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    1. #1
      You think this is a game? Acid's Avatar
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      Apr 2010
      Messier 87

      Do miracles take away free-will?

      First off I would like to state the definition of, "miracle" and "free-will."

      Miracle: # any amazing or wonderful occurrence
      # a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent
      # a miracle is an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention. Sometimes an event is also attributed (in part) to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature

      Free-will: # the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies
      # The question of free will is the philosophical question whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions, decisions, or choices.

      If a God were to interfere with any human's life in any way whatsoever, whether it be a positive or negative outcome, that God would thereby immediately take away that person's free-will. Therefore, if any believer were to say that their God had bestowed them or a loved-one a miracle, they would be denying their free-will.

      Does it say in the Bible that God gives a believer free-will?
      I don't know, but my point is that miracles do indeed take away free-will.


      - Acid

    2. #2
      Member Bonsay's Avatar
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      Sep 2006
      In a pot.
      Personally, I was never given a reason to believe in the whole free will exists argument (other than it being a subjective perception). So all these "does god/devil take away your free will if he gives you a lobotomy" debates are full of inconsistencies when "they" bring them up.

      According to some generalized Christian world view nature is deterministic, but we are the agents of free will. (The problem is that there are so many denominations and different Christian religions it's hard to either answer or even make your question without having exceptions.) ...So if God does a miracle, it only changes the already deterministic nature; the situation doesn't change at all from the original one. The point is that as long as he changes the environment it's ok. If he changes the thought you make at the moment you make it - that would be changing free will. So if a miracle creates you an apple, that doesn't stop you free will agencies from working. If God however, hijacks your thoughts (soul) to hunt for apples, that would be interfering with free will.


      My own argument is that if God is omnipotent he's already taking away free will by starting our existence. Look at it from my perspective, according to the fundamentalists themselves: God made me the way I am, for which I am responsible. The way I am is punishable by hell. Where is the free will in this? After much time of debating, this is what I got:

      The usual answer I got was "No, you can still have free will even if God knew/made everything". That tells me that the only essential aspect which needs to be there to sustain the free will hypothesis, for these believers, is that you need to perceive it. So apparently to those who gave me that answer, you can be a slave robot, but you can still have free will (and be responsible for whatever you believe) as long as you feel free.

      Amusingly, this is what some are saying, if they know it or not. God is bored, so he creates slave robot humans. Even though he knew everything we were going to do, meaning he could change it, he still decides to create absurd rules with extreme punishment. We are all instantly guilty - sentencing most to eternal torment.

      So how can we be responsible for something if we are not the first cause? Easy! Create a virtual first cause in every slave robot. If every human has the illusion of free will, he won't be able to escape responsibility for his every thought or action. Does this actually solve the problem of actual responsibility? No, but it does make the fundamentalist's God some asshole who likes to torture sentient beings and it gives the fundamentalists themselves the annoying ability to fantasize about how sinful, bad and inherently evil everybody is as opposed to God. I tried to explain to them how Hitler or they can't really be responsible for their actions (objectively)... but they just couldn't get it and kept repeating "You have free will, you have responsibility..." and ignoring scientific facts, that I can cut out that responsibility right out of their skulls.

      To me, if free will is to have any substantial meaning at all, it has to be "free" (whatever that means) at all levels, not just at the subjective as some emergent illusion of the objective reality.
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    3. #3
      DuB is offline
      Distinct among snowflakes DuB's Avatar
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      Sep 2005
      Quote Originally Posted by Acid View Post
      If a God were to interfere with any human's life in any way whatsoever, whether it be a positive or negative outcome, that God would thereby immediately take away that person's free-will.
      This seems problematic to me. By this same logic, couldn't we also say that if I interfere in your life in any way whatsoever, then I thereby take away your free will? What is it about the interference being specifically an act of God that causes it to have such grave consequences for the free will of those involved? Nothing in your definition of "miracles" dictated that they should have any such effects, it merely defined them as unusual acts perpetrated by a divine entity. It is not clear to me at all how your conclusion follows from these premises.

      Quote Originally Posted by Acid View Post
      Does it say in the Bible that God gives a believer free-will?
      I'm not sure if that bit made it into the Bible (I'm not personally that familiar with the text), but interestingly, the classic philosophical idea of free will is a distinctly Christian idea. The ancient philosophers didn't have a lot to say on the matter. It wasn't until Saint Augustine that we see a focused treatment of the issue. He reasoned that human beings must have free will, otherwise there would be no fair, non-arbitrary basis for God's judgment of whether to send people to Heaven or Hell. Note that the question of free will in this sense is a metaphysical issue regarding the nature of causation, not a matter of external constraints as you've chosen to emphasize.
      Last edited by DuB; 07-11-2010 at 05:32 PM.

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Nov 2007
      I do not agree with your definitions.
      A miracle, I see a miracle as something we do not understand as no event contradicts reality.
      Free-will, is a construction I also disagree with, because will does not take an adjective. What is non-free will? Can you call it will at all?

      I agree with the use of will as used by Plato and in Scripture--Will is the product of judgment. What a body does, its actions, are not will unless those actions are the product of the function of the human mind. You cannot say what a car does, when runnning an act of will.

      Thus, until the mind thinks in accordance with the truth of things, ie. reasons, it cannot produce will. Will is the product of functions of the mind and those functions are very specific abstractions from reality.

      This is the meaning of, You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

      Unless you understand will as a product of a functioning mind, it has no meaning at all.

      Most importantly. The so called miracle's of Christ was a demonstration. History is divided, one might say an outline, on how truth is attained. Perception, conception, will. Christ was to example perception, the second coming conception (He shall magnify mind). This is why there are only two "commings" in history. The third is Will. That is the point man has learned judgment.

      This view of the Scripture, one will not find in any text--unless one can understand the metaphors of the Scripture itself. It is however, about time for the second comming, in history. Try to remember, it is not about cults of personality, nor about mysticism, just the attainment of this will sometime in the future of man.

      What do you think it means when you can be told the future? It means that you did not, can not, will it.
      Last edited by Philosopher8659; 07-11-2010 at 08:05 PM.

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