THE BLOG

Why I Am No Longer a Christian: There Is No Free Will

13/06/2013 16:28 BST | Updated 11/08/2013 10:12 BST

The first thing to make clear is that I have every respect for Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and people of all faiths and no faith. Our beliefs, whatever they are, are God-given. It is even correct to say that God gives atheists their unbelief, as strange as that may sound.

But the purpose of this article is to explain why I have moved on from Christianity to a new spiritual understanding that isn't easily categorized. I am close to being a panentheist, which means, literally, "all in God", but that term doesn't capture my beliefs entirely.

In a nutshell, I believe that God's being permeates everything, everywhere, all of the time. I refer to God as "The Cosmic Animator" because I believe that all activity in the universe, including human activity, is willed and directed by God. There is no free will! When I write it is God writing through me, and when you speak it is God speaking through you.

If this sounds strange then consider this for a moment: What is making our hearts beat? What is making our blood flow and our eyes blink? What is causing thoughts to arise in our minds? Clearly, there is a force or power making these things happen, and that force or power is God, or the divine, or the supreme being, or whatever you might like to call the almighty essence.

A view contrary to this is that of Christians. Christians believe we have free will, which means we do what we choose independently of the divine will. But in my humble opinion this cannot be possible. If God (or the divine) is omnipresent (everywhere) as most Christian theology supposes, then there is no atom anywhere in the universe that is not under direct divine control. God, therefore, is doing everything!

I am not denying that there is a sense in which we do seem to have free will. I apparently make choices in my daily life, just as you do. But the sense of free will that we experience is ultimately illusory because God is the cause of all action. If I raise my arm or nod my head, it is I who am doing this in the human dimension, but it is God who is acting in the ultimate dimension.

The Old Testament is full of instances where God issues commandments to His chosen people, and they then respond by obeying or disobeying God's commands. When they are obedient, God responds favourably, and when they are disobedient, God responds with wrath and punishes them.

But In reality, there is no freedom to respond to divine commandments, as Christians, Muslims, and Jews, suppose. If all will is God's will, which I fervently believe is the case, then God is responsible for both obedience and disobedience in response to His commands. In light of this, divine punishment is a strange concept, because if God punishes He is really punishing His own actions in the world.

Christians also believe that human beings live in a "fallen" state. The idea is that through the original sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden the human race entered a state of separateness from God - a state that needs the response of grace through Jesus Christ in order to be remedied. But if God is omnipresent, as I am arguing in this article, then the idea of a fall is illogical. There is no separateness. God has always been responsible for all action in the cosmos, and always will be. There never was a fall away from God and we must also conclude that there is no devil-like being in competition with God.

In conclusion, then, the divine attribute of omnipresence renders implausible some of the basic tenets of Christianity (and the other Abrahamic faiths). I don't think it is possible to believe both that God is everywhere, and that we have free will. This is a vital point to consider for anyone who has an interest in theology.

If you are interested in pursuing this line of thought further I suggest visiting my philosophy blog at www.perfectchaos.org, or if you would like a more in depth exploration of me and my philosophy, feel free to read my

book "The Philosophy of a Mad Man".

In the future I hope to establish a new church based on a philosophy that embraces and respects people of all faiths, colours, creeds, and races. The church will be for everyone who believes in the one true God; not the Christian God, not the Muslim God, just God! For more information or to get involved in this exciting project, please visit www.tucoag.org.