Personal Responsibility Examined!
What is free will?
Free will is when you have a choice nothing makes you choose whatever you choose but you do it freely. It is your act and you have not been programmed to do it.

Do I have the power to do evil deliberately?
No part of my action is attracted to evil as such but only towards what I perceive as good in it under the circumstances. The evil I do is intended to be for the best so it is a mistake. I am never responsible for evil. I am only responsible for good that resulted in evil.

Can I be responsible for good if I am not responsible for evil?
No because I cannot avoid doing good. The good I do is caused by the way my environment affects me.

Do I have free will?
No because I cannot avoid being good and when I do evil I am insane seeing evil as good and I am not to blame.

Is it right that I feel free so I must be free?
No for experience proves we are not free and that the feeling is just a trick.

Does the denial of free will forbid rewarding and punishing?
The only important reason for rewarding and punishing is to change people’s behaviour in the future and that is all that matters. Even free willists can’t prove they give people what they deserve for they cannot see what is in the heart of another.

Does denying free will forbid you to tell a person what they should do?   
A young child cannot have free will and yet we treat it as if it has for its own good so we can do the same with adults.

Does denying free will discourage people to live better lives for if they are programmed then it seems they can just go along with what they feel like doing?
If people are not free they still change so there is no problem. The fact that people feel free despite knowing they are not free ensures that the denial of free will cannot let the forces in the mind that cause transformation function.

If we don’t have free will should we influence one another to help the amending of life?
People are influenced by what people think they should do and by the example of others so we should influence them for the better. Fear causes evil-doing and people will not use the absence of free will as an excuse for doing evil for we all want rid of the fear.

What do you say to the person who says that if we don’t have free will then our beliefs are not beliefs for they did not come from thinking about the evidence but from the programming we got and we cannot be sure the programming was right?
Consciousness is a separate faculty from the will whether the will is free or not and all sense data is fed to the consciousness. Free will has nothing to do with the issue of if what our senses tell us is right.

What have we learned from refuting the objections to free will?
That we do not need belief in choice so we should dispense with it because it is better to believe that a person who behaves badly is sick and needs love and support rather than to believe he or she is evil and sinful and deserving of condemnation and punishment. Belief in free choice then always stems from some degree of hate and snobbery and it encourages the drop in self-esteem that fuels anti-social activity.

Does free will deny human equality?
Person A who is an evildoer is using his personhood to freely do evil and cannot be as valuable as person B who does only good. You can’t say that the person is doing evil but that the person is valuable in themselves any more than you can say that an apple that is rotten is valuable as an apple. If there were a fatal accident you would rather A was the victim than B so you do not value both equally.

Is it true that if you deny free will you don’t believe in right and wrong?
Right and wrong exist whether we have free will or not. It is still wrong to kill an innocent person.

Is it right to hate your enemy?
No. There is no free will and there is nothing to forgive.

Does belief in free will imply that wanton cruelty is good?
Belief in it then always stems from some degree of hate and snobbery and it encourages the drop in self-esteem that fuels anti-social activity. Person A who is an evildoer is using his personhood to do evil and cannot be as valuable as B who uses it to do good. This takes us back to the denial that you can love the sinner and hate the sin which is as silly as saying you can trust the sinner and not the sin.

