Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kalvinism's Kausal Konfusion

Kalvinism's Kausal Konfusion

Paul Manata has done it again. He revealed a bit too much about his Calvinist worldview. In the comments section of this post, Manata said the following:

Just remember, no one gets deconverted apart from God's will. So, if someone is deconverted by your blog then you've been used as a means by God. God's still using you, John.

Also, you'd have to know that a Calvinist isn't afraid that you might deconvert someone who God chose to be saved. God has determined the number of the elect before the foundation of the world, and there's nothing anyone can do to change it. So, go scare an arminian with your blog.


What Manata says here regarding deconversions is an extrapolation of a more basic premise in the Calvinist worldview: that nothing exists or happens without God wanting it to. God has every intricate detail of the entire universe planned out. Every molecule that moves, every creature that is born, every star that supernovas, and every apple that is eaten, is all planned and willed by God.

According to Calvinism, God's will cannot be defied. Nothing can happen without God willing it to. Broke your leg? God's will. Millions of Jews burned in ovens? God made it so. Deconverted from Christianity? God made you do it. Born with cerebral palsy? That's God's gift to you. Tsunami ravage your village? Forget plate tectonics, it was God's work. Got nailed to a cross? It wasn't Mel, it was God!

Now let's talk about a particular concept. That concept is called "responsibility". Responsibility, according to the evil secular dictionary.com, is:

1. The state, quality, or fact of being responsible.
2. Something for which one is responsible; a duty, obligation, or burden.


And "responsible," according to the evil secular dictionary.com, is:

1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
3. Being a source or cause.


Responsibility is what is assigned to a subject that is the causal agent of a given action or situation. If I, Aaron Kinney, slap you in the face, then I am responsible for doing so. But if God is the one causing everything to happen, then it wasn't really me that slapped you in the face, and it is God that is responsible for that action.

Here is where the Calvinism gets weird. According to Calvinism, God chooses who has faith in Christ and who doesn't. Therefore, neither the theist nor atheist are responsible for their belief or lack thereof. No atheist could be responsible for going to Hell if God chose that person to be an atheist.

And here is where it gets weirder. According to Calvinism, God chooses every action that ever occurs. So who is responsible for the rebellion of Lucifer? And who is responsible for the eating from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden?

Who is responsible for giving humans original sin?

God.

So who, then, is to blame for original sin? Where did original sin originally come from? Who is the real sinner?

God.

So in light of this revelation, let's all join hands and sing a song that celebrates God's gracious carrying of the burden of responsibility:

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous
All evils great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin
Who made the sharks? He did

All things scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all


Crossposted at Goosing the Antithesis.

19 comments:

Robert O'Brien said...

I prefer an omnibenevolent God myself.

Brother Blark said...

Aaron,

Prepare to be refuted.

http://brotherblark.blogspot.com/

In His Name.

Bahnsen Burner said...

Calvinism is nothing more than the cartoon universe premise switched on full blast. We could not say that Bugs Bunny is responsible for his own actions, for he's only doing what the master cartoonist has designed him to do.

Christians want to say that men were made in the image of the Christian god, but they stop short of the idea that what men do is likewise and therefore a reflection of this same god. And yet, this is what their doctrines would logically entail, if they were brave enough to follow their logic.

They condemn men who pursue goals according to their pleasure for elevating pleasure as a motive, and yet they worship a god who "hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Ps. 115:3). They essentially worship exactly what they condemn. Is it any surprise when you find a Christian who is a hypocrite? Hypocrisy is systematically built into their worldview. They want their cake, and to eat it, too.

They do not, however, realize that they contradict themselves when they claim their god-belief is true, for truth presupposes the non-cartoon universe of atheism, and what they are claiming to be true entails the cartoon universe of theism. The basis of truth cannot be arbitrariness. But that's where Christianity wants to ground truth.

Christianity is essentially a psychotic worship of self-contradiction. Of course, they do not admit this; would you expect someone who worships self-contradiction to admit their vice?

They say on the one hand that man did not create himself, that he was created by an omniscient and all-powerful invisible magic being, that this magic being "controls whatsoever comes to pass" (Van Til, DoF, p. 160), but they resist the view that their god is responsible for the outcomes of its creation. They simply contradict themselves, and in insisting on these things, Christians simply tell us about their own character, not about some being which exists in some supernatural dimension.

