Contact Aletheia: 715-849-8328
Dec 14, 2007,
Wausau, Wi —
time I looked at the issue of Free Inquiry and the skeptic’s
false claim that they were free to go wherever the evidence leads,
while Christians were limited by their religious beliefs. But
there is a deeper more subtle problem with the skeptic’s claim
that they are free to go wherever the evidence leads them. This
problem concerns freedom itself.
in the skeptic’s belief to be free is the belief that they are
free to make a decisions. In fact much of the skeptic’s
criticism of religion centers around the concept of freedom.
Skeptics believe that Christians surrender their freedom to false
religious beliefs. Christians choose certain behaviors, not
because they want to, but because the Bible says so. The problem for
the skeptic, however, is how they can account for this freedom in the
this problem can be difficult to see because the freedom to choose is
something we all just take for granted. Of course we have a
freedom to choose. Our entire view of our daily lives, our
interactions with others and everything we do is dependent upon our
freedom to choose. In fact it is difficult to conceive of how we
would view the world if we didn’t make the assumption that we
have a freedom to choose. For example, the entire legal system
and its concept of punishment for crimes is based on the assumption
that the criminal had a choice whether or not to commit the crime.
problem for the skeptic is not so much that we have free will, but
rather how can they explain that we have free will. While the
concept of free will is difficult for every one religious believers and
skeptics alike, it is particularly difficult for the skeptic who has a
naturalistic view of the world. For the skeptic, the natural
universe governed by natural laws is the only thing that exists.
Miracles are rejected because they would violate the laws of
nature. For the skeptic, everything is governed by the laws of
nature. There is no room for God.
the skeptic often over looks is that free will, the freedom to choose,
is inconsistent with their naturalistic view of a universe governed by
natural law. Now again, this can be difficult to see because the
idea that we have free will, that we have the freedom to make some
decisions, is something we just take for granted. We don’t
even think about it. We certainly don’t spend a lot of time
thinking about how it can happen.
the skeptic, we’re simply animals, the result of a long
evolutionary process. Our origin and everything about us, just
like everything else in the universe, can be explained by the laws of
nature. There is no soul. There’s nothing beyond the
material body. Our actions are completely explained by the
electrochemical interactions taking place in our brain and in the rest
of our body, or at least will be once science can figure everything
out. But therein lies the problem. If everything can be
explained by the electrochemical interactions taking place in our brain
and in our body, where is there room for freedom of choice?
skeptics often claim that what we call consciousness is the result of
the electrochemical interactions in the brain, and it is our
consciousness that makes our decisions. But while this may be a
nice explanation for the skeptic, again how does this happen.
Even if for sake of argument we assume that they are correct and
consciousness is nothing more than the electrochemical interactions
taking place in our brain, how do those electrochemical interactions
actually make the choice?
simple fact is that the concept of choice is incompatible with a
universe governed by natural laws. A rock falling down the side
of a cliff, does not make a choice to bounce right or left when it hits
the side of the cliff. Every aspect of its fall is determined by
the laws of nature. A choice, on the other hand, transcends the
laws of nature. It is not determined by the laws of nature; it is
determined by something else. If it was determined by the laws of
nature it would not be a choice.
if choice is nothing more than the result of consciousness which is
itself the result of the electrochemical interactions taking place in
our brain, then at some point these electrochemical interactions that
are governed by the laws of nature must somehow transcend the laws of
nature so as to make a choice.
But if skeptics are correct and somehow our consciousness does transcend the laws of nature so as to make a choice, than this would violate one of their fundamental starting premise is which is that everything is governed by the laws of nature.
the skeptic is caught in a real quandary. They must either deny
freewill, which is virtually impossible for them to account for anyway,
or they must accept that there are things that are not governed by the
laws of nature. If they deny freewill, they are denying something
so obvious that we simply take it for granted. Yet if they accept that
there are some things not governed by the laws of nature, they deny one
of their fundamental premises. Either way they have major problems.
This is Elgin Hushbeck, asking you to Consider Christianity: a Faith Based on Fact.
See www.consider.org for additional information.
The book and press materials are available upon request.
To schedule an interview or to have
Elgin Hushbeck, Jr. speak at your chruch or event
contact Aletheia at 715-849-8328