SocietyVs on Choice & Faith – an Excerpt

Slapdash and I have been having some good convo’s lately – have made me think about what I believe – this is an excerpt of how I see this faith. I must say – she really is a great person and is asking some awesome questions – thanks!!!

Parents restrict the negative/bad choices of their children when they will clearly hurt themselves or others.” (Slapdash)

Correction – you try to restrict their choices – even as a parent it is impossible to control their minds and choices they will make on a daily basis (ex: run away from you in a supermarket, smoke pot as a 15 year old, go into something even when forbidden, etc). You literally could write a memoir and ask your kids to obey it and demand it of them (of all the things you have taught in your life to them) and they might or might not obey…kinda like this whole choices thing we discuss about God (who also left us some remnant of writings to peruse – I would use Jesus’ myself). Interesting parellel for me – at least – this is the way I see the whole thing.

This is the crux of the matter for me – we act as though for choice to matter, God has to step completely out of the picture” (Slapdash)

I don’t think God is out of the picture – this is a viewpoint we adopt when things don’t work out – but it’s not my perspective. The crisis’ we all spoke of in all of these forums have either ended or will end at some point – yet we have a timeline all our own for them (since we play God in that aspect also). Or am I wrong? Will the problems in the Sudan be everlasting? Even dictators get killed, die, or kill themselves. Evil and good work out their own timelines in grudge matches with one another on this planet it would seem – and this is quite common (I am using black n white terms here for no good reason). But maybe things are that simple? Choices come from voices.

And I still don’t get how you can argue free will til you’re blue in the face and still PRAY TO GOD to intercede in this world in big or small ways.” (Slapdash)

Why not? I am free to make chocies irregardless of what any philosophy says either way – in the present tense.

My example is simple – I want to own a home and their quite a few barriers in the way to that goal. Now I can look at this two ways (both of them choices) – go for it (don’t pay homage to doubts) or give up (pay homage to my weaknesses at this point). Now my view of prayer is that God is acting – but he also requires our action in that endeavor – partners of sorts – for what we need (shelter is a neccesity). If I ask, seek, and knock on doors – guess what happens? I get answers to the questions I am asking and helps in removing the barriers to the problem (I ask around about how to solve credit issues, seek out mortgages and financial help, and knock on doors of which people are willing to work with me on this). Then I develop a plan for my goal – let’s say 9 months (following through on my asking in prayer). This is a real situation. I am currently doing this process – I’ll update on the details and struggles I go through (if need be) – but I believe in the end I will own a house even without the actual means to do so at this point (except I have a job). But that’s how this all works for me and I see that as the clear biblical strategy laid down in Jesus teachings. If you ask and recieve nothing – you never asked for something you saw as possible (which is a belief we all hold dear to).

Of course, you get big kudos, SocVS if you never actually pray for God to intervene in this world…because that would at least be consistent. :)” (Slapdash)

I don’t need to pray as much as I need to believe the words that come out of my mouth. This seems to be the problem with the whole dilemma – this ‘what is possible’ ideal?

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “SocietyVs on Choice & Faith – an Excerpt

  1. I think the difference here, though, is the question that I posed to you on my blog — if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that your five year old daughter was about to slit her wrists, and had unlimited power would you stop her? If she were about to kill another child, would you stop her? That is the dilemma that Slapdash and I find ourselves confronted with: we here these characteristics attributed to God: that He knows all these things, and has the power to stop all these things.

    And free will isn’t completely respected, either. No one chooses to be murdered or raped, or any of that (although, there are probably some …). But those who are did not have their free will respected. Someone else’s free will overrode theirs, and so it leaves some with the perception that God values free will above all else. And not even we do that.

    Yes, this is where faith comes into play. But if we see little to know evidence of the typical God attributes played out in this world in a supernatural fashion, what then is the hope of heaven based on?

  2. Heather I appreciate both your and Slapdash’s questions (and writings) – which I think is a very deep issue to get into – and definite answers are very hard to pin down (with philosophy/theology). I will answer as best I can – again – not sure it is something that will totally add to the belief.

    “if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that your five year old daughter was about to slit her wrists, and had unlimited power would you stop her? If she were about to kill another child, would you stop her?” (Heather)

    This is all supposition about both the idea of ‘unlimited power’ and how that all works out (which is pure speculation at best). But my answer to this question would be ‘yes’ – I would stop that action from happening (via my free will)…but does that exactly solve the problem? This issue must be deeper than my choice to advert a problem when the issues are much deeper (it would seem).