It is truly frightening how believers, camouflaging themselves as civilized human beings, can allow their minds to become so desperately warped.

Aaron, isn't it nice to have grown beyond such dishonesty? Life is really wonderful now that I can understand what happened in my earlier life.

Oh, and by the way, I'm still needing these pesky glasses! My eyes haven't improved a smidgeon since you posted my prayer request. Perhaps the Christians really didn't want to give their god another chance to fail.

Regards,
Dawson

Bahnsen Burner said...

Oh, and Brother Blark, you go girl!

Brother Blark said...

You're next, burner!

Did you notice my article on TAG?

You're so refuted, and you don't even know it!

http://brotherblark.blogspot.com/

Paul C. Quillman said...

Aaron,
I have not forgotten to respond to you regarding your theory on morals. I have just had a lot of life happen in the last few weeks, and a computer die. I am almost back up on a new machine, and will respond to your question from a few weeks ago, soon.

To the topic you mention in this post, you have an interesting charicture of calvinism. Having spent the last 15 years considering the 5 points, and how they relate to other issues in Scripture, and considering that you are a rather intelligent man, I find that your description of calvinism to be more than a little off. It seems that you have gotten your information from someone who subscribes to some form of palegianism.

The issue of morals and calvinism ties in actually pretty well. To be quite honest, I came very close to posting a partial capitualtion to your view on morals, but then, when you mention Calvin, I was reminded that I could not concede. I'l post more later, probably on my blog, so as not to tie up your bandwith.
Paul C. Quillman

Paul Manata said...

Aaron,

You asked why i was ending PTA? Well, one reason is having to deal with the really horrible arguments put forth by the atheist hoi polloi.

FWIW, check these out:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/08/loaded-dice-1.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2004/04/freewill-skinnerboxes.html

http://www.thirdmill.org/files/english/html/th/TH.h.Frame.FreeWill.MoralResp.html

http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2005Determinism.htm

http://www.bloomingtonrpchurch.org/refdocpre/16.htm

http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V014SECT1

http://www.the-highway.com/freewill_Byl.html

Furthermore, you write,

"Responsibility is what is assigned to a subject that is the causal agent of a given action or situation. If I, Aaron Kinney, slap you in the face, then I am responsible for doing so. But if God is the one causing everything to happen, then it wasn't really me that slapped you in the face, and it is God that is responsible for that action."

Problems:

i. How would these equally not apply to physical determinists? That is, everything you do is determined by the laws of physics. Since, as argued in the posts above and below, this argument doesn't apply to me, this objection is not tu quoque.

ii. How is it "not really me" if God is the one "causing things to happen?" Also, how is "causing" defiend here? You seem to think that our doctrine is like God *forcing* us to do it. But, God causes us to do what we do, and we do it freely. So, state the argument correctly.

iii. Calvinism subscribes to a doctrine of primary and secondary causality. Cf. WCF 3:1; 5:2-3.

iv. We hold that God does not coerce us to do what we do, but rather we *choose* to do it, that's what's required for responsibility.

I'll end with Byl:

FORMING YOUR FATE

Compatibilism implies that God, with his complete knowledge of all his creatures and their decisions, can fully predict all future states of the world. It follows that God knows the future completely. Moreover, God fully knows also how that future would change if he were to alter some current detail. God can thus completely plan how the future will enfold.

Does divine foreknowledge leave room for human freedom? A common objection is that, if God knows that tomorrow I shall mow my lawn, it is therefore true that I shall mow my lawn. Hence I do not have the power to refrain from mowing my lawn. Thus I am not free.

Such reasoning confuses determinism with fatalism. Determinism means that all events are rendered unavoidable by their causes, which include our choices and actions. Fatalism, on the other hand, holds that all events happen unavoidably, regardless of our choices and actions; there is nothing we can do to escape our fate.

Fatalism is a fallacy. It fails to take into account that my will is an active cause that helps to determine my future. Clearly, our choices do make a difference. Else there would be no point in getting out of bed in the morning or driving your car with your eyes open. The fact that our decisions are predictable does not detract from their effect on the future. Although we cannot change the future we can surely help determine what the future will be.

It is sometimes said, even by Christians, ‘You won’t go before your time.’ This saying is fine, as long as its intent is to stop us from undue worry about things beyond our control. It is certainly comforting to know that everything is ultimately in God’s hands. However, this gives us no excuse for irresponsible behaviour, such as, for example, driving an unsafe car at high speed. The time of our death is often closely related to our prior actions. Thus, while our time is surely foreknown by God, it may well have been set largely by our own foolish decisions.

Further, God’s knowledge of our future decisions does not, in itself, influence our decisions. How could it, seeing that we have no access to such divine knowledge? Hence divine foreknowledge in itself does not constrain our freedom. Were our decisions to be different, God’s foreknowledge of our decisions would be correspondingly different.

Such considerations apply also to the need for prayer. One might ask, if all things are determined by God’s eternal plan, why should we bother to pray? The proper answer to this, as Terrance Tiessen (2000:239) notes, is that God has foreseen our prayers and his responses to them. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims, ‘Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear’ (Isa. 65:24). Our prayers help determine the future. They are part of God’s eternal plan.

DO YOU REALLY HAVE A CHOICE?

The most common objection to compatibilism is that it seems to lead to a denial of moral responsibility. Compatibilism implies that all the causes of my choices have previous causes. The series of causes that formed my character goes back to my birth, and even before that. All my character traits, dispositions, wants, and so on can then be traced to prior conditions, such as genetics and environment, beyond my control. Had these conditions been different, I would have been different. How, then, I might ask, can I be held accountable for my choices?

Compatibilists reply that all that is required for moral responsibility is that we wilfully act upon our wants, regardless of how these were formed. We shall elaborate upon this in the next section. First, we shall examine several other views.

The Christian philosopher William Hasker argues that, if compatibilism were true, I could not have acted differently, even had I wanted to. How, he asks, could I have wanted something different from what I want? Since my wants are determined, my freedom to choose is illusory. According to Hasker, real freedom requires that I should be free to change my wants. Hasker concludes that compatibilism is incompatible with moral responsibility (1983:36). This, in turn, Hasker takes to be a strong argument for libertarianism, which he deems to be the only alternative.

Suppose, however, that I were free to change my wants. On what basis would I choose my new wants? On the basis of my present character, with all its wants? That would lead back to compatibilism. Nor does a random change help, for that removes my wants from my control. Thus, Hasker’s objection has no substance.

As we saw, libertarianism, to the extent that it requires chance, is even less compatible with moral responsibility. Although Hasker denies that libertarianism requires chance, he offers no explanation of how libertarianism can be indeterminate without some degree of chance. Nor does he explain how libertarianism can establish moral responsibility.

If moral responsibility were indeed undermined by both compatibilism and indeterminism, where would that leave moral responsibility? As we saw earlier, Derk Pereboom, in his hook Living without Free Will (2001), argues that we have no moral responsibility. He maintains that we can be held morally responsible only if we are the ultimate causal source of our actions. Pereboom contends that, according to our best scientific theories, our world is wholly governed by the laws of physics. Factors beyond our ultimate control cause all our actions. Hence, we are not morally responsible for any of them.

Pereboom concludes that, since we cannot be held morally accountable for our actions, we should therefore change our notions of justice. A murderer, for example, should not be held morally responsible for killing. Therefore Pereboom urges that he should not be given a severe punishment, such as death or imprisonment. Instead, the courts should aim at modifying his criminal behaviour, perhaps through rehabilitation programmes. Obviously, one’s views on free will and responsibility can have serious implications for society.

