The freedom to choose one’s own destiny is a profound element of human existence. It makes love possible.
Love is only worth something because there is another alternative. Love that was automatic or compelled would simply be robotic.
Philosophers have come up with concepts such as determinism, compatabilism and incompatabilism as different ways of dealing with the deep questions arising from the experience of free will. Some of these are attempts to account for reality through a materialistic lens – a naturalistic worldview.
It seems fairly self-evident to me that a materialistic worldview can only account for determinism, not for free will. This poses a philosophical problem. An existential riddle. For the naturalist, materialist and atheist, that is.
Everything we do as humans, everything we are taught, is on the assumption that our decisions matter. That we really do have freedom to choose.
I would suggest that compatabilism has simply been made up, though logically untenable, to deal with the cognitive dissonance created by trying to marry materialistic atheism with freedom of choice.
In the Great Controversy between good and evil, it suits the forces of evil to promote the belief that freedom doesn’t exist. Either that God doesn’t exist (naturalistic determinism) or that even if He does exist, He controls every decision and outcome and that there’s still not freedom of choice (Calvinistic predestination).
But human experience powerfully argues that you really can choose. A trivial example is that you can freely choose whether to alter your breathing pattern right now or not. And that no scientific theory could be devised to accurately predict your choice of breathing pattern, even if all your knowledge, emotions, surroundings, circumstances, and all other relevant factors could be taken into account by such a theory.
If such a theory were to be true, it would remove all motivation to make the world a better place or to pursue personal growth or ambition. Such aspirations only make sense if there truly is freedom.
The fact that this freedom exists is what the new atheist unwittingly tries to take advantage of when he or she tries to persuade others to choose to abandon belief in God.
The fact that this freedom exists also powerfully argues that a powerful intelligence (God) designed it that way. That God loves you enough to give you the choice of whether to believe His claims or not. To serve Him or not. And to love Him back or not.
What will you choose?