Rachel Johnson

Atheist Blogger- the godlessvagina / Podcaster the pink atheist

Free Will: A secular approach on why it doesn’t exist


Free Will: A secular approach to why it doesn’t exist.


I have heard many times from Christians that free will was given to us by god. We can choose to do things, but there are consequences. Apparently double consequences. And if there was a god he would be guilty of double Jeopardy, people being punished twice for the same crime. This isn’t that debate, mostly because it is bogus, but because there is more challenges here to free will than those who subscribe to it can answer.

When it comes to free will, what this assigns any one person, is that they have complete charge and control over their lives, and nothing is predetermined. It means every day is a new start, you can make choices and though they may have consequences either direction, you can somehow make them in a way different from what you know. This is wrong.

You were not aware of the moment that one egg and one sperm combined to make you, but it did. Nine months later you were born to circumstances you had no control over. Before you could define yourself, your parents, society and humanity began to do it for you. No one sat back and watched you grow giving you every chance to determine your self, but they subscribed their ideologies onto you. This trend continued until you became like who your parents were trying to achieve for you to be.

Most people will not leave their social standing, make more money than their parents or live lives very far removed from that, but there are exceptions. How do we explain those. Well the dynamic gets deeper. Because every choice you have ever made leading backwards is involved in this equation. And it is an equation, with outside variables interacting in your small bubble of a life.

hose outside variables are the 6.5 billion other lives on this planet. They all had prior decisions before they ever interacted with you, and while I am not saying random events won’t or can’t happen in your life, those are random chance events based upon this equation. Because at any given time you are interacting in the mesh, and interacting with the one of two decisions that person had to make.

Now this is where it gets highly complex, so try and follow. In the morning from the opening of your eyes you make decisions, so do the 6.5 billion other people on the planet, any of those given decisions can lead them to interacting with you, giving you another 2 decisions to make, then they interact with you and others adding to the decision complex, but there are only ever two decisions…yes, or no. When you pick one of these you move from one path to the other, and interact with people who made a similar or opposite decision of yes or no, and on it goes…ad infinitum.

All of the good things and bad that happened to us today and will happen come from those paths at any given time, and you won’t ever escape it because of prior training, known consequence, care and desire to have or avoid those consequences and social standing. In other words, everything you do is based on everything you did, and everything you will do is based on everything you did or know.

When people say you have free will, they say you can somehow escape the chain of events you have faced since your birth, leaving you free to escape from them, but thinking back, did you ever do something that changed every dynamic in your life, or did you follow one of the two decisions given to you and the subsequent path that followed. No that doesn’t mean random chance does not exist, it does, only because if this were a math equation, the numbers would be astronomical, and the more people you add into your life, the more chances a yes or no will present, but it will always come back to what s your prior experience, what are the yes and no options, and how will you respond based on those.

When it comes to free will, all that we are is a mesh of prior existence to this moment, it is not all predetermined, it is just set in motion from birth on a continuum that will end in death and it will play out the same way over and over for billions of lives.









Author: Rachel Johnson

I am a writer about atheist issues. Separation of the church and state. Women and their right to choose, and sex. I talk about all of the "taboos" of modern life as well as evolution and science.

3 thoughts on “Free Will: A secular approach on why it doesn’t exist

  1. Free-will means an action is uncaused or “self-caused.” But either way, it implies there was no antecedent cause to the action. An action without an antecedent cause is a miracle (and impossible). Free will would mean all of our actions are miraculous (or “magical”, and I think we all deny miracles here).

  2. Few people today have free will but everyone has the potential for it. Organized religion and the monoculture of capitalism insures everyone knows the role they are supposed to act out. Edward Bernays understood early on what his uncle Sigmund Freud was clarifying. It is easy to manipulate people who are disconnected from their self. The power of suggestion is effective on confused people. At the point a child believes gods and demons are influencing or controlling their thoughts and actions, that child has learned to doubt their self. Alienation is rampant today as the financial top 1% manipulate the western world via the mass media which they own and control. None of us have complete control over our lives because of that fact.

    Those who do not believe they have free will are allowing someone else to plan their future for them. I see a world where we all have a hundred choices at every juncture in our lives. When the concept god is finally dead, patriarchy dies, misogyny dies and the monogamous nuclear family will whither as a social construct. It is pointless to reject the concept of a supreme being if we don’t also reject the socio/economic structure laid out in the old testament and new. The history of humanity has been a history of warfare because Capitalism is an expansionist economic system and infinite economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. The majority of people within the so called freethought movement obviously don’t understand that. The Occupy Movement didn’t adhere to what they were taught. Pepper spray squelched that effort but self actualization will rear it’s head up elsewhere. 9 out of ten people who contacted their elected officials in regards to war on Syria gave a resounding no to war.

    Sam Harris said none of us are the authors of our thoughts! The logical question is, who is the author of his books? Free will is hanging there in front of you like a piece of ripe fruit and all you have to do is reject the measly mental diet we’ve all been placed on. The magic is our consciousness, if we all pull together we can change the world. I drove to Washington DC for Nixon’s inauguration to protest the war in Vietnam and I drove to DC to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. War is the open sore which reveals the cancer of Capitalism. Some of us have every intention of changing the world so the 1% will have to respond to us. Why don’t you join us?

  3. I honestly don’t know how to feel about free will anymore. I felt far more certain half my life ago, when I was 18. I thought I knew that free will was an illusion. I could back it up too, with the typical determinism arguments that lost favor among philosophers more than 100 years ago. Now my perspective on it has become highly subjective, having lived through choices that tore me apart, having taken action when every force in my body said “no”, having survived when all I could think of was suicide. Free will in any biblical sense is a non-issue to me, but certainty about such matters is a luxury for the young.

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