All college students know the struggle. The week before spring break. Trying to hang on just a little bit longer until sun and relaxation. It is one of the hardest and least productive weeks of the year, and here it’s told by It’s Always Sunny.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.
As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?
We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.
The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.
1. Philippians 4:6
We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.
2. John 14:27
Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.
3. Isaiah 41:10
Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.
4. Psalm 94:19
Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.
5. Psalm 34:4
Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.
6. 1 Peter 5:7
7. 2 Corinthians 12:10
8. Philippians 4:13
Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.
9. Proverbs 3:5
10. Matthew 6:25-34
This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.
11. 2 Timothy 1:7
We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.
12. Isaiah 26:3
13. Matthew 11:28-30
14. Jeremiah 29:11
15. Isaiah 41:13
While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.
So, this is the scene: freshman year, second semester, in a philosophy class.
Free will was the topic of discussion for only a few classes, but because of those classes this topic has never left my mind.
A question was posed by the professor:
"Can we meaningfully say that we have free will? Why or why not?"
This question was dropped towards the end of the semester, so I guess you could say I was feeling like a well-seasoned philosopher. Here's what I came up with- and still believe today... free will does not exist.
The classroom was divided up into two categories.
1. The people that believe in complete free will were considered philosophically practicing substance dualism.
2. Those that believed complete free will does not exist, were practicing naturalism.
Substance dualism is a philosophical theory coined by Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. This theory suggests that the physical world and mental world are two separate substances. For example, everything in the physical world can be measured and extended to dimensions in space. But, everything in the mental world, like our thoughts and beliefs, can never be extended, or measured. Substance dualists believe one can never measure a thought or belief. So, they concluded that the physical and mental are two separate domains of existence-in order for complete free will to be possible.
Naturalism focuses on the belief that external causes have the most control, which means we are not the only influence on our behavior. Holbach argues that free will cannot exist because when the mind and body are seen as one substance, external causes begin to have a major impact on our behaviors and decisions. External causes don't just influence you; they determine who you are, including your thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions.
So, I agree with the naturalist perspective- Free will does not exist.
Before you say anything, hear me out.
Naturalists have similar beliefs about free will to those working in the fields of neuroscience and psychology. Psychology has always assumed free will doesn't exist. For example, the early psychologists, Freud and Skinner, had separate theories of the mind. However, they both believed that external causes had an impact on our behavior.
In "Do We Have Free Will?" by Schwartz, Ph.D, he explains that Freud and Skinner agreed that human behavior was determined by influences within or outside the person. Freud believed in unconscious conflicts and Skinner believed in environmental contingencies. Regardless, both supported the idea that free will doesn't exist- not everything is in our control.
Within the field of science, there has been an overall assumption that free will does not exist; and a quiet worry of what that implies for morality.
Unfortunately, through this belief a person's level of responsibility can decrease because external causes control their behavior and they begin to believe they 'could not have done otherwise.'
That's the last thing we need in a community, or in a court system. Do you ever do something 'good' simply because you believe you have a choice in the matter? And you believe your practicing your 'free will'?
Imagine if whenever you did something bad you would say, 'I couldn't have done otherwise?!?'
Some people already do that, but still....I'm shook.
Here's what I think though.
Yes, external causes have more of an impact on our behavior than we do- which means complete free will does not exist. HOWEVER, this may seem like it diminishes responsibility but that is false. We are still responsible for our actions because we are the source of that behavior!!! A person could not have done otherwise but there will still be a form of punishment, or reward.
So after reading this piece, still act right please.
Free will does not exist because in order for the physical and mental to interact, they have to be considered one substance. Naturalism makes a better argument than substance dualism because there is not a satisfying answer to the question of how two separate substances are able to interact while being in separate domains of existence. If the physical and mental are one, then they are constantly affecting each other.
Free will doesn't exist boo.
But its okay, you still have a say in the matter and your decisions are still connected to you!