Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Paper.

So I talked about the last paper Nick and I wrote this weekend and it's still sticking with me. This paper was based on a new thought to me, and I'm still trying to sort through it. I know what I think, but I'm not sure I have developed it enough to debate it in an intellectual setting. It is definitely an evolving idea- evolving in the sense that it's not complete, not in the sense that I will scrap it and go to the other side. I know what I believe in this, I am just not sure how to be firm in it.

And that may not sound like a huge deal. You know what you believe, so stand firm. But we're looking at living a life ministering to teens so I better know what I believe and be able to explain it cuz teens ask a lot of awesome questions.

So, the paper was on determinism vs indeterminism. We read a lot of philosophy books and I got lost in a lot of gobbeldy gook but the best way I can think to explain the difference is this. Determinists would say that if you grew up the child of a serial killer you are destined to become a serial killer. Indeterminists would say that if you grew up the child of a serial killer and become a serial killer it was because you chose of your free will to become a serial killer. (and for anyone more philosophical than me-if there's a more finessed way to explain the difference I am open).

I didn't know this was an area of debate in the Christian world, I did not know a debate existed over whether or not humans have free will. It came up in our Bible Study last semester and I found that many of the members are determinists. They do not believe we have free will. They believe that although it looks like we're making choices were not because God has already made the plans for our lives and choices are illusions because we're going to do what he has set out for us to do the way he set out for us to do it.

I know what I think and whether I am a determinist or an indeterminist. I'm wondering what others think and the reasons they have chosen which they are. In reading the Bible I found verses to support both sides, and I believe we can live in harmony as Christians with different ideas on this. I'm just looking to talk to others and get my thoughts in order enough to talk to teens about it, should they ever ask.


Jen said...

This is a topic that confuses me. In one way, I do believe that we have free will, especially in situations like the serial killer scenario. BUT- if God knows what we are going to do before we even do it- is it really a choice?? I don't know. I've decided that my mind is too small to understand this one.

Amanda Franks said...

I felt that way at the beginning too. The difference seems so subtle doesn't it?

Samantha said...

We've had this debate a lot in my religious studies classes. I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. I believe that God took away total power when he gave people free will. But I think that life is sort of like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, the endings are all plotted out and we just get to pick the path we want, and we get where we do based on those decisions.
So for me, in a way its planned, but there's also an element of knowing that no matter what happens, the right choices will lead me back to where I need/want to be if it's in any relation to God. If that makes sense?

Tara said...

I would have to say that the whole thing confuses me most days...and depending on the day and the way I look at things is depending on my answer to this!!!! I go from having the thought of everything is your choice so make the right one to why do we even bother putting relationships and such on the line to reach to those around us like we are supposed to do when it is all planned out already what is goign to happen to them in the end!!! or us for that matter and then I think who am I to say that we have choice and if we are a stumbling block to those around us by not sharing with them then we have consequences to pay for that!!!! I would have to say after about two years of struggling with this issue I have come to the same conclusion that samantha has...and I like the way that she worded it too because I never know how to explain it right

geeksters said...

I believe people have choices and that no matter what's happened to them, they can determine to be a decent person.

But at the same time certain factors play a huge role in how people evolve into themselves. For example, according to Stats Canada, 85 per cent of women in prison were abused as children.

I think it is harder for those who have suffered greatly to become good people. But they always have the option, no matter how small, to refuse to allow their spirits to be crushed.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » »