Is it normal that i don't believe in free will?

I honestly think that it probably doesn't exist and I'm totally ok with that.

Is It Normal?
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  • Why do you think it doesn't exist?

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  • Look up determinism, it's pretty normal to follow that theory

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  • Yeah that's normal. There's a theory that says every single possible thing that has happened or ever will happen, was determined from the moment of the big bang, and it's physically impossible to alter it. It's called Determinism.

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  • Normal.

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  • What you do now conditions what you will choose to do later if nothing else happens to prevent or change that decision.

    This I believe.

    As far as anyone is aware, their choices are free, but we condition ourselves individually and collectively by our habits, and acting against these habits is like swimming against a current. That is, unless something motivates us to change our ways or forces us to do so, we probably won't want to do it.

    I do not know how divine will and human will interact in all of this, except to say that God can act on a person in such a way as to override their conditioning and change their motivations.

    In Judeo-Christian terms I still think this holds theologically though, and you can see hints of it in the primitive anthropology of the Old Testament books: "and he lived according to the ways of his fathers...". Generation after generation of Jewish history in the books of Kings are summarised in this way, as if it's shorthand for all we'd need to know - then one day an individual with an external motivation goes against the status quo, and you get a Bible story.

    What also testify to this idea, are the repeated warnings to the ancient Jewish people not to adopt the customs of other peoples in order to preserve their unique identity as the people of the God who spoke to their ancestor Abraham, and the resulting changes in values, habits, motivations and behaviours of that general populace chronicled over generations when they unilaterally adopted the customs of other peoples and wove them structurally into the fabric of their society. The individuals that swam against the tide because they loved the God of Abraham, like Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah and the prophets, are the most celebrated, but they are the exception of that civilization rather than he rule, and the Old Testament books make that clear. I will emphasise though that although you CAN draw this sort of conclusion superficially from the Bible, it was written prior to the empirical era, so it isn't an 'exact science' - but then, social sciences often aren't. What also makes these stories interesting is that the narratives AND the scrolls themselves were cherished, protected religious objects and kept in a sacred place in the temple, and scrupulously transmitted and taught over centuries using sophisticated memorisation techniques, as well as being the reason why the Jewish people have historically high levels of literacy (they are 'people of the book'). Not even the Bible in its modern Christian form is as highly revered as a religious object as the physical scrolls containing the Jewish scriptures were, and still are, by the Jews. No texts written in today's world would be upheld with that sort of reverence - even as museum pieces. In order to get anywhere near a Torah scroll in a Jewish synagogue you have to be a designated reader and take it out of a cabinet on the stage platform and unwrap it from an ornate velvet cover, and even then you are only allowed to touch it with a silver pointing stick. You have to keep in mind as you're reading the Old Testament that it isn't a rag spun by a kid in his mum's basement, even though the book you're holding might be a scrapy mass-market paperback sold at less than five dollars per copy - that is, if you didn't download it off the internet for free. And yet, essentially, those velvet-wrapped scrolls in the synagogue centre-stage cabinet and the scrappy 5-euro paperback contain the same text! For me, this is why the Bible is worth my patience. That's not to say that Judaism is necessarily 'true' purely because of how they treat their texts, but their treatment of the texts does imply that there is something about them that many people find worthy of consideration, and so it is wise to examine them with a humble attitude.

    To find out why they found this God worth worshipping to the exclusion of all other gods that people worshipped in their polytheistic society (same question people ask today lol), you need to read about the history of the interactions of this God with his people, according to them. Genesis and Exodus are a good place to start for a history of this God, but beyond that, skip Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy for now and pick up again at Judges. Kings I and II and Chronicles I and II are different takes on the same history. With the exception of Joshua, Samuel, Ruth and Esther (and Catholics include a few others that are nonetheless still to be respected for what they can teach us), most Old Testament books named after a person are prophecies rather than history (the New Testament starts with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and these ARE proto-biographical chronicles of sorts; especially Luke). The prophecies concern the past, present and future, and the time of writing is normally clear from the text itself - it measures time by what king was ruling where, and how many years into his reign he was.

