Everybody has an organ-grinder in their lives.  You will be a poor judge of how you are controlled, when and to what extent.  If it is so easy for a person to do that when they cannot really control a lot of your life, but enough to do harm, imagine what a God who creates your entire circumstances and inner life and environment can do.


Religion says God gave us the gift of free will. 


Even if that is true, he could still be the most successful and craftiest organ-grinder of them all.


Religion blames us for sin and evil not God.  This is not fair.  It would be fair if they could give solid reasons why God is probably not manipulating us.  If God is forced for a greater good to let babies suffer terribly then he can be forced to manipulate us too.  His being loving and fair means he has to do what he has to do not that he can line up to what we want him to be.  The problem is that if you are being fooled and the trickster is powerful enough you will never be able to expose him.  Trusting God is not rational but just a leap.  It's a tightrope.  One side is accusing God in the wrong and the other side is siding with him against his gaslit victims.    Believers won't admit it is a tightrope which is why we should challenge them.  They are not as person-affirming as they want you to think.


Anyway, free will on its own does not save God from being to blame with us or more than us for the evil we do.


Even if this was not a concern, he is creator and for that reason our free will is his work.  If we use free will fair enough.  But who creates us and who creates the free will and creates the using of it and the set up that our motivations appear in?  This means it is his work more than ours.  Don't forget that creation out of nothing means it is all his work  It means he creates what we do with it.  We tend to say that if we do good God did it but the other side of that is that it would mean saying if we do bad with it then he did it too.  If you create the custard from nothing you cannot say that if it is hot or cold has nothing to do with you.  It has EVERYTHING to do with you.  If it can choose to be hot or cold you still create the hot or cold.  You are still the maker of the hot and cold - giving it a choice changes nothing about that.  In fact giving it a choice is still you being as much in control as you would be if you did not.


And if the custard has a very strong urge to become hot if you give it the urge, then if it chooses to be hot that is more to do with you than it.  That is an additional reason why choices of the creature are about the creator's input.


The believer can only say that God is uninvolved and not evil if you are evil.  And what is he if you are good?  You cannot have it any way but both ways.  There is a coin with two sides. 


God is thought to be right to let us sin for his plan is to turn it to good and to turn us to good having learned our lesson.


The Trolley Problem is like when you push a person on to a track to save five lives.  Religion says you should let chance take care of it and not be using the person as a means to save others.  Philosophers also may say that there is a difference between letting chance run its course and getting involved to cause a death.  Nobody denies though that either way you have death.  It shows that morality is not a beautiful thing.  If it is that is down to luck.  Morality is not about being nice or rewarded.


God surely cannot push anybody either to save lives.  And he cannot ask us to think he does for we are all prone to psychological transference.  We project ideas on to God that say more about us than about him.


John Hick was undeterred by the prospect of being a hard-faced hypocrite.  He said that evil no matter how terrible fits God for God brings good out of it.  He exposed flaws in attempts to make out that we make evil not God even as he tried to make out that evil is part of God's plan.


Hick claimed that a flawless person like Adam, who the Bible says was the first sinner, the first to reject God for a created thing and thus become evil could not have used his free will to rebel (Evil and the God of Love, page 75). He believed that a being knowing what good was could not prefer wrongdoing and misery to it and so would not choose it. It is replied that Adam's choice was not between good and evil for he had no motive. It was something like the choice between two equally attractive friends. You have no motive to choose one but you do.


So this amounts to saying there was no first sinner!  And if Adam despite that can be said to be a sinner whose fault is it?  God made the sin look good.  Adam does not create this perception.  God creates it and Adam makes it is own so it is really God's perception.


Adam's choice was alleged to be between himself and God (page 66-69, Arguing with God, Hugh Silvester, IVP, 1971). This solution is wrong because you do have a reason for picking one of the friends. The motive is, "I have to pick one so I choose you." It was the same with Adam and it is impossible to see how anybody could sin when they feel that evil is just as good as good and one of these has to be picked.


Hick claimed that we cannot be free when God knows how we will act in the future. This is correct because if I know what Jack the Ripper did and my memory is wiped and I go back and become the Ripper through a time machine then clearly I will do what I knew before. Something is causing what I knew and what I did to be exactly the same. Knowing is not causing for us but in issues to do with God it is different.
In a Christian book we read that "all theories of the will that appeal to motive tend to destroy the notion of freedom" for "to suggest that the motive somehow moves (as the etymology suggests) the agent to action denies that he is active; he is not active, he is passive following his genes and environment" (page 66-67, Arguing with God, Hugh Sylvester, IVP 1971). Let them err and destroy their doctrine of freedom if they want for we know motives do move us.


People want to find ways to declare us responsible for what we do.  But responsibility is one thing.  Responsibility before God is another.

AN INTELLIGENT PERSONS GUIDE TO CATHOLICISM, Alban McCoy, Continuum, London and New York, 1997  
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill & Co, Dublin, 1954
ARGUING WITH GOD, Hugh Sylvester IVP, London, 1971
CONTROVERSY: THE HUMANIST CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTER Hector Hawton, Pemberton Books, London, 1971
EVIL AND THE GOD OF LOVE, John Hicks, Fontana, London, 1977
FREE INQUIRY, Do We have Free Will? Article by Lewis Vaughn and Theodore Schick JR, Spring 1998. Vol 18 No 2, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
GOD AND EVIL, Brian Davies OP, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1984
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY, Voltaire, Translated by Theodore Besterman, Penguin, London, 1972
RELIGION IS REASONABLE, Thomas Corbishley SJ, Burns & Oates, London, 1960
THE CASE AGAINST GOD, Gerald Priestland, Collins, Fount Paperbacks, London, 1984
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE PUZZLE OF GOD, Peter Vardy, Collins, London, 1990
THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, Brian Davies, Continuum, London-New York, 2006
THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Ed. Canon George D Smith, Ph.D. Burns and Oates and Washbourne, London, 1952
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
UNBLIND FAITH, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982
WHY DOES GOD? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Paul's, Bucks, 1970

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