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Old 16th June 2019, 06:41 AM   #1
HansMustermann
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Theological free will argument. What does it even mean?

So I'm sure you've all heard the theodicy argument that God can't prevent, say, Ted Bundy from killing all those women because that would have denied good ol' Ted his free willy... err... free will. (The question of whether those women's having a choice to live would have counter-balanced that is usually glossed over.)

(And I'm not particularly interested the invariable "ah, but if you take choices because of reasons, you don't have free will" soapbox that seems to be summoned every time one even mentions free will. While it may be interesting in its own right, it's not particularly relevant for the question I'm about to ask. I'm talking only in the basic sense of whether God prevents it or not.)

And it seems to me like if the operative definition is some form "God isn't stopping you", then the whole theodicy argument becomes circular. Then it's just God doesn't stop a serial killer, because God doesn't stop him.

So essentially, what does that argument even mean then?
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Old 16th June 2019, 07:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So I'm sure you've all heard the theodicy argument that God can't prevent, say, Ted Bundy from killing all those women because that would have denied good ol' Ted his free willy... err... free will. (The question of whether those women's having a choice to live would have counter-balanced that is usually glossed over.)

(And I'm not particularly interested the invariable "ah, but if you take choices because of reasons, you don't have free will" soapbox that seems to be summoned every time one even mentions free will. While it may be interesting in its own right, it's not particularly relevant for the question I'm about to ask. I'm talking only in the basic sense of whether God prevents it or not.)

And it seems to me like if the operative definition is some form "God isn't stopping you", then the whole theodicy argument becomes circular. Then it's just God doesn't stop a serial killer, because God doesn't stop him.

So essentially, what does that argument even mean then?

In the context you're talking about, free will refers to two things. One is an ongoing observed pattern, usually interpreted as the result of a divine policy, of God not intervening. "God didn't stop Ted Bundy because God doesn't do that kind of thing in general." Phrased as "... because free will" instead. That's not circular, though of course it don't explain the next layer of why (why that pattern or policy exists).

The other is a created quality of humankind. Hypothetically, an omnipotent creator could create beings incapable of murdering, but didn't. (Or, in some versions, he did, but still created them capable of disobeying and eating from the Tree of Knowledge and therefore, subsequently, murdering; so it comes down to the same idea in the end.) We were created with "free will" instead.
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Old 16th June 2019, 07:15 AM   #3
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Well, I did mention theodicy, and in that context the question is "WHY doesn't an omnibenevolent God do that kinda thing?" It seems to me like saying "because he just doesn't" isn't really answering the "why", is it?

Edit: and really, the whole point is salvaging the trinity of omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence. If God can't intervene, or wasn't paying attention, or plain old didn't care that much about the victims, there we go, problem solved. But if one wants to save all three, which really is what theodicy is all about, then just going "because he doesn't do that kind of thing" seems to me like it's not actually doing much.
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Old 16th June 2019, 07:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I did mention theodicy, and in that context the question is "WHY doesn't an omnibenevolent God do that kinda thing?" It seems to me like saying "because he just doesn't" isn't really answering the "why", is it?

Edit: and really, the whole point is salvaging the trinity of omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence. If God can't intervene, or wasn't paying attention, or plain old didn't care that much about the victims, there we go, problem solved. But if one wants to save all three, which really is what theodicy is all about, then just going "because he doesn't do that kind of thing" seems to me like it's not actually doing much.

Okay, fair enough. Theodicy doesn't really kick in until that next layer of why it was important (and ultimately benevolent) for people to have free will is addressed. That usually involves bringing in additional elements, when end up qualifying one or more of the omnis. Such as, some kind of "deeper" laws that constrain how things and beings may be brought to perfection, that forces a roundabout route aka "ineffable divine plan" (which qualifies omnipotence). Or a Book-of-Job-like divine curiosity about how things will turn out if left undirected (which qualifies omniscience).
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Old 16th June 2019, 02:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Theological free will argument. What does it even mean?
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
... of course it don't explain the next layer of why (why that pattern or policy exists).

I guess it means that God prefers having pets that will growl at others, but run mewling and purring to Him. He prefers pets that follow His orders and roll over, while scorning others' instructions. And all this, not because He programmed them thus, but because this is what they freely choose. Because that would be evidence, then, not merely of God's programming skills but of His inherent goodness and loveableness.