    For people interested in Chrstianity, the Old Testament is essential, but not the best place to start unless you have a commentary or a helper, and a lot of perseverance! There are a lot of cross-references between books, conventions in referring to dates, times, places and names are sometimes different, the authors use literary techniques we don't use today and do not insist on empirical precision as we do in our digital, globalised world; and cultural assumptions, experiences and values are different because the texts were written by a nomadic people in Middle Eastern Bronze Age and Iron Age societies, in which slavery, tribal warfare, animal cruelty and treatment of women almost as property, were already normalised in the communities that this travelling people settled among, by the time the 10 Commandments and the law texts were transcribed. Needless to say, the groundwork hadn't yet been laid for the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement by this point. What I find interesting is to see how the law texts interacted with societal expectations and political realities at the time when they were written.

    I can't emphasise enough that the Old Testament is important to Christians because they identify Jesus as the human likeness of that God of the Old Testament - but he wasn't born until the Greco-Roman era, hundreds or even thousands of years after some of the Old Testament was written, and by this time, although the words had stayed the same through centries-old rabbinical schools and oral and written traditions, empires had come and gone and practices and popular beliefs had changed considerably. Jesus comes in in person at the start of the New Testament and sets the world to rights as he sees it, and in ways that endure to this day, while gradually revealing who he is, what he has come for and in what ways he is one with God. People interested in Christianity read the texts about Jesus from the New Testament first, and then they read the Old Testament to deepen their understanding of him and apply Jesus' teachings back onto the Old Testament books that he refers and alludes to as he addresses people. You can see subtle and unsubtle foreshadowing of Jesus in the Old Testament too - but obviously you can only identify it with Jesus if you know about Jesus.

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    • Sorry it took so long for me to get back to your comment; it honestly means a lot to me that you took the time to post all of this, but it's still very difficult for me to concentrate after what happened to me about a week (or more?) ago

      I will get back to you eventually, but I simply can't right now.

      I could've died mere nights ago...a little over a week ago, I think?

      That "situation" has quite literally INFESTED my mind ever sense.

      And oh so many other "little" things have contributed to it...it's the truth.

      If you have any advice for me please let me know. My skin has been fucking CRAWLING ever since that night at the liquor store!

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      • I don't know what the best thing to say is except that I wish I could just give you a hug.

        You don't have to get back to me with anything else at all if you don't want to or can't. I don't know what happened at the liquor store...

        Is there anyone who can just sit with you? Sometimes it's not about having the right words. The book of Job shows us a suffering man and some friends who utter all kinds of advice (good and bad), but he just needed solidarity and empathy at that point. When I reach that point I head to Psalms - poems by a king who, in some instances, was writing about being plotted against, betrayed and hunted down and was pouring out how frightened and desolate he was in this heart-to-heart poetry to God. It can be really cathartic when what you need is not a theological response, but someone who 'gets' it.

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  • No. Sounds like an excuse for bad behavior.

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  • just saying you dont believe in free will, you have used your free will, think about it, if you did not have free will then you could not decide you dont like free will

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  • I mean seeing how you can just choose to kill yourself at any time that's what I use to break the lack of free will argument. Nothing is more inherently selfish than to kill oneself.

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    • You can't have free will if you don't know and understand every single option open to you. Anything less than that and you're making a decision under duress or based on limited options. How's that free will?

      "I can choose ANY food to have for dinner!"

      No, you can't. You can only choose from foods you've heard of or been offered, not every food that exists. You do not have free will to have ANY food that exists, obviously, so you don't have free will.

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    • How does that prove free will? In a deterministic model that's what you were destined to "choose" to do.

      No one is denying at the very least the illusion of free will. I can seemingly choose to kill myself or any other thing. The thing is that from a deterministic viewpoint this is always the choice we would make at that time based on everything that has happened and how it inevitably made us feel and think.

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      • The only way to prove the data points is to monitor a large enough population over their entire lifetime to gauge personality and backround types into even categories.

        When taken from a birds eye view it appears like there is no free will, as theres definitely a pathway system for people. But by focusing on an individual they may be taking the same path as another individual for a different reason all together but will ultimately end up at the same place.

        Plus what determines what free will is situation wise? That choice has to be 100% subjective for it to be free will? Any bits of objectivity ruins the aspect of free will as it becomes the "obvious" choice.

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