Religious believers often claim that we as human beings have Free-will. This means that we have the ability to make choices freely. Or to put it another way, it means that we have complete control over our actions. This is a myth. Free-will doesn’t exist. It is an illusion.
Many religious believers will object. They will assert that if I don’t believe in Free-will, than I must believe that we have no choices at all. This of course is a false dichotomy. My claim isn’t that we don’t have choices, but rather that our choices are not “freely determined.” Instead, our choices are determined by a complex set of variables which play out within the complexity of our brains.
All our choices are determined by our nature and our nurture. Nature represents all the genetic variables and nurture represents all the environmental factors (most of which we are not even aware of). Even as an unborn fetus, there are environmental factors at work which shape us and help to determine who we might become. Once born, we experience much more than we are consciously aware.
The complex interplay between these two factors is the determining characteristics for all of our actions and choices. The thing is that we don’t know how that interplay will play out so we have the appearance of Free-will. Now here is the catch, we can still make choices. We can still weigh the options based on our conscious knowledge. However, there are subconscious factors which we are unaware of which also play into and help to determine our choices.
Regardless of which path we choose, it was a choice that was determined by the complexity of the interplay of our two determining forces. Here is an example: I am walking down a hall that I am familiar with. I know that there is an intersection ahead and that both paths will lead me to my destination. Which path do I choose? My mind works very quickly. Quicker that I even realize and calculates things that I am not even consciously aware of. I choose right. To someone who believes in Free-will, that choice is a free choice. But to a rational, thinking, person who is aware of modern psychology, that choice was a determined choice. Why did I go right is the question?
A believer in Free-will would claim that such a choice is a random decision made by the choice maker. They might claim that it is a free choice with no baggage or attachment to it. But the fact is that even if we don’t know what determined that choice, it was still a determined choice. If I would have gone left, that too would have been the determined choice. It might have been as simple as the fact that I am genetically right handed and that is why I went right. It could have been because a saw a cute girl down the right path a few weeks ago and subconsciously I hope she might be there again. Maybe subconsciously I am trying to avoid someone I saw down the left path weeks earlier that I cmpletely forgot about. It could even be a subconscious complex calculation based on multiple factors. Or perhaps it isn’t subconscious at all.
The point here is that Free-will is a myth just like the God who is alleged to have given it to us. For the believer in Free-will, you now have new information in your brain. This information is nurture. It is conscious information that you can use to inform your choice on this issue. Other facts such as religious indoctrination may keep you from admitting that Free-will is an illusion but in time, this information will move from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. Over the course of time your brain will build up more and more reasons to reject the religious indoctrination of the Free-will concept. It is unavoidable; it has already been determined the moment you finished reading this article. The question isn’t whether you will reject the Free-will concept, it is when?
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