Nice one at Vox’s on free will and utilitarianism. But first, had to laugh reading Dave Allen:
I’m what you might call a practising atheist. I’m quite happy to be an atheist because I think G-d likes atheists better, we never ask Him to do anything, we’re not bothering him the whole time.
Isn’t it fascinating how what passes for the thinking of the most popular atheists so closely resembles that of the omniderigent Christians? The sovereign God of the hyper-Calvinist and the nonexistent God of the atheist lead the adherent to the same conclusion: Man is not responsible for his actions.
I see it this way. There must be free will, otherwise the whole thing is meaningless:
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life
Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the word “believe” in there suggest choice in the matter or at the least the possibility of either believing or not believing? And that’s what separates Christianity from Throatslittingandhumanbombism. There is no coercion in that simple quote.
Now it depends on how you view Adam as to where you are on this predestination thing. Is it predestination to know something ahead of time? I mean, there’s a certain logical conundrum here. Let’s say I know the result of a football match tomorrow – does that mean the match is predestined to go a certain way? What was that film where a number of different futures were possible and someone stepped back in time to alter the future they didn’t desire?
If I end up believing, which I feel is my own choice and it’s certainly suggested by John 3:16 – is that a product of my own free will, is it any less free will if my Maker knew all along I’d make that choice and knew that you wouldn’t? And can the arrangement of circumstances lead to inevitable results, even if the players are making what seem to be free choices all the way along the line?
And is there manipulation? For example, if a set of politicians descend to open corruption and greed, as distinct from potential corruption and greed, were the guilty the PTB that knew all about consequences of actions by reading millennia of history, was the guilty party human nature or was it entirely random that this happened? And was it also completely random that a nation would choose to remain under the yoke of a Marxist state and give up their sovereignty or was there a certain manipulation going on here?
Where is free will under these circumstances?