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Free Will and God's Will....
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:38 am    Post subject: Free Will and God's Will.... Reply with quote

....or anyone's will for that matter. I have wondered this, and now have brought myself to post it. In my observation, it seems that in some religions that God gives man free will to make him morally responsible. Man then is able to choose between good and evil, however, to ultimately gain happiness, man must choose God's way, or he's going to be on the highway (to hell! Rock Band )

Now, here's my pondering.... once you've decided to synchronize your will with God's will...who's will is it anymore? I think the answer here as interesting implications... since if your will becomes God's, then God is ultimately responsible for those actions (if it is his). This can be applied in the temporal world as well: is following the will of a leader giving up your free will in exchange for his will? Does it matter if you are doing it for your own sake, or the sake of the leader? Is it possible to give up your will? Is it possible to rob somebody of their will? Would this transfer responsibility?

*edit: Bold and italicized is what I think are the "heart of the matter" questions.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a believer in free will under all circumstances, (as a believer in the idea that there are always choices), I have to say that if you were to submit to the will of a (hypothetical) god, it wouldn't technically be your will. Except insofar as you've chosen to be obedient to (what you perceive as) that will.

Is it possible to rob somebody of their will? Interesting question. I suppose, in some sense we must say that it is possible. "Brainwashing" (for want of a better term) is supposed to achieve that.

How effectively, I can't say for myself...

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some random thoughts:
*****
An abdication of responsibility is still an act of will, just as choosing not to act is in itself an act. This sparks the tangential thought -- when do instinctive behaviors cross the threshold and become acts of will?
*****
Those who are enslaved have their own will subordinated to that of a superior force.
*****
You can state that you are attempting to follow God's will, but unless you have an infallible connection to know/understand what God's will actually is, you are following what you believe to be God's will. Since belief in God is an act of faith, believing that you are doing God's will is an extension of that faith. Others may observe your actions -- which you might deem to be objective conclusions based on your faith that you are performing God's will -- as being partially or totally subjective in nature, especially if they either do not believe in God, or they do not share the same religious or denominational background that you do.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think it is possible to rob someone of free will, but it is possible to rob them of the ability to act on their free will. Take slavery, a slave may be forced to work against his will, but he still has it. And if forced to act against his will the responsibility for those actions is the slavemaster's, no the slave.

As for God's will v. Man's will, I can't make a distinction. Presuming predetermination, God's and Man's will are the same. (I don't believe in predetermination, I'm just making the argument.) It is likely that no one has an understanding of what a supreme being's will is. That's what we are all trying to find out.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, I think you wouldn't lose your will just b/c you've decided to follow someone else's will. You still make the choice, and its not a one time choice, you must constantly decide to follow that other will.

I'm w/Av, something like brainwashing is supposed to remove your will, but I can't vouch for it. I'm reminded of 1984 again tho. but as Kalkin said, usually its a matter of removing the ability to act on your will. And of course, its not just a slave, we're all limited based on our society, govt, etc.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cybrweez wrote:
Yea, I think you wouldn't lose your will just b/c you've decided to follow someone else's will. You still make the choice, and its not a one time choice, you must constantly decide to follow that other will.


But although the choice is yours, the will that you follow isn't.

--A
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DukkhaWaynhim wrote:
This sparks the tangential thought -- when do instinctive behaviors cross the threshold and become acts of will?


I've wondered a bit about this in other contexts [once in a class, for example, guy dives on hand grenade to save others: instinct or decision?...the real topic was heroism].
I'd say it becomes will at the point when factors other than fight/run [just one example] are taken into account...though finding where/when/how that happens is impossibly complicated [some would say in above situation that guy was consciously trained previously to instinctually act by covering grenade.]

I've always struggled with what Av. said...that we always have a choice, even ignoring the issue of purely instinctual, whatever that is.
I'll kill your brother, OR I'll kill you. Anything that involves coercion...these are highly problematic: For me, they seem to violate the nature of choice, unless you define choice in an absolute [or Ideal] sense...and that move leads to some very peculiar implications for choice.
I'm also aware of the difficulties implied by my position on coercion, though: Does any limitation [imposed consciously, or just naturally part of the world] on choices count as coercion? which do, which don't?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even coercion contains the element of choice. In your example, you have to choose between your brother living, and yourself living. It's not much of a choice, but it is still a choice.

As for instinct, as ingrained as it is, I think it is still possible to choose to act other than instinct dictates. Not easy perhaps, but possible.

--A
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that raises up this question: Even if there is choice and it can not be robbed, can it then be devalued? For example, if I don't want to choose between myself or my brother dying, but I'm coerced to do so, my choice is acting against my will... in this case, choice is not something that I'd value, because it forced an undesirable outcome. Of course, this would also mean that there is a distinction between "choice" and "will" (which we could also call "desire", "hopes", or "dreams").

