I have often said: "It isn't freedom if it is only the freedom to agree." Today, I am going to elaborate slightly on this concept by suggesting that " It isn't freewill if it is only the freedom to agree." The concept of freewill is used in many aspects of our lives, yet today, it is primarily its theological use which I will be exploring.
Freewill is a basically a term for the capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from amongst various alternatives. So, I suggest that the prerequisites for freewill to occur are:1. a rational agent 2. a choice of various alternatives.
Is it an act of freewill if a man holds a knife to your throat and tells you to submit to sex or he is going to slit your throat? The law says a resounding "no." The extenuating circumstance of the threat of violence negates the idea that the victim has a reasonable choice. The concept of freewill means that she would be likely to choose an alternative which HASN'T been offered. If the victim had freewill, they would more likely choose to be sitting at home with their feet up watching the TV, or some other activity which they considered favourable.
Consequently, the court doesn't tell the victim who was raped ," Sorry, luv, you had a choice and you chose to be raped without violence, instead of being raped with violence." The court recognises that the woman or man, has had their ability to choose what they consider to be a favourable outcome impaired. They recognise that neither the threat of rape, nor the threat of rape with violence, offers a choice that the individual may not would willingly agree to, if a threat had not been applied. They recognise that essentially, the victim's freewill has been severely limited because of the lack of favourable choices.
The concept of freewill under these circumstances is basically an example of the false dilemma with a threat of violence. The false dilemma involves a situation in which two alternative points of view are held to be the only options, when in reality there exist one or more other options which have not been considered. In other words, when only two options are given to an individual and neither option may be favourable to the individual and yet it is demanded that they choose one of them.
2 Chronicles 15:12-13“They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.”
Psalm 7:12 "If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready."
Is it freewill if people are told to “turn or burn? " Is it freewill if the options are "heaven or hell?" Join us or be killed, join us or go to hell - they are not options of free will. They are threats of violence where an alternative option, which the individual may find favourable, is excluded. There is no freewill if you believe that a god exists, there is only punishment if you don’t obey. That’s not free will. That is intimidation, coersion and threats of violence and suffering if you don’t join the club, buy the vacuum cleaner or submit to sex. It isn't an exercise of freewill, as freewill requires that you decide WITHOUT fear of violence or punishment.
Consent is not consent if threats of violence elicit the consent and where the options presented are so narrow that one can find neither option favourable. Consent is not of one's freewill if the threat of violence elicits the consent. Freewill is not freewill, if it is only the freedom to agree to propositions which the individual finds unfavourable, unsatistactory, or distasteful.
PS: And before anyone accuses me of picking on christians, I do recognise that islam has the same mentality.
Black Sabbath - "Heaven and Hell"