Quote Originally Posted by giusti View Post
I haven't read most of the posts before me in this thread (there's six pages of them, give me a break), so I hope I'm not just repeating things that were said earlier.
Break given.

As far as free will goes, I don't think that pre-determinism really affects it at all as long as people aren't told of what is going to happen. Calvinists say that from before each person is born, God already knows whether they will go to heaven or to hell. If people actually knew whether they would or not, this would affect things, but they don't know. All they know is that God knows. So for those who just assume that it was pre-determined that they would go to heaven and therefore don't try to be a good person, it was probably already known that they would think this way and act accordingly. Therefore, it's likely that these people were pre-determined to go to hell. From the other perspective, if someone acted well their whole life, despite the fact that they "knew" they were going to go to heaven, it was probably know that they would act this way too, and it was pre-determined to go to heaven. It only gets messy if somebody on Earth knows who is and isn't going to hell (unless this knowledge is ever-changing based on the effect of telling people about their fate).
A good example is one I have heard and used many times. You have the ability to travel into the future. You see that tomorrow your friend will try to decide between a red shirt and a blue shirt; he thinks about it, but eventually chooses the red shirt. You travel back to the present and let the day play out. The next morning, you know he is going to wear the red shirt, but it doesn't make it any less of a choice for him.

G-d knows what we are going to do, but that doesn't mean we didn't choose. It simply means He knows the storyline before it unfolds for us. Remember, G-d existed before time, and He exists outside it. The same rules don't apply to Him.

I won't address the Heaven and Hell thing, because depending on your beliefs, it either makes sense or not. I'll just say that in Judaism, everyone goes to Heaven, but everyone goes through a cleansing first in Gehenna, which is often equated to the Hell of other religions. That's not necessarily true though.

But what makes this more interesting to me is if we assume that God isn't omnipotent. What's always made little sense to many people is why God is said to only create good, and only advocate good, and yet he doesn't get rid of all evil on the Earth. (This is interesting to me as an atheist because Christianity and Islam are the only two religions that have these notions of absolute evil. But obviously, the idea is very popular, as these two religions are the most popular ever made.)
G-d told us very clearly through the prophet Isaiah that He created both good and evil. Why some other religions choose to ignore that is beyond me.

But assuming that there is a conflict in the fact that God did not abolish evil, contemplate this: Suppose that you are God. You have existed from the beginning of the universe, know everything that's ever happened and everything that ever will happen, but cannot directly affect the world. One day, you find that you have a spontaneous connection with someone on Earth, let's call him Joshua Christ. What would you say? I mean, if God did exist, and he was going to put one person in charge of transforming the world according to what was best for humanity, the only reason of why he would do this that seems likely to me is because he didn't have the power to go down there and do it himself.
You've now completely left the bounds of Judaism and the concept of G-d in general. That's a completely hypothetical situation that really has no basis in reality. I'm not really even sure of your point here.

If I've offended anyone with this, just ignore me and I'm sorry. I know that religion can be a very touchy subject.

-giusti
If you get offended easily, this room is not for you.