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  1. 2 points
    Greetings! My name is Miriam, and I have only recently come to reclaim the Christian label in my spiritual life. Coming from a more fundamentalist background, I have had to take time to reflect on my experiences of Christianity from a safe distance before re-engaging with organized religion. The writings of such authors as Rob Bell and John Shelby Spong have been a valuable support in that process. I am grateful to have recently found a local church group that accepts and supports me as an eclectic, progressive Christian, and I now hope to build on that experience by connecting to wider discussions of faith online. I am also in the process of developing a blog that focuses on engaging with faith through questions, so I hope that learning from fellow members will help to better inform my writing in the future. I look forward to taking part!
  2. 2 points
    Good evening, I am a Borg- and Spong-inspired justice-focused Christian. I was raised as a United Methodist and felt my faith gain traction and teeth upon discovering Marcus Borg, and also my aunt who is a leftist-Christian clergy! My hope for joining this space is to connect with other like minded people- especially if they are young-ish professionals who are now at home raising kids in a small community which is quite moderate-to-right leaning (although not fundamentalist!) now that's a tall order!
  3. 2 points
    Non-Progressive Christian are not allowed post in the Progressive Christianity thread. Which is fair enough. Anyway this led me to clarify for myself, if no one else, Why I am not a Progressive Christian. Progressive Christians: Point 1: Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life; Not sure I believe in the Sacred. The uppercase Oneness and Unity fill me with a little trepidation, I suspect it could be pointing to something that is not really there. I can see a unity and a oneness in existence but ... Point 2: Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey; Sacredness and Oneness of life, again the upper case. Sure the teachings attributed to Jesus might lead to the understanding the S and O of life. But I would argue it is not that we can draw from diverse sources ... we have to. Point 3: Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, ... I have no problem with this, but the wording is strange (I thought). While the word all is in upper case atheists are not mentioned but agnostics are. Also the incentive to write this post to some degree is caused by a lack of "complete" inclusiveness. OK I understand the wish to protect parts of the community; but ... Point 4: Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe; In a way I agree with this statement. It is a bit more complex than that. My behaviour alone is not the "fullest" expression of what I believe. Point 5: Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes; Again not sure what is meant by grace ... but using my definition (an ease) I would agree. But I have admit I find value in reconciling the results of our searches with the scientific method. Point 6: Strive for peace and justice among all people; I have no problem with this, but it is a bit of a motherhood statement,. Point 7: Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; This brought me head to head with the free will debate. Can the Earth be any other way than it is? Now I might want it be different/cleaner/whatever but then, the universe unfolding will determine whether or not I will do anything about it Point 8: Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love. Well I have had a life-long path of learning. All of us do that to some degree or another. When the universe unfolds I may or may not find compassion Selfless love? "Love your neighbour as you love yourself"? Overall this 2011 version (for me) is harder to argue against than the original eight points highlighted in the front page of the forum. Perhaps it is time to update the points to the new Eight Points? Overall I cannot call myself a Progressive Christian, though (I think) I see fairly closely eye to eye with Paul when it comes to the profane and Joseph when it comes to oneness and unity (note the lower case ) Would others like to comment on where they agree or see differences in their take on the 2011 Eight Points.
  4. 2 points
    In the NT, it seems like the standard communication method is "feeling something in ones spirit", visions and dreams, though. Like f.e. Peter on the roof having the animal vision, or Paul seeing a vision of a Macedonian man asking him to come over etc. The quotes make my posts look much longer than they actually are I am dealing with a similar conflict myself. The God I know through experience and intuitions etc. seems to be much more of a peaceful, understanding and a nice guy than the God of the Bible, especially the OT one. On the other hand, especially teachings of Paul and some teachings of Jesus heavily resonate with me. So, I am caught in-between of Christianity and something else that I can't quite define. I have tried other religions, it doesn't work, too much of the Bible is indeed my religion and I lose that if I try any other approach. Right now I feel like I'm too Christian to be anything else, but not Christian enough to be a proper Christian either.
