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Free Will?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by versus, May 27, 2006.

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  1. versus

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    This is something that has always conufsed me:

    If God knows everything. Then He must know what is going to happen and decides everything for us. If that is true then how do we have any choices of our own? Even if we do the wrong thing isnt it what God wanted us to do anyways?
     
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  3. Anoop

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    Actually, there is no need for god to know whats going to happen to us, since everything is god. We humans have free will, and we dont know ourselves what will happen as the world is not going in the divine way. But as long as we have love for god everything is ok. There is a plan and it is working well. We are hear for our souls to grow. Our souls on earth are here to grow by discovering the worst and the good. Whatever happen is a reason. But the reason has to happen with us having a free will. We will and always heal ourselves, as we are part of god.

    Nothing is bad in life. Its just the way god intended it to notice. Whatever bad happens our soul learns from it. This earth planet is for us to learn from.

    Versus sorry if i have misunderstood you, but i was like someone who wsa so concerned in life and didnt actually know much but was so interested to find out. I admit, i was one where confidence was lacking, and i had feared alot of things.

    But as i have used the internet so much, i think god wanted me to learn something from life. The internet was my gateway to gods knowledge.

    The thing is, you are right on one hand, god knows us. We have lived before in another creation or another life somewhere. Our soul is going through different stages each time it has ended one life and goes to the enxt. Everyones soul on the planet earth is on this planet to grow with love and god realisation. We are at the moment learning from another past experience. All things that happen such as war's crime etc, is natural. Nothing is bad, of course it would be bad for us because we are not fully into god. It depends on the soul if it has to take the fear in order to strengthen. We are learning right now many different situations in life, and we will continue to do so. We will live forever in god. God loves us in different ways as there are different levels for people. As long as we reach to god the way we should be, everything is kool. But once we have passed the adventure of life, we will know the truth, and everything in the first place was perfect to begin with.

    I may have some fear, and thats ok, because i am not 100% in line with god. God made us who we are, and its ok. Aslong as you love and pray to god, make the most the way you can esly, everything is ok. There is no bad religion or anything like that.

    Religions occur in each part of the world for people to live the way they should and belive in god, no matter what way it is. No religion is bad, it is about how much faith you have to god, god will accept it.

    And yes, fear and love are the 2 main forces in this life. Fear is the boundary between you and god. Love is what drives you towards god.

    Everything works with love. Love is what holds everything together in this world. So dont feel dissapointed if your not a sikh, or your from a different religion. There is always a reason why things happen, at the end everything is in gods hand, you are in god, you are part of god. This journey is in the hands of god.

    Goodluck and best of wishes~!

    God is supporting all religions that belive in one god, and will help them out. The thing is, we must remember, we are not here to make an identity for a religion, we are here to make an realise god.
     
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    #2 Anoop, May 27, 2006
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  4. Humble_Gursevak

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    Sat Sri Akaal Anoop Veer ji I really enjoyed reading your brilliant thoughts on God but came up with a question in the last line.


    "God is supporting all religions that believe in one god, and will help them out,” ........Anoop veer Ji how can one prove that God only support all religions that believe in one God and will only help them out.

    “Everything works with love. Love is what holds everything together in this world. So don’t feel disappointed if your not a Sikh, or your from a different religion. There is always a reason why things happen, at the end everything is in gods hand, you are in god, you are part of god. This journey is in the hands of god.”……….

    Veer ji here and in the whole post your thoughts are just praiseworthy and commendable ji

    And you also wrote

    ......”since everything is god”.......


    Here my understanding is that God also made religion where God has many incarnations. And will support them too. We should not judge whom God is supporting and whom God is not supporting ji.

    Bhull Chuk maff kerna Ji

    Regards.
     
