Hate Mail Just because our only available decision brings with it one of two results that are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it does not negate the freedom of choice that I've been given.”
The Jack Stargel files

His letters are in yellow, whilst mine are in black & white.

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Quote from Jack Stargel:
"They can give me the freedom to do or not do something, but they cannot give me the free will that allows me to decide how to use that freedom. Freedom and free will are not synonymous."

"Free will" has nothing to do with the concept of what you are and aren't "allowed" to do (which is the other word: "freedom"). It is a teleological argument that either you were predestined to do everything in your life (by the invisible sky-daddy in the sky), or you are an independent person and have the ability (*cough* "free will") to make your own decisions - directly implying that you can "choose" things that the Sky-Daddy Does Not Want You To Choose.

--

Now that we have all that straightened out, I have a better question: if I have free will, how can god be omniscient? I mean, obviously I can make a choice that makes god sad/angry/irate/whatever , so obviously I wasn't designed to do it - so how can everything in the past, present, and future be omnisciently planned then? I can make arbitrary choices that mess up the plan!

... But if I don't have free will, and I get sent to hell for not believing in god, then isn't god malevolent? If everything is in a divine plan, and there is any percentage of people that 'suffer forever', then clearly god is malevolent.

Quite the conundrum!

An Atheist named Jeff

 


I understand where you're coming from, but I think the threat of eternal suffering (when actually considered as absolute truth) has the potential to bend free will. It encourages the programed robot mentality. We've all encountered people who're victims of this, and listened to the lunacy they verbalize because their free will has been compromised.

Is it possible for the free will we're each born with to be taken away with the proper tools? Can someone be so broken by the elements, fear, torture, mind control, or basic miseducation to actually manipulate and/or remove ones own free will? My answer is yes. Watch a little Darren Brown and you'll come to realize we're all quite susceptible.

The tools needed to bend ones will are almost common knowledge at this point. This is why cults are dangerous, and the people involved with them are considered victims. Here's a funny video that illustrates my point...

Am I wrong? Am I misdefining "free will?"

Bob

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“...all paths lead to God. The only problem is that all of the ways that are not through Jesus lead to God as Judge, not God as Heavenly Father. ”

Subject: Your site:

Bob,

Thanks for posting the words to the first verse of "The Buddah Song." I've been looking for it for months. BTW, the link is broken for the second verse.

Also, you seem to allude to a belief that Jesus is not the only way to God.
I agree, all paths lead to God.
The only problem is that all of the ways that are not through Jesus lead to God as Judge, not God as Heavenly Father.
But it's our choice. Woo-Hoo! Thank God for Free Will!

Have a great life!
Jack Stargel
jstargel@yahoo.com

"For I AM NOT ASHAMED of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." Romans 1:16

Woo-hoo!!! "Free Will" that includes eternal pain and suffering for anyone who chooses a path other than the one dictated!!

Um, I think by that definition Kim Jong-il allows Free Will too. And Stalin as well. And Hitler. And prison guards. And kidnappers, and every dictator who ever lived allowed Free Will that included suffering & death for those who chose not to call them Supreme Ruler.

You're welcome for the Buddha Song quote.
Now I'm gonna go praise the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for allowing me the Free Will to worship Him or die.
Woo-hoo.
Bob

Just because our only available decision brings with it one of two results that are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it does not negate the freedom of choice that I've been given

Bob,

Don't you have kids? Didn't you ever give them a choice of consequence for the action that they chose to do?

If not, didn't your parent ever say something akin to "Clean up your room or stay home all weekend, it's your choice."?

My parents used that approach many times, and it never occurred to me to say, "Oh, Thank you for the free choice to either cleam my room or suffer punishment!"

Just because our only available decision brings with it one of two results that are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it does not negate the freedom of choice that I've been given, nor its value.

If the judge says, "Sit down or I'll find you in contempt of court," I have the free will to choose either option. Why would I not choose the option that I find more favorable?

