Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads.Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place.Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows?...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right.How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads....Why did they kill little Bobby Franks?Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood.. . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain
Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.
To be a god can ultimately become boring and degrading. There'd be reason enough for the invention of free will! A god might wish to escape into sleep and be alive only in the unconscious projections of his dream-creatures.
Not only are there meaningless questions, but many of the problems with which the human intellect has tortured itself turn out to be only 'pseudo problems,' because they can be formulated only in terms of questions which are meaningless. Many of the traditional problems of philosophy, of religion, or of ethics, are of this character. Consider, for example, the problem of the freedom of the will. You maintain that you are free to take either the right- or the left-hand fork in the road. I defy you to set up a single objective criterion by which you can prove after you have made the turn that you might have made the other. The problem has no meaning in the sphere of objective activity; it only relates to my personal subjective feelings while making the decision.
There may be some truth (atheists) do not need to believe in a god to be good, but then if they do not believe in a god, who do they believe gives the Universal Law of following good and shunning evil? Obviously, mankind. But then that is a dangerous thing, for if a man does not believe in a god capable of giving perfect laws, he is in the position of declaring all laws come from man, and as man is imperfect, he can declare that as fallible men make imperfect laws, he can pick and choose what he wishes to follow, that which, in his own mind seems good. He does not believe in divine retribution, therefore he can also declare his own morality contrary to what the divine may decree simply because he believes there is no divine decree. He may follow his every whim and passion, declaring it to be good when it may be very evil, for he like all men is imperfect, so how can he tell what is verily good? The atheist is in danger of mistaking vice for good and consequently follow another slave master and tyrant, his own physical and mental weakness. Evil would be wittingly or unwittingly perpetrated, therefore, to recognise the existence of a perfect divine being that gives perfect Universal Laws is much better than not to believe in a god, for if there is a perfect god, they will not allow their laws to be broken with impunity as in the case with many corrupt judges on earth, but will punish accordingly in due time. Therefore, to be pious and reverent is the surest path to true freedom as a perfect god will give perfect laws to prevent all manner of slavery, tyranny and moral wantonness, even if we do not understand why they are good laws at times.
Losing a belief in free will has not made me fatalistic—in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn’t draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn’t do so on the basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system—learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention—may radically transform one’s life.
No one else can want for me. No one can substitute his act of will for mine. It does sometimes happen that someone very much wants me to want what he wants. This is the moment when the impassable frontier between him and me, which is drawn by free will, becomes most obvious. I may not want that which he wants me to want - and in this precisely I am incommunicabilis. I am, and I must be, independent in my actions. All human relationships are posited on this fact.
Although her disobedience is tragic, Eve’s innocence is not all bad. Certainly, that innocfence leads her to make a poor choice - the very worst - but the fact that she makes a choice at all, the fact that she engages the Devil in a debate which could go either way, the fact that she acts without God breathing down her neck - all speak for her free will or, what amounts to the same thing, her margin for error. It is from this margin for error that freedom springs, because you can’t be free to right unless you can be free to be wrong.
If there was no free will in men, then there is no sins. When sins happened, it was 'free will' that made them doable. This is true, unless God has predestined human to do and to have sins.
It is impossible to exercise free will as long as we are operating from within the system. Free will requires consciousness, and our pervasive and deep-seated patterns of thought are unconscious; they are outside of our awareness and therefore outside of our control. While we remain in the system, we see the world through the eyes of carnism. And as long as we look through eyes other than our own, we will be living in accordance to a truth that is not of our own choosing. We must step outside the system to find our lost empathy and make choices that reflect what we truly feel and believe, rather than what we've been taught to feel and believe.
For you will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.
Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy, but now they call this free will.At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.
I'm convinced that most men don't know what they believe, rather, they only know what they wish to believe. How many people blame God for man's atrocities, but wouldn't dream of imprisoning a mother for her son's crime?
God isn't about making good things happen to you, or bad things happen to you. He's all about you making choices--exercising the gift of free will. God wants you to have good things and a good life, but He won't gift wrap them for you. You have to choose the actions that lead you to that life.
The choices we’re working with here are a block universe, where past, present and future all coexist simultaneously and everything has already happened; chaos, where anything can happen and nothing can be predicted because we can’t know all the variables; and a Christian universe in which God made everything and it’s all here for a purpose but we have free will anyway.