Leaving aside the perplexing question of how moral and rational ‘oughts’ can function in a world completely determined by physical laws (see Chapter 7), Pereboom’s reasoning still seems incoherent. He affirms that, even though we are not morally responsible for our actions, they can be judged to be morally good or bad. Further, Pereboom clearly expects courts and judges to respond to moral ‘oughts’. Yet, if we are not responsible for our actions, as Pereboom claims, surely this applies equally to judges as well as criminals. How, then, can Pereboom venture to instruct us in how we ought to treat criminals? In doing so he presumes that we are in fact morally accountable, thus contradicting his central thesis.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Contrary to the claims of Hasker and Pereboom, compatibilism does not destroy moral responsibility. This becomes clear when we examine what morality entails. Morality has to do with the rightness and wrongness of actions. In practice, we hold someone responsible for a crime, if that crime was directly caused by an intentional action based on a wilful, informed choice, with full knowledge of the wrongness of the act and the consequences of doing it.

If Jack, a sane man, deliberately sets his neighbour’s house on fire, knowing full well that it is illegal and that it may cause injury or death, would we not hold Jack morally responsible for his misdeed? The critical factor is that Jack’s choice was his own choice, rather than one forced upon him. We might not hold him responsible if he acted at gunpoint or under hypnosis.

Moral responsibility does not require that there are no reasons for our decisions. The freedom needed for moral responsibility is not a libertarian freedom from causation but, rather, a freedom from coercion by forces outside ourselves. Such is the freedom underlying moral responsibility.

What, then, of the argument that, since Jack did not cause his own nature, he is therefore not morally responsible for his actions? It fails. Moral responsibility, as outlined above, involves merely our present capabilities. We are morally responsible when we can act upon our own wants, in accordance with our own will, regardless of how our wants and will may themselves have come to be what they are. We would still hold Jack responsible, even if his vicious character were due largely to an unhappy childhood.

In fact, our nature is such that we intuitively know we are responsible for our actions. We take ownership over our decisions. Our own conscience, a deep sense of guilt and shame, convicts us of our misdeeds. Within our innermost self, we know we cannot shift the blame for our actions on to our past or our parents.

Such considerations also refute a widely held defence of homosexual behaviour. It is often argued that homosexuality is caused by one’s genetic makeup and, hence, the homosexual is not responsible for his behaviour. Whether homosexual desire is indeed genetically determined has still to be proven. Perhaps it is due more to upbringing and life experiences. Perhaps it is more like an addictive habit. However, no matter how one came to have homosexual desires, the fact remains that the homosexual willingly chooses to act upon these desires, knowing that it is sin. Thus, he can be held morally accountable.

We conclude that compatibilism does not erase moral responsibility but establishes it. Moral responsibility exists because we make our choices for reasons. Hence we can be influenced by reasoning, criticism or the prospect of reward or punishment. The knowledge that we shall be held accountable for our actions is itself a factor that influences our actions. On such grounds David Flume (1777:104-107) asserted that it is only on the assumption of determinism that there can be moral responsibility.

The Bible and Responsibility

Thus far we have discussed various philosophical factors regarding moral responsibility. Ultimately, however, morality is established by God. He sets the absolute standards for right and wrong. He assesses our degree of responsibility. He rewards and punishes our actions. The Bible is thus the most pertinent authority to consult on moral responsibility.

What does the Bible teach about responsibility? We can summarize its main teachings as follows:

1. We are held accountable for all our deeds and words, even though these are determined by our heart:

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matt. 12:35-37).

Judas is held responsible, even though his betrayal of Jesus was predetermined: ‘And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!’ (Luke 22:22).

Since we are held responsible for all our voluntary decisions, we are responsible also for the extent that these have formed our character through developing bad habits, addictions, and so on.

2. Our hearts are enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:20), so that of ourselves we have no ability to change them. ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14). ‘So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Rom. 8:8).

The Bible does not support the notion that inability limits responsibility. Man’s heart is sinful from birth and is beyond man’s ability to change. Yet he is still held accountable. The key fact is that we sin willingly. Indeed, ‘Men loved darkness rather than light’ (John 3:19) and, ‘Knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, [they] not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them’ (Rom. 1:32).

Adam, the first man, was created good and upright, in the image of God. Though good, he was not yet perfect: he had the potential to fall. He could freely choose between good and evil. He had the capacity to serve God. Unhappily, Adam chose not to serve that glorious purpose. Giving in to the devil, he wilfully subjected himself to sin and death. Thereafter man became enslaved to sin.

