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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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40 Responses to 552

  1. Robb says:

    We don’t have a choice!

    I would like to argue the calvinist position and set that up for you…

    … as a wickerman for later….

    …but I’m not gonna!

  2. Gary says:

    It can’t be both?

  3. Robb says:

    Not in the strictest sense of the two options. Either God is playing you like a puppet or he gives you free will. Puppets can’t move without being made to, they have no choice. In that sense if I went and burned down a house, my defence would be “I have no control over my own actions”. There is the possibility of middle ground though…

    Calvinism leads to this systematic conclusion…

    Everything is predestined
    I have no say
    I don’t have to do anything

    Throw hell in there:

    God sends people who don’t believe in Jesus to hell.
    God decides who is going to believe in Jesus
    God sends people to hell

    [heck we’ve all been/seen/heard of churches who teach this sort of thing]

    Even better, put those two together:

    God has decided who goes to hell.
    I can’t change that.
    There is no point being missional – I God will save who he wants to save.

  4. scott gray says:

    determinism gone bad…

  5. tallandrew says:

    I am utterly at peace with the fact that I have free will and God has complete control over everything.

  6. smudge77 says:

    I remember when I sensed the strings being cut in ’87 after I came out of a 9 month depression. My worldview and concept of God had changed in that time.

    In the last few years I’ve begun to see more clearly how the connection is not through ties that bind from some place ‘above,’ but from the Person of God the Spirit, within.

  7. rick says:

    If these were the only options, I’d take the one on the left.

  8. Both And

    Just as Scripture teaches.

    Now, draw THAT!! (or do you have to leave our four dimensions to do so?)

  9. Robb says:

    I am utterly at peace with the fact that I have free will and God has complete control over everything.


    Both And

    Just as Scripture teaches.

    Now, draw THAT!!

    Oh yes indeedio :D

  10. Tyler Dawn says:

    I find that those who howl the loudest that God does not control evil in this world are the often the ones who would take the greatest offense if God were to curtail their own actions.

    Control everyone else God, and LEAVE ME ALONE!

  11. drew says:

    In the words of Pinnochio (who was probably lying anyway)

    “I want to be a real boy”

  12. David Ker says:

    Blessed are the ties that bind. We live with quite a lot of strings attached but more cultural than anything else. The puppet never sees his own strings. Hmmm… I’m blabbing.

  13. Pingback: Living life with no strings attached « lingamish.com

  14. Pete C says:

    When given the option of A or B, choose C. (At least that way you sound clever.)

  15. BenDLea says:

    Can’t they just be springs, so the puppet has freedom, but can choose to bounce really high when working together with his Lord?

  16. AnneDroid says:

    Or reins like toddlers get, giving us a measure of freedom but safety too…?

    I’m with the “I am utterly at peace with the fact that I have free will and God has complete control over everything” gang above. I’m quite attracted to paradoxes, though.

  17. subo says:

    thanks for your post smudge77, I’m trying to shake a few strings off at the moment, I just seem to have a whole set of beliefs about myself and my place in the world which are tying me up – so good to find ps23 on your web page, cheers

  18. subo says:

    I think the strings that pull us, are our own thinking about stuff – i.e., ‘if I can’t control a situation, then …’ or ‘I’m not good enough to have a go at …’, I think it’s these tightly held beliefs that stop us from being about to be our free spontaneous selves, and enjoy each others company.

    I think heaven will be such a shock to us, as we find we can see ourselves free from all the false beliefs, we’ll look in the mirror and be in awe of the beautiful person looking back at us

  19. Pingback: Questioning « Just one step at a time

  20. shelly says:

    I am utterly at peace with the fact that I have free will and God has complete control over everything.

    IMO, drop the “free” part and you’ve got it. *nods*

  21. Laura says:

    I liked the idea of the “no strings” until I realized there were no strings. :shock: Suddenly the idea of being in total control scared the snot out of me.

    Odd that….

  22. dennis says:

    To keep my sanity I am in agreement with no.5 (tallandrew – actually how tall is andrew?)

    But in the craziness of my head I know that God is not in control of me all the time because sometimes I’m out of control.

    In saying that though even when you submit yourself to God you still have the freedom to do whatever you want!?

    So I have been asking myself “Am I free” I heard someone speak about Hildegard the other day and the guy said she was just so free because she was some kind of Nun and I thought well actually if she was a Nun then she is bound! so how can she be free?

    Again for my own sanity I am clinging to these words “He who the son sets free is free indeed”

    Puppets SCARE me.

  23. JF says:

    smudge77 (#6): exactly! The notion that God is an internal ideal obviates the depressing idea that we are acting out some pre-ordained Plan. Unfortunately I grew up in the kind of church Robb describes in #3. It’s funny how many people actually cling to the idea that they are being controlled, like it’s a comforting idea. Or fudge the issue by thinking of long strings. Or springs. Or reins. But that’s just my opinion.

  24. Linus says:

    seriously, if anyone is in any way comfortable about someone else controlling their thoughts and actions, then perhaps this prototype of mine is finally starting to work.

