(defined as “the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable.”
I couldn’t find a better place for this because I’m an atheist and so an answer from the Bible will not help me.
What evidence is there for free will/against fatalism?

Hi Ceaseless, your question is kind of vague. Can you make it a little more clear what you are trying to ask? Thank you…

Oddly enough, fatalism is a thread that is quite often found in Islam (a tenet of Islam is that everything that happens is God’s will). Christians, and Catholics in particular, don’t teach this. Catholics believe that God wills all people to be with Him in Heaven, but in order to be able to love Him supremely (which can only be done if we love Him freely), He gave us the ability to freely reject Him.

Unfortunately, the greatest evidence that we, as Christians, have for free will is displayed in the evil things people do to each other. We believe that if we did not have free will, God would not allow people to commit evil. In fact, without free will, we would not contemplate evil. In other words, we would not be able to reject God. A Catholic would consider your atheism to be a result of free will.


That’s a great post!

Here’s your prize: :yeah_me:

I agree with you, SuperLuigi. Awesome post, powerofk! :slight_smile: :thumbsup:


I don’t claim to know whether there is free will.

I was told by people I respect that I have it. I have ideas about how even our whims and choices can be predicted from prior cause. Or that the groans of the Spirit influences me in ways I don’t understand, but as far as I can tell I’m making the call.

So when I decide to post this message, I don’t know if my heredity and every experience my body/mind has gone through right down to the quantum spin on the electrons, has made it inevitable to the sufficiently astute (e.g. god-like) observer that I would have made that choice.

I saw a video where they were measuring brain waves as subjects were making left/right choices on some video task. As I remember, the subjects self-reported when they had made a decision, and the experimenters could predict the decision just before the the subjects “realized” they had made it.

So does that mean I didn’t choose? Or that my subconscious made the choice and my conscious thoughts just “went along” with it and finalized it by pressing the left or right dot? So something in or about me has actually made the choice before I “know” I’ve made it. It really isn’t spooky if I think about it; I figure when I say a word I was trying to think of, for example, it first has to come to mind at least enough to feed the speech generator.

So that’s all interesting, but it doesn’t answer prior cause that is beyond my comprehension. And that’s where I leave it. For all intents and purposes as far as decisions I make and how I do things, it doesn’t matter whether I have the illusion of free will when it’s really predetermined, or whether it truly is free will.

So I suggest we effectively have “functional free will.” I have no way to know that my will is not what I think it is, and that I’m not making decisions. Maybe if I got very deep into some meditative or spiritual practice or whatever, I might have a sensation of “feeling something push me” into doing this or that. Maybe something did, maybe I just imagined it. Either way, my mind doesn’t know the difference.

So effectively I have free will. Scientifically we can’t exactly say. Philosophically I guess it’s an open question.




I haven’t seen anything posted here that is all from the Scriptures. People doing evil to people is as observable as picking up a newspaper (or, which is more often in our age now, just looking up the news on cnn.com or something).


Fatalism is one of the most stupid philosophical stances one can have. It has the effect of making all the times you said “thank you” hypocritical, for why would you appreciate anyone’s good deeds when he had no choice in doing them? You cannot also say “Good morning” or “Good evening” or “Good-bye” or any such thing, for you cannot wish for anyone’s goodness without free will too.

That’s one good reason for not buying into it.

It’s another reason why even though I cannot prove it “absolutely” false because that would require having all knowledge of every particle/energy/unnamed thing in the physical universe to be 100% confident I could predict a decision.

So as far as I’m concerned, non-dually gurus notwithstanding, there is great benefit in my looking at myself as an entity that is interdependent with others even for basic survival needs, but autonomous in my decision-making.

IOW, maybe some generation far into the future, scientists can predict whether our children will be polite in some predicted situation. Until then, I’m going with the “pracitcal model” and is clear and intuitive – “I speak for myself and make my own decisions.”

In a stewardship video for our diocese, the priest doing the lecturing was saying how he likes to thank God for everything. And he even gives people the idea that instead of saying “thank you” to someone, you say “thank God” because it is a blessing from God.

That really rubbed me the wrong way because like when I thanked Tom or Suzy for bringing me dinner when my wife was ill, I meant those human beings, minds and bodies, who first decided to do it, then went through the motions of preparing it and bringing it over. If I tell them “thank God” for this food, it’s like, “hey I’m glad God got me this food – and oh btw I’ll take it from you now.”


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