Can you prove there is such thing as free will?
Free will is an intresting one and I would argue that we don't have it, at least not completely.
If you like it or not, the fact is your choices and actions depend on the chemcial layout of your brain at the time you have to make the choice. I know this from experiance as I suffer from swings into depression and an action which seems perfectly clear and logical one day becomes not so the next once my mood shifts.
At best any choices we make depend on our mood/chemical levels and cultural contamination as well. There is also the question of determinism in the universe; if we had the maths to do it then could we simulate the universe from start to finish such that the same things happen in the simualtion as happened in reality? If so then there is no free will as you will always react the same given the same combination of inputs and outputs.
The introduction of an all knowing god just complicates things; how can god be all knowing if I have free will? If he knows the outcome of my actions before I have even come across them how can I have free will? And if he doesn't know then how could god be god as this lack of knowledge would break the ideal of being 'perfect'.
How about love?
As mentioned 'love' is nothing more than a chemical state of the brain.
Something about someone trips off the correct chemical path ways which cause certain chemcials to be produced and induce a feeling of pleasure. Thus, because our brains are setup to react to these checmials and effectively seek out more, we spend more time with that person. Humans have called this attraction 'love' but the same pair bonding can be seen in animals making it a non-unique thing which is not exculsive to humans.
In essense, there is no 'self' either. It's all an illusion.
Pretty much, yes... at some point we become 'aware' that the creature doing the thinking is seperate from the others we are looking at and thus invest in this 'self' but it is something which arises from the way our brains are layed out and a learned condition; children when they are very young and are still forming their nurological connections have little to no concept of self, it is something which develops over time.
See, now we're getting somewhere. I believe in free will, because I want to believe
. (Obviously, I argued initially from the reverse side to make a point). I don't want to think that my actions are all the result of "dumb", mechanical chemical processes in my head. Obviously, I do believe genetics and chemistry play a role(I too have suffered from depression incidents that were alliviated by medicine), but I also believe that there is a "core" of "self" that is beyond deterministic laws or pure chance(if you want to go "quantum", although it's not proven if quantum mechanics play any role in the brain function). I want to believe that, because, to believe otherwise, would indeed make me depressed
. That's just me. Inside my current worldview, I consider this free will as a gift from God.
Things are more complicated that you guys are making them to be. It's not like a read a book about magical beings and stories and went 'oh yeah, that's the truth'. There was much critical thinking that went into the process, at least for me, and there still is, for years(I was an atheists, and I still like very much many atheists for their ability think free- you can't deny that). The New Testament, for example, is the story of the founder of our faith, and the various authors(of gospels, epistles, Acts, etc...) state that this story is real. This story contains many very deep material about morality, the relationship of man with the divine(if you want to accept that there is such thing), love, compassion, forgiveness, etc etc, that, if someone wants to ridicule them, the joke's on them. Even strong atheists like Dawkins pay respect to the figure of Jesus and have formed the 'atheists for Jesus' group).
Other than that, it's your choice or not to believe the authors, that are witnesses and state that the stories are real. The decision will have many factors in it, your whole 'self', biological, historical, moral, personal, rational, emotional(the story just moved me, personally) etc etc. My method was down-to-top. I read the story of Jesus, and admired his moral teaching. Regardless of his divinity or not, I believed that those words, if applied, could radically change human nature and societies at large. At some point, I decided that the existence of a Creator of the physical universe can be a possibility, and, if it existed, I would wanted to be like the God Jesus described. I then decided that the authors, and Jesus himself, were not lying or being delusional, and that the words were true, that it was not just some magnificent human moral teaching, equal to others before that(say Konfucius) but knowledge handed over by that caring Creator to the human race, as a means for bettering ourselves. The Sermon on the Mount was a critical factor in that decision. I still have many
unanswered questions, like the problem of evil(I throught, for example, that isn't it a bit hypocritical to hear,say,the Pope pray to God to help those inflicted by the quake in Japan, where God is supposed to have full control of nature?), but I consider them just that: Unanswered, and very possibly outside of my mental capabilities. I don't regard my faith as a dead, stationary thing: It will change, and hopefully new things will be revealed in the future.
Now, If you still want to equate that long process with "beliving in fairies or the Easter Bunny", go ahead. But I won't take you seriously, as I assume you are not taking me. Oh well.