Do we have free will?

Man A leaves the house. Gets in his car, pulls out of the drive way, drives down the street. The light turns green. Man B, runs a red light and smashes his car. Man A, has to go to the hospital, he has to call his insurance company, he has to rent a car, and, eventually buy a new car.

A woman is walking down the street late at night. Two guys jump out of the car, hit her over the head and knock her out. They throw her in the back of the car. She wakes up to the two men raping her. She leaves, she is afraid to walk down the streets at night, she doesn’t trust men.

A man born in Afghanistan becomes a scientist. He decides he wants to study the ice caps and global warming. He spends the rest of his life in solitude and study. He holds his foundational familial, communal and religious beliefs. A missionary never found him.

A woman has a child with a deadbeat boyfriend. He’s emotionally neglectful and doesn’t seem to care about her or the child. After a while she decides that it isn’t healthy for her child to grow up in this environment. He remains a deadbeat and refuses to pay child support. She has to get a second job because she needs the help to financially support herself and her child.

A father wants his son to go to his Alma mater. The kid wants to be an artist and go to art school. The father won’t support his son unless he goes to that college. He won’t sign his loans. The kid ends up going to that school, majoring in something he doesn’t love, ending up working a job he will always hate.

A convicted felon is trying to change when he gets out of jail. When he gets out, he can’t pay his court fees, his license is suspended so he can’t get a car. Now, he can’t get to job interviews. He is homeless and starving. The only access to money he has, was the criminal acts that he previously did.

Do I have free will? Or do I have free will in response to others free will being imposed upon me?

Do we have free will over the families we choose?

Do we have free will when something awful happens to us?

Do we have free will over the things we believe because of our sociological and familial beliefs and religious practices?


6 thoughts on “Do we have free will?

  1. Lem Usita says:

    Great questions. If we have free will, that means that everyone else has free will. It get so complicated right?

    Curious as to what the impetus was for this post. I was going to respond to the questions, but I’m more interested in where it came from.

    Thanks for posting.

    • mfries05 says:

      Some if it is Rob Bell’s book. All of the garbage attached to a persons beliefs about God, ourselves, the world, when we are living in response to the things taught and done to us.

      Some of it is my own personal journey. How do I respond to some types of abuses that I have faced? How do I respond to others? How do I learn to cope with moments of powerlessness?

      Some of it is watching the journey’s of others, seeing injustice, seeing poverty of all types. How much could have been prevented? How much was a sociological flaw? And, how much of it was personal irresponsibility.

      What would your response to the questions be?

  2. I think that maybe you’re getting at a divergence between how we apply the idea of free will, and free will itself. The concept of free will is ultimately one of hope, of empowerment, giving victims the ability to take control, giving power to those who’ve never felt it.

    Instead, it gets applied as an excuse for systematic injustices. I feel that’s it’s very important to promote the idea of free will. It’s also very important to recognize that complete understanding equals complete forgiveness, and when we set up systems to destroy people’s selves, bad things will happen.

    • mfries05 says:

      Love your thoughts Micah,
      Was thinking about how sometimes we need to surrender some of our own freedom to create freedom for ourselves and others. A drug addict can choose drugs, but, over time the drugs take that freedom over them and they become a slave to it. Your thoughts on treating it as a concept of empowerment is a great one.

      I have this thought that we can’t move onto what will be until we accept what is. Until I accept the reality of one situation, I can’t begin a new one.

  3. Lem Usita says:

    I think Rob would say that God is love and in order for there to be love there needs to be choice. Free will is pretty cool. It’s humbling.

    This is a much longer conversation. I too am asking some of the same questions. It’s great conversation.

    I like the questions that Rob asks, and I love the conversations that people are having around the questions. I hate that Love doesn’t win – especially when Christians pick on each other.

    Whether a sociological flaw, personal irresponsibility, or just familial or religious practices – Love Wins.

    We can have faith in those things that we can know. We can enjoy the conversations around speculation. And above all, Love Wins. I know – a quick answer to much deeper questions, but a great conversation.

    I love that God would chose to be in relationship with us. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for mine. I have to model it – Follow me as I follow Jesus.

    Come on!

  4. Amber says:

    This is such a tough question because the “answer” is one that doesn’t really make logical sense to our human minds. If you’re looking at what the Bible says about it, it says that we have choice and the choices we make matter, and yet God is in complete control over everything.

    For example, in Isaiah 46:10,11 God says, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (11)What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.”

    There are countless other verses that talk about God being in control and sovereign, and then there are also countless verses that talk about the importance of the choices we make and the consequences of those, etc.

    From my limited understanding of the Bible and some theology, I would say both are true in a way that makes sense to God, who is infinitely wise, and that my mere human mind cannot comprehend.

    I would recommend looking at what pastors like John Piper and Timothy Keller have to say on this though – they’re much smarter than I am haha.

    This song by Thrice is interesting too and really directly speaks to your question:

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