God Gives Us Free Will. Except When He Doesn’t.

I’m really quite fascinated by how some Christians use free will as an excuse to get out of the problem of evil, then suddenly jettison it when it comes to prayer and God punishing us. Richard Land offers up a textbook example of what I’m talking about.

Land, who once called President Obama “a judgment of God on the United States,” said that just as God heaped His judgment upon the nation of Israel, so too is He willing to punish America and is, in fact, doing so right now.

“I believe He is judging the United States of America,” Land said. “I don’t believe that you can kill 56 million babies in child sacrifice through abortion and not expect that God won’t judge the nation. I believe we’re in the state we’re in today because of the judgment of God. I get asked all the time, ‘Where is the next Abraham Lincoln? Where is the next Ronald Reagan? Where is the next Billy Graham?’ Well, my answer is great political and spiritual leadership in our country is a sign of God’s blessing; its absence is a sign of God’s judgment.”

So how does that work, exactly? Did God change the minds of a bunch of voters to get Obama into office as his punishment? If so, doesn’t that destroy the whole idea of Christian free will? Are there great leaders out there that could turn things around, but God is making sure something happens to them so they can’t win and thereby disrupt his punishment plans?

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  • John Pieret

    If theology was internally consistent and logical, it wouldn’t be theology.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Yep, God thinks abortion is a horrible sin. Yet he lets 40 plus years of abortions occur. To what, give him an excuse to condemn people to Hell? And I’m supposed to worship this vile creature?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Did God change the minds of a bunch of voters to get Obama into office as his punishment? If so, doesn’t that destroy the whole idea of Christian free will?

    The God of free will has nothing to do with the God of the Bible. Yahweh was violating free will as far back as the Book of Exodus, when He “hardened the heart” of Pharaoh so that He could show off by killing more people and animals.

  • StevoR

    Land said. “I don’t believe that you can kill 56 million babies in child sacrifice through abortion ..

    Emphasis added.

    Could someone please take that Land klown aside and tell him that’s not what abortion is nor how it works, kthx?

    They’re not babies (not yet) nor are they child sacrifices. Saying otherwise don’t make it so.

    Also as Betty Bowers points out here :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq3U09DeKpg

    God ain’t opposed to abortion – he even provides a “miracle” abortifactant in his bible. (Reliability not guaranteed, side effects unknown. Effects may vary depending on what and how how dirty your floor is.)

  • raven

    Xianity is incoherent. If you try to make sense of it, you can’t. If you look for the moral and intellectual basis of it, they don’t exist.

    This was known from the very beginning. The ancient Roman Pagans said what we say today about the religion.

    And we know why. It isn’t anchored in reality and has no way to reality test its claims. So xianity evolves rapidly and changes constantly. There are 42,000 sects and growing. All equally true. Which is not at all, none.

  • rietpluim

    Yeah, this God almighty provided you with reason, emotions, conscience, and free will – and for using them He will send you to Hell for all eternity.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Well, my answer is great political and spiritual leadership in our country is a sign of God’s blessing; its absence is a sign of God’s judgment.”

    I think it’s neat, seeing someone duck in to his own punch.

  • dugglebogey

    God killed millions of babies in the great flood, who’s judging him? Himself? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

  • Kevin Kehres

    @ 2 timgueguen

    Actually, abortions were legally provided in many US states prior to Rowe V Wade. One reason for SCOTUS to take up the case was the discrepancy between the states.

    And abortions were provided — legally, extra-legally, or otherwise — for decades to centuries prior.

    Heck, even the bible gives a recipe on how to induce an abortion — bitter waters. To be used when it was suspected the child was not the husband’s, but the product of an adulterous liaison. Numbers 5:11-31.

  • busterggi

    God can’t help being contradictory – its all part of his plan and he can’t change it.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Christian have always talked nonsense about their religion. Here’s Tertullian about 1,800 years ago:

    And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible.

    (Tertullian – De Carne Cristi)

  • arakasi

    Just about every answer for the problem of evil uses the “free will is criticial, but free will means that sin is common, therefore evil” logic chain. However, if they are correct, then when we die our souls go to heaven, where there is no sin, which requires there to be no free will in heaven.

    So, if our souls exist for all eternity, but we only have free will for an infantessimally small portion of it, then it must not be all that important after all.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Yeah, sacrificing 55,999,999 babies isn’t a problem, but you kill 56 million and you’re over the line, bucko! What, do you Americans think you’re God or something?

    That you’re allowed to decide who lives or dies by dropping bombs on them from planes and drones? By demolishing entire cities with nuclear weapons? By meddling in the Middle East until it’s one huge clusterfuck of killing — I mean even more than it was before you started meddling? That when others defy your authority you get to punish them even to three or four generations?

    … Oh, wait.

  • bryanfeir

    If so, doesn’t that destroy the whole idea of Christian free will?

    It’s only interfering with free will if Land considers those ‘others’ to actually be people in the first place. I think that’s assuming facts not in evidence.

  • carpenterman

    “What a relief! My life is awful not because of bad decisions on my part, but because of a curse!”

    “Sithrack!… Let him into your heart. Blame him for everything.”

    Oglaf.com/geewoks

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Did God change the minds of a bunch of voters to get Obama into office as his punishment?

    Well, y’know, we could have elected a slate that would have put Sarah Palin one heartbeat – that of an elderly man who does not react well to prolonged stress – away from The Button™.

    But God decided we just didn’t deserve that.

    Makes ya wonder what he’s saving up for us instead…

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Yep, God thinks abortion is a horrible sin. Yet he lets 40 plus years of abortions occur. To what, give him an excuse to condemn people to Hell? And I’m supposed to worship this vile creature?

    Look, tim. He’s busy, ok? He’s going to get around to doing something about that some time next week. Or maybe sometime in the next millenia, it’s hard to say. He’s got a lot of other things on his plate right now. Do you know that for every abortion in the US there are 328 acts of masturbation? No, I bet you didn’t know that. So he’s a busy guy. So just back off, ok?

  • pwuk

    Heads I win, tails you lose.

  • thebookofdave

    God doesn’t want to influence your beliefs with evidence that he appeared, except to crush your neighborhood when people living hundreds of miles distant piss him off, or to leave a selfie on a tortilla.