Religion needs the notion of free will or moral responsibility in order to encourage converts to come in and to condemn the recalcitrant.  This builds up the religious organisation which is based around those who it regards as suitable and which has a barrier against the "unsuitable".

Free will as taught by religion assumes you have pick good or evil, right or wrong and that God gives you this power and declares it is your responsibility.  So you are in the middle of a cosmic battle.  This leads to pure arrogance.  Forces bigger than you such as good and evil are interested deeply in what you do.  This is just another way of thinking you are in some way the centre of the universe or the centre of your part of it, the part that matters.

Religion objects, "No!  Your decision is important before God yes but you are still only one decision-maker in the middle of billions."

That does not overthrow the point.  You are claiming to be God over your realm, your little world, your bubble.  Religion is showing its deceit and false humility.  Each person knows she or he makes a big thing of things in her or his head as if the rest of the world was nothing.

Also, as there is such a thing as the butterfly effect, where the tiniest event, changes all that happens after it eventually, you can easily see your minute choice as important to all creation not just your part of it.  It could be the big decision in God's plan that he needs for it to fall into place.

And what about the doctrine that God loves you as if there were only you?

Free will can be a choice between saving John's life or Mary's.

Free will can be a choice between murdering John or Mary.

So it is not always a 'be good' or 'be evil'.

It makes us feel important to forget this.  We feel powerful when we are told how good we can be all the time.

Free will is NEVER ONLY a choice.  You choose all the knowns and unknowns that will come from saving whoever you save.  That is immeasurable.  It is another reason why we see our use of the will as making us gods.

There is a difference between saying free will etc matters for person to person relations and using the idea for religious ends.  For example, Jake hits Kim at school.  That is human.  But to worry about Jake hitting Kim for it is bringing rebellion against God into the creation is different.  It is the difference between keeping it human and keeping it divine.  Also, is the latter really about God?  God talk and God worship says little about God and plenty about the person engaging in this piety.  You must be better than God when you can stand over him and decide when and how he has spoke and which of the countless claimed revelations in the world are his.

Bruce Waller in his book Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and the Desire to be a God makes the point that free will makes us want to hit back against people perceived as immoral or dangerous.

If free will does that then free will as in religious faith where it is seen as a gift of God adds to the problem.  In other words, the free will notion hurts anyway.  But the God version does in its own way and adds in more nasty twists.

Waller complains that free will makes us forget that we are animals like the creatures we hunt and use for our gain. It makes us feel we deserve our gains.

We also treat other humans as creatures to be hunted too so let us remember that.

Free will could be real despite all its god-making.  Just because it can lead to sadistic horrors or is a mixed blessing does not make it false.  It should make us however reluctant to validate it or encourage people to believe in it.  So already we have shown religion is bad for it makes it a core doctrine.

Waller's prize quote is, “No one is morally responsible, no matter how rational or competent or stable. Moral responsibility is fundamentally incompatible with our scientific understanding of the deep factors that shape character and behaviour,” page 96.  If so, religion and God are in opposition to science.  Even if they are not, religion is not about what science says about our power to be free.  The threat of religion quashing science is still there.  Science is still diminished.  It is not regarded as sacred while religious doctrines are.  Science still does not see free will as linked to or dependent on a God.  If God gives you free will as a gift to bring you to him this is a different free will from human-level free will.  "Free will is about us being free to let God into our hearts and work through us" is different from, "Free will is just the power to create good or harm."  Just because both affirm freedom does not make them the same.  Take sight.  The blind person may see only a white fog.  That is not seeing in the way that seeing trees and mountains is at all.   There are two seeings not two different versions of seeing.  Same with free will. 

Many try to connect free will and responsibility.  Religious believers in particular do that.  They will not tell you that "John if he drinks heavily and then drives will crash the car so he is responsible" implies, "There are no accidents for God is creator and owns all and rules all. John did not intend to crash the car so God did and thus John is not really responsible." 

They want to believe in free will out of some kind of optimism which helps them think there is always hope for a person.  There isn't always and a lot of harm is done by hope.  Cautious optimism is fine. But this over-optimism is playing God, as if you know more than you do.

Free will must be talked about in terms of what freedom means. Is freedom freedom for? Is it freedom from? Both? Which one would matter the most? 

If God gives you freedom so that you can have freedom from him to have freedom for yourself, assuming they are two sides of the same coin, then free will does not fit the love of God.

This takes us back to what we said earlier.  Free will on the human level could be true.  Free will as in from God can be true.  But both cannot be.

Human level free will is freedom from mistakes and wrongdoing in order to forge good relationships with others and yourself.  Religious level free will is about freedom for serving God and freedom from what God says is sin and evil.  What is evil about this is that assuming free will or belief in it is needed does not need to go that far.  Natural human level would suffice.

We conclude that free will is laden with God-complex individualism and ideology.  Religion goes as far as to speak for why God gives us as if that is its place.  It injects doctrines into it that are sheer assumptions. Anybody can play God by giving doctrines that do not clearly have a divine provenance.  That in itself shows they are making faith about themselves and not truth and not God.


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