    “That is the dilemma that Slapdash and I find ourselves confronted with: we here these characteristics attributed to God: that He knows all these things, and has the power to stop all these things.” (Heather)

    I actually believe that G-d does know all things that are happening but does this pre-require his usurption of actions? If someone believes this then they will have a tough time with the biblical texts – in both the Tanakh and NT writings.

    Even Moses was used to help stop the Exodus (a person with choices) – which mind you lasted somewhere between 300-400 years prior too that. Then we see this theoogical change in the texts with movements away from a theocratic society to one that adopts judges and later kings (people as rulers of the society). This all points to G-d’s non-intervention in the idea of choice (for the nation of Israel).

    Jesus did not use (as a basis) for his whole time amongst the people the over-riding of choice. His teachings leave that absolutely open to the hearer – to follow and nothing more. Even the healings were choices made by Jesus (via feelings of compassion) in which people had not made a choice to be diseased – but did choose to believe Jesus was capable of the act of healing. Jesus never once – from what I can tell – over-rode choice of the individual.

    I think the idea of ‘free will/choice/decision’ is the key aspect within humanity – that God thinks can be ‘good’ (or at least theology does). But that being said – explanation of evil on this planet can also be written back to someone’s choice. My quest in this is to see a theology where choice is not betrayed – as is very realistic in actual life and within those texts (as an explanation of how humans and God interact).

    “And free will isn’t completely respected, either. No one chooses to be murdered or raped, or any of that (although, there are probably some …). But those who are did not have their free will respected.” (Heather)

    I am not talking about respect when it comes to ‘evil’ choices – there is none very evident within the actions we consider evil anyways. Still people made those choices to take advantage over another – these ideas of ‘evil choice’ are taught against in the teachings of Jesus – had the perp even considered aspects of respecting another’s right to exist – these convo’s would be a moot point. Problem is not all people respect others (core to this faith) and they also have choices to make – some of them we rather despise/hate (ex: murder and rape)…yet I see choices being made. So if free-will is violated by another – G-d should intervene – always? This is very dependant on how one looks at this – maybe He has?

    “Someone else’s free will overrode theirs, and so it leaves some with the perception that God values free will above all else. And not even we do that.” (Heather)

    I think we – as self-valuing people – do that all the time – unless there is some society where people/humans live on leashes in the hands of other humans? What you’re pointing out is certain incidents where someone violates another’s freedom to live – which does not mean this is an always thing (just an incident of betrayal one human to another). I think in this faith we try to make sure this does not happen – at least the teachings point there. And this by freely reading and enacting the teachings of respect for ourselves and others – in a theological framework.

    That being said evil does exist and we condemn it (by law) and if not – with our actions to not committ said atrocities. What’s wrong that view exactly? G-d respects our choices – which shows the strength of character and in my opinon ‘worship’ of Him. Omniscience does not neccesarily pre-set the condition for action. And even if it does – how could we be totally sure – even with a very sound understanding of a character trait none of us possess? We get stuck with questions – and seek answers to that question – but if this is given as a reason to cast off G-d (which I have heard a lot of times) – then even by logic we face the obvious problem mentioned above – we have nothing to test concerning ‘omniscience’.

    “Yes, this is where faith comes into play. But if we see little to know evidence of the typical God attributes played out in this world in a supernatural fashion, what then is the hope of heaven based on?” (Heather)

    By typical G-d attributes why can we not so much as take into account the idea of Jesus’ teachings – which touchdown in a time and place and then filter through history to us – giving us this hope and reason to act ‘good’? These teachings exist and they have been attributed to ‘G-d’ – as His words – in the lenses of human mind and penmanship. They have existed for 2000 years which in some senses leaves very little exuse for those who have heard to act a psycho (if they cannot listen to grace they have the law of the country as their testemant also)…but nonetheless we still have the human problem/glory of choice. I see some supernatural breaking into the human sphere – in the written words/experiences penned.

