Religious determinism essay


The paradox is; how can God be omnipotent and omniscient and humans be free and autonomous? If God is omniscient then he knows our every future freely made decision, the implication being that when we make a 'free' decision we are simply fulfilling a pre-determined action already mapped out for us by God. Various philosophers and theologians alike have attempted to tackle this problem. PAUL St. Paul believed that God chooses who will be saved.

We shouldn't question God's right to choose since none of us deserve to be saved. People seek salvation and justification, which depend on faith and are available to all. However, although we may seek them only God can give them to us through his grace.

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For St. Paul, freedom is not being bound by the rules of the Old Testament, the ability to choose to accept God into your life and to overcome sin, death, flesh and darkness through Christ's resurrection.

Thus humans are free to choose how to live their lives but their final destination is determined by God alone. Parallels can be drawn between the thinking of St.

Anselm & the Argument for God: Crash Course Philosophy #9

Paul and his definition of freedom and the soft determinist's view of freedom. Augustine argued that human will is so corrupt and depraved as a result of 'The Fall' that know human being is capable of performing a good action without the grace of God and the saving acts of Christ.

Scientific Determinism

Augustine believed in pre-destination, the belief that only those elected by God can achieve salvation. Since no one knows who has been chosen we should all lead God-fearing lives. Everyone is at God's mercy. Just because God is omniscient does not mean that we do not have free-will. God has foreknowledge of our choices and the decisions we will make.

This does not mean man doesn't make decisions freely; rather it emphasizes God's omnipotence. Augustine reasoned that there are three types of events:. Some things are beyond our control such as death, while other things are within our control such as the decision whether or not to lead a good life. Parallels can be drawn between the thinking of Augustine and the different causes of events and soft determinism and their distinction between internal causes and eternal causes see below.

Paul and St. Augustine, Calvin argued that Paul was preaching pre-destination; that the destination of each human being is determined by God on the basis of his foreknowledge of everyone's character and life. Everyone deserves to be punished, but the measure of God's goodness is that he saves some.

God's justice is beyond human comprehension and should not be questioned. According to Calvin, there is no free will. Calvin therefore takes a hard determinist approach. Science is mechanistic; it is based upon the theory of Universal Causation. Science tells us that for every physical event there is a physical cause, and this causal chain can be traced back to the moment of the Big Bang.

If we consider the mind to be material activity in the brain i. We can explore the causes of human behaviour through the many different branches of science, for example Psychology, Sociology, Physiology and Anthropology. There are regularities in the way that nature behaves and scientific laws which enable us to predict how things will behave e. Newton's Law of Gravity. A body in a state of rest stays in a state of rest and a body moving in a straight line continues moving in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force 2.

The rate of change of momentum of a body is proportional to the force that is applied to it and it acts in the same direction 3. Action and reaction are equal and opposite. Laplace had a mechanistic view of the universe and was the first to present the theory of Scientific Determinism. He believed that if it were possible at any one time to know both the position and the speed of all the particles in the universe at any one time, it would be possible to know their position at any other time in the past, present or future.

This idea that the state of the universe at any one time determines the state of the universe at all other times has been central to scientific ideas ever since Newton and Laplace. This implies we can, theoretically, predict the future even though it might not be possible in reality. Heisenburg Uncertainty Theory Says that it is not possible to measure both the position and speed of a particle at the same time due to the effect of photons which has a significant effect on a subatomic level. This would suggest that there is no interdeterminacy in nature.

However just because we cannot measure both does not mean they cannot both be known. Chaos Theory coupled with the Heisenburg Principle Since the work of Heisenburg it has been accepted that, at the most fundamental level of the material world events occur randomly and by chance. The Chaos theory proposes that a quantum event at this fundamental level can ultimately be the cause of a large-scale event.

Humans do not control nature, nature is in control.

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Free Essays from Bartleby | Determinism relates directly to The Fountain in from both sides of the discussion, those in favor of free will based on religious text . There are three theories of free will and determinism that you will need to be aware of: Hard Determinism. Hard Determinism is the theory that.

He believed that the uncertainty in nature is only provisional and that there is an underlying reality in which particles have well defined positions and speeds according to deterministic laws, which may be known by God. Soft Determinism is the view that human freedom and moral responsibility are far from being incompatible with determinism; rather determinism is incomprehensible without it.

The misconception that the two are incompatible comes from a considerable confusion over what we mean when we say we are free. Freedom is incompatible with fatalism, but not with determinism.

Free Will and Determinism

It is this distinction which explains why soft determinism requires free-will. According to soft determinists, when we say a person acted freely we mean they did not act under compulsion or external pressure - they acted as free agents, even though their actions were just as much caused as those that are not free.

Soft determinists therefore define freedom as the liberty of spontaneity, the freedom to act according to one's nature which is determined by external factors such as heredity, education and background. If X could not have acted otherwise because of external constraints then X is not morally responsible. But if X could not have acted otherwise because of internal constraints then the action was a result of his doing and his character, and Y is not responsible for his action. Libertarianism is the view that when faced with the choice between right and wrong we do act as free agents.

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Suppose two men before a chessboard,--the one a novice, the other an expert player of the game. Sin not Blameworthy An alternative response to the question of how God could not be blameworthy for causing humans to sin is the hard theological determinist one. At the scale where humans exist and interact with the universe, Newtonian mechanics remain useful, and make relatively accurate predictions e. The principle of determinism, which claims that the states of the universe, including human volition, are to be rigidly deduced from previous causes, and that nothing could be other than it is or was, is a negation of free will. In all this, it is a theory devoid either of transparency or of stability. Furthermore, it is the power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate.

Generally libertarianists agree that the inanimate world is mechanistic and that the determining causal chain of reactions may even effect the animate, but they do not believe that human behaviour is wholly determined by external factors. For example, physiological and psychological conditions may dispose the kleptomaniac to steal, but when left alone in a shop no one can be certain that he will because he has the capacity to choose to do otherwise; and therefore has free will.

It limits our choices and makes us more inclined to choose certain kinds of actions rather than others. It is capable of overriding the personality and making a causally undetermined choice which satisfies our sense of moral duty. Determinists say that Libertarianists accept the existence of free will but have no evidence for it. Libertarians respond by arguing that each of us frequently has the direct and certain experience of being a self-determining creature when we decide to drink tea or coffee or to wear a green or brown coat.

We also have sufficient experience to sustain a general belief in the existence of free will, for example whether or not to take the dog for a walk or where to go away on holiday. We all experience the decision-making process of varying length and benefit, thus each of us must possess free will. The decision making-process can only be experience if: a. We do not know what we are going to do; and b.

If it is in our power to do what we are thinking of doing. We do however punish people because we believe they are genuinely responsible for their actions and accept that their behaviour is deemed immoral. Free-will thus is fundamental to the objective of punishment. Free-will is an illusion — John Locke.

Soft Determinism Explained

They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads Why did they kill little Bobby Franks?

Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood.

I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together.

Theological Determinism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine.

Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without. Owing to the similarity of our construction and the sameness of our environment, we respond in like manner to similar stimuli, and from the concordance of our reactions, understanding is born. In the course of ages, mechanisms of infinite complexity are developed, but what we call 'soul' or 'spirit,' is nothing more than the sum of the functionings of the body. When this functioning ceases, the 'soul' or the 'spirit' ceases likewise.

I expressed these ideas long before the behaviorists, led by Pavlov in Russia and by Watson in the United States, proclaimed their new psychology.