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Author Topic: Where did sin come from?  (Read 4507 times)
Man of Steel
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« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2012, 12:23:20 PM »

Even if that's the case, it still has considerable implications for free choice. Were your parents free to get together and copulate so that you may be conceived and born, if your name was written in the book of life at the foundation of the world? After all, if they didn't get together at just the right time, you would have never been conceived. Were they free to get together if you were predestined to be born?


If you really believe this, then you don't believe in free will. You believe in the illusion of free will. If there's only the illusion of free will, you aren't making choices - you're just following a script.


So were your parents free to not get together on that fateful night? Remember that either your name was written in the book of life at the foundation of the world or it wasn't.


I'm not surprised. What's surprising is your willingness to accept such a "divine perception" which turns everything on its head: able to know what you'll do, before you do it, without affecting your freedom to actually choose what to do.


Why even have a process at all? If God knows who will choose what, what's the point in even creating those who will choose wrong and will "fail" the test?



This, to me, very clearly states that all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life will not worship the Christian God. So, are those people free to repent and accept Jesus? After all, remember, their names aren't just "blotted" from the book of life. From the above it's crystal clear that they aren't in the Book of Life.


Again, this says that the names of some people weren't written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. So can those people repent and accept Jesus and be saved, even though their name wasn't added in the Book of Life at the time of the foundation of the world?


I'm not quite as organized as you, but I'll respond briefly as I have a few minutes while I'm eating some lunch.  You make good points.  I think many folks often define free will in absolute terms....something like absolute autonomy with no restrictions.  I understand that definition, but that's not necessariliy what I'm trying to convey.  A person or community of people can have free will, but that free will is often granted to them yet subject to boundaries.  In this case our free will is granted by God, but we're still subject to the confines of the scope of his creation.  Ultimately this life is about one choice....it's preparation for eternity and whether we choose to spend eternity with God or without God.  As a believer I surrender completely to the will of my Lord and Savior, but I also understand that despite the free will I'm granted it's still subject to his boundries.  Much like I can choose to enter someone else's home without an invitation, but that choice to enter doesn't negate potential consequences of the choice if the owners don't want me there.  If it's absolute autonomy you seek you could probably find it someplace on Earth in a location in which you aren't subject to man's rules, but you'll still be subject to divine boundaries so you'll never escape that completely.  That said, you could interchange free will and volition; unless of course you're defining free will in absolute terms (which it seems you are).  My parents freely chose to conceive me, but understood that choice could result in something they didn't plan on.  They understood their volition and desires may not be completely compatible with God's will for our lives.  In so many of my disussions with nonbelievers I speak of the ability to freely choose or deny God, but then scenarios such as the "illusion of free will" or various circumstances are used to counter (ex: my conception being pre-planned by God doesn't mean I have free will).  I grasp the limits of free will, but more importantly I understand the primary choice we're supposed to freely make in this life...to accept or reject God...that's the point I routinely drive home.  I think it's obvious that I don't desire complete autonomy and a world of zero boundaries because I surrender to the will of my God and thank him for the life he's granted me.  His creation is based on an act of love.  He created us in his image and not some other.  He doesn't need us and didn't need to create us.  He did so because he can and because he loves us.  He works within the confines of our lives to help us draw closer to him and at the same time help us understand the error of our ways (2 birds, 1 stone I guess).  We can freely step away from God's will, but that doesn't mean there won't be consequences.  Why did he choose to design the way he did?  I can't answer that.

The bible verses I included were based on what you said about Revelation 20:15 initially.  I included other verses that included the wording you said was included in Rev 20:15 and actually wasn't.  I included the last verse about blotting our names from the Book of Life to add a bit of context to my response.  The verses are taken out of context so you should read the entire chapter with which they are included to get the full picture (if you're interested).  I can post the chapters if you like.

Good comments overall.
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« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2012, 01:04:51 PM »

A person or community of people can have free will, but that free will is often granted to them yet subject to boundaries.

This isn't correct: a community may impose sanctions for crossing boundaries (e.g. by stoning adulterers) but the people still can freely choose to commit the act or not. The very definition of free will is a will unencumbered by external force. Not a will that's not subject to consequences.

In this case our free will is granted by God, but we're still subject to the confines of the scope of his creation.

We either have free will or not. That doesn't mean that we aren't subject to the laws of nature (e.g. no matter how free my will is, I'll never be able to flap my hands and fly) or that we aren't subject to consequences (e.g. I choose to spend a full paycheck to buy a Rolex, and then can't afford to pay rent so I am evicted).


Ultimately this life is about one choice....it's preparation for eternity and whether we choose to spend eternity with God or without God.  As a believer I surrender completely to the will of my Lord and Savior, but I also understand that despite the free will I'm granted it's still subject to his boundries.

