Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Belief in Free Will?
Assume for a moment that free will isn't logically contradictory with an omni-max god. We are often told that god wants us to have free will, to freely choose to believe in him or not. So, he hides himself from us so that he won't mess up our free will. He refuses to present evidence that he exists because otherwise our choice to believe or not won't be free. Worse yet, he allows others to try and convince us that he doesn't exist or that other gods exist so that we can believe in them instead. So what? Well, if you don't believe, then you get to be tortured for eternity.
The inanity of this beggars belief. First off, belief is not something one simply chooses. It's not like I can choose to believe in the Xian god or allah or zeus tomorrow. For god to think that we freely choose to believe or not to believe is simply ludicrous. We can choose to uncritically swallow the religious pablum that is served to us, true. We can choose to not examine our beliefs or the utter lack of evidence for religious belefs, but we can't simply choose our beliefs absent those things. So, given what we can choose, god makes sure that the rational choice is one of disbelief, which is the exact opposite of what he supposedly wants, meaning that when we do exercise our free will, we will probably choose wrong. I don't think I need to point out the contradiction here.
Second, it has to be wondered why god values belief over acceptance. What I mean is that he seems to care whether we believe or not rather than whether we accept his message or not. If he were smart, he would want us all to believe and then choose to follow his message or not. He would present his side of things and then let us choose to follow a homicidal maniac or to follow a more moral path.
Third, apologist like to claim that hell is not immoral because all the denizens have chosen it. What a load of carp. No one chooses to be tortured, let alone for eternity. If one has chosen it somehow by default or by making a bad choice, it is not because one thought that hell and eternal torture would follow. Of course, god doesn't really present us with a way to rationally decide what is the right choice, and he allows others to lead us astray from that choice (I can make this claim because with all the competing viewpoints, it's impossible for them all to be right; hence someone is advocating an erroneous viewpoint and leading us astray).
Lastly, it's all too apparent that god values blind choice over informed choice, yet which one is more free? Are you more free if your choice is based on having all the facts at hand or having little if any facts at hand and misinformation? I think we can safely say that if god exists and if we have free will and if the Xians are right that god would rather not give us evidence of his existence rather than taint our free will, that god is inane, cruel, stupid, and contradictory. The more obvious conclusion, however, is that this logically inconsistent belief in god is most likely false.