Please understand something. God didn’t create evil in the world, but He did create free will, which allowed for the possibility of evil. Science isn’t like that. What you explore and find, God did create. It already exists. When you find it, you are discovering something God made. And everything God created is good. God said so in Genesis. He looked around at everything He had made and said, ‘It is very good.’”“How men use science can be evil, I’m with you a hundred percent on that,” Bishop added. “People can misuse items God created. But that has everything to do with man’s free will and tendency to evil, not science. What God created is good. So do what you were created to do. Break new scientific ground. Help us understand the dynamics of what God created.“You can’t protect the world from itself, Gina. You can only give good men the tools necessary to do their jobs. We need to know what is possible.
The problem of vindicating an omnipotent and omniscient God in the face of evil is insurmountable. Those who claim to have surmounted it, by recourse to notions of free will and other incoherencies, have merely heaped bad philosophy onto bad ethics.
God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.
Man has 2 common problems with God: the one is that there is evil in the world; the other is that free will is limited. The one, he is charging that the world is too evil; the other is that it is not evil enough.
If we are to believe he is really alive with all that that implies, then we have to believe without proof. And of course that is the only way it could be. If it could be somehow proved, then we would have no choice but to believe. We would lose our freedom not to believe. And in the very moment that we lost that freedom, we would cease to be human beings. Our love of God would have been forced upon us, and love that is forced is of course not love at all. Love must be freely given. Love must live in the freedom not to love; it must take risks. Love must be prepared to suffer even as Jesus on the Cross suffered, and part of that suffering is doubt.
Evil demons dwelling in underworlds, Gods sitting on-high, angels battling and protecting. We have become so wrapped up in these stories, and in the in-fighting between the different religions, that the reality of the matter has gone unseen and unresolved. We—humanity—must move out of this adolescence, put down the fairy tales, and take responsibility for our actions. There is no devil to blame, and there is no God to plead to. There is simply you and the choices you make each day—choices that will either make you a force of good in this world or an ill-presence. People are the evil in this world, and likewise we are the divine. “Evil”—all that is detrimental to humanity—has come about as a result of poor choices and, by the same hand, the divine—the immortal goodness—endures as a result of loving, compassionate choices. Heaven is created here—on this earth—by a community of compassionate people, and Hell is created here—on this earth—by a community of greedy, self-centered, apathetic people. Our small choices define the greater picture.
You cannot hinder someone’s free will, that’s the first law of the Universe, no matter what the decision.
Free will is the cutting edge of Creation, don’t you see? The word spontaneity derives from the Latin sponte, meaning ‘of one’s free will.’ Spontaneity is the impulse, the purest expression of freedom, and the impulse wants to do whatever it wants to do. But you are afraid of what others think, others who are just as afraid of what you think, and so you pussyfoot along the perimeter of the free-will zone, wilting like a wallflower.
Anything that comes your way by force was not meant for you. Everything that locates you on it's own was yours and will be yours forever.
If I knew then what I know now I guess it'd make no difference, Fate's sure in the way somehow. What's important is the essence. Although we still have free will We also have a whole lot to deal.
Remember your connection with the cosmos. Remember your connection with the infinity and that remembrance will give you the freedom.
Maybe none of us can choose who we love, Cas. None of the lucky ones, anyway. The only choice we have is how we serve that love. And Ethan’s made his choice. What about you? Are you going to reject it, or make the best of what you’ve been given?
Original sin and conscious awareness of human fallibility is the perpetual agent of transformation in human affairs. Humankind’s behavior is pathological; it is an admixture of instinct and reason, kindness and cruelty, immorality and seeking redemption.
I believe in free will. I think we make our own decisions and carry out or own actions. And our actions have consequences. The world is what we make it. But I think sometimes we can ask God to help us and He will.
It took a couple of months before we were both convinced there were no rules about sexual activities in Hell and our spouses were not going to show up out of the blue. It was hard to start a sexual relationship in circumstances of such bizarre uncertainty, especially for an active Mormon and a good Christian, both lost in a Zoroastrian Hell. We were like virgin newlyweds. All my life I’d been raised to believe this kind of thing was wrong. All my life I had lived with a strong sense of morality. How do you give it up? How do you do things you thought you’d never do? Where do all the things you believed go, when all the supporting structure is found to be a myth? How do you know how or on what to take a moral stand, how do you behave when it turns out there are no cosmic rules, no categorical imperatives? It was difficult. So tricky to untangle.
According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.