Poll: Is Free Will an Impossibility if there is a God?
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View poll results: Is Free Will an Impossibility if there is a God?
Yes
30 43%
No
30 43%
Um...
10 14%
Voters: 70.
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#1
So today in religion class, my teacher began talking about how we all have free will, how God doesn't make us to be bad, we are bad because of decisions we freely make. Unable to resist this opportunity to start a debate, I raised my hand and asked if, since God is supposedly omniscient, then doesn't God know when we will do something wrong? If so, then isn't free will impossible, because if it is already known by someone (in this case God) what we will do, then we don't really get to make a choice, whatever we do is fated to happen and is entirely inevitable.


After a few seconds of stunned silence my teacher replied that, even though God knows what we will do, God always hopes we will do the right thing, even though God knows what you will choose. This seems entirely pointless to me, as if after seeings someone load a gun and prepare to shoot you, you hope that the gun isn't loaded. I voiced my objection to the teacher and she replied that maybe God isn't completely omniscient. Which in all my years spent at Catholic schools I've never heard before, so I'm fairly sure that if I asked the pope if God is omniscient, he would respond that of course God is.

So my question is Pit, is free will a possibility in a world with an omniscient God?
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#4
No and there was a cool post about that in the philosophy thread, so, inb4 someone posts a link to that post.
#5
Quote by afterthewar
if, since God is supposedly omniscient, then doesn't God know when we will do something wrong? If so, then isn't free will impossible, because if it is already known by someone (in this case God) what we will do, then we don't really get to make a choice, whatever we do is fated to happen and is entirely inevitable.

I know my boss is going to leave the office when it closes at 5 today. Is it still her choice?

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#6
God gave humans free will. Hence why Eve ate the apple. The augustinian theodicy states that we choose to reject God due to immaturity, and many people accept God later in life.
#7
Quote by SteveHouse
I know my boss is going to leave the office when it closes at 5 today. Is it still her choice?

You don't know. You expect him/her to do so.
#8
Quote by genghisgandhi
In the Bible, God gave all humans free will....

I know, and the Catholic Church teaches that humans have free will. But if God already knows what decision I'm going to make, I don't really have a choice, I have to make that decision, its fate.
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#9
I've never heard a valid argument which supports the idea that the existence of a God figure implies that free will is impossible.
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#10
Quote by kalnoky7
You don't know. You expect him/her to do so.

If I'm proven right, is it still her choice?

You can get around this whole paradox by assuming God exists outside of time anyway, that is, if time is a linear progression.

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#12
Quote by SteveHouse
If I'm proven right, is it still her choice?

You can get around this whole paradox by assuming God exists outside of time anyway, that is, if time is a linear progression.

The fact that you don't actually have the knowledge prior to the event makes the analogy inadequate. If god is omniscient, then he knows all possible outcomes and actions, and also the one you will undertake. If there is knowledge before the action is done, there is no choice made.
#13
the arguments between aetheistic and religious existentialism might be able to answer this a bit.
#14
Protestants, certainly Calvinists, believe in Predestination. This means their destiny has already been decided by god, so I should think that would eradicate "true" free will, in a sense that you may think/feel that you make the decisions but they have already been made for you.

I think, I don't really know much, I'm just doing that in history atm.
#15
Look into Determinism. In a nutshell its how your life is already set for you as a result of other peoples decisions, your enivroment and any events that take place.
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#16
Quote by kalnoky7
The fact that you don't actually have the knowledge prior to the event makes the analogy inadequate. If god is omniscient, then he knows all possible outcomes and actions, and also the one you will undertake. If there is knowledge before the action is done, there is no choice made.

Knowledge of past events doesn't make them any less of a choice, so why should knowledge of future events?
#17
Quote by kalnoky7
The fact that you don't actually have the knowledge prior to the event makes the analogy inadequate. If god is omniscient, then he knows all possible outcomes and actions, and also the one you will undertake. If there is knowledge before the action is done, there is no choice made.

"before" is a misnomer if God is outside time. Before implies earlier in the time stream thing whatev. For a being to be truly omniscient, it can't possibly exist in our time stream, therefore it can't be earlier in it than we are, only outside. In the free will scenario, God knows what you've done "before" you do it because he knows "after" you do it, even though God is properly neither.

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#18
Free will doesn't exist anyway. Every atom in the universe was set on a path during the big bang, every choice you make has already been made for you trillions of years ago, all of the chemicals slooshing around in your brain have are predestined to sloosh a certain way, you can't change it. Deciding to try to change it has already been predicted, as has changing your mind. There is no free will, everything is fixed and you can't change it.

I'm so much better at explaining this high. Anyway the point is free will doesn't exist for anyone, whether god exists (yes) or not.

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Protestants, certainly Calvinists

Despite my limited knowledge of Christianity, I think that Calvinists and Lutherans are the only groups of protestants that believe in predestination.
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#19
God I am sick of hearing everyone pose this question.
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#20
Quote by kalnoky7
If this "god" is omniscient, yes it does.