Adam was not forced against his will to eat the fruit. Nor did he do it arbitrarily. On the contrary, Adam did it for reasons sufficient to himself. He acted knowingly, willingly, and spontaneously, with no violence being done to his will. God created Adam as he was; God knew that Adam’s nature and circumstances would lead to his fall. Yet Adam was held fully responsible for his actions.

Fallen man is free to do what he wills, but his will is not free in the sense that it can determine itself. As Henry Stob (1978:152) notes, man responds to his nature, which is what it is, either by sin or by God’s sovereign grace. This leaves human responsibility fully grounded. Nothing more is required for holding a man accountable than his acting with the consent of his will, however much his will may be determined by nature or nurture.

3. Salvation is offered to all who hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16). Yet we are so inclined to evil that, of ourselves, we reject God’s merciful offer.

Jesus remarked, ‘No one can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him’ (John 6:44). Only the almighty operation of the Holy Spirit can change our sinful hearts. ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’ (John 3:5). This is a free gift of grace, entirely unmerited by us. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Eph. 2:8-9). And, ‘For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:13).

The Holy Spirit does not work faith in everyone. Not all but many, ‘a great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues’ (Rev,. 7:9) - the elect, are thus saved: ‘He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will’ (Eph. 1:4-5). ‘And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed’ (Acts 13:48).

Some Christians argue that such election is based on human-generated faith, which God merely foresees ahead of time. One difficulty with this explanation is that it implies that God does not fully foreordain the future. As we noted before, God’s sovereignty entails that all that happens occurs in accordance with God’s eternal decree. Hence, if God foresees our faith, this requires that he has also chosen the world to be such that our faith would come about. Out of all possible universes, God chose that one in which the elect consist precisely of those whom he wanted to be saved.

God could have created each human to have such a character and such experiences that the elect - and only the elect - would of their own free will choose to believe in Jesus Christ. In such a plan, salvation would then depend both on God’s sovereign decree of election and on human choices. It is clear from the Bible, however, that this is not how the elect are saved. As we noted above, the special and powerful operation of the Holy Spirit is needed to bring even the elect to faith.

4. One may object that this is unjust. How can God blame us if our actions are the inevitable consequences of the heart and nature he has given us? This question is addressed in Romans 9:

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy . . . Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy? (Rom. 9:14-23).

We are responsible to God because he is the Creator and we are his creatures. The potter has the authority to make of the clay what he wills. Responsibility entails accounting for our actions to a higher authority. The ultimate authority is God. God is responsible only to himself. Responsibility is what it is because of the power and authority of God. God’s will sets the final standards for morality and justice. Who are we to argue with God?

One might ask, if election is not based on human faith or works, on what basis does God choose his elect? To answer this question we can go no further than the words of God to his ancient people: he set his love upon them and chose them simply ‘because the LORD loved’ them (Deut. 7:7-8). God’s electing love is free, sovereign, unconditional. It is not drawn forth because of anything good or desirable in the object of that love. That is why the Apostle Paul quotes the Lord’s words to Moses, ‘I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’

Brother Blark said...

AWESOME PAUL!!!!

I LOVE IT when you post long articles that thwart the atheists!

YOU RAWK!!!!

We RAWK together for HIM!

The Discomfiter said...

I can't wait until the atheists like Kinney join forces and laugh at brother blark, because then I'll unveil my secret. They'll feel stupid.

That's a hint from the green man, only the wise can discern it.

Brother Blark said...

Discomfiter....your sad, pathetic attempts to avoid the powerful refutation of a real Christian like myself are not fooling anyone.

If only you could be like Paul Manata, he is an example of what a mature Christian, strong in the faith, should be.

But you can't.

In His Name.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanks everybody for the insightful feedback, including Blark and Manata. I will read your material in the morning and hopefully come up with a response. :)

ollywompus said...

Blark, if you are indeed serious about it, you're "TAG" argument is about the most fundamentally flawed argument for the existance of God I've ever seen. (I have a feeling you are just seeking attention, so maybe I should bother responding, but...) You are not even really MAKING an argument, you are instead making assertions that Atheists cannot account for these things.

Logic: How does Christianity explain Logic where Atheism, in your worldview, doesn't? Logic is the study of systems of reasoning. You claim that Atheists can't account for this, how so? Secularism is what has LEAD to logic, while Religion continues to rely on Faith.

