I am one of the 60+ officers who was instructed I must attend chapel in order to be a morally fit officer. I was shocked by this blatant religion injection. It was a chilling revelation that-behind the curtain-the powers that be expect religious conformity. I instantly experienced a sinking feeling of dismay, because I was been told to worship (or pretend to) against my convictions or risk my career being cut off.
When I sent the e-mail to Mikey, it was not the least I could do… It was the most. I’m an active duty officer, in a highly visible position. My career relies heavily on the good will and “networking” of my fellow officers. My rights to express myself publicly are meaningless in the reality of officer career progression. So many people can put the breaks on my career, at a whim; especially for challenging their religious faction’s hold over this niche of the government.
Within minutes, Mikey e-mailed me back, talked to me personally, and inspired me to write more about my experiences. Most importantly, he backed up his words with swift action.
Within 72 hours, his legal team sent a demand letter to the Pentagon, and the press was notified. In less than a week’s time, the offending document was removed from the curriculum.
The outpouring of support from all over the country was breathtaking. It was so comforting to know there are people like me who want to serve without supplicance, fight without fanaticism, and defend the constitution not a particular version of a particular deity. Thanks to the galvanizing motivation of Mikey Weinstein, and his indomitable spirit, service members like me can be heard. Courage is a universal trait among us. But no matter how brave you are, it’s good to know Mikey, and MRFF, has your back. Keep fighting the good fight!
(USAF Officer’s name, rank, AFSC, unit and installation withheld)
If you do not believe in god? If you do not believe in Jesus? Then you are going to hell. This is the jest of the Christian theology in a nutshell. But Christians term this as you making a free will choice, but this is not even close to the true meaning of free will choice.
The definition of Free Will
Free Will: The ability or discretion to choose; free choice. n. The power of making choices that are neither determined by natural causality nor predestined by fate or divine will. A will free from improper coercion or restraint.
Free Will Noun Definition of free will 1 : voluntary choice or decision I do this of my own free will 2 : freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention.
Christian definition of free will does not match the known definitions of free will
Christian free will does not even come close to the true definition of free will as we know it to be.
As we can see from the definitions, true free will means the ability to make a choice without any coercion of any kind. This is what it means to make a true free will choice.
Christian Free Will actually states:
You are being given a choice, to either choose god or not. To choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior or not. If you choose to accept god and Jesus? Then you go to heaven. If you choose not to accept god or Jesus? Then you go to hell.
Where is the free will choice in this? YOU are being coerced into your free will choice. YOU are being told that if you do not accept god or Jesus? Then you will burn for an eternity in hell. That is not a free will choice, it is a choice given to you by the point of a gun.
If a person is holding a gun to your head for you to make your choice? Then you have absolutely no free will choice. The freedom of choosing your path has been taken away from you, because if you do not choose god or Jesus? You are basically supposedly fucked and will spend an eternity in hell. Again, this is a Christian, holding a gun to your head, telling you that if you do not choose god and Jesus? They will pull the trigger and blow your head off. And this is what basically the Christian free will is. Their god and Jesus are holding a gun to your head and telling you that if you do not choose us? Then we are going to blow your head off. How the hell is that a true free will choice?
Again, what does true free will mean? It means the ability to make a choice based on what you want, not to have to make that choice with a gun to your head. Or any form of coercion. YOU are being coerced to believing in god and Jesus because you are told if you do not? YOU will go to hell for all eternity, and then? Of course? After being told all about the supposed horrors of hell? You are going to make the choice you do not want to go there. Your free will choice? Is not valid, because it is not a true, actual, free will choice.
Most of us are certain that we have free will, though what exactly this amounts to is much less certain. According to David Hume, the question of the nature of free will is “the most contentious question of metaphysics.” If this is correct, then figuring out what free will is will be no small task indeed. Minimally, to say that an agent has free will is to say that the agent has the capacity to choose his or her course of action. But animals seem to satisfy this criterion, and we typically think that only persons, and not animals, have free will. Let us then understand free will as the capacity unique to persons that allows them to control their actions. It is controversial whether this minimal understanding of what it means to have a free will actually requires an agent to have a specific faculty of will, whether the term “free will” is simply shorthand for other features of persons, and whether there really is such a thing as free will at all.