  5. Anoop

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    Sat sri akal brother humble Gursevak,

    thanks for the comments, i appreciate it, to tell you the truth, half of the information i have gathered came from near death experience websites. It may sound suprising, but actually, what the people mention is about a bright light, that never can be described and is fll of love and comfort, and other things. It uses communication through thoughts. It is related alot with sikhism as the feedback the people had got from their near death ecperiences shows that god has given them information about truth, that love is what exists and shall always exists. I even sometimes thought that how could these people actually be the ones with the god experience. But come to think about it, it is possible. Because what Guru Nanak dev ji had experienced, guru ji had witnessed gods light. These people may have some good points to their experience, as it shows similar responese to the guruji's words in guru granth sahib ji.

    For example, it mentions in sikhism, that we have lived before and we are in the cycle of birth and deaths, so does the near death experiencers say that. Its linked!
     
    #4 Anoop, May 28, 2006
    Last edited: May 28, 2006
  6. Satjot Kaur

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    Yes, everything is caused, but much better things are usually caused by our false perception of free will. This false perception gives motivation and energy to us to achieve. It takes a very strong character to continue to achieve while fully recognizing that there is neither credit nor blame in any of our actions - only cause and effect.

    May this post be a cause for someone to be able to recognize the truth without becoming disheartened by it, and can be caused to continue to achieve, and to "choose" happiness.
     
  7. curious seeker

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    Hi

    I am not Sikh and I am knew here. Basically, I am looking for answers to better understand your faith. I find it very interesting. There are certain things that at first view I disagree with, but I am supposed to inform myself before I make choices , that comes from the Ethical Perception I hold. So I am here to find answers to my questions from you guys.

    However, it seems to me, that the question of free will cannot be disputed. If there is no free will there cannot be right or wrong. But, bedsides that, experientially we have mountains of proof that there is free will. For example, I have chosen to join these boards. I have chosen to write on this subject, etc. No one else determined that I do so, but me.

    This is common sense and, while, there are obvious limits to free will and some things like inheritance may be partially determined, there cannot be denied that, experientially we all know free will exists. The arguments against the existence of Free Will, with all due respect and without intending offense, amount, IMO, to sophistry.

    But what I really want to know is what, if anything, do your scriptures say about Free Will and predetermination. For example, does the Wonderful Teacher (a great and Beautiful name for God, by the way) give us free will or has he predetermined all or part of our lives and to what extent?

    Radiant light and happiness for All

    Curious
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    curious seeker ji

    In my own view The Great and Wonderful Teacher is just that: a great and wonderful teacher. So how does a wonderful teacher respond to his students. As a puppet master? Or he one who sets before students a goal, path, and a map? One who permits his students to make mistakes, but who never punishes. One who persists with the most limited minds, and never leaves the room before the class is over? One who only responds to the best and the brightest, or one who stays after class to clear doubts and confusion?

    In Sikhism there is a phrase "hukam" which is mistaken to mean "God's Will." Hukam refers to His governance of all creation, not to His need to micromanage and control. He has written the script, and He delights in His play. He never makes demands or requires proof of our loyalty and love, so there is never a chance that commands not followed will be followed with his enmity, vengeance or spite.

    Your question is a big question. So I will stop here. But only with this last thought. There are no modern philosophical systems to speak of that that support the notion of unconditional free will. Yes, without free will, ethical action makes no sense whatsoever. That is another long story.

    The philosophy of Guru Nanak is based on the idea that there is free will, that free will is conditional, and is not based on blind faith (blind following). Nonetheless the parameters of our freedom are known only to Him.He is after all the Doer of Everything. Without Him we are nothing.
     
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  9. Caspian

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    Hah :p I dealt with this in one my first posts a long long time ago (glad to see the problem is still kicking strong). Evantually the thread came to the conclusion that we have no free will and everything runs according to gods plan. (not a fan of that position but since the Sikh god does not punish like the Christian god, I have no problem with it, although it does make the "cycle of death and rebirth" seem like a rather arbitrary event for God's viewing pleasure?)