  5. 2 points
    I know the feeling Lani and I felt very much the same when I was going through my period of anxiety and depression (which coincided with my kids being about 2 & 4). My wife was also experiencing post natal depression and we didn't recognize it for that until she sought help. I know there can be a stigma associated with depression/anxiety but I would encourage you to consider talking to a professional if that might be a possibility. There's nothing wrong with that and both my wife and I found such a process exceptionally beneficial. I am not saying that is your predicament, but it could possibly be feeding into your anxiety about your children. I don't know where I read it and I have since had trouble locating it, but I remember reading a a story around that time that I found particularly comforting. It went along the lines of this: A distraught mother had her three young toddlers in a bath, preparing to drown them. She was distraught with the thought that if she didn't raise them properly that they might not 'choose Jesus' and would go to Hell. She thought it better to kill them now as innocents so that they would see heaven, than take the chance of raising them and they possibly end up in Hell. In distress at the thought of killing her kids the woman cried out to Jesus saying "please don't let me do this - take my life instead and spare my children - grant them life with you". To this Jesus replied "Woman, if I loved you so much that I was prepared to die for you, do you really think I could allow you or your children to be separated from me". Now I could have the story wrong (wherever it was written) but that's how I remember it. For me personally, it just made me think that if there is anything 'existential' or 'spiritual' to our existence, whatever it is can only be a good thing in the end rather than a harmful thing. If my kids (or I) get it wrong in our tiny blip of an existence on an eternal timeline, then I'm certain that whatever 'higher power' might possibly exist, it would understand. This in turn has allowed me to better accept the day to day. I ponder spirituality and religion, as I do life in general, however i feel no compulsion to 'get it right' or for my kids to. In the end, they will simply work out for themselves what works for them. Sure, guidance is important in life, and opening up our children's minds to the possibilities of all things (not just the spiritual) is a burden that all parents practice to different degrees, but I rest easy knowing that what works for them, will be what works for them. I hope I make some sort of sense. Cheers Paul
  6. 1 point
    I don't think stories in the Bible must necessarily be understood literally or as scientifically verifiable facts to be sacred and meaningful. That is a common approach to the Scriptures in my church denomination; neo-orthodoxy rather than liberalism or fundamentalism. I see too much needless suffering in the world, based on nothing more than empty fear and hatred, to be unconvinced that salvation no longer matters. As a Lutheran, I believe salvation entails more than going to heaven when one dies, it also implies being open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ because the evil of the world is contained by the hope in God's promises. Through trust in God's promises as a gathered community around the Word, life is transfigured into a sacred calling or vocation where we become God's hands in the world doing God's work.
  7. 1 point
    I'm going to try and describe my perspective on the 'I' versus 'i' - not as two sides of the same coin, as Rom suggested, but more like the way we 'experience' the world - as a function of consciousness (I know, Rom - bear with me). With the human brain bombarded by so much data through our senses every second, our consciousness can process only a small part of it by comparison - even in those rare moments when our awareness is fully in the present, as opposed to pulling up data from memory, imagining possibilities or manipulating abstract concepts. So the mind manages a seamless awareness of the universe by focusing only on a small section at a time, and then generically renders the periphery with memory, knowledge, guesswork, systematic grouping and gross simplification. If we think of our awareness or consciousness as a camera lens on a satellite, then we can focus in as the 'i' (the experiencing self) or focus out towards an experience of the 'I' (the experiencing universe) - but not consciously experience both simultaneously, because in order to fully understand or experience the unfolding 'I' as it is, the mind must let go of a number of concepts as illusion, including language, thought, time, objective reality and the 'i'. When the mind or consciousness returns from this experience to regain its 'control' of language, meaning and a concept of 'self' (illusory though they may be), any communication of this subjective experience is going to be insufficient. This is because thinking and writing/talking about what is a holistic experience of the unfolding 'I' must rely on simultaneous recognition of subsets of the 'I' that have been compartmentalised by the mind or defined by language, but appear to overlap, coalesce, contradict and disappear in the holistic experience of the 'I'. As an example, the notion of 'decay' is irrelevant when you consider that there is no loss experienced in the unfolding 'I' - 'decay' is a term defined by the illusion that each subset exists independent of each other: that a decaying apple or a body in a casket, including the 'life' that was once evident and the , is not simply an illusory subset of the 'I' but 'something' or 'someone' 'existing' in its own right, leading to the thought-defined experience that the 'person' who has 'died' is lost and their body decaying, instead of 'living' eternally as a subset of the unfolding 'I' that exists as a 'person' only in the communication of our shared subjective experience.... The 'I' that is conceived as I write this - that each 'i' conceives mentally - is also incomplete in that the subjective experiences we each have of the universe (including our first hand and second hand knowledge or understanding), are limited by the 'i'. We can imagine or speculate on the experiences of others based on the information we currently have, but even the most observant, imaginative and empathic human being cannot fully experience the pinpoint focus of every 'i' that has ever experienced the universe. And so it helps me, at least, to recognise that a complete awareness of the 'I' remains beyond the 'i', but its potentiality exists in every interaction with the universe - that I can approach a more complete and accurate awareness of the 'I' through my connection with others, my attempts to understand their subjective experiences and my recognition that, within that diversity from my own experiences, lies the experience of the 'I' that is missing from my own.