This article considers why we should care about free will and how freedom of will relates to freedom of action. It canvasses a number of the dominant accounts of what the will is, and then explores the persistent question of the relationship between free will and causal determinism, articulating a number of different positions one might take on the issue. For example, does determinism imply that there is no free will, as the incompatibilists argue, or does it allow for free will, as the compatibilists argue? This article explores several influential arguments that have been given in favor of these two dominant positions on the relationship between free will and causal determinism. Finally, there is a brief examination of how free will relates to theological determinism and logical determinism.
1. Free Will, Free Action and Moral Responsibility
Why should we even care whether or not agents have free will? Probably the best reason for caring is that free will is closely related to two other important philosophical issues: freedom of action and moral responsibility. However, despite the close connection between these concepts, it is important not to conflate them.
We most often think that an agent’s free actions are those actions that she does as a result of exercising her free will. Consider a woman, Allison, who is contemplating a paradigmatic free action, such as whether or not to walk her dog. Allison might say to herself, “I know I should walk the dog—he needs the exercise. And while I don’t really want to walk him since it is cold outside, I think overall the best decision to make is that I should take him for a walk.” Thus, we see that one reason we care about free will is that it seems necessary for free action—Allison must first decide, or choose, to walk the dog before she actually takes him outside for his walk. If we assume that human actions are those actions that result from the rational capacities of humans, we then see that the possibility of free action depends on the possibility of free will: to say that an agent acted freely is minimally to say that the agent was successful in carrying out a free volition or choice.
Various philosophers have offered just such an account of freedom. Thomas Hobbes suggested that freedom consists in there being no external impediments to an agent doing what he wants to do: “A free agent is he that can do as he will, and forbear as he will, and that liberty is the absence of external impediments.” In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume thought that free will (or “liberty,” to use his term) is simply the “power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will: that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may.… This hypothetical liberty is universally allowed to belong to everyone who is not a prisoner and in chains.” This suggests that freedom is simply the ability to select a course of action, and an agent is free if he is not being prevented by some external obstacle from completing that course of action. Thus, Hobbes and Hume would hold that Allison is free to walk her dog so long as nothing prevents her from carrying out her decision to walk her dog, and she is free not to walk her dog so long as nothing would compel her to walk her dog if she would decide not to.
However, one might still believe this approach fails to make an important distinction between these two related, but conceptually distinct, kinds of freedom: freedom of will versus freedom of action. This distinction is motivated by the apparent fact that agents can possess free will without also having freedom of action. Suppose that before Allison made the choice to walk the dog, she was taking a nap. And while Allison slept, there was a blizzard that moved through the area. The wind has drifted the snow up against the front of her house so that it is impossible for Allison to get out her front door and walk her dog even if she wanted to. So here we have a case involving free will, because Allison has chosen to take the dog for a walk, but not involving free action, because Allison is not able to take her dog for a walk.
Whether or not one can have freedom of action without free will depends on one’s view of what free will is. Also, the truth of causal determinism would not entail that agents lack the freedom to do what they want to do. An agent could do what she wants to do, even if she is causally determined to do that action. Thus, both Hobbes and Hume are rightly characterized as compatibilists.
Even if there is a distinction between freedom of will and freedom of action, it appears that free will is necessary for the performance of free actions. If Allison is brainwashed during her nap to want to walk her dog, then even if no external impediment prevents her from carrying through with this decision, we would say that her taking the dog for a walk is not a free action. Presumably, the reason why it would not be a free action is because, in the case of brainwashing, Allison’s decision does not arise from her free will. Thus, it looks like free will might be a necessary condition for free action, even if the two are distinct. In what follows, the phrase “acting with free will” means engaging in an action as the result of the utilization of free will. Use of the phrase does not deny the distinction between free will and free action.
