Free Will – Is It All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

I think we all have a huge gift from God. It’s one we don’t think about or acknowledge much. It’s the ability to make up our mind to do something whether or not we know it to be right. It’s called free will.

God Hates Sin

We all know what free will is. It’s the ability to act at one’s own discretion. Do you realize that without free will there would be no sin? We’d all be a bunch of robots and sin would not be a part of our programming. Why? God would be the programmer and He hates sin!

If God hates sin and He would be the programmer… wait, how do we know he’d be the programmer? The reason is that God is the mightiest in the Universe, right? I mean, he cast the devil out of heaven, didn’t he? Let’s not get into that subject. At least, not now.

Is Free Will A Gift Or A Curse?

So, we think free will is a gift, then? Or is it a curse? We said there would be no sin if we didn’t have free will, right? So, wouldn’t it be a better world without sin? Yes, it would. But it would be a pretty boring world, wouldn’t it? And there would be a lot of people without jobs. There would be no reason for courts, or lawyers, or policemen. Social workers wouldn’t have anything to do if they rely on people being in trouble.

Differing Views

Determinism, which was started by the ancient Greek philosophers, suggests that only one course of events is possible and it is determined by pre-existing causes, which have nothing to do with free will. Libertarianism says the two are not compatible. In other words, I choose to do something because of my ancestors’ actions long ago. This is complete fiction. Suppose I chose to do something one way, just because my ancestors did it another? Now, I can see where a person might think I chose illogically. But he has the right to think that, doesn’t he? Its because of free will that he might think that.

List Believes In Free Will

Christian List, a philosopher who wrote the book called Why Free Will Is Real (Harvard, 2019), says that he doesn’t think he was pre-determined to be a philosopher. He wanted to become a computer scientist or mathematician when he was younger.  It wasn’t until his last couple of years of high school he developed an interest in philosophy. Now, some people might say that he was pre-determined to be a philosopher, because he developed the desire to be one. I believe he had a choice in the matter.

List believes that the free-will denial we are seeing is because of a reductionistic worldview. Everything is reduced to physical processes. If we take a scientific worldview, it isn’t, he says.

Different Peoples’ Opinions

I asked several people recently for views on free will. I said it would be a boring world without free will. One person said that it wouldn’t be boring because everyone would have different gifts and would be using those gifts. For that matter, people would probably have different gifts than they have now. Maybe not. Also, I was told free will gives us the chance to pick good over evil. Still another said entertainment would be boring without free will and that our world functions on sin. I guess I would have to say that free will gives us the right to pick good over evil, yes, but doesn’t it also give us the right to pick evil over good? I mean, think about it. If we have one choice, don’t we have the other?

Actions Reflect Free Will

Our actions reflect our free will. If we have morality, we would begin by picking good over evil. If we are immoral persons, our choice would be to choose evil over good. But then we have to determine what is good and what is evil. That is free will!

Free will, whether it exists or not is one of the longest running debates of philosophy and religion. We won’t solve the debate here. We’ll just add to the debate. One point is that science would have a hard time explaining human behavior if it didn’t view people as choice-making agents.

Experiment Using Free Will

An experiment, done by Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota and Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, on this was to have a group read a quotation of Francis Crick, a British molecular biologist, saying that free will is no longer taken seriously by intellectuals. The assemblage was then compared to another who had been given another quotation to read and the persons in the first group expressed more skepticism than the second about free will and promptly cheated on a math test they were given to take.

“Doubting one’s free will may undermine the sense of self as agent,” Dr. Vohs and Dr.Shooler concluded. “Or, perhaps, denying free will simply provides the ultimate excuse to behave as one likes.”

“Free will guides people’s choices toward being more moral and better performers,” Dr. Vohs said. “It’s adaptive for societies and individuals to hold a belief in free will, as it helps people adhere to cultural codes of conduct that portend healthy, wealthy and happy life outcomes.”

Conclusion

So I come to a conclusion. Free will is in the eye of the beholder. What does that mean? Well, put a different way, we decide for ourselves whether our actions are out of free will or if we have a determinist view. In my opinion that is the only way we will settle this. If the ancient Greeks couldn’t determine whether or not it is valid, I am not sure we are qualified.

12 thoughts on “Free Will – Is It All It’s Cracked Up To Be?”

