of gin daily and stay healthy] but have the autonomy to do that!  You are saying the little good you do is worth the risk of you doing unbelievable evil instead.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
AN INTELLIGENT PERSONS GUIDE TO CATHOLICISM, Alban McCoy, Continuum, London and New York, 1997
AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS, John Hospers, Routledge, London, 1992
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill & Co, Dublin, 1954
ARGUING WITH GOD, Hugh Sylvester IVP, London, 1971
CONTROVERSY: THE HUMANIST CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTER Hector Hawton, Pemberton Books, London, 1971
EVIL AND THE GOD OF LOVE, John Hicks, Fontana, London, 1977
FREE INQUIRY, Do We have Free Will? Article by Lewis Vaughn and Theodore Schick JR, Spring 1998. Vol 18 No 2, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
GOD AND EVIL, Brian Davies OP, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1984
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY, Voltaire, Translated by Theodore Besterman, Penguin, London, 1972
RELIGION IS REASONABLE, Thomas Corbishley SJ, Burns & Oates, London, 1960
THE CASE AGAINST GOD, Gerald Priestland, Collins, Fount Paperbacks, London, 1984
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE PUZZLE OF GOD, Peter Vardy, Collins, London, 1990
THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, Brian Davies, Continuum, London-New York, 2006
THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Ed. Canon George D Smith, Ph.D. Burns and Oates and Washbourne, London, 1952
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
UNBLIND FAITH, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982
WHY DOES GOD? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Paul's, Bucks, 1970

BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible