Not-So-Free Will

E-mail has brought some interesting responses to these columns...

...some complimentary, some critical.

The latter include epistles from religious types...  

...some emotional diatribes, some well reasoned.

In harping about right and wrong the latter often get around to free will.

Specifically, we can chose to obey God's wishes and go to heaven...

...or disregard them and go to hell.

Pretty simple free will concept...

...until you examine it.

Put yourself in this situation.

You're walking down a street one dark night. A man steps out of a doorway, puts a loaded .38 to your head, cocks the hammer and says, "Do what I say or I'll blow your brains out."

At this point you stop and think, "I have free will, so how should I use my free will in this situation?"

Of course you do!

Okay, let's raise the stakes a bit.

Quite a bit.

Instead of a quick, relatively merciful death from the .38, you have the option of...

...unending fire and brimstone torture...

...or an eternity of bliss and unspoiled happiness.

Another case of total free will, right?

Note that basic concept is the same; the only thing that's changed is the extended time line involved.

If the ultimate negative consequences in either of these scenarios were mandated by a world leader for all of his subjects...

...would you call his subjects free to do whatever they wanted...

...or slaves?

"Do as I say or you'll face terrifying consequences" is not an equation for free will...

...or, a loving God.



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