Are you free to surrender though? Or is your surrender meaningless, in that you could not possibly do anything else?


Much like I can choose to enter someone else's home without an invitation, but that choice to enter doesn't negate potential consequences of the choice if the owners don't want me there.

Right - but you are still free to actually choose to enter without an invitation, because the consequences of your action don't limit your choices; they only deal with the aftermath of actions.


That said, you could interchange free will and volition; unless of course you're defining free will in absolute terms (which it seems you are).

The definition of free will is really quite simple. I make my choices using the criteria I choose. Free will has nothing to do with whether those choices are good or bad, or even sensible. It only has to do with whether I can decide what to do when faced with a decision without being subjected to outside force.


My parents freely chose to conceive me, but understood that choice could result in something they didn't plan on.

Did they really freely choose? Consider what the Bible says (per your earlier post): all names were entered in the Book of Life at the foundation of the world. If that's the case how could they have freely chosen to conceive you? After all, by being in the Book of Life, your birth was preordained and predestined. And since only they could have produced you, by having sex on the exact time they did, it's hard to see how their choice was free.

If we are to believe that there is a Book of Life and that everyone's name is written there, then we can only reach two conclusions: either they didn't choose to have you (even if they thought they did), or they somehow freely chose to have you at some point before they were born, when some divine scribe was about to enter your name in the Book of Life. It's one or the other.

In so many of my disussions with nonbelievers I speak of the ability to freely choose or deny God

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I do actually have free will and am completely free to choose or deny God. This still doesn't make anything better: God knows what my ultimate choice will be. So when he "created" me, he knew what my ultimate fate will be. Why would he create me, knowing that I'll choose to deny him? Clearly it can't be because he wants to "give me a chance" -- he knows what my choice will be, and creates me knowing I'll be subjected to a punishment. So why would he, a God of Love, create me, so that I may be punished?


His creation is based on an act of love.

Again, let's take me as an example. I'm an atheist; I reject the notion of deities. This means I reject the Christian God. How is it an act of love to create me, knowing that I will reject him and will be subjected to punishment?


He created us in his image and not some other.  He doesn't need us and didn't need to create us.  He did so because he can and because he loves us.

I really don't see this love that you say is in the air. What I see is -- and this is from the Bible -- a God who creates humanity, isn't happy when his creation doesn't do what he wants it to do and punishes it by expelling it from Paradise and curses all subsequent generations with Original Sin. I see a God who then decrees that the wages of sin of death, and who admits that nobody can wipe the stain of sin. And then I see a God that sends himself down to earth, to be tortured and sacrified, so that his death may wipe the stain of sin that he decreed was punishable by death. How is this love? At best it's twisted sadomasochism.

Why wouldn't God just forgive us and say "Aww, shucks guys! It's ok!"? That's what parents the world over do. And yet, this simple act of forgiveness and unconditional love seems to be beyond the capacity of the God of Love.


The bible verses I included were based on what you said about Revelation 20:15 initially.  I included other verses that included the wording you said was included in Rev 20:15 and actually wasn't.  I included the last verse about blotting our names from the Book of Life to add a bit of context to my response.  The verses are taken out of context so you should read the entire chapter with which they are included to get the full picture (if you're interested).  I can post the chapters if you like.

This may surprise you, but I've read the Bible - and not just once - in English and Greek. I would venture to say that I'm more familiar with the Bible and what it says that most Christians.

I don't think any of the quotes you provide contradict my original assertion. But even if they did, they still don't support the argument that you're trying to make.
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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2012, 01:18:24 PM »

I don't know who avxo is but he seems pretty smart.
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2012, 10:42:32 AM »

I don't know who avxo is but he seems pretty smart.

He's a very smart guy and I like how he thinks about things.  He fully disgrees with me, but he doesn't insult me....he replies openly.  I don't believe either of us have delusions about converting each other LOL, but I'm fairly certain we can reply back and forth without tempers flaring.  We may not agree with other each, but we don't have to hate each other either.....some on here just flat out hate me because of my beliefs. 
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2012, 10:44:59 AM »

This isn't correct: a community may impose sanctions for crossing boundaries (e.g. by stoning adulterers) but the people still can freely choose to commit the act or not. The very definition of free will is a will unencumbered by external force. Not a will that's not subject to consequences.

We either have free will or not. That doesn't mean that we aren't subject to the laws of nature (e.g. no matter how free my will is, I'll never be able to flap my hands and fly) or that we aren't subject to consequences (e.g. I choose to spend a full paycheck to buy a Rolex, and then can't afford to pay rent so I am evicted).