    In real life though (if you take out God from the picture) our free will is not absolute. We are more likely to do one thing as opposed to other things :p. If given the choice between 5 dollars and 500 dollars, almost anyone would choose the 500 dollars and if repeated another time, they will probably choose the 500 dollars again. Does this mean they lack the free will to choose the 5 dollar bill :p? Well, no, not really... but the probability of choosing the 5 dollar bill is lower then the probability of choosing the 500 dollars. Probabilistic Free Will (I like to call it :p) but the important thing is, without God in the picture... there is some sort of Free Will.

    The problem of Free Will (along with other logical problems) is only a problem for Abrahamic Religions that give their God such impossibly perfect characteristics as All powerful and All knowing. Does the Sikh religion attribute this same "impossible perfection" that the Abrahmic religions attribute to their God?

    If not, then their is no problem but god cannot see into the future or create a plan that everyone must abide by. Moreover, god must abide by the laws of logic, math, and some scientific assertions (like the law of conservation of energy for example but not the theory of gravity :p). So on so fourth. But this god is ultimately pointless.

    If yes, then free will is the least of your problems. Apparntly a "perfect god" can make 2+2=5 if he wanted to. This god is illogical at best. Consequently, a belief in this god is as illogical.
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    Caspian ji

    This is a common view

    "Evantually the thread came to the conclusion that we have no free will and everything runs according to gods plan."

    And in my opinion it is not a correct view in Sikhi. But I too have read it over and over here and elsewhere on Sikh web sites.

    Scholar and theologian, Daljeet Singh, does not agree that we have no free will in Sikhism, and his article, which I have attached had an enormous influence on my thinking at the beginning of my journey. Before I took that step I hardly ever thought about free will at all.

    Dharam - we choose to walk there or we ignore it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. spnadmin

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    From Guru Amar Das ji

    There is an inter-play between the influence of the Divine on us and the choices we make.

    <table align="center" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" width="98%"><tbody><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="ggs">ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ॥੨॥
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="subhead">guramukh naam vasai man aae ||2||
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="shlok">The Naam, the Name of the Lord, comes to dwell within the mind of the Gurmukh. ||2||
    </td></tr><tr><td class="rmenuheader">

    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="ggs">ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਸਚਿ ਹੋਈ ॥
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="subhead">guramukh karam dhharam sach hoee ||
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="shlok">Through karma andDharma, good actions and righteous faith, the Gurmukh becomes true.
    </td></tr><tr><td class="rmenuheader">

    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="ggs">ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਜਲਾਏ ਦੋਈ ॥
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="subhead">guramukh ahankaar jalaaeae dhoee ||
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="shlok">The Gurmukh burns away egotism and duality.
    </td></tr><tr><td class="rmenuheader">

    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="ggs">ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਰਤੇ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥੩॥
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="subhead">guramukh naam rathae sukh hoee ||3||
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffffec"><td class="shlok">The Gurmukh is attuned to the Naam, and is at peace. ||3||
    </td></tr><tr><td class="rmenuheader">
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="ggs">ਆਪਣਾ ਮਨੁ ਪਰਬੋਧਹੁ ਬੂਝਹੁ ਸੋਈ ॥
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="subhead">aapanaa man parabodhhahu boojhahu soee ||
    </td></tr><tr bgcolor="#ffecec"><td class="shlok">Instruct your own mind, and understand Him.</td></tr></tbody></table>

    According to this shabad when we turn our face to the Divine, we burn away ego, we instruct our own mind, we understand Him. We become true. These verbs, burn, instruct, understand, become are not in the passive voice. They are not things or states of being that happen to us. They are actions that we choose. And when the Naam comes to dwell in our mind, then we make those choices. This bit of a shabad describes a relationship that is about being connected, and being aware of that connecton.

    That strikes a chord with me in a way that other explanations do not.
     
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  12. curious seeker

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    Blessing Naranjot

    Wow this a great answer you have given Indeed I agree God is the Knower and he doesr know the limits f our fre will. I also aagree that a Wonderful Teacher cannot be a puppet master He must want hs pupols to learn by themselves to experience and to choose and want to do so.