How else does it imply it?
We do not need belief in free will so we should dispense with it because it is better to believe that a person who behaves badly is sick and needs love and support rather than to believe he or she is evil and sinful and deserving of condemnation and punishment. If we can believe in it then cruelty is lawful.
What is sin?
An offence against the law of God that is to be punished. God must punish sin because if he doesn't then his law is not a law at all and he is evil for he is not serious about it. To treat sinners as good people would be an insult to those who struggle to live out the divine will.
What is morality?
Real morality is concerned about doing what is best for people - about choosing the action that you are reasonably sure does the least possible harm.
What is the difference between wrongdoing and sin?
When you say you have done wrong, you mean you have unnecessarily hurt other people and perhaps yourself. When you talk about sin you mean you have broken a rule or law made by God. Sin and punishment go together. A law that does not see lawbreakers punished is not a law at all but a joke.
Why must we refuse to believe in sin?
We should care about people not rules. Sin cries for evil to be done to sinners. It is an evil bigoted concept.
Should we punish ourselves and others for sinning against God or should we leave it to him?
To do that is to put belief before what should be done. If a person can and should be punished, it is wrong to leave it up to God because there is a chance that God might not exist.
Does Christianity say we must hate people who sin?
It says we must love them but hate their sin.
How do Christians tell us to hate sin?
They say we must hate it by creating a society that applies social pressure to stop it. They are against the permissiveness of society.
Do Christians believe in attacking the sin?
They say we must correct sin if we have reason to believe the sinner might listen. They say they attack the bad behaviour of the person not the character of the person. Sin is internal and is just shown by the sinful actions. The actions themselves strictly speaking are not sin.
What if Christians say they hate and oppose the sin but love the sinner because the sinner has the right to be loved?
That is like saying, I only love you because I have a duty to and it's a pity I have to love you at all. If you have to help a person who does not deserve it then you are grudging and you are doing it for the greater principle and not the person
Does the Christian believe the sinner deserves to be loved?
No. They say they give the love as a gift not as a duty. Real love and justice are inseparable. To be loving towards the undeserving is depriving the deserving. Or at least it is the intention to. And it's not fair.
What does that tell us?
That loving the sinner is irrational.
Is loving the sinner real love if it is irrational?
No. Real love is rational. Loving the sinner is emotional. Emotional love is irrational. Therefore it is not love.
Do they really mean this?
No. Bad behaviour is only condemned because of the kind of character it reveals.
Where does acceptance of the person come in?
If you hate a person's sin then you don't accept it at all. They say you can still accept the person which is a bare-faced lie.
You can love and hate a sinner at the same time?
Yes - in your head and heart you can perceive them as having a bad side but love their good side. You partly hate them. If the command allows hate at all then it is saying hate is good. It contradicts itself for it pretends to condemn hate.
Why do we feel that Christians put faith before people?
You can help everyone and still be putting faith before them. If you help them because of your faith or beliefs that means you are not doing it for them. We know people tend to put themselves first. In other words, they act according to their belief about how to put themselves first.
How does belief in God incite hatred of sinners?
Because it implies we have free will for God is not to blame for sin and you have to hate the sin to love him which prevents you from loving the sinner. The Humanist solution is to deny that we have free will so we can love the evildoer and see the evil as something separate from them.
How does love the wrongdoer and hate the wrongdoing differ from love the sinner and hate the sin?

Why can’t you love the sinner and hate his or her sin?
Because the will is part of the person and if the person creates sin, sin is a part of the person so to hate the sin is to hate the person at least in so far as he is bad. A little hate for a person you love is still hate.
Does it make sense to hate sins or acts of wrongdoing?
No. It is tormenting yourself over things you have done in the past. You can't change the past. It is tormenting yourself over what people are doing. You hating their sins will not make them change.
What should wrong and cruel deeds be referred to as say wrongdoing and not sin?
Wrong is just wrong. But the idea of sin implies that it breaks God's law and insults him meaning that the wrongness or malice is compounded. Believe in sin makes you more corrupt inside.
What should we do then?
We can love a person we dislike. We can dislike the bad side of them. We need to dislike.
What does the hypocrisy of loving the sinner and hating the sin tell us about God?
That he hates too. Therefore he torments himself over the sins of others. He is not a God for he is a victim and therefore not all-powerful.
Can religion argue that the sin is only part of the person so you can love the person and hate the sin part?
No. You cannot do good works in a state of sin for that is saying, “God, go to Hell! I will do good on my terms not on yours” so the sinner is all sin.
Is to hate sin the same as to harbour vindictive feelings for the sin?
Yes. You feel you want to hurt sin. These feelings even if not directed against a person are still damaging and corrupting. They make you a bad person. Feelings are not rational - so you can hate things that are not people.
Do Christians really love the sinner?
No because they oppose justice in the sense of an eye for an eye. To love a person unconditionally means you don't acknowledge how good they are.
Does sin necessarily damage the sinner's wellbeing?
No. Goodness can affect your wellbeing adversely. To love the sinner and hate the sin is to hate what does Christians have to hate the fact that God was offended not the fact that anybody was hurt.
What is the only thing that matters?
We need to control people's outward behaviour - we have to be as liberal as possible but boundaries are necessary. Atheists don't care what is inside a person. That's their own business. Those who worry about sin and people being evil is just vicious.
Should we blame people when they do wrong?
Not even when they do it deliberately. What's done is done. We merely ask them to do better. In other words, instead of blame, we tell them that change is possible. We declare them responsible.
What do you mean when you say people are responsible for their own lives and how those lives are but that you do not apportion blame to them?
I mean they have caused it. I keep moral judgment out of it. I leave it to them to decide if their lives are bad for them or not.
Give an example of how this works?
Don't think of a wife as bad for staying with her abusive spouse. Simply reminder her that she is responsible for putting herself in this position. This avoids blame or declaring her immoral.
Prove that you cannot declare a person responsible without blaming them
If the person is not doing anything wrong then why try to help them? If you can't blame them then why should they blame themselves? Refusing to blame implies that you don't give a damn about them.

