Free will? Maybe not

A mainstay of apologist thought is that God affords us the liberty of choosing whether to follow him or not. As with most theological issues, this one is contradicted by at least one scripture. For instance, a friend of mine recently offered the following (2 Corinthians 10:4-6):

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

This seems like an unabashed rallying cry for (among other things) brainwashing, a practice that blatantly contradicts the idea of free will. More generally Paul seems to be saying that any means necessary should be used to change people’s minds about God. It is a battle fought with powerful weapons, not a fair and measured discussion in which we are allowed, in our own time, to reach a carefully considered decision.

Once again, the real culture of Biblical times speaks through these ancient writings. It wasn’t about letting people hear rational arguments and decide for themselves. It was about applying as much pressure on the prospective convert as possible, lest the poor soul be lost to Satan.

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2 Responses to Free will? Maybe not

  1. boomrethink says:

    I won’t share with you where I stand on free will/destined issue but this much confounds me: At birth, I as an individual am “forced” to have free will (whether I like it or not) ! I have yet to figure out how “free” we are if we are born with free will without our consent.

    • kpharri says:

      boomrethink: that’s an interesting idea. I suppose one might argue that being born with free will is better than being born with all your decisions made for you. However, if the whole purpose of free will is to force you into confronting one particular issue – an issue that you might want to avoid, then it certainly doesn’t seem very free!

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