Author Topic: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?  (Read 2319 times)

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Offline Dominic

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2012, 04:16:57 PM »
Dominic, do you still consider yourself a Christian?

Yes I do.  But not a fundamentalist/bible literalist.

Understanding is always evolving.  And there are many different paths this can take.  I believe there is a deep and essential core of truth within all the major religions and it is in complete agreement between them.  The best word I have found so far to describe this core is 'mysticism'.

Furthermore, any person who espouses no religion, but tries to live with compassion, wisdom and honesty is also demonstrating that same core belief.

I am fully expecting that we will all be able to compare notes at the 'end' and then we will more clearly see the pros and cons of each others' different paths.

[Addressing this same question/answer from a strictly Christian perspective, the above points can be summarised by 'God will ensure the best possible outcome'.  Christianity would not make sense otherwise.]


Offline natlegend

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2012, 01:10:22 AM »
Maybe heaven is like the nexus, where you get to relive the most awesome part of your life over and over. Or maybe, to combat the idea of wanting to see people when they want to see others, we all become one person combined (six degrees of separation..?). Or maybe we'll be like the Borg, with a hive mind, just wanting to love god. Or maybe we'll all live in our own version of heaven, where you can interact with people you wish, whilst in THEIR version they interact at the same time with people THEY wish.

I had a JW friend in high school tell me that when you're in heaven you'll be able to visit every planet in the universe. I thought that was pretty cool. Considering how big the universe is, that might take up a bit of eternity, eh?

Of course, it's all bollocks. I'm looking forward to sleeping forever when I die, the final release.

zzz...
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2012, 01:13:20 AM »
Dominic, do you still consider yourself a Christian?

Yes I do.  But not a fundamentalist/bible literalist.

Understanding is always evolving.  And there are many different paths this can take.  I believe there is a deep and essential core of truth within all the major religions and it is in complete agreement between them.  The best word I have found so far to describe this core is 'mysticism'.

Furthermore, any person who espouses no religion, but tries to live with compassion, wisdom and honesty is also demonstrating that same core belief.
I don't follow this.  Perhaps you could expound a bit more.  Because so far as I can tell the 'deep and essential core of truth within all major religions' that is 'in complete agreement between them' leaves you with living a life of compassion, wisdom, and honesty.  Which is great; I just don't see what religion has to do with it at this point.
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I am fully expecting that we will all be able to compare notes at the 'end' and then we will more clearly see the pros and cons of each others' different paths.
I don't think it's necessary for sentient beings to have to wait until the 'end' to compare notes.  I'm sure we could come up with some kind of methodology to do this comparison of pros and cons of these different paths.  This methodology would probably boil down to some manner of establishing confidence in the veracity of conclusions based upon observations while accounting for potential for individual/group biases by, say, trying our best to consider only objectively verifiable evidence.

I suspect that this 'process' if you will could be outlined as proposing some hypothesis, making observations in reality to collect data, analysis of this data to determine if it supports or refutes the proposed hypothesis, drawing a conclusion about reality from this analysis, having a bunch of other people repeat all of this, filtering out cognitive/personal biases, and adjusting conclusions appropriately as time progresses.
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[Addressing this same question/answer from a strictly Christian perspective, the above points can be summarised by 'God will ensure the best possible outcome'.  Christianity would not make sense otherwise.]
...and it seems reasonable to be able to evaluate the statement 'god will ensure the best possible outcome' as either true or false.  Obviously more information would be needed, such as a definition of 'god' (characteristics of what 'god' is) and 'best outcome' (outcome of what, and how does one establish a metric to evaluate an 'outcome' as worst, worse, better, or best).

Dominic, I'm wondering why you consider yourself a Christian.  Labels can be tricky things and I know what characteristics I associate with being Christian, but I suspect that some of those do not apply to you.  Perhaps that is something too far off topic for this thread though.
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Offline Lectus

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2012, 06:12:40 AM »
If there's free will in heaven then God would have to promise another heaven and another hell to keep people disciplined.

It would then be just another Earth. Not a perfect place at all.

If there's no free will in heaven then what's the point?

This makes the heaven concept completely irrelevant and it just exists inside people's skulls.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2012, 06:21:57 AM »
If there's free will in heaven then God would have to promise another heaven and another hell to keep people disciplined.

It would then be just another Earth. Not a perfect place at all.

