Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

Home » Morality » The Incongruence of God and Man’s Free Will

The Incongruence of God and Man’s Free Will


As the details of the recent terrorist acts in Paris unfold, there have been numerous articles and Facebook posts regarding the futility of praying for the victims of that tragedy when the entity to whom one would be praying should have, if he existed at all, presumably been powerful enough to have stopped the event in the first place. This is a sentiment with which I happen to agree.

One man, an acquaintance of mine, did respond as I had expected others to do as well. His response was that God gives man “free will”, which, by what I take from that response, is to mean that having given this free will to man, he, God, is now powerless to retrieve it, even in small incremental incidents when having done so would have saved hundreds of those of us whom he claims to love so dearly, such as the recent Paris attacks.

Although I do not doubt the sincerity of this man’s feelings and the depth of his religious belief, I must take issue with that response since it is inconsistent with that which appears, to me, to happen all over the world on a daily basis.

If the entity referred to as God is truly all knowing, powerful and present, yet cannot control the actions of man due to his having given us free will, I must question why he has done so with so many other forces on earth. The forces to which I refer are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanos, flash floods, fire and if it turns out not to have been man-made, climate change.

If we embrace the theory that man is uncontrollable by God because God has relinquished control over man’s will, then one must question why God has equally relinquished control over these other devastating and murderous phenomena. How many were killed by Hurrican Katrina, or Sandy, to name only two? How many will die in the next super earthquake which is predicted for California, or the tsunami that killed 19,000 men, women and children in Japan? Climate change may be the cause of the current droughts in California, but there have been droughts throughout history and people have died as a result. Bangladesh in the 1970s comes to mind.

How many lives are lost every year to tornadoes in the mid-west, presumably while some of those lost were huddled in their basements praying to this self-same God to spare their lives as their roofs were blowing off and their children were being carried off by the winds?

If I am to consider the possibility that the rationale for man’s inhumanity to man is God’s having given us “free will”, I must have an answer to the question of why he seems to have given that same free will to nearly everything else that can hurt us as well. Where is all this assumed power in this deity that makes him worth our reverence?

If he can make the earth flood, why can’t he also stop floods? If he can make it rain at will, why can’t he make it rain during droughts that kill thousands of babies?

Failing to answer those questions will help one better understand the position of Atheists.

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15 Comments

  1. May I ask, do you believe in choice for abortion?

  2. The conundrum is that you are making a moral judgment that God is not just because innocent people died, but you support a woman’s moral choice to an abortion of an innocent life.

    • jerryzezas says:

      This is only a conundrum for you. You are creating a false dichotomy.

      I did not say that God is not just. I said that those who believe in God, (I am not a member of that group) must answer for man’s inhumanity to man along with your God’s complacency to it with something better than the old chestnut that he gives us “free will”. It is not a sound argument for their contention that God exists. It is merely an excuse, a vacuous answer to a question that many accept without question, to their detriment. My suggestion that God is not just would presume the existence of this unjust God, which I do not presume in the slightest.

      Regarding a woman’s “moral” choice to abort an innocent life, you conveniently leave out some very important facts. Innocent life is killed on a daily basis. Through war, famine, natural disasters, you know, all those things that your God, for some reason, has also determined that he should not intervene to stop, your praying for same notwithstanding. But the destruction of those lives doesn’t seem to bother you as much as that of what you refer to as “innocent life”, by which you mean fetuses.

      Fetuses are not babies, the evidence of which is that they can not sustain themselves, as babies can. They cannot breathe, feed, or function in any way remotely described as human once outside the womb. They are life, but not viable life. Yes, yes, yes, they have heartbeats and brainwaves and maybe they feel pain, but so does every fish in the sea and every pig, cow, deer, bear, lion, tiger and goat slaughtered by us for food or sport, or as a sacrifice to something or other in the Old Testament. The intent is irrelevant. We take innocent life all the time and often rejoice at having done so.

      Regarding your use of the word moral, I simply reject religion’s attempts at highjacking that word as being exclusive to those of their ilk and belief. When an Atheist group takes credit for a terrorist attack, or burns witches at the stake, or refuses a gay couple the right to marry, or promotes stoning for heretics and adulterers, we can talk about morality. Religion and morality are, often, mutually exclusive.

      No woman has an abortion for sport, for fun, to show the dead fetus to her friends, or as a sacrifice to God, but other life is brutally taken for those exact reasons, every minute of every day. You have simply chosen to impose your ostensible “morals” on those who want to have control over their own bodies. There is no more substance to the anti-abortion argument than that. You want to choose which life is precious and which isn’t, and since you can’t eat fetuses or hang them above your mantel, you chose them.

    • jerryzezas says:

      Oops, forgot one thing. You suggest that my not being Godlike is somehow a conundrum. I shouldn’t expect him to value life when, in your estimation, I don’t.

      Sorry, but I thought that your God was supposed to be omnipotent, whereas I am just supposed to be a poor humble sinner.

      You’ve created the conundrum by suggesting that I should be as perfect as he, while your religion tells me that I can’t possibly be.

  3. kaptonok says:

    There are some atheists who think free will is an illusion. The well known atheist Sam Harris goes further he believes free will and the concept of self are both illusions.
    This does make it difficult to apportion blame and leaves the law in tatters.
    I get the feeling Sam is a little worried by this and it prompted him to write ‘The Moral Landscape’.

  4. Ask Cara says:

    Most Christians are hypocrites. Look at all of the people they have killed through the centuries. All in the name of God. I still remember them blowing up abortion clinics. Really? What sense does that make? You protest abortions by killing people. If this is what being a Christian is, I want no parts of it.

  5. jerryzezas says:

    To my friend at the completely objective and fair-minded “Christ Centered Teaching”:

    Give it up guy. You invoke the imaginary differences between Christianity and Islam. You make shop-worn arguments which have been negated by centuries of scientific inquiry, and then you toss in the Planned Parenthood meme. No one has killed more people than those killed in the name of your boss, that filthy entity which you refer to as God.

    Never once did I mention Christianity, only religion. And you immediately went to the “Christians-Good, Muslims-Bad argument that those who are insecure about their position in the world default to when cornered.

    The premise that Jesus went to the cross for us is one of the best, most successfully promulgated lies in the history of mankind. According to it, I, not having been born yet, am responsible for some fairytale sin and he came to save me from it. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Next, you, of course, bring up Hitler. Jeez fella, don’t you have a different hymnal to read from? Are all of your arguments straight out of Fox “news”.

    You, sir, are an insecure, tribalist fear monger who worships God for the most selfish reason possible. You’re terrified that he might send you to hell, so you do things that you know in your heart to be utterly nonsensical and borderline psychotic, on the outside chance that some of the bullshit you promulgate might be true and that you’ll suffer eternal damnation. You are a coward, and you’re willing to spread lies to make sure you don’t get punished for a sin that you can’t even explain.

    Religionists such as yourself need the emotional support of a sky captain to keep you afloat in a world full of hate and despair. Atheists are naturally buoyant, and none of your revisionist history nor Hitleresque fear mongering will change that. We’re not scared of the world. We’re born, we live, we die, and that’s it. You folks need a narrative to explain why you’re here and to assure yourselves that you never really leave. Cowards. Self-important, self-centered, delusional cowards.

    I’m going to move on. I can’t argue at such a low level. I feel like I’m losing IQ points by engaging someone who is so brainwashed and unwilling to listen to how foolish he sounds. Have fun arguing against abortion. If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

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