Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Atheism and Free Will

Much has been debated about free will and God. I would like to ask how free will and atheism are at all compatible.

If we are nothing but products of random combinations of matter, set into motion billions of years ago, by what mechanism can we choose anything on our own? Our entire lives have been determined by the Big Bang. If our thought processes, feelings, emotions, beliefs, etc. are nothing more than random electrochemical reactions in our brains, how can we have any control over deciding anything, let alone be responsible for our decisions.

The atheist may claim to make an independent decision, but on what basis did he make his choice? What gave him the ability to make it? If the thought process is nothing more than electrochemical reactions in brain matter, what was so free about it?

If the natural order is all there is; if there is nothing outside, beyond, or aside from the natural order, then the individual is part of the natural order and cannot be separated from it. This natural order consists of nothing more than chemical and physical responses, which have no choice but to react in set ways to certain stimuli. They are governed by natural laws of physics and chemistry. Therefore there can be no such thing as free will. If one follows naturalism to its logical end, there can be no basis for independent thought, or for that matter, logic itself. Every action is dictated by preceding physical and chemical inputs, which must behave in predetermined, preset ways according to the natural laws of the universe and cannot be changed. Free will under such circumstances would be like a river deciding to flow uphill. The materialist is a prisoner of a beginningless sequence of natural causes and stimuli.

On the other hand, if we have a mind (never mind yet a soul or a spirit) what defines it? What elevates this ability to make considered decisions above mere interaction of matter within our crania? What is it that makes a mind more than a mere brain? If you believe at all in your ability to think and reason, you must go beyond the purely natural. Once you realize that the natural is not all there is, you will begin to realize that the existence of God helps make sense of everything.

Take Care,

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