    @ Pete 14, that way you just sound like you haven’t read the question, surely? But yes, “if they give you lined paper, write the other way”

    I have been reading a book called the shack, which deals a lot with this question. It is a bit like a very modern, very touchy feely story in the same genre as pilgrim’s progress. The main character is a man whose young daughter was abducted and murdered. Tyler’s comment @10 is one of the things that the book argues strongly. I wonder if other ASBOers have come across it and what they think about it?

    Drew @11 yes this is often my prayer!

    David @12 – yes – are some ties good? do we choose to relinquish some autonomy in return for relationship? is there a difference between independence and freedom? another big theme from “the shack”

    BenDLea @15 love it!

    Laura @21 haha that’s a great expression! yep i know that feeling.

    Dennis: i think God is in control enough to accommodate our out-of-control moments. Hope so, anyway. Perfect Love casts out all fear =]

  25. The delightful thing about Him being in control is that when my free will leads me into the brown stuff, I know He’ll get me out of it.

  26. Chris F says:

    The strings are my parents, my teachers, my culture, my friends, my church – all jerking me into automatic responses

    They are not real, they are inside my head – but are too powerful for me too much of the time.

    This truth may set me free one day, but it seems a long way off – but I sometimes catch myself out, and then can be more free than when I’m blind. Sometimes.

  27. Tyler Dawn says:

    Linus, Tyler @10 hated The Shack. rofl

    My husband liked it. I didn’t like too many of his easy answers, plus I knew too many people who read it before publishing and I felt like I had been fed it all for a year before I got to read it. It was just okay, like my friend Kim said, if they had taken out all the crap it would have actually made a very powerful pamphlet.

    NOTE: if anyone wants to get angry with me about this, I will not respond. Too many people worship this book to the point where it cannot even be critiqued, that is unhealthy.

  28. zefi says:

    I do not for one bit think that both side cannot be one and the same.


    Because we’re reasoning here using a finite mind. And when we’re talking about how God works, we’re talking about an infinite mind. (If it’s not blasphemous to even call it as such.)

    I once read an article about how predestination and free will works together, that one cannot happen without the other. I lost the link to the article. :(
    I can only remember that the arguments provided were quite persuasive.

    It is not God’s fault that the logic of you humans are not flawless, being unable to imagine these things, and thus calling them impossible.

    And you know, I do suspect that many who disagree do not really understand what Calvinism is TRULY about.
    Are they slacking in sharing the gospel?
    Are they lacking in doing good works?
    Are they lazy people?

    Don’t talk to me about how some people who don’t really get it, and will be misled. These are people at the fringes who knows a bit and think they know everything about that thing. These group of people are everywhere.

    I suspect (again) that many who jumps at the sound of the word “Calvinism” are back benchers, and if you’re not them, then I’m obviously not referring to you.

    I’d call this issue like I’d call any other distractions: It’s a red-herring.

    *blinded by unreasonable rage for no apparent reason. heh.*

  29. Pingback: Funny Blog » Blog Archive » Comment on 552 by JF

  30. zefi says:

    Uh, I found him.

    Here’s an extra info. Can’t believe that what I currently believe has a term. Ugh.

    And the “Age of the Universe” article link by Gerald Schroeder that I provided few cartoons below provides some interesting hint/thought of how God does His thing, especially the part about how God withdrew some of His presence so that things can get created. (not really, but something along that line)

    Like every other thing, this is an issue that we can debate until the cows come home. I’m off. Happy discussing! ;)

  31. chaino says:

    God is sovereign.

  32. gilly says:

    False dichotomy methinks.

    I’d love God to be utterly in control,but he keeps handing the reigns back.

    And I’d love to be utterly in control of my own life…but it’s very obvious I’m not.

  33. miriworm says:

    On a pin ball machine the ball is always pre-destined to end up in the same place but how it gets there is a matter of free will.

  34. jody says:

    linus, i liked the shack a lot, and particularly liked the thorny subject of forgiveness being approached in this way.

    i now always hear the words ‘i’m especially fond of him’, whenever engaging with someone that i find myself not being especially fond of ;-)

  35. smudge77 says:

    JF 23.
    well I don’t want to give anyone the impression that ‘God is just an internal ideal.’
    I believe He is internal in Christians/the Church, through the Person of the Holy Spirit…
    but He is so much more too…
    external as well as internal…
    I was just saying the connection…the Mediator, the Joiner – is not strings from some place ‘above’ [as if in the sky]

  36. I believe that the goal, as far as free will is concerned, is to give it back. If the ultimate aim is to be like christ.

  37. maggi says:

    when I got together the courage and insight to set myself free, gradually, from a control-based religion, I began to realise it wasn’t God who had been pulling the strings, but it was God who was helping me to cut them.

  38. janetp says:

    In many ways, I’d love to be the picture on the left – it seems so much EASIER. :)

    But in practice, God’s been making it quite clear over the last few years that I’m actually the picture on the right, and that’s where God wants me to be.

  39. chaino says:

    it is very much both at the same time i think, which i cant comprehend.

  40. Pingback: Living life with no strings attached | lingamish

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