romansh

Free Will

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free will
noun
noun: free will; noun: freewill
  1. 1.
    the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.

I acknowledge though that our free will is influenced, even directed at times, by our environment, our cultural and societal settings, our experiences, and our thoughts in general. Nonetheless, we still have a will that often we choose to direct. Maybe your computer has free will too. So?

 

 

Computers having free will? I think this is my point ... we can define free will into existence. Your computer is influenced by its environment (cultural and societal settings) and its construction. It certainly is cable of making choices ... take a look at the Boolean logic available in the spreadsheet. The computer responds to its environment. But is it free of cause ... I would say no.

Edited by romansh
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Addiction overrides free will to choose and then to act.

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Addiction overrides free will to choose and then to act.

 

Obviously 'addiction' is a chemistry that over-rides our body's chemistry.

 

Some might argue quite accurately, I think, that I am addicted to the topic of free will. Is my body chemistry addicted to discussing the subject, I think so. Could I somehow break that addiction? Again I think so, but only by developing another one.

 

Also a matter of semantics ... free will itself is not about the ability to choose. We do so all the time. But it is about whether there is some intrinsic self that is independent of cause making those choices.

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Rhino

For this misses the point of the free will discussion completely.

Nobody is arguing the case that we don't make choices. It is about the mechanisms (nature) of those choices that is interesting.

 

I cannot choose to believe in a literal Father Christmas, can you? I used to accept that I had free will, I no longer accept that. In what sense did I choose to accept and not accept free will?

Edited by romansh
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:) 's are always a good idea or helpful to clarify a statement as a joke. But regardless, no harm done.

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my apologies Rhino I missed your response as being a joke. mainly because people do think that making choices is sufficient evidence for free will.

 

As Joseph said ... no harm done.

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Hi, I'm posting here in part because I'm new to this website and someone else has posted here today - all the other threads seem to have been sitting still for the past month or so. It's also a subject that I'm interested in and have thought about from time to time.

 

To me, in the Christian sense, free will means the choice to go with God and to go with Christ. It's a choice and one has to come to it as a free choice, as a decision made within ones self, perhaps deep within ones self.

 

I am actually coming to believe that this can give a person more independence, independence over addiction for instance. That is that the choice to go with Christ and to go with God can give one or enable one to have independence from addiction. It can also give a person independence from mixed up thinking and feelings, {which sometimes can lead a person into somethings like addiction}.

 

I tend to think that at first we are more like children, learning from Christ and God similar to the way that children learn from their parents. As time, understanding and education progress one is more able to make independent, self guided choices and decisions. That is decisions that are in harmony with God and Christ and the Holy Spirit and the cosmic order of things.

 

Do we ever get to be totally independent individuals, yet still are thinking and acting in harmony with God and Heaven? I don't know, but I like to and tend to think so, and more so than not. I'd rather think that JC reached this point and is living there still.

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Hi Elen

I suspect the free will debate predates Christianity.

 

I am not a Christian any more than I am an atheist.

The free will debate is not about whether we make choices or not. I think it is clear that we do.

Using your example of free will means the choice to go with God and to go with Christ. I cannot make this choice, for me it any belief in a vaguely literal sense in Christ is a nonsense. How can I freely choose to go with God (a personal god) and Christ?

 

So the free will debate is more about the how and the mechanisms behind our choices. And once we start using phrases like mechanisms for free will we start having a hard time reconciling a belief that we freely chose to go with Christ as opposed to we were caused to go with Christ.

 

Welcome to the forum

rom

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I’m kind of thinking that part of it is about what lens(es) we see the world and creation through and this will influence what choices we make and this influences and affects our free will.

 

You say you don’t have a choice to “go with God or go with Christ”, because you don’t believe in them. But you do have a choice to go with the truth and the best of your perception and ability as to what the truth is.

 

To me and other Christians, we might feel this will eventually lead you to Christ. I actually believe that Christ and God are alive in the truth, whether it be about big things or little things. But all this is besides the point. Somehow you must be guided by some kind of code that influences how you make decisions, as I guess just about everyone is.

 

Where you make a differentiation between choosing to go with Christ and being caused to go with Christ… I would say that we can be caused to come to Christ, that is we can be caused to see and know what and who Christ is. But at this juncture (whether it takes 10 minutes or 10 years) it becomes up to us, that is that it's our choice, whether to go with Him and God or not.

