Are we less human if we lack fully free will?

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As N. T. Wright points out, freedom is a much more complex idea than it initially appears. Is the Christian acting in a holy manner out of free will, or is s/he a "glove puppet" of the holy spirit? He concludes that there is no such thing as fully free...

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As N. T. Wright points out, freedom is a much more complex idea than it initially appears. Is the Christian acting in a holy manner out of free will, or is s/he a "glove puppet" of the holy spirit? He concludes that there is no such thing as fully free will.

Take the question of belief: are we free to believe what we want? In a sense, yes. People have a wide variety of beliefs, and in a free society, no one has the right to tell you what to believe. You are free to be Christian or atheist, Democrat or Republican. However, in another sense, you clearly are not free to believe what you want. I believe that Paris is the capital city of France. I am compelled to believe this by the data available to me. If I try to exercise my freedom to believe that New York is the capital of France, I find that I am unable to do so. This type of freedom would entail insanity.

Wright says that freedom always has limits, whether the freedom in question is political, religious, or artistic. G. K. Chesterton, an important influence on Wright, once observed that you are free to draw a picture of a giraffe, but you must draw it with a long neck. If you insist on drawing it with a short neck, you will find that you have not exercised your freedom to draw a giraffe. The lack of completely free will, far from negating our humanity, is a necessary element of the human condition and, indeed, of any existence we can imagine.

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