The second reason to care about free will is that it seems to be required for moral responsibility. While there are various accounts of what exactly moral responsibility is, it is widely agreed that moral responsibility is distinct from causal responsibility. Consider a falling branch that lands on a car, breaking its window. While the branch is causally responsible for the broken window, it is not morally responsible for it because branches are not moral agents. Depending on one’s account of causation, it also might be possible to be morally responsible for an event or state of affairs even if one is not causally responsible for that same event or state of affairs. For present purposes, let us simply say that an agent is morally responsible for an event or state of affairs only if she is the appropriate recipient of moral praise or moral blame for that event or state of affairs (an agent can thus be morally responsible even if no one, including herself, actually does blame or praise her for her actions). According to the dominant view of the relationship between free will and moral responsibility, if an agent does not have free will, then that agent is not morally responsible for her actions. For example, if Allison is coerced into doing a morally bad act, such as stealing a car, we shouldn’t hold her morally responsible for this action since it is not an action that she did of her own free will.
Some philosophers do not believe that free will is required for moral responsibility. According to John Martin Fischer, human agents do not have free will, but they are still morally responsible for their choices and actions. In a nutshell, Fischer thinks that the kind of control needed for moral responsibility is weaker than the kind of control needed for free will. Furthermore, he thinks that the truth of causal determinism would preclude the kind of control needed for free will, but that it wouldn’t preclude the kind of control needed for moral responsibility. See Fischer (1994). As this example shows, virtually every issue pertaining to free will is contested by various philosophers.
However, many think that the significance of free will is not limited to its necessity for free action and moral responsibility. Various philosophers suggest that free will is also a requirement for agency, rationality, the autonomy and dignity of persons, creativity, cooperation, and the value of friendship and love [see Anglin (1990), Kane (1998) and Ekstrom (1999)]. We thus see that free will is central to many philosophical issues.
a. Theological Determinism
The debate about free will and causal determinism parallels, in many ways, another debate about free will, this one stemming from what is often called ‘theological determinism’. Some religious traditions hold that God is ultimately responsible for everything that happens. According to these traditions, God’s willing x is necessary and sufficient for x. But if He is ultimately responsible for everything in virtue of what He wills, then He is ultimately responsible for all the actions and volitions performed by agents. God’s willing that Allison take the dog for a walk is thus necessary and sufficient for Allison taking the dog for a walk. But if this is true, it is hard to see how Allison could have free will. The problem becomes especially astute when considering tradition doctrines of eternal punishment. The traditional Christian doctrine of Hell, for example, is that Hell is a place of eternal punishment for non-repentant sinners. But if theological determinism is true, then whether or not agents repent is ultimately up to God, not to the agents themselves. This worry over free will thus gives rise to a particular version of the problem of evil: why does God not will that all come to faith, when His having such a will is sufficient for their salvation? [For a discussion of these, and related issues, see Helm, (1994).]
Christianity is no free will religion
If you do not as Christians say, choose their god and Jesus? Then you are doomed to hell. If you do? Then you will be rewarded with heaven. This goes against all the teachings of what true free will is.
Christianity is not a truely free will religion. It was brought upon humanity by force and coercion. The people that Christians forced their religion upon them, by pains of death? Never were given a true free choice to accept the Christian god and Jesus. Their lands were invaded by ChristoTalibans, and Christians put many to brutal deaths. This is how Christianity actually spread throughout the world and can be seen by their true History of forced conversion programs against the Pagans and their mass genocide of us Native Americans. It was not spread by giving people a true free will choice to become a Christian, but were given that choice to do so? Or die a brutal death at the hands of Christians. So how can any Christian claim their religion is based on true Free Will when their own definition of Free Will does not come close to what the real definition of Free Will is, nor how their religion rose to power by forced conversion programs that went against the free will of the people they were slaughtering in their forced conversion programs.