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free will – the ability to choose their actions without being forced to follow a certain course either by the influence of others or by natural laws. The notion of human free will is also an important premise for a lot of what happens in human society – in particular, when it comes to our legal system.
I do believe in free will, it was a predominant part of my catholic teachings in school. The nuns always said that God loved us so much that he gave us free will. They also taught us that free will is what makes our actions so important. If we do good things, they are made even more special because those deeds came directly from our hearts. If we did bad deeds then we had only ourselves to blame and it was thus our responsibility to make it right.
I remember debating the existence of God using the argument that the gift of free will made it almost impossible to prove His existence. We can’t prove that God gave it to us in the first place, free will could just be something that we are just born with as humans, and when those wonderful philosophical and creative writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John decided to write one of the most important books on earth. They needed to introduce the concept that free will was a gift because we were God’s children and we had to give Him our love and faith of our own Free Will. It is a perfect technique, ploy, device or however you want to put it, if you were arguing about the very existence of God. Humanity, for the most part, needs God and His name doesn’t matter, God for humanity transcends the organized religion. You will find God in every Peoples belief system except for the atheists.
When the apostles wrote and preached the word of God, who wouldn’t want His existence to be true. In return for His eternal love and a place at His side in the hereafter, all you need to do is pledge your eternal love and faith in Him. The beauty of free will and its relationship to God, is that it furthers the worship of God because it doesn’t cost you anything. There are no strings attached with God, unless you define love and faith as strings. His gift of free will allows you to worship Him or not, but always freely. When one feels alone and vulnerable in the mighty universe, what better comfort than knowing that you have God in your life as long as you believe Him to be there. These are snippets of discussions we had in theology class back in high school. Sister Patty was my teacher and she led these discussions so well, she was such a fantastic person and teacher.
Free will needn’t be discussed solely in terms of religion and believing in God, since free will is part of the human condition, at least that is what I believe, it can also be discussed in context with atheists and agnostics as well. They constitute a part of human society and free will thus, also applies to them, since they would need to adhere to societies laws even when breaking them. Free will is found everywhere and with everyone, aside from the truly mentally ill or brain-damaged. I see it as an integral part of human nature.
In the link that I made available above, the article also acknowledges the existence of Hard Theological Determinism as such that it was preached by John Calvin, who instituted Calvinism. He disputed the existence of free will and believed that everything was pre-ordained by God. I don’t know how many followers accept that view, but I don’t see how one can dispute free will. Free will is part of the human condition regardless of whether you choose to embrace religion or not.