  8. 1 point
    Joseph recently posted Living with Uncertainty and I could not help identify this as a form of agnosticism. Anyway being of an agnostic persuasion made, it made sense or most of it, I think. Here is a quote from Bertrand Russell a poster boy for atheism (and agnosticism) which parallels Joseph's line of thought. Perhaps the quote is a bit more aggressive than Joseph's “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” and another from Russell I think nobody should be certain of anything. If you’re certain, you’re certainly wrong because nothing deserves certainty. So one ought to hold all one’s beliefs with a certain element of doubt, and one ought to be able to act vigorously in spite of the doubt…. One has in practical life to act upon probabilities, and what I should look to philosophy to do is to encourage people to act with vigor without complete certainty. Now I personally would not call uncertainty,God, Love or Being.
  9. 1 point
    A few days ago I was wondering how would Trump fit here? To be fair I do not know the inner workings of Trump's mind, but I can only think his actions are some sort of reflection of his thoughts. Point 1: Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life; Far from convinced. Point 2: Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey; I don't see 'wisdom' in his actions, regardless from what well he has drawn from. Point 3: Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, ... Oh dear. Point 4: Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe; I sincerely hope not. Point 5: Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes; This is my problem, but I see little grace in Trump. Point 6: Strive for peace and justice among all people; ???? Point 7: Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; Pruitt. Point 8: Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love. Selfless love?
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    Hello, everyone. I am joining this community in the hope of enjoying the virtual company of other people with whom I may share something in common even in the midst of our differences. A little about myself: I was not raised with religion, but was introduced to a branch of Oneness Pentecostalism through my grandparents at ten years old. There I had a transformative ecstatic experience as a boy, but by the time I was 14 I knew through the reading of the scriptures that they could not be the infallible Word of God in the sense in which I was taught. I moved on to other things. After transitioning to agnostic atheism I read Spong's Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible Through Jewish Eyes, and biblical imagery came alive for me. At the same time I had been introduced to the eucharist in the Methodist Church and one day integrated the experience in my own way. Later I received a trinitarian baptism in the Episcopal Church, was confirmed, and received Holy Communion. I have been there for about ten years or so. In practice I am an Anglo-Catholic. I am liturgically quite traditional. I am a non-realist in religious matters, using doctrines as a guide to how to live and as symbol sets to engage my imagination with rather than objective or supernatural truths -- I am still an agnostic. I have neo-pagan influences and work with saints and angels traditional and non-traditional in an Anglo-Catholic context as well as formats inspired by neo-pagan and folk practices. I create my own rituals and write my own prayers. I also keep the traditional Anglican discipline of the Daily Office. I have Buddhist influences as well. I guess I could say I am a religious non-realist, Anglo-Catholic, liturgically traditional, eclectic, and socially sensitive Christian. I hope this will be the place to share my ideas and path with others. I have had a hard time finding that place.