    What is heaven based on…teachings more or less – and that is about it. Maybe some have had expereinces with this aspect but basically this all falls upon Jesus’ shoulders – his teachings about the kingdom of heaven – which are more about the personal values we adopt than about worrying about the next life so much. But the resurrection idea is the hope of the afterlife if anything – now this is all based on the gospel writer’s claims and what we choose to believe in that sense (did it or did it not happen?).

    Not saying I have some finality on this issue – I definitely do not – but I am answering to the best of my ability – and it is very limited.

  3. Society,

    **- I would stop that action from happening (via my free will)…but does that exactly solve the problem?** It would keep both your daughter and her potential victim safe: your daughter safe from the choice she was about to make, and the victim safe to keep his/her life.

    **My quest in this is to see a theology where choice is not betrayed – as is very realistic in actual life and within those texts (as an explanation of how humans and God interact). ** Choice is not betrayed at all? Because this sounds like it means the ability to make a choice is valued, even if that means someone making a deliberate choice towards mass genocide.

    **I think we – as self-valuing people – do that all the time**

    Except we don’t. If we valued free-will above all else, then why would there be rules to moderate behavior? Why would there be rules against theft, or murder, or even the legal age of driving and drinking. Rather, our society promotes free will that is tied to responsibility. You are free to choose your path up until a point: if your path means that you’ll start stealing from all your neighbors, then people step in and stop you, and thus curtail your free will. We value free will within reason: that people can live where they want, do the job they want, raise and educate children as they see fit and marry who they want. But even those aspects I mentioned are within reason — we can’t marry five people at once, nor can we choose to completely not educate our children.

    ** G-d respects our choices – which shows the strength of character and in my opinon ‘worship’ of Him.** Every single choice? Even those choices that result in someone suffering a beating through no choice of his/her own? I just get stuck back to images I’ve seen when the Holocaust camps were first liberated. If I told a survivor that God is all-powerful and yet respected their free will, I would fully expect to get slapped, because it’s almost dismissive of what they went through. Their free will wasn’t respected at all, and it’s situations like those where I see the free will argument fall apart.

    I do think this utlimately comes down to a matter of theology. If you meet someone who flat out did not believe in God for the reasons I addressed, and yet lived a good life that served a lot of people, I don’t think you’d turn around and say the person still ends up in hell because the person held the wrong beliefs. That is the mindset I’m protesting: those that say God is all-good, all-powerful, all-loving and completely just, and one must believe certain facts about God or suffer eternal punishment/seperation. Yet many will say that they see no evidence for all those claims about God, and so cannot honestly worship the God presented. The person is then condemned to hell.

  4. “It would keep both your daughter and her potential victim safe: your daughter safe from the choice she was about to make, and the victim safe to keep his/her life.” (Heather)

    But since this is a scneario of humans – we would have to take into the aspect of actual learning – an ideal we are not considering in aspect to the Holocaust (since it would be offensive to say this to them personally) – but we are more than happy in history texts to say just that – we learned the evils of the Nazi Regime by this aspect of the war and condemn it. Again, since the Sudan exists obviously we have not learned this as a ‘nation’ – heck not even Israel is stopping that Genocide (and they have been victims of this kind of brutality)…isn’t that part of the problem here? We thought we learned this would not be tolerable at all via history – but how many more of these events do we need before we (as nations) cannot accept them anymore? I am not saying there are more lessons to be learned – but as nations of choice – we have betrayed what we already knew.

    But the same aspect about the daughter can be used in regards to my faith in God. I haven’t had anything bad happen to me since I started this venture into this faith – is it me or is it God? Who do I congratulate? I know I have made a lot of choices to prevent trouble in my life – but not all the time – yet evil has not happened (not stabbed, not shot, not violated, not beaten, etc) – and my life continues in an upward healthy swing. I am clouded by this experience – as if God has made it this way and I was given choices on the path to follow (ie: for peace). Sorry – it just is what is – which ‘yes’ makes me biased.

    “If we valued free-will above all else, then why would there be rules to moderate behavior?” (heather)

    We also freely made those rules of regulation – we could of chose not to – but what are we – we are humans that live with choice – we know aspects of the evil we can contrive. So free will had responsibility put upon it by the laws of the country – which we in general like. Just because laws exist doesn’t mean we can stop all the evil choices of life – even in this we show our inability to constrain this aspect of humanity. Also there are no rules about how good you can be – so how is that restricted? But in it all we see ‘good and evil’ and nothing more – and this was also a biblical narrative concerning ethics/values – thus God gives us teachings that ask us to restrict our choices to things that show love for humanity (which the majority of laws do in this country). But the claim God did not intervene holds more weight if the teachings of Jesus never existed to teach us a better ‘way’ of using our choices.