No. This "god" also requires omnipotence and a moral principle -- that is, knowledge of everything, the power to influence it, and a reason to influence it. Only then is volition invalidated. Not surprisingly the Christian God possesses all three, and yet the Christians are first in line when there's talk of "free will".

Guess there's just no hope for some.
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#21
Quote by skidmarks.
the arguments between aetheistic and religious existentialism might be able to answer this a bit.

Umm...
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#22
Quote by afterthewar
I know, and the Catholic Church teaches that humans have free will. But if God already knows what decision I'm going to make, I don't really have a choice, I have to make that decision, its fate.

I think it is a thing where we have to understand that just because He knows doesn't mean He makes it happen.
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#23
It depends on if the god created the world and watches it(without interfering) , or controls everything that happens.
#24
Quote by afterthewar
I know, and the Catholic Church teaches that humans have free will. But if God already knows what decision I'm going to make, I don't really have a choice, I have to make that decision, its fate.

So God knew Eve would eat the apple?


-- Note - I'm not Christian.
#25
Quote by SteveHouse
"before" is a misnomer if God is outside time. Before implies earlier in the time stream thing whatev. For a being to be truly omniscient, it can't possibly exist in our time stream, therefore it can't be earlier in it than we are, only outside. In the free will scenario, God knows what you've done "before" you do it because he knows "after" you do it, even though God is properly neither.

It doesn't matter. If god is aware of all actions I take from outside the timeline, he can see the whole of the timeline and my free will is an illusion.
#26
^I fail to see how that makes sense, splain?
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#27
Quote by genghisgandhi
So God knew Eve would eat the apple?


-- Note - I'm not Christian.


Prolly did.

Knew he was going to condemn them to lives of suffering.

Knew that he made them so.

Yup. You read it right.
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#28
NB: free will and determism.

But also, most of the arguments for the existence of god dont really concern anything else other than the creation and existence of the universe... i dont remember free will cropping up in the ontological or cosmological arguments
#29
"Is god willing to prevent evil but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able but not willing?
Then he is malevolent
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

~ Epicurus

I know it's not about free will from God etc. but, it is big evidence to suggest God does not exist. If god did exist I'm sure we will still have free will. 'The Garden of Eden' they take the apple, albeit they were pressured into taking it, so either god gives Human's free will, or he simply controls each and everyone of us and toy's with some people.
#31
Determinism is the theory that a certain being in a certain situation will always act the same way. They always make the same choice, but that doesn't mean it isn't their choice.
Really we are just machines reacting to our environment the way we are programmed to by our genes and environment. A computer program always works the same with a set input so why wouldn't we?
So therefore if there were some omniscient being, and they knew our personality and the circumstance we were in perfectly, then why wouldn't they know how we would act?
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#32
Quote by genghisgandhi
In the Bible, God gave all humans free will....

And that was written by like... forty or so people I think. CheckMATE atheists!

Quote by SteveHouse
I know my boss is going to leave the office when it closes at 5 today. Is it still her choice?

But you do not have the absolute knowledge that it WILL happen, let alone that being the creator you are the one who set this event to occur, yet will hold your boss morally responsible for this action.
#33
Quote by SteveHouse
^I fail to see how that makes sense, splain?

Then why bump?

The whole of the timeline is set before it is even set in motion (i.e, the big bang).

There is no free will because everything is decided by the mere conjecture of the universe it makes
#34
Quote by MadClownDisease

But you do not have the absolute knowledge that it WILL happen, let alone that being the creator you are the one who set this event to occur, yet will hold your boss morally responsible for this action.

I know it was a bad example. We moved on. Even though nothing after the first comma is even relevant

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#35
if it did you would not be able to ask such a question. i believe in God but i also believe he has little to no involvement in our lives. If he controlled us would we have other religions or people who don't believe in him?

Quote by genghisgandhi
So God knew Eve would eat the apple?


-- Note - I'm not Christian.


exactly, if he controlled it why punish them? it seems kinda redundant to build this Garden of Eden JUST to ban life from it in the first place. so again no
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#36
Jesus came back from the dead. In modern society, I believe he would be referred to as a 'zombie'.

Also, that guy spent a few days in the stomach of a whale. He would've ran out of oxygen in 20 minutes.

I think the vampires from Twilight are more likely to exist than God/Jesus.

Just my opinion.
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#37
Quote by Negociator
"Is god willing to prevent evil but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able but not willing?
Then he is malevolent
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

~ Epicurus

I know it's not about free will from God etc. but, it is big evidence to suggest God does not exist. If god did exist I'm sure we will still have free will. 'The Garden of Eden' they take the apple, albeit they were pressured into taking it, so either god gives Human's free will, or he simply controls each and everyone of us and toy's with some people.

If you think that we have free will even if god does exist, that epicurus quote doesn't prove or help any point at all, actually.
#39
Quote by circus musician
Determinism is the theory that a certain being in a certain situation will always act the same way.


Isnt determinism the view that one's life is predetermined for them?
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