 

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I think this notion of 'truth' is very vague. What may be one person's 'truth' could be another person's lie. If we have experiences beyond our control, let's say mental health disease or even experiences like sexual abuse, these things can affect our 'choices'. So to say we are free to choose, doesn't seem to fit always for me.

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Hi Paul,

 

I’ve got to say I disagree with you. I don’t think that truth is all that relative. I think that we as people can develop and fine tune or ability to discern what truth is and what is not.

 

Here’s a simple scenario that might show a bit more of what I mean: Person A says something lousy to person B. This leaves them both feeling negative and uncomfortable. To “fix” this Person A goes into a spiel and a bunch of talk and convinces person B that e didn’t really say that. So now it’s no longer part of person B reality that this thing was really said, it’s no longer e’s truth. But, however, it’s still the truth. Now person A still feels kind of uncomfortable about the whole thing, so e goes into a further spiel and talk and convinces em self that e em self didn’t really say that. Now it’s also part of person A’s truth and reality that e didn’t really say it. But again, it’s still the truth – that is that person A really did say something lousy to person B, even though it’s now not part of the truth and reality of either of the two people involved.

 

Another simple and common example might be seen in the following: A bunch of people, even a whole lot of people may not believe that this earth is round. It’s not part of their reality; it’s not part of their truth. However the truth is that this earth really is round or roundish and always has been. So the truth doesn’t always correspond to what an individual’s truth or even a group of people’s truth is. Similarly a group of people may believe that creation stops at the top of our earth’s atmosphere, this is not the truth, and just because it’s been part of large group of peoples reality doesn’t make it any truer or any more so.

 

One could say something similar about slavery, exploitation, abusiveness or oppression. Just because it’s part of a group of people’s reality and truth that these things are acceptable doesn’t mean they are. Nowadays one will find a lot more people who will say that these things are not acceptable and that that is the real truth and the reality concerning these types of things.

 

The thing is not to get caught up in “who’s idea it is” or “where this idea came from” and just to get to the truth – Then everyone wins, because everyone’s got another piece of truth or of the truth.

 

You mention mental illness and abuse, and yes I can see how these things can influence a person’s actions and decision making. These things can affect the lens that one sees themselves, creation, other people and the world around them through. However I do believe that God, JC or even a set of higher principals and ideas can polish, so to speak, and clear up the lens or the set of ideas that we all seem to be perceiving everything through. They may have been stuck in a situation where their lens became marked up or marred in the first place, and there was virtually nothing they could do about it. However they do have a choice to go on and find ideas, insights, principals, spiritual realities and insights or whatever ideas and experiences that can help clear up and “polish” their lenses and enter into another reality or at least into a reality that will also include non-abusive behavious and clearer sense of sanity.

 

Thanks for reading all of this. I know it doesn’t cover these subjects completely, but at least it’s a start and a door opener.

 

E

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Many fundamentalists may think they have the truth but you and i may see that as a dysfunction or lie. If they are trapped in that dysfunction (or blinded by prexisting beliefs) where is their current free choice to choose what we may think we see more clearly.. How is their choice free to make if they can't make it because they are blinded.

 

Truth as a concept also seems very vague to me. Perhaps what appears to us is not at all what it seemed to be in the past. As we learn more what was once true to us may no longer be true and even that 'new found truth' or assumption on our part may prove to be false as we discover even more. Perhaps Truth is more a state of being than any thing that can be conceptualized as truth. Perhaps that is why Jesus is recorded referring to the term "I AM" as the Truth rather than a concept?

 

Just musing,

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Ellen,

 

I think truth can be fixed often, but at times I think it can be relative.

 

Take a coloured wire for example. The majority of people KNOW the wire is red. They KNOW the truth. They can see it with their own eyes that it is red. Who could possibly argue with this obvious TRUTH?

 

Enter the person who's brain is wired slightly different - we call it colourblind. Their reality, their TRUTH is that that wire is a murky green colour. The very same wire, observed by two different people, is a different colour to each. How can we say one is wrong and one is right? One holds the truth and the other doesn't?

 

It's from that angle that I cautiously approach 'truth'.

 

Cheers

Paul

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I’m kind of thinking that part of it is about what lens(es) we see the world and creation through and this will influence what choices we make and this influences and affects our free will.

 

Hi Elen

I agree with you, but I have this theory ...If two lenses point to essentially opposite points of view then one or both of them are wrong.