That's kind of narcissistic of God, but not necessarily illogical of Him. It's a mechanism for Him to derive comfort, provided said pets follow the script.

I don't suppose you can stick this in the Bible or in a sermon, but it's a very human thing, this kind of hankering for comfort, so it may have made sense to those who devised that whole theodicy position.
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Old 16th June 2019, 10:51 PM   #6
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Because Christians forget that they ACKshully worship the god of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:15 AM   #7
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This is all easy.

If we didn't have free will, then God would be responsible for all the bad things that people do. Since God is all loving a d all that, and therefore cannot be responsible for the bad stuff people do, we must have free will.
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So I'm sure you've all heard the theodicy argument that God can't prevent, say, Ted Bundy from killing all those women because that would have denied good ol' Ted his free willy... err... free will.
Free Will means you can't use bad actions to show that an all-good god doesn't exist.
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Free Will means you can't use bad actions to show that an all-good god doesn't exist.
God still could have created only people who he knew would live basically good lives out of their own free will. Zygote Hitler never implants in the womb and the world is less evil without violating anyone's free will.
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by nelsondogg View Post
God still could have created only people who he knew would live basically good lives out of their own free will. Zygote Hitler never implants in the womb and the world is less evil without violating anyone's free will.
Yeah but that one's just one more point of evidence that God's either a dick or an idiot.
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:48 AM   #11
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Another out for the apparent contradiction in omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent deity is if nothing we experience matters because it's unreal: if this existence is a simulation and the afterlife is the real thing then cruelties here don't matter, we only think they do while we're inside the simulation. Or perhaps it's a numbers thing: at worst you could have a century of horrific suffering, but afterwards eternal bliss which by length of time means the horrible bits are statistically insignificant. Perhaps we even get our memories erased upon death so there's no lingering psychological issues from it.
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Old 17th June 2019, 12:50 PM   #12
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I think the OP question requires us to accept for the sake of argument, that God does actually exist … and on that basis it asks why would God create humans with free will.

Afaik, the Christian answer is to say that if God had not given us free will, but instead created mankind with perfect behaviour of the kind that God completely approved of and condoned, then humans would never need to learn for themselves the truth of God and the truth the of bible etc.

On that basis, it seems the Christian explanation is one that says God wants people to learn for themselves that they should follow the faith.

I'm not sure that is actually a very satisfactory explanation, but it is afaik the one most commonly presented by Christians.

However, on that basis it seems a bit strange that in Catholic Christianity people are encouraged to continually make “confessions” of their sins. So that they can just keep doing that over & over again to be absolved of one sin after another. So what then happens when those people die and their souls go to heaven, where presumably they just carry on repeating all sorts of sins for eternity and asking each time for forgiveness. What is God's reason for filling heaven with millions of sinning people/souls like that?

If souls exist (pretty unlikely, I think) then would it not have been better for God to fill heaven with atheists who try not to lie, cheat & deceive without thinking that their wrongdoing can be washed away by a confessional at a local church.

Obviously I'm not thinking that merely being an atheist means you never do any bad things. But I'm just noting that one of the things that's often said in favour of atheists is that, unlike Christians (or Muslims), they do not need the threat of God's almighty wroth in order to be “moral” for example.
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Old 17th June 2019, 01:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So essentially, what does that argument even mean then?
Nothing.

It's a convenient answer to give to people who ask awkward questions.

Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Because Christians forget that they ACKshully worship the god of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas Saul of Tarsus/St Paul
FTFY.

No Acts: no Summa Theologica.
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Old 17th June 2019, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I think the OP question requires us to accept for the sake of argument, that God does actually exist … and on that basis it asks why would God create humans with free will.

Afaik, the Christian answer is to say that if God had not given us free will, but instead created mankind with perfect behaviour of the kind that God completely approved of and condoned, then humans would never need to learn for themselves the truth of God and the truth the of bible etc.

On that basis, it seems the Christian explanation is one that says God wants people to learn for themselves that they should follow the faith.

I'm not sure that is actually a very satisfactory explanation, but it is afaik the one most commonly presented by Christians.