What is our motivation when we do evil?
To do good. Even when we fulfil a vindictive urge, the intention is to do a good thing: dealing with a desire. The problem with evil is that it is doing the wrong kind of good.
What does this tell us about hating the sin?
You blind yourself to the good in the act and condemn the act. That it is really hating the sinner.
Why are all people - even those called evil - basically good?
Because evil is merely a lack. It is faulty good. It is misuse of good things. Evil is not real for it is good that merely falls short of what it could be. We must never lose hope that the blackest heart can change.
Do people need God to change?
No. The evil person merely does good the wrong way. They need to think and then they can change. It may take time.
Why is it vindictive to accuse people of sin?
Because it implies blaming them and it goes too far. There is no need for accusing yourself or others of offending the law of God. The doctrine of sin implies that people must pay if they break God's law.
What kind of proof do you need before you can say that anybody is a sinner?
You need to prove the existence of God beyond all doubt because sin means an offence against God. The doctrine that God exists smears the human race.


What if one says that God commands you to be moral for there will be bad consequences and they say that he is not making the bad consequences but merely predicting them?

If the consequences are all that matters then he would be telling you about good deeds that have bad consequences and warning you.  Whether a deed shows love or not does not matter if the consequences are what determines if it should happen or not.  If an act is bad in itself then God, if he really has to attach bad consequences to things, should make sure bad consequences follow bad actions.


Does God/prayer make a mockery of our sense of responsibility? 

The idea that God always helps but through people means that if you are not helped you blame others or blame yourself for not getting the help.  If a loved one is not helped you blame others or blame yourself.  The main reason for blame is that the praying was not done or was not up to standard.

Do we believe in punishment?
No. We believe in doing much the same thing as punishing except we know punishment as a wrong. Crime control is not about revenge or retribution for there is no free will but is about keeping up the law.

Why do we have penalties for crimes?
Because if there is no price for breaking the law then the law is a law in name only and is not a law at all and we need laws to be safer. The amount of suffering that has been consciously inflicted has to be inflicted in return.
Is punishment merely legalised vindictive revenge?

How can a young person be jailed for life for killing an old person who was going to die in a few years anyway?
Because the person was killed for being a person and not just because he was old and nothing is as valuable as a person no matter what age they are.

What if I pay a fine for my friend?
That is acceptable as long as you are sure he will pay you back. It was him who broke the law.

Should we return what we have stolen?
When you steal or harm another wrongly you have to make amends or restitution as far as you are able and as fast as you can. A person who steals and says they are sorry can’t be really sorry if they are keeping what they took instead of returning it. You have to make compensation not only for what you took but also for the sorrow you caused.


Forgiving and looking for restitution are said to be compatible - are they?

The foundational principle is that restitution is fine even if not needed.  That shows that they do not really fit.  In a sense, there is no restitution. A wrong cannot really be fixed.  You fix the present not the past.

Should persons be reported unless you are sure they will not do it again and intend to make amends?
Yes. If the crime is serious like rape or murder it should be reported if reporting will not cause at least equally bad trouble. Some will claim that they committed a crime because they had had a hard time and were angry at the world. We believe them but that does not excuse letting them off scot-free.


What does science tell us about responsibility?

That it is not provable and that genes and environment cause many of the things that seem to arise from free will.  They do not.  We are not as responsible for what we do as we think.  If God made our programming then we cannot blame our free will entirely for all that is bad.  This contradicts the religious doctrine that free will is ours and is not a mixture of my will and forces out of my control.



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