  1. Free Will had been debated for many years with many different results.  I do believe that free will is God’s gift to us to allow us to grow to be better people.  Otherwise, our challenges would be few.  As a part of our basic makeup. we have a need to do things for ourselves.  God in his infinite wisdom provided a way for us to grow stronger.  Free will allows us to test our character, our dreams, our ideas of what our path in the world should be.  We often make bad choices, and at those times, would be so helpful if God just took away free will, but he loves us too much to do this. He knows of the need we have to be better people.  Thanks for your thought-provoking article. Sami

    Reply
  2. The question of free will has been a long debated topic. The author has provided a very different side of this issue and has done it really well. This issue forms the basis of the ethos of our society and so much is dependent on it. And the author has correctly said, that it is not easy to pick one side about this topic. Some of the other difference of opinion will always exist over it. Also, I have a question. If free will is dependent on the person’s choice, so won’t that person’s definition of right and wrong will also vary from others?

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  3. Hi Walt

    This is a difficult  question to answer as it will depend if you are religious or not and if you believe in sin or not. Some people will say that free will is an excuse to justify why there is evil in the world and that stops you personally from taking responsible for you action. The problem from a religious  point of view is that they say you have free will and then pose restrictions  on what you can do. This is not free will  but free will with conditions. I personal believe that nobody has free will as society in general pose restrictions  on to what we can do.

    Thanks for an interesting  article. 

    Thanks

    Antonio

    Reply
  4. The question of free will has been a long debated topic. The author has provided a very different side of this issue and has done it really well. This issue forms the basis of the ethos of our society and so much is dependent on it. And the author has correctly said, that it is not easy to pick one side about this topic. Some of the other difference of opinion will always exist over it. Also, I have a question. If free will is dependent on the person’s choice, so won’t that person’s definition of right and wrong will also vary from others?

    Reply
    • It might. As Antonio said, it depends on if their religious or not. Because after all, where do we get our morals from?

      Reply
  5. Hi Walt, although your content is so deep, with doctors and philosopher’s philosophies, my take is that I wouldn’t agree with someone when they say that life would be boring without free will. Because that would be a normal life and it would obviously have its advantages and disadvantages like it is now a case with lfe with free will.

    For me as you rightly said, God as the mightiest of the whole universe, whatever he decided, we as his subjects need to accept as it is. Because questioning his  decisions will only make us even more lost and leave us with even more questions than answers. He alone (Holy Trinity) decided to start this thing called life. None of us was there. That is why it will always remain misterious for us. Someone would say what if it was like this and the other would say what if it was like that until the end of times. 

    Yes free will leads to a sin if you use it wrong and you will perish. That is how life was made. A man is two legged, most animals are four legged, that’s how it is and both have disadvantages and advantages because of how they are. 

    I hope I don’t sound blatant 

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  6. Hey nice article you have there. This is the best article I have seen today, an article that tends to promote God’s word. God has the ultimate power to control all humans to his flocks, but he decided to give humans the free will towards their thought, religion, believes. Freewill from God is not a sin and it’s not meant to be taken for granted rather it should be ultilize towards making good decision that will guarantee ones salvation.

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  7. Hi Walt! permit me to address you as a “critical thinker” because all of your post I get to read got me thinking ” Where is he getting this accurate information from?”.

    I have already saved this post to I can go over it again and also share it with a friend of mine who I think needs to see this. Thanks for sharing this with me.

    Reply
  8. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I must confess i really did enjoyed going through your article. Just like you said i really do think free will is a gift and not a curse and i think God knew that before creating man, i mean how will he enjoy being praised when it is already programmed in us

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  9. Wow! How on earth where you able to relate free will and sin together? you must be a bible scholar or a preacher. Indeed, majority of the sins which we commit is as a result of what we choose to do. I’ve learnt something new today from this article.

    Thank you very must for sharing this with me.

    Reply
  10. Hello there. Thanks you fo this very awesome post on freewill, this I must say is not reallyba topic talked about often in our society but however the importance of it cannot be overemphasized, I believe the reason why people act the way they do is because of thr power of freewill given to man by God, this without freewill verily life will be very predictable and this making it boring to live in because everybody will just be in a straight jacket. Hence freewill is a gift we should thank the creator for.

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  11. I know that finding a good article does not come by so easily so i must commend your effort in creating such a beautiful website and writing an article to help others with useful information like this.Free will is God’s gift to man but how man chooses to use it makes it a sin or not.Take for example,in the story of pentecost,before then Jesus said to his disciples wait and pray until ye be empowered by the Holy Ghost now this is free will,they had the choice either to go and wait while praying or go their various ways but they heeded to the masters words,sometimes freewill may leave us with options but just as you’ve said it lies in the eyes of the Holder.

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