Are you free to surrender though? Or is your surrender meaningless, in that you could not possibly do anything else?


Right - but you are still free to actually choose to enter without an invitation, because the consequences of your action don't limit your choices; they only deal with the aftermath of actions.


The definition of free will is really quite simple. I make my choices using the criteria I choose. Free will has nothing to do with whether those choices are good or bad, or even sensible. It only has to do with whether I can decide what to do when faced with a decision without being subjected to outside force.


Did they really freely choose? Consider what the Bible says (per your earlier post): all names were entered in the Book of Life at the foundation of the world. If that's the case how could they have freely chosen to conceive you? After all, by being in the Book of Life, your birth was preordained and predestined. And since only they could have produced you, by having sex on the exact time they did, it's hard to see how their choice was free.

If we are to believe that there is a Book of Life and that everyone's name is written there, then we can only reach two conclusions: either they didn't choose to have you (even if they thought they did), or they somehow freely chose to have you at some point before they were born, when some divine scribe was about to enter your name in the Book of Life. It's one or the other.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I do actually have free will and am completely free to choose or deny God. This still doesn't make anything better: God knows what my ultimate choice will be. So when he "created" me, he knew what my ultimate fate will be. Why would he create me, knowing that I'll choose to deny him? Clearly it can't be because he wants to "give me a chance" -- he knows what my choice will be, and creates me knowing I'll be subjected to a punishment. So why would he, a God of Love, create me, so that I may be punished?


Again, let's take me as an example. I'm an atheist; I reject the notion of deities. This means I reject the Christian God. How is it an act of love to create me, knowing that I will reject him and will be subjected to punishment?


I really don't see this love that you say is in the air. What I see is -- and this is from the Bible -- a God who creates humanity, isn't happy when his creation doesn't do what he wants it to do and punishes it by expelling it from Paradise and curses all subsequent generations with Original Sin. I see a God who then decrees that the wages of sin of death, and who admits that nobody can wipe the stain of sin. And then I see a God that sends himself down to earth, to be tortured and sacrified, so that his death may wipe the stain of sin that he decreed was punishable by death. How is this love? At best it's twisted sadomasochism.

Why wouldn't God just forgive us and say "Aww, shucks guys! It's ok!"? That's what parents the world over do. And yet, this simple act of forgiveness and unconditional love seems to be beyond the capacity of the God of Love.


This may surprise you, but I've read the Bible - and not just once - in English and Greek. I would venture to say that I'm more familiar with the Bible and what it says that most Christians.

I don't think any of the quotes you provide contradict my original assertion. But even if they did, they still don't support the argument that you're trying to make.

AHAHAHAH!!!  Wow, it's what I said in my PM....the schoolteacher's red pen all over my post....that's ok though.

Unfortunately my reply will have to wait for now....I read about half of what you responded with and when I have more time (this weekend most likely) I can reply.  Hey, it'll give me something to think about until then LOL!!
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« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2012, 12:32:57 PM »

why can't god destroy him/them? i don't understand why he wouldn't unless he cannot.

Who said God can't destroy them?  That's just your opinion.  And you are assuming that they(Satan, the anti-Christ and the False Prophet) are Evil itself.  I thought your original statement was that evil is not a person and that it maybe eternal, that Satan allowed evil to control him.   Maybe I misunderstood you.
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« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2012, 03:19:37 PM »

This isn't correct: a community may impose sanctions for crossing boundaries (e.g. by stoning adulterers) but the people still can freely choose to commit the act or not. The very definition of free will is a will unencumbered by external force. Not a will that's not subject to consequences.

We either have free will or not. That doesn't mean that we aren't subject to the laws of nature (e.g. no matter how free my will is, I'll never be able to flap my hands and fly) or that we aren't subject to consequences (e.g. I choose to spend a full paycheck to buy a Rolex, and then can't afford to pay rent so I am evicted).


Are you free to surrender though? Or is your surrender meaningless, in that you could not possibly do anything else?


Right - but you are still free to actually choose to enter without an invitation, because the consequences of your action don't limit your choices; they only deal with the aftermath of actions.


The definition of free will is really quite simple. I make my choices using the criteria I choose. Free will has nothing to do with whether those choices are good or bad, or even sensible. It only has to do with whether I can decide what to do when faced with a decision without being subjected to outside force.


Did they really freely choose? Consider what the Bible says (per your earlier post): all names were entered in the Book of Life at the foundation of the world. If that's the case how could they have freely chosen to conceive you? After all, by being in the Book of Life, your birth was preordained and predestined. And since only they could have produced you, by having sex on the exact time they did, it's hard to see how their choice was free.