If there's no free will in heaven then what's the point?

This makes the heaven concept completely irrelevant and it just exists inside people's skulls.

What if heaven is only intended for those whose will is in accordance with god's?  That way, there could be said to be free will, but only those who choose those actions and thoughts that correspond to god will get through the gates.  It's a cheat, but...

And of course, those whose free will, when exercised, is not in accordance with god's will, those folks will go to hell. 

Offline none

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2012, 06:27:24 AM »
I am not a theist, I apologize for marking your thread.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 06:31:06 AM by none »

Offline Lectus

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2012, 06:35:52 AM »
If there's free will in heaven then God would have to promise another heaven and another hell to keep people disciplined.

It would then be just another Earth. Not a perfect place at all.

If there's no free will in heaven then what's the point?

This makes the heaven concept completely irrelevant and it just exists inside people's skulls.

What if heaven is only intended for those whose will is in accordance with god's?  That way, there could be said to be free will, but only those who choose those actions and thoughts that correspond to god will get through the gates.  It's a cheat, but...

And of course, those whose free will, when exercised, is not in accordance with god's will, those folks will go to hell.

In the light of this line of thought, it makes complete sense that Lucifer would rebel in heaven.

If you have free will which comes from critical thinking and you were told you live in The Perfect Place™, but people still aren't happy because  they constantly have fear of hell reinforced to keep themselves disciplined, then this God might be hiding something. Maybe there's more to it? Maybe he's just giving us ilusions? Maybe we all should be gods?

Then Lucifer might not be bad at all. He might be just a popular leader fighting against dictatorship. A democracy in heaven would probably make people happier because their REAL free will would get exercised if they vote on the right person.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 06:51:45 AM by Lectus »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2012, 09:15:05 AM »
What if heaven is only intended for those whose will is in accordance with god's?  That way, there could be said to be free will, but only those who choose those actions and thoughts that correspond to god will get through the gates.  It's a cheat, but...

Even more so since the majority of Christians like to fall back on "well, we can never truly know the mind of god" when pressed on certain questions.  Heaven would therefore be a really scary place, since you'd never know when something you didn't know was god's will suddenly turns out to be the opposite of what you want.....and the trapdoor opens and down you fall.

But if one's will was indeed exactly the same as god's in every respect, what would be the point of being a separate creature?  There's a school of thought that says that we wouldn't be - that death does indeed reunify us with the godhead into one single being.....though if that is the case, one wonders what the point was of splitting that perfect being in the first place.

Even if not.....one thing heaven would NOT be is a place for individuals.  If every person shares the same will and desires down to the smallest part, then heaven would in fact look a hell of a lot like a Chinese factory.  Everyone starts the day with identical tai chi movements, then inside everyone troops in rows to sit in identical lines at identical tables, making identical widgets before a poster of the chairman - who they all bow to, in unison, every hour on the hour.

In heaven, everyone is the same - same thoughts, same drives, same opinions - and all of those opinions are the same as god's.  A lot of carbon-copy robots.....which of course is exactly what god wanted from the get-go in Eden.  God didn't WANT us to have opinions and know what was good or bad, he just wanted us to obey without question.

A dictatorship is still a dictatorship, no matter how benign it may profess to be.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2012, 09:46:40 AM »

What if heaven is only intended for those whose will is in accordance with god's?  That way, there could be said to be free will, but only those who choose those actions and thoughts that correspond to god will get through the gates.  It's a cheat, but...

And of course, those whose free will, when exercised, is not in accordance with god's will, those folks will go to hell.

But that would mean not so much that there would be free will as that there would be no room for individuality. I suppose that has something to do with the notion of "original sin". Even someone whose free will would be in accordance with god's 99% of the time would doubtless see something a shade differently at some point or another, given eternity to play with. Hence, hell for them.

Would it be possible for any sentient being to have his free will be in complete accordance with god's in all things throughout eternity? For that to happen, this being would have to basically have a mind-meld with god. Maybe that's the point of what happens when you get to heaven...you are supposed to gain full understanding of all things and the reasons behind them? Which would work on some level, I suppose, but virtually none of your own personality would survive this process.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2012, 10:46:27 PM »
All this talk about heaven reminds me of vampire TV. We seem to go from one vampire TV show to the next, with each author developing a slight new twist on it. Vampires are showing a slow evolution by popular consensus. There seems to be a tacit rule-set that authors have to stick to, but they can come up with new innovations.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2012, 12:10:28 AM »
In answer to some of the replies above...

Presuming that there is free will in Heaven, but that the residents have been selected according to their god-mindset, individual residents might deviate from god's will in time or according to emerging circumstances.  As Lectus said, Lucifer and those that followed him might have been such cases. The lesson we're given is that IF you change, and are no longer in accordance with god's will, you will be expelled.  The issue/question of free will for the a resident of heaven only becomes an issue if he/she deviates.  Until then, their own will is exercised as they like.

God only wants true supporters; faithful, devoted and obedient.  If your will is contrary to these qualities, then you aren't welcome.  If you change while you're there, you will be cast out.

To those that reply, 'then it isn't free will', and that there is no 'choice', I would say this:  Since this is all make believe, and we're debating what is essentially fiction, and Milton is responsible for many of the popular concepts of hell, I'd offer his famous line, "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven" as a viable option available to all.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2012, 02:48:53 AM »
"You can have heaven in any colour you like, so long as its white."

So one gets a continual "choice" in heaven - "do what god does, or get out".  Okay......in those terms, you have choice in heaven, but that choice is not to actually exercise you will - you can't exercise your own will in heaven.

Example: god says "eat apples".  If you eat apples, all is good.  But the moment you decide to exercise your own will, and reach for a banana, poof!  You vanish from heaven and reappear in hell. 

So perhaps you have free will in heaven, you just cannot put it into practice.  Is free will that you cannot use something worth having?  I would imagine it would be similar to having "locked-in" syndrome, where the only will you can bring to bear on the situation is to remove yourself from it forever. 

Tell Rom Houben that he was in heaven, or Tony Nicklinson.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2012, 03:43:35 AM »
"You can have heaven in any colour you like, so long as its white."

So one gets a continual "choice" in heaven - "do what god does, or get out".  Okay......in those terms, you have choice in heaven, but that choice is not to actually exercise you will - you can't exercise your own will in heaven.

Example: god says "eat apples".  If you eat apples, all is good.  But the moment you decide to exercise your own will, and reach for a banana, poof!  You vanish from heaven and reappear in hell. 

So perhaps you have free will in heaven, you just cannot put it into practice.  Is free will that you cannot use something worth having?  I would imagine it would be similar to having "locked-in" syndrome, where the only will you can bring to bear on the situation is to remove yourself from it forever. 

Tell Rom Houben that he was in heaven, or Tony Nicklinson.

Come to that, there are a number of situations in life that offer less than desirable choices:  Cancer treatment, apartment living, just about any job.  If you do not conform to the rules, you get tossed out.  You could argue that because the choice is between cancer remission vs dieing of cancer, apartment living vs eviction, or following the company rules vs being fired, that it isn't a choice.  I would argue that it is.  Just not a very good one.

Since everyone seems to have a different conception of heaven and hell, it may well be simply a place (albeit not a very comfortable one) where abide those who do not follow god's will.  Is there any mention of eternal torment for Lucifer in the first or prevailing story of that theomachy?  (not sure)

Offline changeling

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2012, 04:17:06 AM »
B of F,
so you really think that giving your money to someone who says
"give me your money or I will shoot your eyeballs out" is a choice?
The level of dumb they have to sell, is only made remotely possible by the level of flocking their sheep are willing to do in the name of rewards for no thought. quote: Kin Hell

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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2012, 05:44:45 AM »
B of F,
so you really think that giving your money to someone who says
"give me your money or I will shoot your eyeballs out" is a choice?

No, but not quite the same thing.  God supposedly is offering a great life in heaven, provided one does and presumably thinks, as he does.  One has made it into heaven based on how one behaved and thought, and presumably, one was happy to be there.  If one changes ones behavior or mind after getting there, then one has broken the contract or understanding by which one entered.  The alternative is to GTFO.  Your scenario is a lose/lose.  God's is win/lose, and as I tried to say above, how bad of a 'loss' it is depends on one's definition of hell, since all this crap is fiction anyway.  There are many people who would rather 'laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints'.  Billy Joel would agree.  Such folks think of hell as a not-so-choice reservation, where sinners go, and behave like sinners.  If that's 'true' then it's a better deal than someone shooting one's eyes out

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2012, 12:10:44 PM »
I haven't seen any Christians thinking as God does.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2012, 11:30:23 AM »
Let's say for the sake of argument that it's correct that wills are always going to conflict so heaven and free will are incompatible.   Would you all then say that a perfect world is impossible ?   What about a best-possible world ?

