But me knowing the future, or any entity for that matter, doesn't keep you from making those decisions. Those are still your decisions.
True, but I still contend that God knowing the future makes any decision I make pointless because I would be powerless to deviate from what He knows I will do. Wouldn't you agree? Since God set the universe in motion and knows absolutely everything that will happen down to the most fundamental level, I have no say in the future and therefore have no free will. It appears that I have free will in the present, but my decision has already been made for me. The decision is still certainly dependent on the circumstances and was genuinely made based on them, but the circumstances and outcome were always set in stone and so are pointless. I don't see how anyone could be accountable for their decisions in such an environment.
If I see you robbing and stealing and predict you're going to jail, did I effectively send you there?
If you created the future, then yes. In this case, God created all of the circumstances leading up to me committing the crime and all of the outcome. Or could I have possibly deviated from the future that God orchestrated at the beginning of the universe?
Also, if I did set up the system and there are people who are not going to jail, then how can you still say I effectively put you in jail? I didn't put those other people in jail and they are in the same environment as you.
That's the problem, of course. God created all circumstances and people. He creates people He knows will do these things if they had the chance and then puts them in an environment where they can. Then they do. Which is absolutely no surprise to God because he saw it coming since the very beginning of time. That's what I'm talking about when I say God makes our decisions for us. When He created the universe He laid out the entire future of it at that instant and set in stone what I would do.
Depends on how He created you actually. If I mold the shape of you, give you mobility, but say, "Hey I'll put this thinking box in your head and it'll allow you to experience and learn things as time passes.", then I've created you but not programmed you.
Besides, if God did create me, didn't he program me to be like I am?
I think perhaps this is the point where we are fundamentally disagreeing about. Perhaps God does just design our bodies, tosses a brain in there and says, "Have at it!" The problem as I see it is that He knows precisely what environmental stimuli you'll encounter and what effect that will have, even before you're born. Thus, he knows that given a particular brain and environment, whether or not you're going to Heaven or Hell. Thus He is choosing where you'll go when he is preparing your brain and your environment. It's not necessarily direct programming, but it's the same effect.
If anything God is telling you to sit back and watch the game. Not go out and buy a cake. Plus the things He's asking take as much time as doing the things He doesn't want you to do. So it's a sum-zero loss.
I think you misunderstood. I know two people in person who believe that if you buy something on Sunday, you're a dirty rotten sinner and will go to Hell for it. That is a silly rule that I have no reason to follow, except for the possibility that God would indeed send me to Hell for breaking a commandment (keep the Sabbath day holy, whatever that really means).
I'd also like to spend time that I would otherwise be in church doing things like sleeping or playing Everquest...
When did the Ten Commandments, Jesus, and going to Hell become subtle?!
You could argue that God is the worse of the two here since He's very subtle about His threats (only through proxies who are of dubious trustworthiness),
SeraphLance hit the nail on the head here. God's threats are from several thousand year old texts and we've heard nothing from Him since. It makes me suspicious of their trustworthiness, you see.
God sends you to Hell if you're just going out of your way to be an ass. And most people (whether they believe in God or not) know when they're being an ass (level of ass notwithstanding).
and if the robber kills you, that's that. If God sends you to Hell, you experience torment forever.
it worked that way. There's examples of things in the Bible that the majority of Christians today believe would get you sent to Hell that I don't consider reasonable at all. Homosexuality is a great example. Or, buying something on Sunday.
Success requires no explanation. Failure allows none.