Is it only me, or is the “free will” argument put forth by some Christians—i.e., that “free will” is necessary for love, that God (preeminently) values or respects our “free will” (even if that means our ultimate condemnation), etc.—just a really bad argument?
First off, those who make that argument seem to hold to a particularly strong notion of free-will—generally, a libertarian notion—but without ever (or at least seldom) defining that explicitly. But libertarian free-will has been demonstrated on here numerous times to be either internally contradictory or reducing to randomness.
Second, as vivify pointed out most recently, the biblical stories pretty much show that God is not such a respecter of our “free will”.
Whodey (not to pick on him, but I thought that he was at least willing to take his arguments to their logical conclusion), after proposing that love requires free will, recently said this:
I don't view coercion and simply appealing to ones better senses as the same thing. However, sometimes neither work. What then? If one or the other works 100% of the time, is there really free will? (My italics)
I have severely short-cut the context here. In context, if God somehow convinces everyone, by appealing to their “better senses”, to accept God’s salvation—then did they (we) really have “free will”?
My response (in relevant part) was this:
Obviously, I don’t think the kind of “free will” you seem to be referring to exists at all. And, as I said before, so-called “libertarian free will” is either internally contradictory or reduces to randomness.
All of our choices are conditional choices—conditioned by such things as our view of the circumstances, our ability to process information, our education and knowledge, our cultural condition, etc. The fact that our choices are conditional means that we can change with new information, understanding, ability, etc.
By “change”, I mean that we can try to change course with new decisions—not that we can go back and change former decisions.
The underlying questions, in terms of Christian soteriology, are: (1) What degree of information, ability to process that information, education and knowledge, etc., etc. is sufficient for a loving and/or just God to declare that whatever decisions we have now made are final? And: (2) Does the “free-will” argument make any sense at all?
NOTE: I intend all of this within a Christic context, and—while welcoming the insights of all—would ask that that context not be hijacked. Of course, any logical/philosophical viewpoints on so-called “free will” are welcome—regardless of theist, atheist, whatever, views of the poster.