If we are to believe that there is a Book of Life and that everyone's name is written there, then we can only reach two conclusions: either they didn't choose to have you (even if they thought they did), or they somehow freely chose to have you at some point before they were born, when some divine scribe was about to enter your name in the Book of Life. It's one or the other.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I do actually have free will and am completely free to choose or deny God. This still doesn't make anything better: God knows what my ultimate choice will be. So when he "created" me, he knew what my ultimate fate will be. Why would he create me, knowing that I'll choose to deny him? Clearly it can't be because he wants to "give me a chance" -- he knows what my choice will be, and creates me knowing I'll be subjected to a punishment. So why would he, a God of Love, create me, so that I may be punished?


Again, let's take me as an example. I'm an atheist; I reject the notion of deities. This means I reject the Christian God. How is it an act of love to create me, knowing that I will reject him and will be subjected to punishment?


I really don't see this love that you say is in the air. What I see is -- and this is from the Bible -- a God who creates humanity, isn't happy when his creation doesn't do what he wants it to do and punishes it by expelling it from Paradise and curses all subsequent generations with Original Sin. I see a God who then decrees that the wages of sin of death, and who admits that nobody can wipe the stain of sin. And then I see a God that sends himself down to earth, to be tortured and sacrified, so that his death may wipe the stain of sin that he decreed was punishable by death. How is this love? At best it's twisted sadomasochism.

Why wouldn't God just forgive us and say "Aww, shucks guys! It's ok!"? That's what parents the world over do. And yet, this simple act of forgiveness and unconditional love seems to be beyond the capacity of the God of Love.


This may surprise you, but I've read the Bible - and not just once - in English and Greek. I would venture to say that I'm more familiar with the Bible and what it says that most Christians.

I don't think any of the quotes you provide contradict my original assertion. But even if they did, they still don't support the argument that you're trying to make.

the simple fact is free will does not exist, to have free will you first have to assume consciousness is emergent and not epiphenomenal wrt the gooey shit in your head. Every thought has a neural correlate which occurs via simple action potentials thus your thoughts are generated via the brain, not the other way around. It may appear you have free will, but you choices can be changed via neurochemistry etc which clearly elucidates my point. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that thought arises de novo and then causes brain activity, when it couldn't be more wrong and is in fact the complete opposite. It is simply an illusion created by sophisticated software. what is perceived as choice is nothing more then something already chosen for you, by the brain, not the other way around, we are simply mechanistic things, rube goldberg shit shows.
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« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2012, 08:01:42 AM »

the simple fact is free will does not exist, to have free will you first have to assume consciousness is emergent and not epiphenomenal wrt the gooey shit in your head. Every thought has a neural correlate which occurs via simple action potentials thus your thoughts are generated via the brain, not the other way around. It may appear you have free will, but you choices can be changed via neurochemistry etc which clearly elucidates my point. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that thought arises de novo and then causes brain activity, when it couldn't be more wrong and is in fact the complete opposite. It is simply an illusion created by sophisticated software. what is perceived as choice is nothing more then something already chosen for you, by the brain, not the other way around, we are simply mechanistic things, rube goldberg shit shows.

Was trying to think of the perfect thing to write in my Mom's Mother's Day card.....thx for coming thru for me Necrosis!!
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2012, 02:09:13 PM »

Was trying to think of the perfect thing to write in my Mom's Mother's Day card.....thx for coming thru for me Necrosis!!

it's my the glass is half full rant Cheesy, tell your mother that i said humans are nothing more then pointless drones just like ants but have the capacity to examine their inanity. I use to write hallmark cards.
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« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2012, 11:46:28 AM »

I thought I made this clear in my previous answer, but I'll try better.

3 Beliefs that can be held. (But cannot all be true at once)
1. Good cannot exist without evil. For any object x, if it exists and it is good, then evil must be present in it. (∀x)(Gx>Ex) where Gx= x has the property of good, Ex= x has the property of evil (Simple Translation= All G's are E's/Everything that is G is an E)
2. God exists, is good, and has no evil (∃x)(Gx & -Ex) (Simple translation= Something exists that is a G and is not an E)
3. Heaven exists, is good, and has no evil (∃x)(Gx & -Ex) (Simple translation= Something exists that is a G and is not an E)

#1 cannot consistently be held with either #2 or #3 (see the contradiction?). If you want to deny the conditional in #1 and say "well, some things can exist that are good with no evil" then you have to deny "good cannot exist without evil".  Now I think the best way to get out of it would be to deny the "in it" part in #1. But then an easy reply would be "Well fastfoward past the end times, when we are living in heaven with God and Satan is no more, then there is a time when there is no evil at all, yet good, so it is possible. If it's possible then #1 is false.

