Sunday, September 18, 2011

Faithful Thinkers: Video: Free Will and Evil

Thanks to Luke Nix for posting the following video on his blog.

I realize that "Free Will" is often taken as a given and is usually defined as being able to act or act otherwise without influence or force from outside of oneself - motivated by one's own interests and desires. I think the fact that people have minds and wills of the their own is undeniable. My question: Is it "Free". The Bible says we are enslaved to sin and incapable of  living without transgressing God's standard. Some of us are so lost and blind we can't even see the need. for salvation. That doesn't seem "free" to me. Our inability to do right in every and all circumstances is not the root cause of evil - its a symptom. We are cursed to sin and death because of evil. I think the question that we must attempt to answer is: What is Evil?

Evil is what you get when anyone acts outside the will of God. We know that God has our best interests in mind so that when ever something happens not in our best interest, we experience evil. At the same time, God uses evil in the best interest of his people.

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  - Romans 8:28-29

Faithful Thinkers: Video: Free Will and Evil
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FacePalm of the Day #123 - Debunking Christianity: Feuerbach Was Right All Along, We Create Our Own Gods

John Loftus recently posted the following on his blog:

Some people might be interested in knowing that humans are creating their gods in their own images.
For many religious people, the popular question “ What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs. Link
I think most Christians would totally disagree because we recognize that what Jesus would do in most situations is markedly different than what we would do by default without Him. Skeptics and Atheists can't have it both ways. On one hand they say that God is a moral monster whom commands evil acts that we know are evil and would never do today. On the other, they say that Christians are merely projecting their own personal beliefs on what is right and moral behavior. I don't think these positions can be reconciled with one another.

I find it interesting that the questions asked during the study were "hot-button" political issues regarding same-sex marriages, homosexuality, abortion, and other social issues that most Christians are very vocal about and have firm Biblical basis. These are also "easy" issues for most Christians. Statistically, one is far less likely to be attracted to someone of the same sex than one from the opposite. Of course more Christians would be against homosexuality than for it - that's easy. The study doesn't mention studying how people's brains respond to things that they do or did that the Bible speaks against us. You know the struggles with or gave up because they don't think it's a sin because they liked to do it?  For example: what about pre-maritial and extra-maritial sex? The Bible is very clear about it, but our society is so lax on it that even some committed Christians would rather condemn and call-out homosexuality but are silent on adultery, un-wed  mothers and pornography. As if homosexuality is the worst possible thing you can do. It isn't. 

Being a born-again Christian means publicly acknowledging that we have attitudes and behaviors that are not like God and that we need to change. It is not about God agreeing with us. We agree with God. To do this day there are things that God is against that I wish He weren't. I recognize the need to align my thoughts and deed with Him because He is not going to change. 

The truly facepalm worthy thing about this study is that it doesn't address the things that God cares about that would handle all the other issues that they did ask about. A better study would be to look at how brains react to Jesus' teachings as they appear in the Gospel. Like to the question "Who do men say I [Jesus] am?" What do people think about Peter's answer! I assure you that an Evangelical and Unitarian will react differently.

Debunking Christianity: Feuerbach Was Right All Along, We Create Our Own Gods
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