  12. 1 point
    Adding "a little bit of humor" to the mix: The issue raised pertaining to (someone's/anyone's) presumptuously ascribing his or her personal point of view and/or conclusions deriving therefrom to a collective 'we' reminded me of the joke relating to the Lone Ranger and Tonto who, according to the joke, were at one point surrounded and besieged by much greater force of hostile (colloquially called) 'Indians'. As they were running out of bullets with the Indians closing in on them, the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said: "We've had it, this is the end for us, Tonto!" To which Tonto replied, "What do you mean 'we', Paleface!" LOL
  13. 1 point
    Hello my name is Lani, i was raised a Baptist church that spent a lot of time talking about hell. This caused a lot of anxiety in me as a child and teenager. I left the church at 14 years old. I am now 30 and going thru quite profound change and existential crisis. I am a social worker/psychologist and mother of 2 little boys. I am searching and looking for a community this fits. I stumbled across this webpage and the 8 points of progressive Christianity really resonate with me. I look forward to touching base with everyone and learning about this emerging faith.
  14. 1 point
    Somehow the act of attempting to educate yourself on quantum physics makes it not understandable.
  15. 1 point
    I have shared my testimony on other forums of the internet. But wish to share it here as an introduction to some of my experiences and beliefs. When I was a 9 year old boy and loving the Lord, I saw Jesus in all white, dressed as a shepherd on the wing of an airplane while it was still boarding. I erroneously thought someone was playing a trick on me to make me become highly religious. Then I became agnostic and got lost for 35 years. I began hearing, seeing, wrestling with the unseen and witnessing powers of the invisible spirit world. Evil spirits had come into my life as a consequence of my sin. I nearly died at the hands of these spirits - both human and demon alike. I've noticed the humans lose their family and friends. They are scattered throughout the netherworld. They have anger and hatred in their hearts. They are masters at the art of deception. Their evil shall not stop without divine intervention and restoration of the soul. They thirst for all that only a most loving Creator can give them. I've discovered that it is the human condition that we are evil and wicked without God in the afterlife. The soul is in ruins and in need of salvation - divine restoration of the soul. Father God reached out to me and I heard Him say, "the battle against good and evil has been here since the beginning of time." God battles evil by salvaging souls through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Father's voice sounds of greatness not of this world. The room was filled with an ancient scent from a world long ago. God had done this to let me know that He was there in the beginning of man's time. I suffered at the hands of these evil spirits for 7 years until I learned that they were real and hence Jesus as well. This is how Jesus had found me to begin my undeserving vocation to be an adopted child of God. He left the flock to find that one lost sheep when I saw Him on the wing of that airplane 35 years earlier. I prayed to Jesus that He would not leave me here to be evil like these spirits. He put my deceased mother behind me. And the most loving scent of her holding me in her bosom as a small child came over me. Jesus had done this to let me know it was her. He was letting me know that I would be with my mom and that He would deliver me from this evil condition known as hell. I asked Jesus who these spirits were persecuting me. He told me through the Spirit of truth that they were the dead. I could see that they were lost and inquired about them going to heaven. Jesus had sent down the Holy Spirit stopping in front of me and pointing at me. He was telling me that I would make atonement for them. And that He would forgive them of their sins and deliver them into heaven. Jesus is mighty to save. Later, I had a dream were Jesus had removed the anger and hatred from these poor souls hearts. He was informing me that the work for atonement had been done. Then, with His powers going through me, He changed them back because the work could not be accepted until the door to my hearing and seeing them was closed. I am currently working on this. Also, an angel made himself known to me. I've had many dreams and visions, some arranged by God and by the powers of the higher angels, guiding me away from sin, in truth, toward salvation. I thank God for my sufferings and wisdom gained. I am looking forward to being with God in heaven, seeing these spirits restored, and seeing my mom again.
  16. 1 point
    Well done. We are not aware of things which we definitively know or have mastered. Our nose is in our visual range, but we are not cognitively aware of it because cognition is unnecessary so the brain habituates to it and deletes itbfrom perception. We can drive for miles without thinking about it, and muscle memory works without cognition. Autonomic functions, reactions, dreams, and archetypal structures are also subconscious. The very presence of consciousness indicates someting unknown or unfamiliar.