Jack Stargel
jstargel@yahoo.com

"For I AM NOT ASHAMED of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." Romans 1:16

Um, no. A permanent consequence like beheading, gassing, gunshot through the ear, or an eternity of suffering is not a lesson learning consequence at all. When a child doesn't clean their room or do the dishes you don't discipline them by chopping off their hands or hanging them by the neck from a swingset, then explain "Just because our only available decision brings with it one of two results that are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it does not negate the freedom of choice that you've been given."
Doing so negates Free Choice entirely! In your scenario there's no opposite of Free Choice. All the infamous dictators of the world had your irreversible consequence version of "Free Choice" as well!

Jack, the concept of freedom is negated when governing forces institute the death penalty for disagreeing, doubting, or simply choosing not to bow and worship whoever you're ordered to worship.

I'm extremely curious to hear how the rule of a dictator like Kim Jong-il, Hitler or Mussolini differs from the rule of your god? All of them allow "Free Will" that result in death penalties for anyone who doesn't submit. Your explanation of the difference here is essential, because I can not see it.

Bob

I don't understand why you would expect an eternity of suffering to somehow be a learning experience.

Bob,

I think our differing views are becoming more clear.

You said, "an eternity of suffering is not a lesson learning consequence at all." That is very true. Similarly, you could state that neither "life without parole," nor "the death penalty" is a lesson learning consequence. Rather, it is the final consequence of a willful act. These are not designed to be learning experiences. These are punishments, pure and simple.

Unless your belief system includes reincarnation, Karma, and/or the transmigration of the soul, I don't understand why you would expect an eternity of suffering to somehow be a learning experience. I don't believe God ever said, "If you don't do as I say, I'll punish you until you learn your lesson." His eternal punishment, to me, conveys a dramatic sense of finality.

And Bob, although we may view Kim Jong-il, Hitler & Mussolini as scum of the earth, and murderous dictators, we differ in our beliefs about their innate power. No "person" has given me free will. Nor could they. They can give me the freedom to do or not do something, but they cannot give me the free will that allows me to decide how to use that freedom. Freedom and free will are not synonymous.

Jack Stargel
jstargel@yahoo.com

"For I AM NOT ASHAMED of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." Romans 1:16

Thus the flaw in your religion is revealed. The punishment for thinking freely in any other direction results in an eternity of suffering, a consequence which allows for no lesson learned. That's my point exactly. We are as free as any prisoner surrounded by armed guards, according to you.

In no way do I think an eternity of suffering could be a learning experience, just as an eternal paradise doesn't allow for the errors from which we learn. It is these major flaws in each afterlife scenario you paint that exposes them as brainstorms of greedy, selfish, flawed human beings. Eternal paradise for himself. Eternal suffering for everyone who thinks differently. Ask anyone who's any kind of religious. They're going to Heaven, and anyone who thinks differently, Hell. There's no better evidence how manmade these methods are than seeing them exploited by tyrants like Kim Jong-il & Hitler. Methods of worship, dogma, fear the one you love, and the death penalty for disbelief have been co-opted consistently by the evilest among us. What better example do you need of your belief's imperfections? Jack, a gun to the temple eliminates Free Will.

A real, loving god would most definitely encourage learning experiences and punishments which fit the crime. That's how we learn. Not eternal suffering, & death sentences for thinking thoughts or making mistakes. A real, loving god would not make the apology to Him the priority. And a real, loving god would never allow for a time when it's too late. Power hungry men however do just as your god does. This is not a coincidence. I'm presenting these major flaws in your beliefs to show you exactly why I think they're false and your god is made up.

Jack, you've gone and submitted to ideas invented by men. You were duped because you didn't consider human error first. You were duped because the threat exploited your fears and desires. You were duped because you're only human. Something your god doesn't allow.

This is what I'm trying to illustrate.
Bob

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