What a beautiful thing it is that we have free will.
In my time as an undergraduate I read many theologians who wrestled with the balance of human free will and the will of the divine. Even further I read many philosophers who deliberated on free will as concept. As interesting as those musings are, I have always been keen of the feeling I get when I imagine my free will.
I want to hear this RUSH song!
You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will
Oh how Neil Peart moved my philosophical soul and appealed to my interest in the metaphysical!
As you can tell, I do believe that humanity has free will. Personally, it fits quite well into my theology and faith and how I live my life. But for some, that is not the case and that’s why theologians and clergy and philosophers have debated it for centuries! The most familiar form of this debate for you may be from the Reformation. Predestination, the idea that God has predetermined who will have Heavenly salvation and who will not, was believed, preached, and taught by John Calvin and his followers. That idea took different shapes as others tried to really understand how free will fit into religion, daily life, and salvation. Ideas on free will were formed differently for the Lutherans during that time. Martin Luther decided that salvation is not predetermined for certain individuals, but instead predetermined by God for all those who choose to seek God. Concepts of free will extend beyond Christianity to Islam and Judaism. This is a universally debated idea.
From the philosophical side, we can discover from Hume’s writings that perhaps free will may be guided by a person’s desires. Or you may pick up from authors, including Plato, that there is a balance between our desires and values that plays a part in our free will. Heck, you may walk away from some thinkers wondering if we have free will at all?
Well, this song by RUSH called “Free Will” weighs the idea that free will is not given to humanity or to certain individuals. If you want free will, then you make the choice to believe you have free will and act accordingly. And ironically, you also have the choice to not live like you have free will.
There are those who think that life
Has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance
Sure, this song has some pro-atheistic undertones, but I still find it to be nonetheless empowering. If you look at life like an “aimless dance” then are you really living? Stuff is bound to happen to knock you down and to make you lose hope. I promise, because it happens to me. And I don’t think that you can always choose to get yourself out of those down and out circumstances, because there are people who also have free will around you. But I believe you have the choice to make the most of your life and make it meaningful. You have the choice to love or to hate. You have the choice to give what you can or keep everything for yourself. You have the choice to live a life that you will look back on with a good conscience. I celebrate in the fact that I feel free to choose for myself!
**The explanations of theories and religious beliefs explained in this post are brief summaries in my own words of my interpretations and understandings from my studies.