However, on that basis it seems a bit strange that in Catholic Christianity people are encouraged to continually make “confessions” of their sins. So that they can just keep doing that over & over again to be absolved of one sin after another. So what then happens when those people die and their souls go to heaven, where presumably they just carry on repeating all sorts of sins for eternity and asking each time for forgiveness. What is God's reason for filling heaven with millions of sinning people/souls like that?

If souls exist (pretty unlikely, I think) then would it not have been better for God to fill heaven with atheists who try not to lie, cheat & deceive without thinking that their wrongdoing can be washed away by a confessional at a local church.

Obviously I'm not thinking that merely being an atheist means you never do any bad things. But I'm just noting that one of the things that's often said in favour of atheists is that, unlike Christians (or Muslims), they do not need the threat of God's almighty wroth in order to be “moral” for example.
I'll try a brief Catholic response to a few things.

1. God is not bound in the sense of the sacrament of reconciliation is not a magic ritual (I mean, from your perspective it may all be woo-hoo, but it's not magic in the sense of perform a ritual and get a result ). If you confess with some degree of contrition, even if you think it likely you'll sin again, that's valid because you don't want to sin again even if you think you likely will continue the behaviour. But if you confess without remorse, knowing that you will 100% kill someone again next week (or whatever), you're not repentant, and even if the priest you confess to doesn't know this and speaks the words of absolution, that doesn't mean your sins are forgiven, because you didn't genuinely repent even to some extent.

2. The Catholic teaching is that humanity was created to be in relationship with God, which requires free will. E.g. God does not want humanity to do evil, but it's necessary that they have the freedom to choose.

3. The Catholic teaching about purgatory is in part based on a notion that people when they die aren't generally ready for Heaven, which relates to some of your post.
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Old 17th June 2019, 02:52 PM   #15
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Ah yes, the free will thing. A desperate parry by the religious to deflect the telling blow, that God has flawed judgment and less than perfect creating skills. God is absolved of all blame and man cops it, for having the gall to turn out less than perfect, after God made him so.
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Old 17th June 2019, 03:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So essentially, what does that argument even mean then?

I have a theory that the only power God actually has is the ability to make it rain. He can't interfere with free will. He can't send earthquakes and stuff that would really mess up the whole grand plan for tens of thousands. So, the best he can do is make it really inconvenient for you to get somewhere.

On the other hand, Exodus says in multiple places that God "hardened the Pharaoh's heart" which, to me, sounds like he interfered with free will. So, it all probably adds up to a series of retcons and half-explanations that boil down to nonsense.
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Old 17th June 2019, 04:36 PM   #17
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Not only it's in Exodus, which, you know, is OT and at least the Catholics take it as metaphor, but it's confirmed by Paul in the NT. Check out Romans 9. Furthermore, 9:18 makes it sound like a more common thing: god hardens whoever he wishes, and shows mercy to whoever he wishes. And then in 9:19 and forward it takes a turn into the absurd.

9:19 is man asking basically what any rational person among us would: well, why find fault with me, then? I can't resist God's will.

And according to Paul it's pretty much just because it serves His purpose. He'll make some people specifically to take his wrath out on.

It's pretty safe to say that "free will" wasn't much of an argument for Paul.
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Old 17th June 2019, 07:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
I'll try a brief Catholic response to a few things. (...)

2. The Catholic teaching is that humanity was created to be in relationship with God, which requires free will. E.g. God does not want humanity to do evil, but it's necessary that they have the freedom to choose.

Yes, but why is that? That next-level 'why' is probably what OP's asking. I ventured an answer in #5, but that's just me pseudo-psychologist-ing God apologists. Is there a doctrinaire answer to that next-level 'why', in RCC terms?
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:08 AM   #19
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Also note that I'm not talking about completely eliminating all choices. Just about being allowed to harm others. Humans could still jolly well choose what they sow this spring, or whether they want to become a carpenter or a plumber, etc.

What I'm getting at is that answers boiling down to either you have free will or not, are a false dichotomy. Some choices you have, some choices you already don't (e.g., you can't decide to flap your arms and fly away), and some choices basically you shouldn't have.

I mean, if you have a son, you might leave him all the choices in the world, to let him learn his own lessons. You might allow him to try his hand at paining, or at collecting stamps, hell, even let him try wearing a dress if he wants to. But if one day you catch him trying to murder his sister, you stop him. You don't go "ah, but it's important for him to be able to choose that too." The thought that if you stop that one action, then truly he has no free will left wouldn't even cross your mind.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Free Will means you can't use bad actions to show that an all-good god doesn't exist.