That is why those 3 beliefs (Numbered 1,2,3 for your convenience) cannot consistently be held, and why a possible reply to it is not adequate. I chose #1 because you mentioned it, I chose #2 and #3 because I'm pretty sure you believe those two.

Simple enough?

Right, because most people on here are going to be familiar with predicate logic Roll Eyes.

I think it is usually more fruitful to avoid philosophical considerations and instead consider the history/anthropology of religion. Seeing Christianity's rather obvious man-made origins allows us to see that it is in the same class of theories as Greek mythology; then, we can ask, "Whatever claims it makes, why should we take this theory seriously at all?"

Only if there's some compelling reason to consider it over other forms of mythology should we begin indulging the more abstract, philosophical arguments offered in its favor.
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« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2012, 12:01:09 PM »

the simple fact is free will does not exist, to have free will you first have to assume consciousness is emergent and not epiphenomenal wrt the gooey shit in your head. Every thought has a neural correlate which occurs via simple action potentials thus your thoughts are generated via the brain, not the other way around. It may appear you have free will, but you choices can be changed via neurochemistry etc which clearly elucidates my point. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that thought arises de novo and then causes brain activity, when it couldn't be more wrong and is in fact the complete opposite. It is simply an illusion created by sophisticated software. what is perceived as choice is nothing more then something already chosen for you, by the brain, not the other way around, we are simply mechanistic things, rube goldberg shit shows.

So much of Christian theology surrounding sin seems predicated upon "free will," but when one analyzes the concept it ends up being incoherent (and as you say, the neuroscience is completely against it). Good post!
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« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2012, 10:25:27 AM »

the simple fact is free will does not exist, to have free will you first have to assume consciousness is emergent and not epiphenomenal wrt the gooey shit in your head. Every thought has a neural correlate which occurs via simple action potentials thus your thoughts are generated via the brain, not the other way around. It may appear you have free will, but you choices can be changed via neurochemistry etc which clearly elucidates my point. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that thought arises de novo and then causes brain activity, when it couldn't be more wrong and is in fact the complete opposite. It is simply an illusion created by sophisticated software. what is perceived as choice is nothing more then something already chosen for you, by the brain, not the other way around, we are simply mechanistic things, rube goldberg shit shows.

Sorry for the delay in replying - I had to grade a lot of finals & get grades submitted, plus study for my own final.

We can argue whether consciousness is emergent of epiphenomenal if you want; I'd argue that it's emergent. But, as of now there's really no consensus on which it is, but the literature seems to suggest that emergence is the position that most scientists in the field lean towards. But let's assume, arguendo, that consciousness is indeed epiphenomenal. It's still entirely possible to have free will - it's just that the freedom is at a "lower" level, even if the process is largely (although not entirely) deterministic.

I don't buy the notion that changes in neurochemistry that affect the brain and the decision making process somehow invalidate free will. How, specifically, do they do that? And what does it prove? That altering the thought process effects decisions? How does that disprove free will?


So much of Christian theology surrounding sin seems predicated upon "free will," but when one analyzes the concept it ends up being incoherent (and as you say, the neuroscience is completely against it). Good post!

Actually, I see no part of Christianity that seems predicated upon free will, except perhaps on the surface in the "accept Jesus Christ" choice, which is followed by the implied "OR FACE ETERNAL DEATH AND DAMNATION" making the choice being offered bogus to begin with.

Indeed, a huge part of Christian theology centers around the notion of Original Sin which we are supposedly born with; the concept is ridiculous and turns morality which is predicated on choice on it's head.

As for what neuroscience is (and isn't) against, I'd first caution you against making such blanket statements, and then I'd ask you to provide evidence to back your assertion up. What research do you have to quote that shows that neuroscience has conclusively invalidated free will and is against it?
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« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2012, 12:23:07 PM »


Actually, I see no part of Christianity that seems predicated upon free will, except perhaps on the surface in the "accept Jesus Christ" choice, which is followed by the implied "OR FACE ETERNAL DEATH AND DAMNATION" making the choice being offered bogus to begin with.

Indeed, a huge part of Christian theology centers around the notion of Original Sin which we are supposedly born with; the concept is ridiculous and turns morality which is predicated on choice on it's head.

As for what neuroscience is (and isn't) against, I'd first caution you against making such blanket statements, and then I'd ask you to provide evidence to back your assertion up. What research do you have to quote that shows that neuroscience has conclusively invalidated free will and is against it?

1. I don't want to get into this too much because I never did like debates over free will ("solutions" to the problem seem to reduce to creating a new definition of free will, ala the wide variety of "compatibilist" views). I shall here assume a basic notion most people would agree with, i.e., our having free will is our being moral agents capable of making genuine choices that we can subsequently be held responsible for.