Morality: I can very easily account for morality without some supernatural cloud-jockey, and many, many others have done so as well. Rather than explaining it to you, I'll simply point you towards a post of mine that does just that (find it here).

Continuity of the Seasons: This is perhaps the most blatantly wrong argument you could make (again, you aren't really arguing, just asserting, but whatever). I'm not even going to attempt to explain here what science has already done for me. Go to NOAA for even a brief overview.

So, do you have any actual arguments? Or are you just going to assert and be lazy.

Again, my guess is that you are nothing more than someone seeking attention, another fake blogger trying to stir the pot... so we'll find out I guess!

-olly

ollywompus said...

"God causes us to do what we do, and we do it freely."

Paul, you don't seem to understand Causation. If something CAUSES you to do something, how are you FREELY doing it? Causation implies that choice is no longer a factor. God could CAUSE a situation where you were then forced to make a CHOICE, but that means that the choice is not part of the CAUSAL reality.

Example: I'm driving on the freeway at 70mph, when the person in front of me slams on their brakes. Let's suppose I have enough time to react in one of two ways: a.) I can swerve into the lane next to me, or b.) I can slam on MY brakes as well. So in this instance, the person in front of me has caused the situation, but they haven't caused my actions: my actions are still my choice.

On the other hand, if I'm at a dead stop on the freeway, and someone slams into me from behind, then they have CAUSED the accident: the element of choice has been removed for me.

So either God has no direct control over our actions, but simply puts us in interesting situations which we must then choose our own actions and outcome, or God directly causes us to do something. In the first instance, the Cause only goes up to the point of the situation, and has nothing to do with any actions thereafter. In the second it's directly related to action.

In your worldview, which is it?

Saying that "God causes us to do what we do, and we do it freely" is a bit like saying "being high on meth made me kill that person, but I killed them willingly". Even claming that something 'caused you to do something' is a negation of free will (again, unless it only caused the situation, and then you chose freely, but that doesn't appear to be what you are arguing here).

-olly

Aaron Kinney said...

Good one Olly! I like the way you think.

Honestly this chrsitian "god makes us do it but we do it freely anyway" crap is a mix of special pleading and cognitive dissonance.

Anyway, expect some more detailed writing from me in response to Manata's comment.

I want to state right here and right now that I appreciate Manatas serious and thoughtful reply to my post. Manata was the only Christian that even made any serious attempt to reply to this post so far.

Even if Manata and I totally disagree and our personalities clash, I appreciate the moments when he conducts himself in this manner.

Brother Blark said...

Olly---

Prepare to be refuted.

I'll be writing another article tonight.

Blark out.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Aaron:
So no matter what I do, I'll always be a sock puppet?
& here I am, trying just to be the sock that disappears in the dryer. -SIGH-

olly said...

Aaron -- I agree about Paul, and Paul I didn't mean my post to sound antaganistic (or at least I only meant to antaganize your ideas) because I agree that you have very thoughtfully responded.

ON THE OTHER HAND

Blark -- your an idiot. Refute that.

-olly

Paul Manata said...

Hi Olly,

The links and the rest of my post should explain all of that for you.

It would hinge on how you define "free" and many other things.

Look, compatibalism has been defended for a long time, it's not so easy to refute as you make it seem.

By free choice I mean that I am not forced to choose what I choose but choose what I mosty desire., I choose according to my nature.

The nature of a Lion is to eat red meat. if you placed a plate of lettuce and a plate of red meat in front of him he'd choose the meat. Was he "free" to choose the lettuce? Sure.

But what do we mean by "free." What do we mean by "able to do otherwise?"

All of these things need to be defined. They are in the links I provided. Thoughn I don't agree with all of this, here's Stanfords take on the issue of compatibalism:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/#1.1

You're meth example was interesting. Why? because we'd all agree that that man was responsible! So, moral responsibility is not taken away because of the causal factors, in this instance.

Anyway, the links will answer your questions. I don't have time to get into an extended discussion on this matter.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Paul, that was a good comment. Thank you.

I am actually going through the links you provided and preparing a response to Christian Compatibilism.