    “But even those aspects I mentioned are within reason” (Heather)

    Those aspects of ‘reason’ came from human minds – who decided they should limit choice by choice (and thankfully so). But they can also change dependant on human choices to do so – ex: slavery is abolished and segregation is changed. So reasoning for the laws has also changed – but we learned from many voices that some things had to change – and we choose as a nation to do so (and even more change is needed but that is also in process). Choice gets limited – but this is a biblical ideal also.

    “Their free will wasn’t respected at all, and it’s situations like those where I see the free will argument fall apart.” (Heather)

    So free will is always good and cannot be subjugated? The Nazi’s made evil choices in those scenarios they could of easily changed them from one day to the next – but they chose not to. Choices were made in that scenario that dis-respected another race’s freedoms – but if this is about blame – we know the wrong’s of the choices the Nazi’s made and outright abhor them. Even if free will is made subject to another’s free will – it still exists – and could change potentially – at any moment. I have even heard survivor’s speak of the idea of jailing the body but not the mind (so even in that regard they could still choose to love themself – even when hated). But I am not supposing free will cannot be subjugated by the powers that be – this is obvious – but again people are choosing to do this to others (which we hate). Does this make free will devoid because we can be dominated by a our nation? Ever been to prison?

    We look at the Holocaust and what was the answer? People suffered with no recourse – at who’s hands? A german populace (apathetic or supportive) and regime that was blamed – and almost wiped out. Fact is we caught the culprits and made them pay for their abuses of another’s free will (by usurping that via law). But what can we give a Holocaust survivor back for more dignity and take away their pain? Nothing…just the chance to choose freely again (which is what they desired all along). We could kill 6,000,000 Germans for them – but is that the answer? This is not the biblical answer for the person that suffered – but I did not come to address that scenario. I only know they were happy to be free again to choose – and to have choices not made for them about their family again.

    “That is the mindset I’m protesting: those that say God is all-good, all-powerful, all-loving and completely just, and one must believe certain facts about God or suffer eternal punishment/seperation” (Heather)

    I protest along with you – I mean we are limited human beings and only do with what we have been given. Like I have stated quite a few times – who are we to make judgment calls upon others and their existence – when what really matters is how we treat one another on this planet.

  5. Society,

    ** I haven’t had anything bad happen to me since I started this venture into this faith – is it me or is it God? Who do I congratulate?** How much, though, can be chalked up to just living a good, peaceful life? There are certain rules you are following, such as loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. If even an atheist follows that sort of rule in the Western world in a certain class, then bad things will be avoided. I understand what you’re saying, but in those cases, environmental factors would really come into play (in my opinion). However, I might be operating under a false assumption here, because I know very little of your background. If you live in an environment in which makes the good things occuring highly unlikely, then it would factor in more. Does that make any sense? I’m trying very hard to to jam you into a certain social class, and then saying condescendingly that of *course* you haven’t had bad things happen for that very reason.

    **Genocide (and they have been victims of this kind of brutality)…isn’t that part of the problem here? We thought we learned this would not be tolerable at all via history – but how many more of these events do we need before we (as nations) cannot accept them anymore? ** I think we’re kind of talking at cross-purposes here, though. I’m still addressing this from a perspective of the typical concept of God, who values free will so much that does not use his power or foresight to step in at all, in a grand way, and yet this typical concept still demands faith in all those attributes, or one suffers a fiery hell. The answr to why God doesn’t just step in and stop it is often answered by the free will argument (unless one is a Calvinist). I can see how free will can be a valid answer. But I also see it as dismissive, given some of the atrocities committed throughout history, and how many have suffered for the choices of a few. If free will was valued that much, I think we’d see more evidence for it in terms of less atrocities. Now, granted, I’m only going based on what I have — for all I know, it could’ve been much worse, and there was Providentail interference. But I can only go baesd on what’s currently presented to me.