 

For example if I believed the Earth was six thousand years old, but every scrap of scientific evidence points to a 4 billion year old earth, then either my belief is wrong, the scientific interpretation is wrong or both. And this is deference to Paul's relativism.

 

You say you don’t have a choice to “go with God or go with Christ”, because you don’t believe in them. But you do have a choice to go with the truth and the best of your perception and ability as to what the truth is.

 

I did not say I did not have a choice. I said I cannot make this choice... Here is an experiment for you ... for the next five minutes please choose to a god disbelieving atheist ... just five minutes. I suspect you can't do it. We don't actively choose our beliefs ... at least generally so.

 

But at this juncture (whether it takes 10 minutes or 10 years) it becomes up to us, that is that it's our choice, whether to go with Him and God or not.

 

I would argue it is our surroundings that make this choice for us rather than an innate choice that is in us. I am not in an environment that is conducive to beliefs in Christ and gods in general. My past has also conditioned me to be somewhat skeptical. Of course that might change.

 

But then equally possible, something might click in you and might see things from a more skeptical point of view as well.

Edited by romansh
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Hi,

I just want to say to the people who have made posts directed to me that I'm a bit short on time right now. I'm interested in these subjects however and hope to be getting back with replies sometime soon.

Thanks and thanks for waiting.

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Hi Joseph,

 

From your last post on this thead:

 

Many fundamentalists may think they have the truth but you and i may see that as a dysfunction or lie. If they are trapped in that dysfunction (or blinded by prexisting beliefs) where is their current free choice to choose what we may think we see more clearly.. How is their choice free to make if they can't make it because they are blinded.”

 

I have trouble believing that most of these fundamentalists have no choice in what they think or what they believe in. One of my standards or ways of figuring things out is just by having a feeling that something is off somewhere. That something is not right in my own thinking or that I’ve been taught or told something that doesn’t quite fit right or doesn’t seem right at all. These people must have the same faculty for sensing or discerning that something is missing or some interpretation of something is not quite what it could be or even what it should be at all. They must understand themselves as being free to think, it’s perty hard not to know that one is free to think, at least in the United States, which is where most of these fundamentalists are.

 

 

I gotta think about the second part of your post for a while, honestly I don’t know quite what I think or feel, it sounds rather lovely though. I get it that the more one is in union and in touch with Jesus’s spirit then the more one is able to perceive and discern the truth and also be able to do it in a kind and loving fashion. Is that part of what you are trying to say?

 

 

Thanks - E

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Hi Paul,

Ok let me see if I can address this. You’re saying that two people see the same wire differently, one person is colorblind and the other has regular vision. First let’s establish what ‘red’ really is. I’ve studied a bit about art so I know a thing or two about light and color and that sort of stuff. Red is light being reflected off a pigmented surface at a certain wavelength, the surface reflects more of the red wave length of light than that of the rest of spectrum, and this is what the human eye perceives as red. If a person perceives it correctly or at least the way the human eye is meant to perceive it, or commonly sees it, then this person is perceiving red truthfully. They perceive the truth of what is going on concerning the red wavelength of light.

 

I know someone who is colorblind and this person knows that he doesn’t perceive some colors correctly, particularly red and green. He’s frequently asked other people if something is either red or green. He was a painter to and did some perty good work, but he did have to ask people what color he was painting with from time to time, and learned to compensate for his colorblindness. Apparently some of the cells in his eyes didn’t pick up on certain wavelengths of light or something like that, I’m not exactly sure about the exact medical explanation here. Thing is he knew he wasn’t perceiving the truth or the reality about some colors. He didn’t say well my truth is what it should be and everyone else is wrong or mixed up or something. He knew his eyes were different and like many people with colorblindness got through life dealing with it in a way that didn’t impede his life or the quality of his life very much.

 

Now maybe we shouldn’t say he is seeing things wrong, because that’s not very nice and perhaps not the best way to put things. But he himself would say that he didn’t see things entirely as the really are in terms of color, he would say that he saw things differently and he knew that his truth in the perception of color was not the truth, or to put it more simply not accurate.

 

So in a certain sense his truth was that he didn’t perceive the entire truth or reality about color and the colors in the spectrum that the human eye can perceive.

