Free will and kindness

Believe it or not, free will is a major topic of discussion by some scientists.  Of course they don’t frame the issue the way those who follow Christ do, but they none-the-less are studying it.  One study, reported on here, found that those who were primed to doubt free will were “significantly more likely to cheat” on a test.  It seems that thinking one has free will may lead to better behaviour, while feeling we don’t have free will can cause us to be less honest, and probably less helpful, less kind, and so on.  It’s easy to see why this would be so – those who feel responsible for their actions are acting better than those who don’t feel responsible for what they do.  (It seems to me the study rather strongly supports the idea we do have free will, but that’s just an aside).

Christianity is divided over the free will issue.  While on the macro it’s a salvation issue, many take it to an extreme – some saying we can never do anything that is outside of God’s will.  Does “I have no ability to act other than how God programmed me” result in folks being less nice, maybe even mean?  Is this way of thinking used to justify all manner of poor behaviour?

What I think about that is irrelevant to you – but I would encourage you to think about how you view free will, and ask yourself if that view is resulting in some less than nice behaviour towards your bride, or your children.  Additionally, if you and your bride differ on free will, does that seem to mirror something in how you treat each other?

One Comment on “Free will and kindness

  1. Well, whadda you know!

    Anyone who has experienced modern medieval Christianity, up close and personal, could have told you this! :)

    In fact it was exactly the behaviour, especially when no one was looking, of the Christians who ran the denominational high school I attended, as well as the behaviour of the other good Christians in it, that lead me to conclude, in my early teen years, that there was a connection between their accepting, as the true God, the fateful, deterministic god of the medieval English Bibles, from which we were taught, and the decidedly hypocritical words and actions I witnessed in them.

    Even behaving in like manner myself for, at first, being unable to deny the character of the God they believed in and taught me was the true God.

    Fortunately, as my life went on, and I learned obedience to the truth through suffering the consequences of choosing bad over good, despite my knowing , through my conscience, the truth of my choices, I came to know the real God of The Words and came to discover the truth of Romans 8:26-30 and thus was elated to discover that He was not that capricious, deterministic, ‘from the foundation of the world’, God that the medieval English Bibles actually translated into existence, but was, indeed, a God Who is the happy God and Who truly is agape, or fondness and affection: That is to say, He is a Father.

    Which is why the slander of His character that is perpetrated in these English translations does not concern Him because for all who truly come to know Him He knows they will experience Him as He says He is and likewise come to know the slander for what it is as well as why those who passionately uphold this slander, uphold it.

    And so, for those who have experienced the re-siring that Jesus spoke about in John 3 and which John expounded on in 1 John 3:9 and have rejected as false the deterministic God of medieval theology, thus being enabled to come to know what it means to become virtuous, like your Father, as Peter spoke about it in 2 Peter 1: 2-9, for being free to choose, you may actually be acquainted with what I mean when I say

    Be good!

    It’s what you were created to be!

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