Why We Err

According to some religious texts, God occasionally made a bad decision. Genesis reports that in Noah’s time God found mankind behaving badly, and decided to exterminate most of his creation. Also in that tradition God created human beings with free will. Any beings with finite knowledge and free will are going to occasionally make bad decisions. This same tradition holds that humans are morally responsible for their actions because their actions are free. Other religious traditions such as that of John Calvin deny the existence of free will, and believe that all human actions are pre-determined. Accordingly, God does not so much let us make bad decisions, but rather determines that we make them. In that view some humans are destined for salvation (the Elect) and others are predestined to damnation (the Damned). The problem for Calvin is that none of us knows in advance into which camp he/she falls.

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