 

I hope that when we disagree a bit or challenge each other with certain ideas, we can and are doing it in a friendly way, the point being to get clearer perspectives on things and to… *the truth* J

 

Cheers - Elen

Edited by Elen1107
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Hi Romansh,

 

From your last post on this thread:

 

For example if I believed the Earth was six thousand years old, but every scrap of scientific evidence points to a 4 billion year old earth, then either my belief is wrong, the scientific interpretation is wrong or both. And this is deference to Paul's relativism.”

 

I agree with you on this, that either one or both of you is wrong. But here’s the thing, the earth is a fixed number of years old, regardless of whether either of you, or neither of you, or anyone else in the world for that matter knows how old it is. The earth is X number of years old and that’s the truth, and it’s not relative or figurative or adjustable. (we could get into things like when does one say the earth was really formed, was it when it was a big ball of star dust and rubble, is it when it was a ball of molten lava, (I’m not too sure about my science here), was it when it got smashed into by another large object and absorbed that object,… but once that idea is fixed and set upon, people if we can know this answer they/we can say the earth is X number of years old and that’s that, that's the truth and there’s nothing changeable or relative about it).

 

Where you’re saying I can’t for five minutes be a god dis-believing atheist, I don’t know maybe I can. I was one for some many decades of my life. I don’t know if I want to try to fit my thinking back into that mindset, but I think that maybe I could if I really got involved in it.

 

You’re saying that you’re not in an environment that is conducive to Christ and god(s), and that this strongly influences your choices. I’ve been going it alone in my beliefs for quite some time, which is probably why I’m so wordy and perhaps jumping in on this website a bit too speedily. I can find plenty of people who do typical, traditional Christianity around where I live. But finding people who will even hear what I have to say when it differs from the traditional party line so to speak is quite challenging. Still I think what I think, and I reserve the right to be myself in my ideas and my thoughts. I understand it to be my Constitutional right as well as my God given right. I might not tell absolutely everyone, but I am getting better at finding people who will at least let me be who I am and where I’m at, even when they differ with me. Or people who at least find me interesting even if they don’t agree with me.

 

I hope this is all going down or coming out in a friendly and affable manner. That’s definitely the way I’ve taken your post and am figuring or hoping that it’s the way you meant it.

 

Cheers - E

 

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Hi Paul,

Ok let me see if I can address this. You’re saying that two people see the same wire differently, one person is colorblind and the other has regular vision. First let’s establish what ‘red’ really is. I’ve studied a bit about art so I know a thing or two about light and color and that sort of stuff. Red is light being reflected off a pigmented surface at a certain wavelength, the surface reflects more of the red wave length of light than that of the rest of spectrum, and this is what the human eye perceives as red. If a person perceives it correctly or at least the way the human eye is meant to perceive it, or commonly sees it, then this person is perceiving red truthfully. They perceive the truth of what is going on concerning the red wavelength of light.

 

I know someone who is colorblind and this person knows that he doesn’t perceive some colors correctly, particularly red and green. He’s frequently asked other people if something is either red or green. He was a painter to and did some perty good work, but he did have to ask people what color he was painting with from time to time, and learned to compensate for his colorblindness. Apparently some of the cells in his eyes didn’t pick up on certain wavelengths of light or something like that, I’m not exactly sure about the exact medical explanation here. Thing is he knew he wasn’t perceiving the truth or the reality about some colors. He didn’t say well my truth is what it should be and everyone else is wrong or mixed up or something. He knew his eyes were different and like many people with colorblindness got through life dealing with it in a way that didn’t impede his life or the quality of his life very much.

 

Now maybe we shouldn’t say he is seeing things wrong, because that’s not very nice and perhaps not the best way to put things. But he himself would say that he didn’t see things entirely as the really are in terms of color, he would say that he saw things differently and he knew that his truth in the perception of color was not the truth, or to put it more simply not accurate.

 

So in a certain sense his truth was that he didn’t perceive the entire truth or reality about color and the colors in the spectrum that the human eye can perceive.

 

I hope that when we disagree a bit or challenge each other with certain ideas, we can and are doing it in a friendly way, the point being to get clearer perspectives on things and to… *the truth* J

 

Cheers - Elen

Elen,

I would argue that your friend is seeing the 'truth' as it is for him, regardless of societal expectations as to what is 'normal'. His brain is wired the way it is, so to him the truth about 'red' is different for him that it is to another. That doesn't mean he is seeing things inaccurately, in fact they are 100% accurate and true for him, it's just that roughly 92% of other males in society don't see his truth the same way. I'm sure if you're friend lived in a situation where 92% of the population were colour blind and only 8% saw 'red' the way I do, then I would be arguing that that this 8% also have their truth albeit different to the truth of the others.

