TeachThemHowToThink

Hi! I'm JJ (aka Mama JJ). I'm a secular parent, an atheist and a feminist. I'm fiercely pro-choice and about as far left as you can get on the Liberal to Conservative scale. If you hang out with me you'll get thoughts on all of these subjects and occasionally excerpts from conversations with my 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. I tag all of the conversations with "heard today" (links up above) and all the parenting stuff gets tagged with "Secular Parenting." My URL comes from the phrase "Teach children how to think, not what to think" which is my parenting philosophy in a nutshell. If you have a question, my inbox is always open and anon is usually on. Welcome!
Posts tagged "free will"

Regarding my reblog earlier today about free will: I found the original dialogue between my apologist “friend” and me.  It’s… long.  But if you’re interested, enjoy!

Apologist:  God hates things like rape and murder even more than we do..he has made a perfect creation called human and it is destroyed by others. What I meant to say is that the punishment for sin is the absence of God and nothing more. When we sin, we create a division between us and God. The really neat thing about God is that he hates this division so much that he sent His only son to take the punishment for us…the only thing we have to do is ask for his forgiveness and we can close that division once again as the price has already been paid. Now, going back to the gift of free will…this is where the problems come. Because He does not force us to follow him and we have free will, we have the ability to hurt Him and hurt one another if we seperate from God’s will for us. It is these people that have made the choice to move away from God that also make the choices to harm another one of God’s creations. It is these people that rape and murder others, not as a punishment for their sin, but because they chose to seperate from God and do their own thing. I believe that when we are seperated from God that we are also influenced by Satan, and he loves rape and muder and would try to stear us that way, but the decision is ours as a human with free will to do these horiffic things. The question then becomes, why does God allow these things to be carried out upon one of His creations? That is the part that is hard to understand and I don’t have the answer. I wish I knew why God makes the decisions he makes but I don’t. They key is to remember that God doesn’t do these things, man does. We cannot blame God for these things in the same way that I can’t blame you for things like allowing a baby to starve because you didn’t give every cent you had to stop world hunger. The question is, how can we allow things like this to go one…we are the monsters.

 I hate things like rape and murder as much as you, and I would love to stop it, but I see what humans do when they have the choice. I simply cannot put my faith in humankind and must put my faith into someone greater that has promised to come and rid the world of sin.

And my response:  First, substitute “Zeus” for every “God” and “Hades” for “Satan” in that huge paragraph you just wrote.  Sounds a bit ridiculous, right?  That’s how convincing those arguments are to an atheist.  

If it helps you, great. But Christians blaming the suffering of others on humans and conveniently removing all blame from God is utter and pure bullshit. If a God created people knowing they would suffer so that we could step up and be good people, he is a fucking asshole.

And just to clarify, I believe humans are responsible for the evil things in this world. But humans, despite our shortcomings, have a proven and verifiable record of kindness, love, charity and goodness as well. I put my trust in us.  ~JJ

whyilostmyfaith:

When pressed with the question of why God allows evil, most religious people will point to free will. Why didn’t God stop this murder? Because that would be interfering with free will. However, what about all the times God is praised for doing exactly that? For implicitly interfering with free will? A single survivor is found after a suicide bombing; “praise God for saving him!” A bullet just misses a man’s heart and he survives; “praise God for guiding the bullet!” A policeman happens to walk past an attempted rape and stops it; “Praise God for leading him to her!” If saving one person does not interfere with a bomber’s free will, why not save more? If guiding a bullet to save a man does not interfere with the shooter’s free will, why not deflect all bullets? If positioning a policeman to stop a rape does not interfere with the rapist’s free will then why not do that with all rapes? If a man can be ‘led’ by God to prevent a crime, could not the criminal be ‘led’ to never committing it? Throughout this, a simple fact remains; those who praise God for giving us free will are often the very same who praise God when he takes it away.

Maybe though you don’t believe God is responsible for these actions, maybe you believe these acts are due to either random chance, or the actions of other humans. However, if the avoidance of evil is the result of people’s actions rather than God’s, then surely these people are interfering with each other’s free will? If interfering with free will is so terrible that even God must not do it, then who are we to attempt fix evils that God chooses to permit? And if God is not affecting the outcome of these tragedies then what do you believe God does?  If you don’t believe God ever intervenes with humanity what stops you from believing that God has abandoned us completely?

Ultimately we are left with a simple decision; either God is able and willing to affect free will, but chooses not to in many instances, or God truly does not affect free will and has never answered a single prayer or performed a single miracle.

1) Excellent, as always, whyilostmyfaith  2)  I had a very similar discussion with an apologist and his “answer” was, of course, that we cannot know why God does what He does but he trusts His plan.  And the fact that humans do atrocious things makes it apparent that we can’t put our faith in humans, we have to put our faith in God.  I responded that if “God’s Plan” involves rape and murder, then He must be evil and not worthy of worship… but I wonder if you (or anyone else out there!) had any additional thoughts?  

As a side note, I always find it a little odd to discuss an imaginary friend’s “will” and “plan,” but I do try to meet people where they are at as well.  ~JJ