    **Those aspects of ‘reason’ came from human minds – who decided they should limit choice by choice (and thankfully so). But they can also change dependant on human choices to do so – ex: slavery is abolished and segregation is changed. **

    Yes, but wasn’t it decided based on the knowledge that unchecked free will is a dangerous thing? Societies need rules such as those in order to survive as a civilization.

    **But what can we give a Holocaust survivor back for more dignity and take away their pain? Nothing…just the chance to choose freely again ** Then free will is something that can be controlled, if it’s something that can be given and taken. Which is again where I run into the difficulties of God valuing free will so much, because in many ways, even that’s not evident. Free will is something that can be given and taken away. Even mentally — a mind can be bent and broken against one’s will. Humans have decided that choices should be limited, which to me, goes a long way towards showing that we respect free will within reason.

    **Does this make free will devoid because we can be dominated by a our nation? Ever been to prison?**

    If we can be dominated by our nation, though, I would see it going against the concept of God respecting free will above all else. (No, I haven’t been to prison).

    I should probably clarify here that I’m not arguing that if God respects free will that much, bad things should never occur to any of us. We do have the potential to make incredibly stupid choices, and will reap the consequences. But it’s a matter of others suffering for choices in which they were innocent.

  6. Hi Society,

    I’m not sure if I have ever changed the mind of God with my prayers but I know my prayers to Him have certainly changed me.:-)

    This is an interesting convo and I think truly, it is a matter of perspective. Prayer is not a magical incantation to get what we want or even to work what we see as good in the world but instead, God has chosen to work through us by our prayers. The outcome is His choosing and not our own. Everything that He allows any of us to suffer is too keep us from choosing our own way, death, over Him. He wants all of us to choose Him and live. He is a perfect parent and knows exactly how much of our own way will finanlly bring us to our knees.

    He is the potter and we the clay, the clay can’t know the tools nor the technique that the potter employs to shape it into the vessel of the potter’s choosing.

    Pam

  7. “I’m trying very hard to to jam you into a certain social class, and then saying condescendingly that of *course* you haven’t had bad things happen for that very reason.” (Heather)

    I dig your honesty on the subject – but for me the simple fact is I have become someone that I should of not have – if we go by statistics within Canada’s First Nations population.

    Most if not all of my contemporaries have been in prison (some a few times), others are in gangs now, one was killed this year, and most of them lack a skillful education for building a future. 99% of them do not own a home or property of any sort (including myself). This is my community and the best I can do is pretend it does not exist – but I was subject to the same conditions that made this community ripe for this strife. I was physically abused as a kid, had 2 parents which ended up being none by the age of 10 (father died, mother abandoned me), Grew up in an alcoholic situation, was extremely poor, lacked the basic knowledge’s of this society (ex: banking, law, etc), and was a criminal by the age of 15 through 17 (along with all my friends). These are the predicates for the problems in First Nations commmunities.

    Which makes my story rather interesting when I look deep into it. All of my family is Christians now – we all have good educations, and we live healthy lifetsyles (including my mom). Deep down those teachings and faith in God did something to turn a situation around in which the hope of life looked rather bleak – but now looks promising. So for me, to betray the faith the gave my family this, is well…flat out denial – even from a logical viewpoint. If there is a guiding hand to all of this – I would be interested in meeting Him one day.

    “If free will was valued that much, I think we’d see more evidence for it in terms of less atrocities.” (Heather)

    But maybe that’s why there is so many attrocities also…human ability to make bad choices in light of better information. I think if free will did not exist – neither would attrocity – since all things would be controllable and we would not have to choose change for anything – it would just happen (from on high). But as is the reality of the situation we are all in – we can choose what to think, buy, read, write, say, believe, doubt, love, value, hate, destroy, etc. Some of these things can never be controlled by another human being – no matter if we reside in a prison, a camp, or under house arrest.

    Of note, 10,000 Jehovah Witnesses also died in those camps – and all they needed to do to be released was sign a piece of paper (allegiance to the Nazi regime) but refused and were killed for it – so choice did exist for some. But irregardless, the Nazi regime sugjugated the freedoms of many for their statehood – of which again – by free choice we now condemn as hideous.