  17. 1 point
    Hello, i am a 30 year old mum of 2 year old and 4 year old. Although i have never really had spiritual peace i believe that since becoming a mother i have become more existentially anxious. I love my children so much that it is quite overwhelming. I feel a big burden that i brought them into this beautiful yet complex world. i am wondering if you know of any good books, pod casts etc anything for children to introduce them to spirituality in an open and relaxed manner (not dogmatic and non specific). Does anyone have any tips in regard how to overcome my guilt as a parent for not having all the answers (let alone the answers that humans have been seeking since the dawn of time). I know from a biological point of view obviously most of us are meant to have children (hence why we are all here). From a soulful point of view i feel a massive weight on my heart that i brought these two wonderful people into the world and now what..... so many unknowns ! Any tips or words of progressive wisdom appreciated
  18. 1 point
    Many Christians will say they 'hope' for eternal life. Of course, that usually means they are convinced they will enter eternal life after they die from this physical one (and/or some believe it will be a 2nd physical life due to resurrection of the body and a new earth), but my discussion here is asking just 'why' hope for eternal life is so important to those people. Myself, I don't think there will be any life after this one. When my eyes close for the last time I think it will be like going to sleep and I won't awake. Personally, that doesn't bother me as I know it can't bother me once I am dead - because I won't know I am dead. Yes, I will no longer experience the company of loved ones and friends, but I won't know it. Yes some will mourn and miss me (maybe a couple I hope ) but eventually they too will die and no longer suffer any such feelings. The fact is I'm sure they will get over it long before they pass! I guess this is heading toward Buddhism territory which I understand talks about letting go of the ego, which is possibly the thing that drives one toward such 'hope', that our ego, our 'self' will never die. Anyone here hold onto that 'hope' and prepared to discuss why eternal life is so important to them? Are you afraid of no longer existing or do really desire 'eternity'? Anybody here a previously heaven-believing Christian who now thinks more like me? Why is eternal life NOT important to you? Maybe it's because I'm nearing 49, maybe it's simply because I read the latest PC newsletter which had an article on hell not being Jewish/Christian, but for whatever reason I am presently reflecting on just why some people think living forever is such a big deal, whilst others like me, don't really care for it.
  19. 1 point
    Just speaking of debate and dialogue ... here I think is a really sweet example of dialogue.
  20. 1 point
    You'll probably be shock to hear *me* say this, Burl, but one of the reasons I became so disillusioned with the church (as an institution) is that because the more I read the gospels and what Jesus had to say about the kingdom of God, the more I became convinced that the koG and the church are not the same thing. I mean, there are definitely hints of the kingdom (as Jesus interpreted it) in the OT. I think he fleshed it out more with his teachings, parables, and interactions with people. Granted, the church has sometimes done some very good things. But I don't see it as a fulfillment of the koG on earth. It seems that, even at the beginning, the disciples believed the church was going to be about who had the most power, who had the best seats. That is far from what Jesus taught, IMO. I've been Baptist, Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, Bible Church, Disciples of Christ, Pentecostal, Pentecostal Holiness, Wesleyan, and UMC. I've learned a lot in each of these churches. I've had good friends there. And there have been some good times, times that I would even call holy. But I've never felt that any of them were the kingdom. As the U2 song says, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
  21. 1 point
    Not to derail this thread further (for many people are blessed by Lectionary readings and study), but I think you make a great point, Paul, about the state of the world and Christianity's role in helping our world. For far too long, IMO, Christianity has embedded itself in the sin/savior myth that posits that the world is broken, in sin, and that the only remedy is for God and/or Jesus to save it through either forgiveness or destruction (in order to create another world). This myth teaches that we can do little to nothing to help our current state except to plead to God to come rescue us. The result of this, in much of Christianity, is escapism and waiting for Jesus to return at any moment with God's divine clean-up plan. Granted, it is an appealing myth. But I don't find it to line up very well with most of Jesus' teachings. I don't see anywhere in Jesus' teachings where he says that we are born in sin. And while some of his statements seem to imply that he would return shortly, he also stressed that his followers should be about the business of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the poor, working for justice, visiting prisoners, etc. I haven't been able to thoroughly plumb all of his teachings about it, but Jesus seems to say that the kingdom is already here, already in the human heart. I don't see this so much as a remedy to some "sin problem" but as a seed to the growth and maturation of humanity that could heal the places in ourselves and in our world that need healing. Yes, the world is a wonderful and amazing place and we are an incredible species. But we are still immature and have a ways to go before we are fully human. And I think, in my own Christology, that Jesus, in some sense, shows us what it is like to be fully human. He was ahead of his time. The Gentile church didn't know what to do with that, so they declared him to be divine. In doing so, he lost his humanity. And I think that changed his role from example to savior, and I think a great deal was lost in this demotion. This is why, for me, Jesus is not a way to get to heaven. Rather, he shows me how genuine relationships grounded in compassion can change the world, not from sinners to saint, but from strangers to friends.