Then this calls up liberty in my mind... does liberty equate choice/will? Or is it rather the ability to manifest one's desire/will?

BTW, DukkhaWaynhim, I like the following statement, I find it very insightful.

Quote:
You can state that you are attempting to follow God's will, but unless you have an infallible connection to know/understand what God's will actually is, you are following what you believe to be God's will. Since belief in God is an act of faith, believing that you are doing God's will is an extension of that faith. Others may observe your actions -- which you might deem to be objective conclusions based on your faith that you are performing God's will -- as being partially or totally subjective in nature, especially if they either do not believe in God, or they do not share the same religious or denominational background that you do.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:

But although the choice is yours, the will that you follow isn't.

--A


True, but aren't you exercising your will to follow that will? Your will is whatever they want.
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I believe in the One who says there is life after this.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cybrweez wrote:
Avatar wrote:

But although the choice is yours, the will that you follow isn't.

--A


True, but aren't you exercising your will to follow that will? Your will is whatever they want.


This is what I find tricky. An example is in order: let's say that for whatever reason, you're a carpenter. You can choose to design and make your own furniture, or you can follow someone else's blueprint. If you do the later, the furniture is not in your design, but in someone else's design. Whatever individual designs you have, you have left aside for someone else's. In so far as it seems that a person choices are a manifestation of one's self, to do something that is not your will seems to me to be a means of deny yourself as an individual in favor of yourself as a manifestation of someone else and their will. ( I think there's a C. S. Lewis quote about this out there that has to do with cutting down trees Wink Essentially, it stated that God did not want you to give a part of yourself, but all of yourself up, and in return, he would replace yourself with himself. Shame I can't find it, but maybe Rus can Cool )
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
to do something that is not your will


But where in your example are you going against your will? If your will is to design your own furniture, than do it. If your will is to design the best furniture, and someone else's design is better, than you use it.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try this with slightly different [maybe better] tactic/terms:
choice may be choice...but not necessarily free choice, will may be will, but not necessarily free will, in ordinary usage: but I do not believe this is true.
Kill me, or kill my brother: the real choice isn't mine, someone is gonna die, the killer has chosen, has created a structure in which "choice" has no meaningful definition. MY choice is: we both live, the killer dies [or at least gets life in solitary or somesuch so he can't force others into similar situations].
BTW, the same applies for my will/god's will: believe or burn forever [and your belief may be a lie, I refuse to prove I'm here with the gun...but I already know what you're gonna decide, I know everything]. This is a false choice/false will.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cybrweez wrote:
Orlion wrote:
to do something that is not your will


But where in your example are you going against your will? If your will is to design your own furniture, than do it. If your will is to design the best furniture, and someone else's design is better, than you use it.


What if your will is to build furniture of other people's design? That is the situation that causes the tricky problem... (in your cases, there is still will of the personal, but in this case? I don't know... though it may have more to do with individuality then choice).
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
BTW, the same applies for my will/god's will: believe or burn forever [and your belief may be a lie, I refuse to prove I'm here with the gun...but I already know what you're gonna decide, I know everything]. This is a false choice/false will.


An even better example there! You are convinced since birth of something that cannot be true: A loving God who burns people forever. Your choice: believe what you are taught or believe what feels right. Believing what you are taught is easy, and you will be accepted by your community, and it can't hurt. Believe the otherwise, and all you get is ostracized. What do you do? The choice is still yours, even an evil one.

But even if you are forced to do something, you still have your own will. You just might not be able to act on it.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cybrweez wrote:
Your will is whatever they want.


Sounds like brainwashing to me...

Laughing

--A
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kalkin wrote:

An even better example there! You are convinced since birth of something that cannot be true: A loving God who burns people forever.


God doesn"t do the burning. You make the choices and perform the actions/inactions that ultimately decide your fate, if I understand the premise correctly. God says: "Here's what you have to work with[free will]. What you choose to do is out of my hands."
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But he decides on the rules and the consequences. Instead of people going to hell, he could just make them go round again for example, until they get it right. Very Happy

--A
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I might love you, Avatar. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

I wrote something like that but was too chicken to leave it up. Of course it was highly inflammatory and poked the powers-that-be in the eye, but there you go. I am what I am.

God, assuming he exists, could never be the kind of dick that would leave a gun in a crib and expect the kid not to kill himself, then punish him for failing. That kind of crap can only come from the Church of Man.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
But he decides on the rules and the consequences. Instead of people going to hell, he could just make them go round again for example, until they get it right. Very Happy


Isn't that idea Buddhist? Big Grin
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