Free Will

“My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”

406px-psm_v77_d418_william_james“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”

~William James (considered the father of modern psychology)

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Free Will

  1. Thanks for spreading the word about free will. We serve an amazing God who allows us to form our own opinions and allows us to be accountable for those thoughts. Love and justice are not exclusive.

    Be blessed. God is with you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with this 100%. I made a conscious decision to be happy when I was a teen and it has worked for a very large part of my life so far – and I’m now 43! (It doesn’t mean ignoring the bad things, it means engaging with them and making them as good as possible, as well as actively looking for, and consciously appreciating, the good. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Cosier says:

    I thank God that He has given us free will. Free to choose Him and His love for us, or to reject Him, and to go our own way. There is a way that leads to life, and His name is Jesus Christ. There is also a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end, it leads to death. I would encourage us to choose life and to choose it abundantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Since we are so influenced by parents, teachers, literature and those around us, I wonder if our “free will” is really free at all, or just an amalgamation of each of those external influences. Maybe”Attitude” is external as well, or James would not have tried to bring it to our attention. Yes we make choices, but are they subtilely coerced choices? (Talking purely from a physical standpoint.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Oh, I would certainly agree that we’re all heavily influenced by other people and things, Vernon, and I’m sure James would, too. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the exercise of free will is always a struggle. AA is a classic example of this.


  5. aakriti405 says:

    I love this topic of free will vs pre determination. Can you post more about this stuff. I am really infused between the two and I am unable to know which one works for me. I want it to be free will with odds are always with pre determination in my case. Can you tell me something about it ?
    I would really appreciate that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      That’s a big question, aakriti! The Bible teaches both freewill and determination. This is called an antinomy: two apparent contradictions that are, nevertheless, both true. I sometimes think of it this way: God determined my fate (predetermination) at the moment of creation, knowing the choices I would make (freewill). Whether I truly understand how these two truths intersect remains to be seen. Fortunately, eternity doesn’t depend on my level of understanding, but on God’s grace.

      Meanwhile, in the present life it seems clear that we are programmable creatures (as famously demonstrated by Pavlov and Skinner). But we also have a higher consciousness which enables us to take charge of our programming (become our own programmer), or at least the most important part of it: our moral choices. And this is why we are considered morally accountable beings.

      Hope these thoughts are of some use to you. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika Kind says:

    That’s a fantastic quote and it absolutely nails it. We can change our lives by only changing our attitude. It is a choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Taylor Brand says:

    When I was 25 I met a friend who said “change your attitude or change your address” and I’ve never been completely the same. I was raised with a very “you get what you get” mentality but after my friend told me that I realized that just by changing my attitude in the morning I would feel like a different person by 6 p.m. Stuff happened totally differently; I was able to do things differently, opportunities came up differently. Then the goal became to massage my attitude to where it needed to be so I could have peace. That is not completely easy, but it’s a different problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was a bit disappointed that James did not apply the pragmatic method to resolve the determinism “versus” free will paradox. It only requires us to realize that purpose and reason are causes. For example:
    (A) When my choice is according to my own purpose and my own reasons, it is of my own free will.
    (B) When my choice is according to my own purpose and my own reasons, it is causally determined.
    Both facts are simultaneously true!

    Liked by 1 person

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