    “Free will is something that can be given and taken away. Even mentally — a mind can be bent and broken against one’s will.” (Heather)

    Free will can be subjugated by the ‘powers that be’ – as in freedoms can be taken away from an individual – sometimes rightly (ex: mass murderer) and sometimes wrongly (ex: Holocaust) – but even in those situations total free will is not controlled. No one can be made to believe what to think about their oppressor – as an example. They might say what needs to be said but what do they truly believe? Free will is something as humans we try to control – since ‘we’ may not like it – so we try to control one another – but controlling another does not mean free will ceases to exist (we do not ever get it back) – it just means someone does not respect another’s freedom to think and make choices. As humans, this is our problem and it is addressed very nicely in ‘do unto others as you would like done unto you’ as a basis.

    “If we can be dominated by our nation, though, I would see it going against the concept of God respecting free will above all else.” (heather)

    Because there is punishment for choice (again sometimes used wrongly) does not mean God does not respect us or our rights to choose – the bible is laced with the idea we need a ‘law’ to govern our ways of life – but choice has a dark element – a path we can also take – and this needs to be kept in check. But both good and bad are choices we make and have to ‘live by’. So if someone plans a terrorist attack and is caught – they deserve punishment for that choice. If someone choose to build a fence in the yard they own – they deserve the reward of the aesthetics – since this is a good thing. Free will only means we have choice – justice means we are judged by the choices we make – and we have to live with those outcomes.

    “But it’s a matter of others suffering for choices in which they were innocent.” (heather)

    I agree, as I have mentioned a lot, having choice doesn’t alleviate the hurts and pains of others – and I wish there were more to it than this – and of there is – I cannot say for certain (I hope so). Like you, I hate to see another person suffer – but unlike us – some people do not share this viewpoint about life.

    “God, who values free will so much that does not use his power or foresight to step in at all, in a grand way, and yet this typical concept still demands faith in all those attributes, or one suffers a fiery hell.” (Heather)

    I think God has stepped in and still does – after all we do have Christ’s teachings of a better way – so we can all choose something better for those around us (we are really without excuse in that sense). Is God behind the scenes – I think so – how that all works – I don’t know (again I reference the idea of the Babylonian captivity which lasted quite long and ended up with the Jewish state losing it’s homeland – prophets made calls for a better life and they went unheeded – so the captivity remained). I do not like the traditional idea within Christianity about hell – and who goes there – we are left with the feeling someone can actually judge this (ex: usually a minister of some sort). If there is a hell – I am not comfortable with any idea about God judging this on the basis of a ‘faith or no faith’ – of the which – we can’t even judge accurately.

    Heather thanks for the convo so far – very insightful!

  8. “He is the potter and we the clay, the clay can’t know the tools nor the technique that the potter employs to shape it into the vessel of the potter’s choosing.” (Pam)

    This is some of the mystery of the situation for me – which I think is why the discussion exists – for us to hash out how this all works – and I think God smiles about this type of stuff – seeing His children continue to grow. Thanks Pam for the message – very timely for me – and I hope we all continue to grow and keep asking questions for change.

  9. Oh, we will, Society. We’ve no choice in the matter. We have not adopted a philosophy but have been bought by the blood of a person, the very son of God. If we merely lived by a code then our theology could remain stagnant but to grow in Christ means that our theology is continually being refined. That’s why I now prefer to seek unity in Chirst and not in what I currently know of Him. I sense that openness in you also.:0)

    Pam

  10. Society,

    **but for me the simple fact is I have become someone that I should of not have – if we go by statistics within Canada’s First Nations population. ** And that’s why I put in the disclaimer before hitting submit (and wow, am I glad my brain caught up with my hands before hitting submit). Because if I had left it as-is, and done the whole ‘you’re in this social class, so of cours that happened.” And that would’ve been very embarrassing. Fortunatly, I remember you mentioning elements of this previously, and so my biased-filter (white, middle-upper class) didn’t completely come through. 🙂

    And I am glad that you found redemption from your previous experiences — and I would venture to guess that your previous experiences play a large role in not accepting the traditional concept of hell and faith vs. no faith and such?

    **But as is the reality of the situation we are all in – we can choose what to think, buy, read, write, say, believe, doubt, love, value, hate, destroy, etc. Some of these things can never be controlled by another human being ** Or, at least: we believe we do. 😉 But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

    **No one can be made to believe what to think about their oppressor – as an example. They might say what needs to be said but what do they truly believe?** I would say that someone could be made to believe something, by free will. Such as the Stokholm’s (sp?) syndrome. Or hypnosis/brainwashing. Or let’s take this example: say a vibrant young woman marries a man that she thinks is charming. However, the man is actually a monster, and over the next five years, through subtle manipulation, manages to convince this woman that she is worthless without him, ugly, no value and the works. She ends up believing this. How much did free will play a part in her believing that? And how much did the husband override her free will?