2. Assuming this is correct, most of Christian theology is indeed dedicated to our having free will, whether it be theologically liberal or conservative. The philosophically sophisticated work Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by evangelicals William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland claims "all Christians are agreed we have free will," (268) and subsequently argues that the Bible presupposes free will because: there are commands from God; God at certain points begs with sinners to repent and be saved; people are said to "rebel against" God; people receive divine rewards; and, followers are said to choose God. (561)

All of this is to be found in the Bible itself rather than the teachings of any particular theology. It very much seems to presuppose our having free will, because why else would we be rewarded for our right choices, punished for our wrong ones, given commands we may or may not obey, have someone beg for us to make the right choice, and so forth. None of this makes sense at all unless God gave us free will. Original Sin doesn't contradict this for we are still being lobbied to make a choice (accepting Jesus) in order to absolve that sin.

3. I think that (2) is correct. So do the majority of theological liberals: the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on sin claims that "God has endowed us with reason and free will, and a sense of responsibility," and that sin results when we "deliberately refuse to obey" God's will. Of course, being punished for such a choice implies we had the free will to avoid making it in the first place.

I'm not going to survey all of theology on this one but I'm confident that Christianity needs free will to make sense, given what the Bible says. Most theologies have realized this and therefore affirm free will.

4. I think that's the main point I'd like to make for now, but quickly on the matter of neuroscience: I didn't say that neuroscience "conclusively invalidates" free will, but rather that it is "against it." In any case, I don't think it matters because I don't think that there is any coherent definition of free will out there that isn't trivially true or trivially false.

Despite that, there are a variety of interesting reads that seem to militate against free will: there is the model of decision making by George Ainslie (Breakdown of Will 2003) that, if correct, raises serious difficulties for the notion of free will, plus the more neuroscience-oriented work of Benjamin Libet (Mind Time 2005), Daniel Wegner (Illusion of Conscious Will 2005), and more recently, Sam Harris (Free Will 2012).

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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2012, 08:05:47 PM »

Bumpity bump
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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2012, 03:59:44 AM »

Sorry for the delay in replying - I had to grade a lot of finals & get grades submitted, plus study for my own final.

We can argue whether consciousness is emergent of epiphenomenal if you want; I'd argue that it's emergent. But, as of now there's really no consensus on which it is, but the literature seems to suggest that emergence is the position that most scientists in the field lean towards. But let's assume, arguendo, that consciousness is indeed epiphenomenal. It's still entirely possible to have free will - it's just that the freedom is at a "lower" level, even if the process is largely (although not entirely) deterministic.

I don't buy the notion that changes in neurochemistry that affect the brain and the decision making process somehow invalidate free will. How, specifically, do they do that? And what does it prove? That altering the thought process effects decisions? How does that disprove free will?




As for what neuroscience is (and isn't) against, I'd first caution you against making such blanket statements, and then I'd ask you to provide evidence to back your assertion up. What research do you have to quote that shows that neuroscience has conclusively invalidated free will and is against it?


well first i think we should define free will, I am arguing that the brain creates any thought or act you may wish to perform, studies bear this out. Free will as i understand if choice free of constraints, the brain applies the constraints as it produces the action, thought and feeling associated with choice. i'll provide my opinions without including the whole of neuroscience.

http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(11)00076-6

this paper elucidates my point (murine model), action appears to be simply awareness of possibilities obtained via the subconcious, that is, the brain determines the rate of inclusiveness. Free will as it were would determine that our actions are not pre-determined, however, they appear to be by the brain, how could they not? The hardware is providing options and we merely choose, and this choice can be skewed as i have said with drugs. For example, opiates/enkephalins etc bind in the PAG and reduce pain, increase dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, increase histamine via degranulation etc.. these neurochemical reactions change the decisions you would make if not under the influence. Euphoria, addictiveness, pleasure seeking, all choices that are impulse driven. Amphetamines, dissociatives, traquilizers can all change answers to test questions, in behaviour etc. Behaviour bears out the decisions we make, ever see someone on pcp? the brain is in control, we are along for the ride, dramatically reduce brain serotonin and you can induce massive intrusive thoughts, this all goes to show that thoughts are simple neurochemical reactions at the base level. every thought has a neuronal correlate, no thought is above this simple observation, vis a vis constraints are provided via the brain.

http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(11)00076-6

do you have a university access?

nothing i've said disproves free will truly, it's a complicated argument, but the fact that studies also indicate subjects can not tell the difference between impulsive and decided acts, brings the argument back to my position. You are only able to choose from options given, which is determined by the brain, how is that free will?


http://griceclub.blogspot.ca/2011/04/grice-and-brain.html





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« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2012, 05:54:11 AM »

nothing i've said disproves free will truly, it's a complicated argument, but the fact that studies also indicate subjects can not tell the difference between impulsive and decided acts, brings the argument back to my position. You are only able to choose from options given, which is determined by the brain, how is that free will?