    You state:

    ¨In Sikhism there is a phrase "hukam" which is mistaken to mean "God's Will." Hukam refers to His governance of all creation, not to His need to micromanage and control. He has written the script, and He delights in His play. He never makes demands or requires proof of our loyalty and love, so there is never a chance that commands not followed will be followed with his enmity, vengeance or spite¨

    This is just the way I have come to see God. He guides, He teaches (actually I see God as S-He that is personal but beyond gender) He discplines but does not punish. He gives one his due but he does not condemn. He is truly loving and All Good His justice is not harsh but kind and compassionate. He is neither vengeful nor spoteful

    I have never understood a Kills, or oders others to be killed Genocide is a horrible crime How coud God order it. How can he send illness or disatersand willfully cause the suffering of the innocent?
     
  13. curious seeker

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    Hi Caspian

    I do not agree that Free will is only a problem for Abrahamic religions. I also agree that God is limited by His own nature. That is, He cannot deny Himself. Neither can He go against the physical and ethical laws He Himself has established.
    But His is limits are infinite in to relation to our own finiteness. So I guess one can say that we have to define what perfect is. I have come to think that truth, right perfection justice, et all, ultimately are just what God says they are, no more or no less. Therefore it is He that defines perfection not us.

    But could you please elaborate on why do you think Free Will is a problem with the Abrahamics and not with others? I am, after all, curious:)

    May we learn how to find contentment and peace in He who is tranquility itself!
    Curious
     
  14. curious seeker

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    Hello Versus

    The fact that one knows what is going to happen does not necessarilly mean he will determine it. It is said God knows the beginning from the end but if he does not interfere, then, regardless of the fact your choice was known to him before hand , it is still yours, hopefully free and informed.

    Blessings!
    Curious
     
  15. Caspian

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    But could you please elaborate on why do you think Free Will is a problem with the Abrahamics and not with others? I am, after all, curious[​IMG]

    Simple. If you are a jew, christian or muslim. And the god you believe in has characteristics that defy "free will." Then you have to accept the fact that people are pre-destined to go to either heaven or hell. Free will (choice) is the basis for such punishment and reward—without free will, there is no basis for either punishment or reward. Everything becomes rather arbitrary (Arbitrary is beginning to be a favourite word of mines in this group :p)

    If Sikhism has similar characteristics for their god. And if the sikh god "punishes and rewards." Then we have a problem.

    If the sikh god has those characteristics yet doesn't punish or reward. Then we have no problem. Yes we may have no free will—but wat good is free will anyway if god doesn't punish or reward.
     
  16. curious seeker

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    Hi Again Naranjanyot

    Thank you for the attachment. It's eerily similar to what I believe myself, althoug I tend to give more importance to Free Will and I believe that God self limits himself in the sense that he does not violate or negate His nature. In any case thanks! You have been very illuminating. By the way I have 2 questions. Ji it means dear right? And what does gurfateh mean?

    Blessings and Light
    Curious
     
  17. Lee

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    Versus ji,

    Ahh the old determination negates free will argument huh!

    I do not personaly buy into this one. Free Will is simply the ability to make choices.

    That God knows prior to your choice what choice you make does not mean that you get no choice.

    Look upon it this way. God has granted us all free will to choose to seek God or not. If not then we are mere robots, if we truely have no choie in whether to quest for God or not, then there is no point in religion, no point in any scripture which teaches us about God and Gods plans for us, no point in Guru to guide our ways. The fact that theer are such things as Guru and scripture and differant faiths and differing interpretations of what God is and what Gods plans for us are is (in my mind) evidance that we do indeed have the freedom of choice that I talk about.

    Try this experiment also.

    Go to the kitchen make two sandwiches, and choose which one of them to eat. Make one you like and one you do not, choose to eat the one you do not like despite not liking to do so. Or choose to eat niether or perhaps both, or even choose not to perform the experiment at all.

    Some may repond to this with the argument that such choices are illusionary, to this I would say as a parent watching your child grow you get a sense of what that child may do under some given circumstances, when you then witness them perform the action you have predicted of them (because you know the childs 'mind') has you prior knowledge then in any way forced them to such action?

