Free Will…is Freeing!

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear/I will choose freewill
.” (Freewill – Rush)

I haven’t talked about this very much over the past while but figured I’d bring it up (after reading some diatribe on Robertson and how God controls everything). The topic of today is ‘control’ and ‘free will’.

No one chooses ‘free will’ (if anyone cares about the intentional irony in the Rush lyrics). You are born a person of ‘choices’ and there is no if/and’s/or but’s. This is the point Rush is making…even when you try not to make a choice you still do. Free will is something we are born with and for anyone to argue against the blatantly obvious is to argue obliviously.

Which brings me to control. As free as we are to choose what is we want to do (all the time) – why is it control of everything around is still not possible? No one controls much of anything. Think on it for a few seconds.

There is not a single relationship you have with a single person that you actually control. Not one. Oh we exert a lot of influence in certain spheres (ie: spouse, children, work, etc) but the finer things of each and every relationship is not ours to control. We don’t even truly control the things that happen around us (altogether). Again, we exert a lot of personal choice-making in the outcomes for our lives but we cannot altogether control those outcomes…we are the whims of love and lunacy some of the time.

Great relationships fall apart. Children rebel against parents. Your company lays you off. Your run for 15 minutes of fame doesn’t last as long as you thought it would. People murder others. Animals attack children. Armed robbery for the unlucky gas station attendant. Stray bullets strike an innocent bystander. Etc.

Why is it we get uptight when the world is hit by a disaster? We just need to blame someone don’t we? On other scenarios we can blame the spouse, the kids, our work, our managers, the weapons industry, people who use those weapons, wild animals, gov’t’s that made neighborhoods that way, etc. We are very good at blame…so good we should have a science for it (something like forensics or investigative journalism). Funny thing about blame, it’s an internal choice we make (based on the best evidence we have).

So…we blame God. We intentionally, by free will/choice, blame someone we cannot see nor hear for something we can see and hear. Heck our blame methods aren’t even that good – we are known to blame certain people for certain things without scant evidence…‘I know your friend stole my Ipod, he is just the type’. We want justice for that which we cannot control. You need to know, and maybe this is the best kept secret…

You’re not in that much of control of anything.


8 thoughts on “Free Will…is Freeing!

  1. I like how you put love and lunacy in the same sentence. In my book I write about how “God doesn’t do hurricanes”. The point being that God started the Big Bang and then set back and watched as evolution created. The laws of physics took control at the moment of the Big Bang and once in control even He had to allow them to work. I called the process The Ripe Apple Hypothesis, because I started with the fact that the apple had to be ripe or Eve would not have eaten it. The hypothesis goes on to explain how God had to follow the natural rules of physics in order to have Eve and the rippened apple be at the same place and time for the story to unfold. So if you which to discuse free will and control, try this one. Did the author of the garden story (J) force God to follow J’s will and take control of the universe, to make the story that so many believe to be gospel truth, happen according to J’s will. Heady stuff.

  2. “Did the author of the garden story (J) force God to follow J’s will and take control of the universe, to make the story that so many believe to be gospel truth, happen according to J’s will. Heady stuff.” (Which bible)

    J would be a genius I think (lol).

    It’s probably a lot easier than we want to think. J probably wrote down a story that was in circulation in the community that related to the creation of the world (since this was how most people understood the world back then). He wrote a story about ‘adam’ and ‘eve’ (likely mythological) – but it also had real meaning built into it (as most myths do).

    I tend to think the world was a creation of God’s and that humans are very integral piece of that creation. I know we are supposed to come from some Big Bang – but that’s also in it’s infancy stage of explanation. Maybe the Big Bang did happen – I really wouldn’t know – no one would…science can only deconstruct with the particles we have to use. If God actually did intervene and ‘create’…there is no plausible science that could really figure that out…nor theology…it’s really a question of faith.

    However, I see the belief as something that is quite meaningful (we are created by God). It puts us humans in a huge place of responsibility for the world around us (good, bad, knowledge, creation, etc). I see faith as useful about the issue of creation in the sense it can inspire to betterment of humanity.

  3. That is why “Freewill” is a misnomer. A better term would be “Limited Choice”. By the way, if I cant blame the creator then why hardwire me with the Whiney gene. 😉

  4. “That is why “Freewill” is a misnomer. A better term would be “Limited Choice”. By the way, if I cant blame the creator then why hardwire me with the Whiney gene” (John)

    I think free will is pretty accurate – we can’t control everything – but we can make decisions that do influence outcomes…we have choice my man!

    As for the whiney gene, no one says you have to use it? Kidding.

  5. “Then it aint free, its just my will limited by my surroundings. Its limited choice. Whinnnnneeeeeeeee” (John)

    But if it were limited choice, which it likely also is, then you are limited in what you can think and can possibly do – correct? Is it that you, like all of us, chooce to limit your freedom based on what’s best for the situations around you?

    I think in some ways the factors around us contribute us to having limited choices, however we are not limited in our ability to be able to make choices (in that sense we are still free to choose)…and that’s kind of the key to free will.

  6. i’m going to venture my thoughts… i think more along the lines of John, limited choice. i used to think that we could be anything we wanted to be, a radical post-modern self-definition. mainly because i had a lot of baggage in my past i was seeking to shed. now i understand that my past isn’t baggage but a unique blessing. now i view things more in terms of “it is what it is.” a tree will never be a jet no matter how much it desires to be. sure it can be part of the fancy oak finish on a seat or console or something, but never the whole jet… at best maybe a barnstormer or crop-duster but nothing super-sonic.

    we have limits placed all around us, our IQ, our innate personality, our family system, our cultural/political/contextual/socio-economic loci, all of these things. yet within all of these things we have choice. there are somethings i will simply never choose because they seem foreign to me or that i would never even consider. so based on all of these factors, i have choices that are free. i think Jay you get this in your last post (#7) and see what John is getting at. that’s where i’m at too.

    then there’s the issue of God’s providence that we theists have to grapple with. like, how free are we if God is sovereign? to me that’s a non-issue. if you view God as a wrathful king, wagging His finger at you from light years away, keeping tally; yes it would be an issue. but if you view God as in and through everything yet greater than the sum, you then take off your shoes and understand you are on holy ground… the rest of ppl go about their lives, but there is a certain meaning and purpose to it all, despite the chaos coming into the order.

    hope that makes sense. just my two cents.

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