And also that you can’t use good actions to show that an evil god doesn’t exist.
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Old 18th June 2019, 01:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
... e.g., you can't decide to flap your arms and fly away)...
That isn't an example of no-free-will.

I understand your larger point, the nuance/qualification you express in that post, but I just wanted to point out that that example is misplaced. Not being able to flap your arms and fly has nothing to do with free will or its lack.
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Old 18th June 2019, 04:55 AM   #22
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I THINK it does, actually. If you had a circuit* in your brain that stopped you when you try to intentionally kill someone how's it different from having gravity stopping you from going upwards? There's some physical limitation that keeps you from doing something. It can be a law of physics, or a hard-wired synapse, it's still a hard limitation.

But ok, I can come up with a more direct analogy. You are wired so you can't hold your breath to death. You may want to. You may even try to. But past some point the autonomic circuitry takes over, essentially overriding your free will on the topic. How would it be any different if you had a circuit that stopped your hand when you try to intentionally kill someone?


* And actually we kinda do that kind of circuit in the form of the mirror neurons. About 99% of the people really don't like killing someone else. They will avoid it if at all possible, down to actually not shooting at an enemy that's shooting at them in a war. And will tend to get a severe case of PTSD if they end up killing anyone.

The problem are the other 1% for which this circuitry is broken.

So the theological question is even funnier, really. So God is ok with putting a soft limit on our free will. (Soft in that it's possible to override, but very unpleasant.) Except a minority people apparently need to have that kind of free will unimpeded. Err... why?
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Old 18th June 2019, 05:39 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That isn't an example of no-free-will.

I understand your larger point, the nuance/qualification you express in that post, but I just wanted to point out that that example is misplaced. Not being able to flap your arms and fly has nothing to do with free will or its lack.
Why not? It certainly is something that you are not allowed to do. Oh, I know, because of the laws of physics or whatever. But God created those laws of physics that prevent us from doing that. But that just begs the question.

God could have just as well created something that prevented us from making that decision to kill another person.

As soon as you start adding conditions on that free will issue, you really dilute it. Free will only applies to places where we are able to make a decision? Why aren't we free to make decisions in other situations? God has no problem restricting those decisions....
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Old 18th June 2019, 05:42 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I THINK it does, actually. If you had a circuit* in your brain that stopped you when you try to intentionally kill someone how's it different from having gravity stopping you from going upwards? There's some physical limitation that keeps you from doing something. It can be a law of physics, or a hard-wired synapse, it's still a hard limitation.
And I would add, it's not our responsibility to devise the system for the limitation. That, we can leave, up to the omnipotent, omniscient god.

If God can't devise a process by which we are unable to choose to kill someone, what does that say about his omnipotence? (and it's not like this is logic problem, either)

Add in omnipotence, and suddenly that whole free will thing gets even trickier.
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Old 18th June 2019, 10:44 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I THINK it does, actually. ...

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Why not? ...

No, because free will or its obverse is to do with will, and not the execution of that will. The execution part, the ability part, would appear to be a non sequitur.

(IMO, that is. And I'm no authority on this, probably no one is an authority on this, so I could be wrong. But the term itself seems to suggest this.

That quote, for instance -- can't recall whose, and am too lazy to look it up, probably am predetermined not to look it up, heh -- goes something like this: You can do what you will, but you cannot will what you will. Something like that.)

Although I suppose if a radioactive eagle bit me and I suddenly realized I could actually fly by flapping my arms, then I'd start willing it, while the rest of you wouldn't even think of willing such a thing, so there's that.
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:11 AM   #26
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So basically if it's the execution part that's impossible, it doesn't count as being against free will? I can roll with that. An omnipotent God could have made the execution part impossible too. So if that doesn't create any free will problems, then why doesn't he?
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That isn't an example of no-free-will.

