There has been a debate raging intermittently in our household between myself, an atheist, and my oldest son, a believer. I need some help with this.

I say that I don't believe there is a god or gods because there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ANY divine being. HE says that if there WAS evidence it would do away with free will in the majority of the population.

His contention is that if proof was shown of a christian god, Most people (and he DOES stress that there would be exceptions - people who already don't care and commit crimes anyway, etc) would fall into line because that proof would negate free will.

How do I argue against this? Am I doomed to lose this argument?

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The christian god, as I know it to be, is all knowing, all powerful and all loving. That alone doesn't work, see the Riddle of Epicurus:

If it's just all knowing it already knows the past present and future. Which means it already knows everything everyone will do ahead of time. Therefore, freewill is impossible.
You could debate this with him but it's a tired old argument.

Instead, why don't you ask him the following. Is it more admirable to do the right thing under duress (fear of being punished or to earn a reward) or to do the right thing because it benefits you and those around you?
Exactly - are you resisting temptation if you believe hell is the actual consequence for giving in to temptation? After all - what's so tempting about five minutes of sin followed by an eternity of pain?
His contention that it wouldn't negate free will in all people undercuts his own argument. What would those people be doing other than exercising free will? The Christian god obviously made us with free will or he wouldn't have had to warn Adam and Eve not to exercise it.
It's a mystery! Duh!
My argument would be that there would be people who simply would not accept the evidence of god even if put before them by accusing it of being fake (like those who still don't believe in evolution), and thus would prove free will could exist regardless.
I would pose this question of his loving God; Would you put him in charge at a child minding centre? I for one would not.
I would contend that the concept of "free will" is debatable in and of itself. Dawkins makes perhaps the most compelling argument for this in The Selfish Gene. I am what I am, and that's all that I am (to borrow from Popeye) because it makes the most sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

And if that interjection proves fruitless (which it most likely will because a true believer will simply move the goalpost when confronted with logic), then you can put the kibosh on the whole debate and simply say that god is a poopy head, na na na boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo.
He admits that religion is slavery. If God deliberately erases evidence of himself it's because God wants humans to achieve the highest potential of their intellect, even at the cost of religion. Reason supersedes religion.
Ask him why, if the Christian god exists, this god would allow so much confusion in the world in regards to his existence? If there is no proof for the existence for a Christian god and there are thousands of other religions and gods how does this god expect humans to be able to make the correct decision?

Especially if you take the limited lifespan of a human in consideration it seems that this god's marketing plan has some serious flaws.
Free will may be more of an illusion than a reality. We are part of the physical universe and our brains follow the laws of nature just any other aspect of nature. So what if there's no free will. The determinants of our behavior and mind are so stupendously complex that the results are almost the same as having free will.

Eric Stone
One word. Determinism.




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