2. Free Will and the Difference Between Choice and Free Choice

To avoid confusion, I should make a distinction between choice and “free choice”. The opposite of a “free” choice would be an “unfree” choice. If someone is forced to make a choice, can it be thought of as a choice at all? I don’t think so. Much of this confusion comes from different definitions of the word “choice”.

The WordWeb dictionary has three definitions for choice:

1. The person or thing chosen or selected
2. The act of choosing or selecting
3. One of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

We have the act of choosing which we call choice. We have the thing that was chosen which was called a choice, and yet it was still predetermined before we were presented with the available options. We would still be caused to choose. Since we don’t choose which choices are presented to us, we still cannot take credit or blame for them in the way we traditionally have done so. We cannot take ownership of any choice and claim that “we chose it”.

Consider the case of a grocery store where a customer is asked if they want their food put in paper or plastic bags. This assumes that both types of bags exist. Whatever selection the customer makes, there is a cause for it. They may or may not know the reason why they prefer paper or plastic. But this is an example of something people call a choice that hundreds of people make every day. However, this type of choice is not nearly as serious as a choice about something like abortion, suicide, or war.

In life or death situations, knowing the cause for a choice is far more relevant. Before we think about killing people, we must ask the difficult questions such as: What is the meaning of life? Does life end at death or does it go on forever? Is one type of life more deserving of life than another? I have my own answers to these questions and have for many reasons become more pro-life over the years. The events in my life that happened have shown me that there is nothing I consider more relevant than life itself. Life is not something that I chose. None of us did.

I cannot honestly say that I chose to fight against abortion. I am not responsible for all of the events that led to it that happened before my own existence. Had the universe been different, I would probably have done something different than debating people about abortion and writing about its connection with the belief in free will. It was not my choice. It is just something I felt compelled to do. It was this knowledge that led me to explore the subject of free will and find out if it had any relevance to abortion, suicide, war, or other life and death issues. It turns out it does.

If I wasn’t pro-life, I would have had no motivation to learn the causes of death. The good news is that there ARE causes. If there were no causes, we would be living in a completely acausal or random world. In that case, all my actions would be irrelevant.

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