The "you" who's making the choice is the brain. That's the critical point. You don't make decisions by having all your bodys' cells reach consensus. The root of what makes you you, the root of your consciousness is what emerges out of the blob of neurons in your cranium.







[/quote]
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« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2012, 07:30:36 AM »

The "you" who's making the choice is the brain. That's the critical point. You don't make decisions by having all your bodys' cells reach consensus. The root of what makes you you, the root of your consciousness is what emerges out of the blob of neurons in your cranium.









sure, there is no homoculus no you, it's the brain agreed, so what you are suggesting is that the brain is somehow not involved in the decision making process of the thing it creates. Neuroscience is on my side, how do you explain multiple personalities? many you's? there is no you, only a mass of material neurons trying to have it's way by generating a coherent picture of the world, which is not processed coherently, just look at spatial frequency analysis in vision, it's nothing like what we perceive yet you are none the wiser via introspection nor observation. The brain is a conglomerate of organs working in unison, many of the processes automated, many more then the conscious ones.

consciousness is not processed as one fluent picture, in fact we see the world in rapid snapshots, illusion is the name of the brain, it's very good at it.  Options are presented to your awareness and you get to pick from them, this can be skewed by drugs, illness (mania for example) etc.. it's a computer, self-awareness holds utility. So free will as defined by decision without constraints (as most define it, even many constraints) is not plausible in the brain. Perhaps a looser definition of the term free will fits the bill.
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« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2012, 10:15:28 PM »

sure, there is no homoculus no you, it's the brain agreed, so what you are suggesting is that the brain is somehow not involved in the decision making process of the thing it creates.

No, that's not what I'm suggesting. I agree that the brain is responsible for the decision making process. The question is "what does that mean vis--vis consciousness?" I suggest that consciousness is an emergent property, and that you have, in essence, a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Neuroscience is on my side, how do you explain multiple personalities? many you's?

Malfunctions (be the chemical, structural or electrical) of a ridiculously large and complex neural network?


there is no you, only a mass of material neurons trying to have it's way by generating a coherent picture of the world, which is not processed coherently, just look at spatial frequency analysis in vision, it's nothing like what we perceive yet you are none the wiser via introspection nor observation. The brain is a conglomerate of organs working in unison, many of the processes automated, many more then the conscious ones.

Right. And what does that mean?


consciousness is not processed as one fluent picture, in fact we see the world in rapid snapshots, illusion is the name of the brain, it's very good at it.

Right. Vision and persistence of vision is a perfect example of what our brain does in interpreting sensory input. But what does that mean in the greater scheme of consciousness? I am having a hard time seeing where you're going with this.

 
Options are presented to your awareness and you get to pick from them, this can be skewed by drugs, illness (mania for example) etc.. it's a computer, self-awareness holds utility. So free will as defined by decision without constraints (as most define it, even many constraints) is not plausible in the brain. Perhaps a looser definition of the term free will fits the bill.

Free will isn't defined by decision without any constraints: the notion is nonsensical, in that such a definition defines free will away. We all will die eventually - it's an immutable fact of reality - but it doesn't infringe on our free will because we can't choose not to die.

Free will is defined as the ability to make decisions free from some constraints.
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« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2012, 10:49:37 PM »

My favorite two parts of the bible discuss microbiology and dinosaurs.

A must read.
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« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2012, 08:31:56 PM »

God allows Satan loose in our lives so that we may choose to draw closer to or pull from God based on the choices we make.  God works within the context of our lives, the parameters we set and the choices we make so that our free will is kept intact.  Given the timelessness of God his perception of past, present and future in one state transcends our ability to comprehend.  That said, our desire to have God move in accordance with our desires is not part of our free will.  Our free will is out of scope in terms of his divinity.  Our desire for God to act now doesn't negate a single quality about God, but it does highlight our need to draw closer to God and his will while still preserving our own free will.  Its the Holy Spirit that works in our lives helping guide us, but those that refuse to acknowledge the Holy Spirit will never grasp this.
I thought GOD was GOOD and " GOD is LOVE ".........So having SATAN in our lives is GOOD/LOVE from GOD??
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« Reply #45 on: May 24, 2012, 03:51:28 AM »

I saw Jesus in my cereal this morning.
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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2012, 04:03:51 PM »

I thought GOD was GOOD and " GOD is LOVE ".........So having SATAN in our lives is GOOD/LOVE from GOD??

