"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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Location: Australia

I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Friday, January 19, 2007

Freewill - "Turn or Burn"


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.

A vacuum salesman comes to my door and wants to sell me a "ridgy didge, you beaut vacuum cleaner." He tells me it is the best vacuum cleaner that you can buy. It will last forever and it has more suck than a frog’s bum on the windscreen of a car travelling at 100 miles per hour. I tell him that I don’t need a vacuum cleaner as I sweep the floor by hand and that the excess use of electricity will only add to the effects of global climate change. He tells me that I must buy the vacuum cleaner or he will send his manager around to smash my face in. Now, if I believe that he has a manager who has the power and the will to smash my face in, I might be encouraged through the threat of violence to BUY that vacuum cleaner. But would it be of my own freewill if the transaction occurred because of perceived threat of violence that would occur if I didn't comply?

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"

Rush - "Freewill"

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Blogger concerned citizen said...

I love the T-shirt image it would go great with the series of Crusades posts i'm doing. I might steal it later, but i'll give you a plug. :)

I love Gullivers Travels, BTW. it is the greatest satire! I haven't read it for a while, many books, so little time.

19/1/07 3:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE lt

The image is from a christian website where they sell that image on T - shirts...

I think it is kinda scary, but what do I know?

19/1/07 7:19 pm  
Blogger Howling Latina said...

These so-called Christians are misguided, ignorant fools.

Forget most of the Old Testament as well as most of what Paul writes.

Only in the context of the "truth" contained in certain passages is the Bible worth reading; but boy, when it smacks you in the face, you realize, damn it, there is a God.

People are just mortals, having the thoughts of fools, and yes, of course, that includes me.

By the bye, thanks for earlier visiting my site.


20/1/07 11:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(This is an attempt at a re-post... I think beepbeep's commenting system hates me...)

I'm really looking forward to hearing Rush's new album. Not too long ago, Neal had this to say:

"Peart says he was struck by the ubiquity of religious billboards that have sprung up on America's highways, which got him thinking about some weighty topics. 'Just seeing the power of evangelical Christianity and contrasting that with the power of fundamentalist religion all over the world in its different forms had a big effect on me,' he says.

'You try to put your own way of seeing the world into some kind of congruence with other peoples, and that's difficult for me,' he admits. 'I mean, I see the world in what I think to be a perfectly obvious and rational way, but when you go out into it and see the way other people think and behave, and express themselves on church signs, you realize, 'Well, I'm not really part of this club.''

'I looked for the good side of faith,' Peart says. 'To me it ought to be your armor, something to protect you and something to console you in dark times. But it's more often being turned into a sword, and that's one big theme I'm messing with."

Should be interesting! :-)

I predict the band will be criticized and/or boycotted by religious groups eager to rattle their sabers about how "persecuted" they are.

20/1/07 9:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one Beep.

I remember one that was getting around when I was god bothering:

"777 To Hell With The Devil" with appropriate flame work...

I guess all groupies need their t-shirts, eh?

21/1/07 1:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE wolvie

Since I swapped to the new blogger, it has been eating people's comments. I hope I have the matter solved now.

I look forward to Rush's new album. :)

21/1/07 10:21 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted:

I must be one of the few atheists on the net who was never a god botherering type who took it upon themselves to bother about people about god.

When I was a believer, it was personal to me. Which is probably why I expect people to NOT annoy me with their religious beliefs.

21/1/07 10:24 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Of course, the god botherers are welcomed to "annoy" me on my blog. We might as well get it all out in the open.

21/1/07 10:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can I say Beep. It was a personal thing for me at the times too, but the pastor we had thought it was our civic duty to "spread the word", as it were. I resisted the t-shirt thing, but many didn't. For some reason though, I always thought the one I mentioned was particularly lame...

But, I was gonna say...:)

21/1/07 11:13 am  
Blogger Rosie said...

a girl in my high school wore this particular shirt. As I went to high school in a mennonite filled community this sort of thing was not rare. A few complaints by students rid us of having to see that offensive shirt.

21/1/07 4:06 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE rosie

We didn't have the problem in OZ as most school students wear uniforms.

There are some that don't have a uniform policy, but most do. I can understand the issues people have with compulsory uniforms, but one of the pros is that kids don't spend a lot of time obsessing about their appearance in preference to study.

22/1/07 12:37 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted

I was never part of any sort of evangelical church, so I didn't get into "spreading the word."

In fact, I always thought it was kind of rude to imply that one religious belief was better than another by preaching to others about one's own religious beliefs.

I had a "you have a religious belief and so do I" kind of policy. In other words, I didn't want to hear about theirs, so I didn't compel them to hear about mine. ;)

22/1/07 12:47 am  

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