I agree with you that there is no real contraction.
But there are definitely events in our lives that are pre-determined (such as when we are born, who our parents are, etc.) that we have no control over.
So I do not see why some pre-determined free will choices are necessarily an oxymoron. It’s like saying that we have no real freedom when taking a multiple choice test, just because the possible answers are “pre-determined” ahead of time.
Let’s say we’re on a road with two paths before us. The roads are pre-determined and, to some extent, so are our choices regarding what we can do concerning the two roads.
We can choose not to go down either road (and turn around and go back), or we can choose to sit there (and not make any definitive choice regarding which road we will go – either back or forward), or we can actually choose to go down either road (which is again a decision based on our choices).
And, of course, using our imagination, there are multiple other possible choices we could make concerning the two roads. But I think you see what I’m referring to.
In this sense, we really are making choices-- in a way simlar to a multiple choice test. But the limited amount of choices that we can make is pre-determined by the circumstances that we encounter in this life.
It seems to me that, in this sense, this is how God pre-determines the paths that we should walk in, as Ephesians 2 seems to allude to when it say we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I think we need to add some factors to your premise. Lets focus again on the tsunamis of '04. It was freedom of will that had many people vacationing at places affected by these events, so their outcome was directly associated with the free choices made.
I agree. But there were also many pre-determined factors which were involved in the choices that the vacationers made in order to arrive at these places too.
In addition to this, many who lived in the areas affected did not retreat to higher ground after the first initial wave which was smaller. The will to immediately assess the damage put them back in harm’s way.
True. And these examples are indeed true choices being made based on the knowledge of pre-determined events. I suppose even past events based on previous choices by others would now be considered “pre-determined” in our “present sense” because it happened well before we could even influence their past choices.
So, again, there seems to be no real way to totally separate the whole idea of free-will and determinism. The two appear to be co-existing, working in tandem at the same time in relation to each other.
Again, it seems to me that those who insist for the either/or proposition are attempting to force a false dichotomy, much like the examples I gave regarding the debates about particle-wave duality and nature/nurture arguments noted above.
That’s my opinion anyway.
My point being, that our free choices may or may not place us in paths of what may or may not be determined movements of matter.
No doubt and I partially agree with you.
Again, I do believe that people really are making choices. I do believe that people really do have a free-will. Free-will does exist.
I am only stressing that some seem to be down-playing pre-determined factors when discussing this whole line of reasoning. It’s not oxymoronic to say that we are all making choices based on pre-determined factors. It’s simply the truth of how it happens. Both really are happening at the same time.
Consequently, one could go further with the idea of choices in regards to pre-determined factors. We obviously do not have any choice regarding when we are born or who are parents are. These are pre-determined by factors we have no control over.
But what of the child murdered in the womb by abortion for example? What choice do they have? Is not their tragic fate pre-determined by external factors they have absolutely no control over?