I understand your larger point, the nuance/qualification you express in that post, but I just wanted to point out that that example is misplaced. Not being able to flap your arms and fly has nothing to do with free will or its lack.
But this doesn't address Hans' point. If one is to go along with the free will argument, then one must accept that God, in his infinite wisdom, separated our potential actions into two categories. He made a list of things you can do (ride a bike, sing, punch Jimbob in the face), and a list of things you can't do (levitate, read someone's mind, cast Magic Missile on Jimbob). Why, then, didn't God put all of the sinful stuff in the second category?
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:35 AM   #28
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
No, because free will or its obverse is to do with will, and not the execution of that will. The execution part, the ability part, would appear to be a non sequitur.
But that completely begs the question. Why can't God just put "killing someone else" in the "we don't have the ability to do" category?

Nope, I'm not buying your apologetics here (and make no mistake, I've heard it before).

The whole "we don't have the ability" justification just begs the question of why not? Why is it ok for God to put "flying by flapping our arms" into the "don't have the ability" category while "killing someone else" is not?

Among the issues that are involved with the question of free will is what choices are we given in the first place? What Hans is saying (and I agree with) is that, if we are not given a choice in the first place, then we don't have a free will to manifest. And if that is acceptable, why are other impositions on free will not ok?
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:45 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
But this doesn't address Hans' point.

You're right, it doesn't. Like I said, I was just pointing out there that that example was probably misplaced, that's all.


Quote:
Why, then, didn't God put all of the sinful stuff in the second category?

Like epeeist says, God wants us to be virtuous, and not sin, not out of compulsion but of our own free will.

But then, why does he want that? Which circles back to asking, why free will? The next-level why. (See Myriad's post.)

I attempted an explanation of that next-level 'why' in my post #5. It seems to make sense.

On the other hand, that was just me gassing away, play-acting at psycho-analyzing those that cooked up the theodicy argument.

What is the doctrinaire answer to that next-level 'why'? I don't know. I've asked epeeist, let's see if he can come up with something.
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:51 AM   #30
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Like epeeist says, God wants us to be virtuous, and not sin, not out of compulsion but of our own free will.
In other words, God wants us to be able to kill each other.

Yes, that is apparent (within the paradigm). It doesn't explain why, though.


(Aside from being baseless, of course).
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:54 AM   #31
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@pgwenthold:

See my post addressed to I Am The Scum, posted just now.

And incidentally, just to be clear, it isn't my apologetics, any more than it is yours. We're discussing a particular nuance of the flat-earth worldview, just for the heck of it, because it amuses us to. We're not actually saying the earth is flat.


ETA: Myriad brought up the next-level why. Very valid question. I attempted a half-assed answer in #5, which makes sense, kind of: but what would be good to have is the actual, doctrinaire answer.

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Old 18th June 2019, 11:56 AM   #32
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Doesn't it hinge on choice? If I have no choices but one I cannot be credited or blamed for doing that one thing. It would be neither sinful nor pious to do that. Only if there are choices we can choose between can we be either good or bad. Free will is necessary if God's judgment is to be fair; otherwise we're just puppets and nothing we do is actually to our fault or credit.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:05 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Doesn't it hinge on choice? If I have no choices but one I cannot be credited or blamed for doing that one thing. It would be neither sinful nor pious to do that. Only if there are choices we can choose between can we be either good or bad. Free will is necessary if God's judgment is to be fair; otherwise we're just puppets and nothing we do is actually to our fault or credit.
Why does God have to do any judgement?

Why doesn't he just celebrate his creations instead of punishing them?

So what if we are puppets? As long as we feel we are acting freely, who cares if it is all part of an underlying plan?

No, the only reason this all matters is because we do bad things. If we do bad things, and we are puppets, then it is God's responsibility. And since it is wrong to attribute bad things to God, therefore, it has to be free will.

Of course, as soon as you question the premise of the (it is wrong to attribute bad things to God), it all falls apart.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:06 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
@pgwenthold:

See my post addressed to I Am The Scum, posted just now.

And incidentally, just to be clear, it isn't my apologetics, any more than it is yours. We're discussing a particular nuance of the flat-earth worldview, just for the heck of it, because it amuses us to. We're not actually saying the earth is flat.


