|Not true. When have I ever said we don't have the ability to choose to modify our behavior? That isn't my argument. My argument is that our choices, including our choices to modify our behavior, are based on internal and external factors outside our control. As our experiences (choices, actions etc) accumulate, they become part of the factors which influence out future decisions--and at that time, given that they are in the past, they are also outside our control.
Your whole position argues that we don't have the ability to choose. In your position, the idea of choice is an illusion.
You can't talk about "influences" either. Influences imply that there are things being weighed. In your system, nothing is weighed. Things just accumulate.
|I don't believe in God so I'm coming at this from a totally different angle than Smokering, although I think she some good Biblical support for her point of view. I'm coming at it more from a Buddhist perspective which talks about the non-existence of self, that we are all simply a collection of “conditions” that happened to come together at a certain point in time and will disband at another point in time.
I don't think that she has good biblical support for her view, and I'll say why in a moment. While I would agree with you in your characterization of the non-existence of self, I think that the idea is that one nonetheless pursues nirvana, one makes choices and one's choices informs one's present and future existence.
For both of you, the question of free will in both the East and West has always been about whether one is truly responsible for one's actions. One cannot be responsible for one's actions if one cannot choose one action over another action. The world itself may be an illusion and one may be bound by things that one does not understand, but the whole question boils down to that of responsibility.
I don't think that you will find anything in the Bible that either says or implies that one is not responsible for one's actions. In the great dispute of the 16th century between the "Jansenists" and the "Semi-Pelagians". The Jansenists held that one was bound to sin and that salvation was ordained by God and that this if God ordained salvation, it could not be resisted. In effect, it said that we don't have free will when it comes to being saved. The Jansenists held that the first step towards God had to be taken as an act of free will.
While the Jansenists were condemned by the Catholic Church as such, the Church in terms of the question has tended to come down on the side of.... neither. But the Jansenist position on free will is somewhat close to Calvinism and as we know, Calvinism in many forms continues to exist in different Protestant sects.
The point of this is that the idea that there is no free will, that one's actions are simply the product of internal and external forces, and that one is simply bound by these forces (and therefore not actively responsible for one's actions) is not something that any religion has proposed as far as I am aware,