    **again I reference the idea of the Babylonian captivity which lasted quite long and ended up with the Jewish state losing it’s homeland – prophets made calls for a better life and they went unheeded – so the captivity remained** I’m not sure this is comparible to the Holocaust and similiar situations, though. Or such as the Sudan, because that seems to be on a completely different scale. Whereas the Babylonian could be more of people living a hedonistic lifestyle, and the inevitable consquences.

    **so we try to control one another – but controlling another does not mean free will ceases to exist (we do not ever get it back)** It probably would depend on how one defines ‘ceases to exist.’ Becaues it would temporarily cease to exist, and be returned at a later point. But even if temporary, isn’t that still a ‘cease’ in some sense?

    **He is the potter and we the clay, the clay can’t know the tools nor the technique that the potter employs to shape it into the vessel of the potter’s choosing.** This is true. But questioning is very important, because one wants to make sure they are being molded by the right potter. Or that there is even a potter at all. And for some, based on what they see in the world, it does make them decide that there is no potter, based on typical Christian perspective. For some, if it is a matter of God’s choosing, how long does one wait?

  11. “I would venture to guess that your previous experiences play a large role in not accepting the traditional concept of hell and faith vs. no faith and such?” (Heather)

    I think I let a lot of my experiences into my theology so I am more honest about what I actually do know. But I am open to change also. I think the traditional aspects of hell and the such is quite twisted and based solely in fear tactics – some of them having us to go to hell for something so small as not saying a ‘sinner’s prayer’ (some denominations do hold to this). So yeah, I am quite open to re-interpretation on a lot of issues.

    “How much did free will play a part in her believing that? And how much did the husband override her free will?” (Heather)

    It’s an interesting take on the whole ideal – but I still feel people will accept what they don’t know better – by choice. However, should they learn better – I think they are responsible for that knowledge – in that they can change their situation.

    “But even if temporary, isn’t that still a ‘cease’ in some sense?” (Heather)

    I would say freedom ceases to exist (lack of choices) – but they are still free to think as they choose. But I speak of the finality of the endeavor – the only true time free will will ever cease to exist is when someone dies (can no longer choose at all)…at least this is how I see it. Free will is bound by lack of decisions and knowledge at the least – but can be made freer by more knowledge and experience. Which I think is a great hope for humanity – that we can choose to make like better (if we move into this aspect of choice).

    “And for some, based on what they see in the world, it does make them decide that there is no potter, based on typical Christian perspective.” (Heather)

    I can feel for the people in this position – since they cannot believe since their experience has not allowed for it (up to this point). This is where I am open to the idea God can still lead them to something better – without them even knowing…or maybe they do? But to me it doesn’t matter so much – as long as they are willing to ‘love their neighbor like they love themself’…and either way – it’s their life to lead.

  12. Hi SocVS, I’m just now reading your blog…

    ***I must say – she really is a great person and is asking some awesome questions – thanks!!!***

    Aw, shucks. Thanks for the compliment. 🙂

    I must say I am learning so much from reading how others, like you and Heather, articulate the issues. I think I may be good at asking questions – it’s as though I’ve never asked these questions before so they are all spilling out, one after another, unchecked.

    At this point I don’t have much to add to the exchange that’s happening in this comment section. Suffice it to say you are both spurring some good thinking at my end.

  13. I “upped” on your blogspot, read this one article, and decided to comment. I think I understand the topic. Is it God’s sovereignty vs. Man’s free will? Oh well, I’ll pretend like it is and comment.
    I am learning to “see” that God, by His Spirit, is bearing His will on my spirit, which ends up in me (hopefully) making the “decision” that is in tuned with His will. I mean, isn’t that what we want anyway to follow His will, and to lay ours down so that His can reign in and through us? So, what seems to be us making a decision, and indeed we do, could actually be our spirit yielding to His so that His “decision” is given the preeminence. We think we are doing it, but actually He’s doing it through us. I see no contradiction in that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s