ETA: Myriad brought up the next-level why. Very valid question. I attempted a half-assed answer in #5, which makes sense, kind of: but what would be good to have is the actual, doctrinaire answer.
Right, which is why the question is asked. There is no answer to the question of why. Everything that is brought up, and you have brought up, merely begs the question of why.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:12 PM   #35
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Not really? One answer to that 'why', the one I ventured upthread, is that this is a mechanism for God to derive comfort from. That seems a valid answer, even if only a speculation.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:43 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Not really? One answer to that 'why', the one I ventured upthread, is that this is a mechanism for God to derive comfort from. That seems a valid answer, even if only a speculation.
Why does God derive comfort from humans killing each other?
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Old 18th June 2019, 01:12 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Why does God derive comfort from humans killing each other?
Not from us killing one another, but from us obeying Him by refraining from killing despite us being fully able to kill.

Like I said in my post #5:

God wants pets who follow his commandments and who love him, not because they are programmed that way, but because they want to.

Why?

Because if we love him and obey him because we're programmed that way, that only speaks to his programming skills.

But if we love him of our own free will, if we obey him by following his commandments (despite being fully capable of being indifferent to him, and of violating his commandments), then the message that that gives to God is that he's wise and lovable and respect-worthy. That is the comfort that God derives from us.

Sure, that's kind of narcissistic of God, like I said in my post #5, but not really illogical of Him.


ETA :
And it's a very human sentiment. You'll -- generic "you" -- you'll probably derive far greater comfort from a girl loving you and looking up to you and listening to you of her own free will, for no reason other than she loves you and respects you, than if she were compelled by circumstance to simply obey you. Not much fun or pleasure in the latter.

We make God in our own image!

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Old 18th June 2019, 02:15 PM   #38
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Well, I'm sure most parents would have their children listen to them because they love them and all. But even that has limits for most people. As I was saying if you saw your son trying to do to your daughter what the BTK (bind-torture-kill) killer did to his victims, you might want to step in. You might (or might not) let him learn his own lesson when it comes to stuff falling off a bike. You might or might not let him prove whether he's actually trustworthy with stuff like seeing whether or not he raids the cookie jar or skip school. But, you know, past a point you have to also consider the wellbeing of the other children too.

If you do not, well, one might have reason to wonder exactly how far does your benevolence go. And "I just want to see how much he loves me" might not pass for an acceptable -- or even sane -- answer when the topic is murder.
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Old 18th June 2019, 03:47 PM   #39
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You're right, of course. Like I said, in that explanation of mine God comes across as something of a narcissist. Not illogical, but certainly narcissistic.

And while that narcissism is a very human failing, you're right, we do often rise above that failing of ours. We wouldn't -- that is, the better among us, hopefully including you and I, wouldn't -- subject our loved ones to the difficulties God subjects us to, just to get some comfort ourselves.

I guess God created something -- us -- that has ended up surpassing Him in goodness.

But that's probably a win-win for God. Now he can derive pleasure from his programming skills, at having created something morally superior to Himself.

While also deriving the other kind of pleasure and comfort from the faithful who continue to cut the throat of their first-born in obedience to Him.

God does not come out quite smelling of roses, but he does seem to end up with a win-win.


ETA :

(a) And yes, there are those among us humans who neither obey God, nor are at all benevolent (sometimes even killers). Those would be the rejects, the necessary cost of this whole exercise.

(b) Yes, God does not come out as omnibenevolent in my attempted explanation. So no, it seems I don't earn my doctoral in theology from this thread, although I guess I do answer your question. Because no answer that shows God as less than omnibenevolent will pass muster with God apologists.

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Old 18th June 2019, 05:22 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I'm sure most parents would have their children listen to them because they love them and all. But even that has limits for most people. As I was saying if you saw your son trying to do to your daughter what the BTK (bind-torture-kill) killer did to his victims, you might want to step in. You might (or might not) let him learn his own lesson when it comes to stuff falling off a bike. You might or might not let him prove whether he's actually trustworthy with stuff like seeing whether or not he raids the cookie jar or skip school. But, you know, past a point you have to also consider the wellbeing of the other children too.

If you do not, well, one might have reason to wonder exactly how far does your benevolence go. And "I just want to see how much he loves me" might not pass for an acceptable -- or even sane -- answer when the topic is murder.
Yeah, amazing how God ends up having all these moral limitations. If I could teach my kids to ride a bike without them crashing and getting hurt, I'd do it. Totally. But given that I am a non-omnipotent mortal, I have to do the best I can (and I taught two kids to ride bikes with minimal crashes).

God is supposed to be all powerful. But defenders sure treat him as impotent.
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