    In essance then Gods prior knowledge does not negate your abilty to choose.
     
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  18. curious seeker

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    Hi Caspian

    Xianity claims to have Free Will. Although, it seems to me that when they say obey or burn in hell for eternity, its a very peculiar type of free will I am not so sure with Islam but I believe I read somewhere that they posit a limited Free Will as well but, again, the same thing applies.

    Now, maybe you or some one else can tell me. If there is a hell in Sikhism , which I believe there is, how does that relate to free will and is it not putting pressure on Free Will when one is threatened with hell?

    Blessings and Light
    Curious
     
  19. Caspian

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    The argument is old for a reason (it makes sense). Let me put you in a position akin to God for the sake of argument so you can understand this dilemma better. You are watching a film for the second time. You know exactly wats going to happen to the main chracter at a pivotal moment in the film. Main character has some choice to make and you know wat choice he is going to make. Does the main character of the film have any free will? Nope, he is destined to make that choice no matter how many times u watch him going through the process. Similarily, if life works according to "Gods Plan" then when god observes us, he is watching his "film" unfold. He sees me or you about to make a choice and he knows wat choice were going to make. We dont have that knowledge available to us (the knowledge of gods plan, his script) just like how the main character of the film doesnt have knowledge of the movie script (key difference between main character and actor, just mentioning that beforehand). So neither us nor the character has free will if there is an outside perspective that knows wat were going to do beforehand. If you think we still have free will, then why not also believe that movie characters have free will as well (it would be consistant with ur logic atleast).

    That is the logical conclusion one can derive from the "Free Will" argument... actually, thats pretty much wat it suggest. Pointlessness. If you disagree, then by all means attack the logic. However you cant say "well if your right, and we have no free will... then everything is pointless...and that can't be...so you must be wrong!" thats Flawed reasoning. Thats like telling Einstein "well if your right, then time is relative—and that cant be! so your wrong." Just because a conclusion is undesriable, doesnt mean the argument is wrong.

    The other conclusion one can draw is that God does not have the capability to know what your going to do before you do it.

    Thats circular logic if I ever heard it. That's like pointing at a watch and saying "The very fact that there is a watch suggests that there must have been a watch maker"—Even if your right, your reasoning is flawed. I dont think you fully understand the logic behind the issue. You cannot say "because we have choices, means that we must have the free will to choose." To reuse my metaphor. Thats like telling me the character "Sophie" in "Sophie's Choice" (holocaust movie) has free will just because she was presented with a choice.

    Doesnt prove anything... but i think this was meant to be taken as a joke right?
     
  20. Caspian

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    No hell in sikhism. There is a cycle of life and death that one tries to break free from and this is dependant upon free will you can say. So without free will, this cycle is arbitrary (as i have said before). However (and this is me just talking casually, philosphy aside). Even if we dont have free will, and there is a cycle of birth and death, I dont really care if i continue this cycle of birth and death because I cannot remember my past life so what difference does it make for my future life lol. Reincarnation itself breaks so many mathamatical laws. I dont believe it exists. The free will argument pretty much destroys the possibility of heaven and hell justifiably existing. So I dont think we can be certain what happens after we die—but logically speaking, we can be certain no heaven, hell, or frog body awaits us after our death (logically speaking again).
     
  21. curious seeker

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    Hi Caspian

    There is such a thing as hypnotic regression and while this is not accepted as scientific, it does give anecdotal evidence for re-incarnation. Also NDEs tend to either mention re-incarnation or the survivors come to believe in it. Again, these experiences, I grant, are circumstantial and anecdotal

    However, it is possible that these memories are in your subconscious. In cases of persons who claim to have experienced other lives, it is usually children, that supposedly have these experiences, so some say that as you grow older you loose your past life's memories.

    But even if you, conscioulsy, have not experienced re-incarnation your soul ,after death, might have , if re-incarnation is true. It could very well be that we bury these experiences , which could be quite traumatic, in our sub-conscious.

    Blessings
    Curious
     

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