  22. 1 point
    I'm new to this site and am jumping in here without having read everything that's gone before. But someone in another topic suggested that something I wrote there might be of interest here, so I'm sharing it here. This is an argument from personal experience, not theological belief or scientific research. I realize that that approach upsets some, but I think that ultimately everything we believe is based on our subjective evaluation of what we experience (including what we read about technical matters). So, here goes: My view of the physical world is mechanistic, predictable. That if I press the "Y" key on on the keyboard, "Y" will appear on the computer screen. That if I heat an egg in very hot water, the liquid contents inside the shell will turn solid. That the rotation of the Earth will cause the sun to appear to rise in the East. We constantly depend of the fact that a certain cause will have a certain effect. What happens in the physical world is predetermined by what happened previously. Theoretically, every physical event today was the result of a series of fixed causes and effects since the Big Bang. Of course, some processes are so complex it is difficult to imagine that we could gather enough information for a precise, correct prediction. But I take that to be a limit of our ability to gather sufficient data instantly, rather than a failure of cause and effect. I also recognize that quantum mechanics describes a different process at the atomic and sub-atomic level, but I'm not aware that anyone has claimed that this atomic activity invalidates Newtonian laws at the scale we experience reality. But I do find that my experience of life doesn't match this mechanistic view. First, regarding predictability. After reading your post, I considered how to reply. I thought of one approach, then abandoned it for the approach I am now taking. And, as I type, I revise sentences and substitute new words for ones I have written. That's not how the laws of nature work. Nature doesn't correct errors and make revisions in a specific case. My toaster doesn't correct itself if the setting burns my toast. My radio doesn't correct itself if a short distorts the sound. Nature doesn't "correct" a mutant cell division. One could argue that evolution is self-correcting, but that's not because nature "fixes" a specific mistake; it's just that some causes lead to more enduring results than others. Getting "heads" five coin flips in a row is not due to nature changing anything; it is just a matter repeatedly flipping the coin enough times. When I decide this morning to have a waffle rather than an egg for breakfast, I don't think it is reasonable to believe that that choice was determined at the moment of the Big Bang. I think it is more reasonable to think my human consciousness was able to make an unpredictable choice. Second, regarding experience itself. I experience my life being full of sensations — color, sound, taste, scent, etc. And yet, none of these exist in nature. Grass may reflect electromagnetic radiation of a certain frequency, but there is no color there. Slamming a door may send shock waves through the air, but there is no sound there. We have evolved to have receptors of data about our bodies and our surroundings. But evolution has also created brains and central nervous systems that make consciousness possible, but the raw data bombarding us is useless as raw data; it must be interpreted. So where does data turn into the experience of color? Not in the rods and cones of our eyes. Not in the neurons of our brains. There is no physical locus where we can objectively show that data has been turned into the experience of color. So I conclude that experience is non-physical, and that our consciousness is affected by external stimulus, but is not totally controlled by it. Hence, our consciousness enables us to choose among real options, and that's free will. Our choices are limited by physical realities, and our ability to carry out our decisions is limited by our physical location and capabilities. Free will does not, to me, mean anything supernatural, anything in violation of natural law. It is the product of natural processes that created, first, life out of non-life, then consciousness out of programmed responses, then human consciousness that permits our decisions to take into account abstract concepts. So, that's what made me side with free will. But that's not a decision against cause-and-effect. It's an addition to cause-and-effect.
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