Do We Have Free Will?

This entry is part 53 of 57 in the series Mysteries

Question Fifty-Four

Do We Have Free Will?

This is a question that has been debated since the beginning of religion and philosophy.

Those who say we have no free will claim that God knows everything and all events are already known and planned by Him in advance. Since it is already known that you will stub your toe at 9 PM on Tuesday there is nothing you can do to prevent such a happening. Such believers also claim that God knows who will be saved and who will not.  Those doomed to hell are in a lock and there is nothing they can do to escape.

When you think about it, this type of thinking makes no sense.  For one thing, the all knowing, all perfect God (from the human perspective) is a creation from the minds of men.  Perfection is an illusion for what is perfect to one is imperfection to another. God may know how His plan will end but He would have no desire to know all the details, especially about you stubbing your toe.

All lives in the universe have free will which is only limited by their conscious understanding and the limitations of their circumstances.  Every day we use our free will to decide what time to get up, to go to bed, what to eat, when to shower, when to study, check our email or dozens of other things.  Then there are big decisions such as a choice of a career, a mate, a location to live and others.  All these things are in the realm of free will and no one can predict all the choices anyone will make.  There are a few obvious choices that are predicable but then sometimes, as humans, we just go out of character and decide something different.

In addition to individual choice there is group choice.   If you are a member of a group and they vote on a decision sometimes that decision will not be the one you would have made. The group as a whole makes a choice, but not the individual.

There are many circumstances that limit free will.  If you want to buy a car and can afford only $20,000 then your free will is limited to cars that cost that much or less. You seem to not be able to use your free will to buy a $40,000 car.

A Key to happiness and fulfillment in life is to expand your ability to choose so limitations will be removed. If you want the $40,000 car and only think you can buy a $20,000 one maybe you have not looked at all the options.  Maybe if you expand your thinking, you can make more money on the side or save money in another area of spending.

There is a lot of truth to this classic poem of Walter D. Wintle.

“If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but think you can’t

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,

For out in the world we find

Success being with a fellow’s will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are:

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can.”

The answer to the question is, yes, we do have free will.  While it is true our freedom does have certain limitations we have greater power of decision than we give ourselves credit for.

He who thinks he can has much more freedom to decide than the pessimist.

“Life is tough, it’s tougher when you’re stupid” …….John Wayne

Copyright 2014 by J J Dewey

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1 thought on “Do We Have Free Will?

  1. “Life is tough, it’s tougher when you’re stupid” …….John Wayne

    That might be a bit of a caustic statement, from John Wayne, after all there are 3 levels of consciousness in the Earth school. Kindy souls, primary school souls and college souls, and the ones who may seem “stupid” just might not be at a higher conscious level than others. Being foolish or careless or less intelligent is really just a lesson in our life to learn from. Even those souls in college class can be careless or foolish etc.

    Ruth

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