Please know that I will always participate in these debates in a friendly way. Sometimes I hold strong views and may try too hard to convince others to hold my point of view, but I am aware of this shortcoming and try to reign myself in from time to time. :)

Cheers

Paul

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Hi Joseph,

 

From your last post on this thead:

 

Many fundamentalists may think they have the truth but you and i may see that as a dysfunction or lie. If they are trapped in that dysfunction (or blinded by prexisting beliefs) where is their current free choice to choose what we may think we see more clearly.. How is their choice free to make if they can't make it because they are blinded.”

 

I have trouble believing that most of these fundamentalists have no choice in what they think or what they believe in. One of my standards or ways of figuring things out is just by having a feeling that something is off somewhere. That something is not right in my own thinking or that I’ve been taught or told something that doesn’t quite fit right or doesn’t seem right at all. These people must have the same faculty for sensing or discerning that something is missing or some interpretation of something is not quite what it could be or even what it should be at all. They must understand themselves as being free to think, it’s perty hard not to know that one is free to think, at least in the United States, which is where most of these fundamentalists are.

 

 

I gotta think about the second part of your post for a while, honestly I don’t know quite what I think or feel, it sounds rather lovely though. I get it that the more one is in union and in touch with Jesus’s spirit then the more one is able to perceive and discern the truth and also be able to do it in a kind and loving fashion. Is that part of what you are trying to say?

 

 

Thanks - E

 

E,

 

I have no trouble believing it because i was also once blinded and perhaps still am in some areas. Even Jesus is recorded saying "Forgive them father for they do not know what they are doing" As Rom has said , we make choices, but how free are those choices? (especially if we do not know what we are really doing) Every choice i have made in life i made under the limitations that were present at the time. In my experience, we are blinded by our strong beliefs and opinions until some stimulus happens that breaks us through that barrier. Or as Jesus is recorded saying in effect .... because you say you see you cannot see....if you were blind, then would you see. I have found that as we discover or uncover that which is false, that which is true surfaces of its own accord with no credit to myself. In essence concerning choices, in my view of things, people could not have chosen otherwise than they have in the past. To think differently is in my view hypothetical, with no existence in reality. The present however always has the potential for change based on past experiences and present stimulus.

 

On your second part of your response, you are close enough to what i meant. It seems to me it is about connection. Truth is always present like the Sun whether we see it or whether it is hidden by clouds (obscuring obstacles... like strong opinions and beliefs and false assumptions). In my view, it is abstract and beyond concepts.

 

Joseph

 

PS In my personal experience, just having a feeling about something cannot always be trusted to discern what is true

Edited by JosephM
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Hi Paul, (in reply to your post #73 on this thread)

 

This has got nothing to do with societal expectations or the way most people do or don’t see.

 

Say there was only one person on earth that could see the color purple. Purple is still a real phenomenon of color and light. If this person is the only one who can see it 'e is still seeing something real and true, and is seeing more of the light and color spectrum, that the human eye can perceive, and therefor perceives more of the truth and what is truly going on in the realm of color and light.

 

If a dog smells and hears more than you and I do, it’s not a matter of 'es reality verses your and my reality. The dog really does pick up on more real and true sound waves then you and I do, and more real sent fumes too. The dog is more perceptive concerning sound and sent and picks up on more real true sounds and scents. One could say that 'e is more aware of the truth or more in tune with the truth concerning sent and sound. These are real scents and sounds whether you and I can perceive them or not.

 

A color blind person does not see the truth; he doesn’t see the truth concerning light reflected off colored or pigmented objects. This is not a moral judgment; there is nothing morally wrong with this person. It’s not like he doesn’t see the “truth” that one shouldn’t go around cutting down and messing with everyone he meets. There is nothing wrong with this person; he just doesn’t see the vibrations and wavelengths present in light reflected as red, because of the cells in his eyes are not of the type that can detect them. The light waves are still truly there, they are still a true and real thing, he just can’t see them.

 

You say:

 

Please know that I will always participate in these debates in a friendly way. Sometimes I hold strong views and may try too hard to convince others to hold my point of view, but I am aware of this shortcoming and try to reign myself in from time to time. :) – me too - thanks

 

Cheers – E

Edited by Elen1107
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