So in your best-possible world (imagined concept), perhaps you'll say there are going to be some unavoidable perfections.  Fair enough.  Would you say giving up free will might then be the best option and have an all-knowing being give us all what is best for us ?   I assume atheists would say no to this.  So would you say keep our wills and put up with the conflicts that will inevitably occur ?

Perhaps some people would say this world and life on Earth now is as good as it can possibly get.  That would be amazing if it was true.  It would mean that we have been as lucky as we possibly could have been!

Or perhaps you might say, we can never have such a thing (perfect world) so its stupid to waste time imagining.

Interesting to hear views.

This thread is ultimately an argument against perfection being possible.   If true then what I want to know is how good could it (life/existence/paradise) possibly be (if not perfect) ?

Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2012, 11:51:29 AM »
Presuming that there is free will in Heaven, but that the residents have been selected according to their god-mindset, individual residents might deviate from god's will in time or according to emerging circumstances.  As Lectus said, Lucifer and those that followed him might have been such cases. The lesson we're given is that IF you change, and are no longer in accordance with god's will, you will be expelled.  The issue/question of free will for the a resident of heaven only becomes an issue if he/she deviates.  Until then, their own will is exercised as they like.

Anything that is possible to happen will happen on an infinite timeline. Therefore, if free will exists in heaven it is not a question of if, but when one's will is going to deviate from god's. So everyone in heaven would eventually be cast out.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2012, 04:31:49 AM »
Let's say for the sake of argument that it's correct that wills are always going to conflict so heaven and free will are incompatible.   Would you all then say that a perfect world is impossible ?   What about a best-possible world ?

So in your best-possible world (imagined concept), perhaps you'll say there are going to be some unavoidable perfections.  Fair enough.  Would you say giving up free will might then be the best option and have an all-knowing being give us all what is best for us ?   I assume atheists would say no to this.  So would you say keep our wills and put up with the conflicts that will inevitably occur ?

Yes, I would.  I know that Yahweh really wants midless robots with no will of their own, but perhaps then he shouldn't have created will in the first place, or made it possible to acheive.  In nobody had EVER had free will, then EVERYBODY would be in heaven, perfectly happy, and it would never have occurred to anyone to have this conversation.

But Yahweh decided that wasn't enough for him.  He was insecure enough to need people to choose to love him, and to hell - literally - with the rest.

And that is the reason why I have such a big problem with the "perfect" heaven, as compared to the "best possible" world.  Because in a "best possible" world, humans will be realistic enough to realise that while we may not all agree with each other about every little thing, it is still possible to live comfortably together.

Sadly, Yahweh, Allah, et al, and their followers, are not secure enough to want to work towards that "best possible" world.  For them, it is all, or nothing.  Moist robots with no will of their own that accept external programming, or eternal torment.

And - sadly - it is that mentality that most damages the attempts to move towards the best-possible world, whether it be "you can't marry because you are the same sex", through "I will kill you because you drew a cartoon I don't like". 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Another question for theists--free will in heaven?
« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2012, 10:00:47 PM »
What if heaven is only intended for those whose will is in accordance with god's?  That way, there could be said to be free will, but only those who choose those actions and thoughts that correspond to god will get through the gates.  It's a cheat, but...

Even if not.....one thing heaven would NOT be is a place for individuals.  If every person shares the same will and desires down to the smallest part, then heaven would in fact look a hell of a lot like a Chinese factory.  Everyone starts the day with identical tai chi movements, then inside everyone troops in rows to sit in identical lines at identical tables, making identical widgets before a poster of the chairman - who they all bow to, in unison, every hour on the hour.

In heaven, everyone is the same - same thoughts, same drives, same opinions - and all of those opinions are the same as god's.  A lot of carbon-copy robots.....which of course is exactly what god wanted from the get-go in Eden.  God didn't WANT us to have opinions and know what was good or bad, he just wanted us to obey without question.

A dictatorship is still a dictatorship, no matter how benign it may profess to be.

More like a North Korean factory, but yeah. Heaven would be a dictatorship where everyone likes being there. 'Cause that is the best of all possible places. Says the dictator.
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