For believers, our primary choice in life is to choose or reject God.  Certainly there are others life decisions to be made, but that primary choice is the ultimate decision.   A pinhole of light is brightest when contrasted within a shroud of darkness.  A humble heart is a wonderful tool with which God can make great things happen.  Sometimes people have to be broken down to their core, have a foot in the grave and lose everything before they can see that pinhole of light and all the goodness, hope, grace, mercy and love that comes with it.  When the world attempts to consume us and the leader of this world desires to shroud our lives in darkness that pinhole of light become visible if we desire to see it and the grace of God will be become present in our lives providing a new option.....another path.
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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2012, 06:24:41 PM »

For believers, our primary choice in life is to choose or reject God.  Certainly there are others life decisions to be made, but that primary choice is the ultimate decision.   A pinhole of light is brightest when contrasted within a shroud of darkness.  A humble heart is a wonderful tool with which God can make great things happen.  Sometimes people have to be broken down to their core, have a foot in the grave and lose everything before they can see that pinhole of light and all the goodness, hope, grace, mercy and love that comes with it.  When the world attempts to consume us and the leader of this world desires to shroud our lives in darkness that pinhole of light become visible if we desire to see it and the grace of God will be become present in our lives providing a new option.....another path.

Let's accept for a moment that your poetry here makes sense and actually describes the world. The fact is that is just leads to an endless set of questions that cannot be answered reasonably. Why did God wait so long to intervene, letting the species evolve slowly and, in its first 100-200 thousand years, suffer endlessly? Why did it choose the mechanism that produces the most suffering of all, evolution via natural selection? Since you clearly know the mind of the creator very well and in fact (I'm assuming) interact with it on a regular basis, you may also be able to tell me in why it's best plan of action was to send itself down to us in human form and then kill itself (Huh). Wasn't a more economical solution in order (such as, I don't know, being loving and forgiving).

Sensible answers must be proffered if Christianity is to be a justifiable position. Thus far in history, none have been given (especially not to the question of why God was silent for our first years as a species and decided to intervene only recently with, frankly, a tremendously stupid plan of action). Until such answers emerge the best explanation for all this remains that the stories are myth just like the rest of the religions emanating from that region and period, especially in light of their shared characteristics, i.e., just similar Christianity is to the rest of them.
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« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2012, 03:50:46 PM »

I'm not going to put much effort into this post for time restraints, but...

..where did sin come from? Most say Eve eating the fruit. But the Devil lied and tried to manipulate Eve, and that is a sin, so sin had to exist before Adam or Eve partook of the fruit. Some people believe (Not in the Bible I don't think...) that Satan was jealous of God's power and that's why he was thrown out of Heaven (I think this came from Dante, I'm not up on my literature). So if that was true, sin had to exist then.

I'll let a few respond before I go much further

So where did sin come from?
Dante's trilogy was an excellent read.

Anyway, kind of unrelated thoughts.., could Lucifer be merely a product of unintended consequences? I.E., God created Lucifer out of necessity without fully understanding what he was doing? As in, he created this being without knowing he was creating his own equal and opposite?

I.E., there couldnt be a "good and just" God without an equal and opposite entity (In this case Lucifer). Could the concept of heaven even exist without hell?  Could the concept of good even exist without the concept of evil?

The only other explanation, would be that Lucifer was created INTENTIONALLY by God as an inherently evil being, if God is all powerful and all knowing, and created everything before him.

I think im stretching beyond myself here, but these are just thoughts that popped into my head while reading this thread.
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« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2012, 03:35:46 PM »



 
Free will isn't defined by decision without any constraints: the notion is nonsensical, in that such a definition defines free will away. We all will die eventually - it's an immutable fact of reality - but it doesn't infringe on our free will because we can't choose not to die.

Free will is defined as the ability to make decisions free from some constraints.

That is one definition you are using, albeit a more liberal one. No constraints does not define free will away, nor does your definition clarify anything, what constraints? another definition :The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency.

yet another:

the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces. oh but it is, there is nothing but the physical. Plus i can pile data on showing rats and humans altering choices under the influence of drugs, how is that free will. So entering a arm of a elevated plus maze while under the influence of diazepam is not demonstrating the physical constraint of neurochemistry on choice? it clearly is/does.

freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention

let's use your's then. define the constraints that are included in the "some"?

the brain creates thought, it creates the options, it selects the options, this selection process is largely sub-conscious and changing ones physiological state as i tried to elucidate can predictably change the choices made. It is clockwork, neuroscience has shown time and time again people can't decipher thought out decisions vs impulsive ones. What you are suggesting is that thought arises before neuronal activation? it may seem that way but i assure you it's not the case.



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