A mercifully short update today, it's late, I'm tired and this doesn't require verbosity.
Interesting debate on Facebook tonight about God and free will. Having given it some thought, I've concluded that God cannot be loving, merciful or benevolent if we have free will, not if God exists the way most theists claim. Here's my reasoning.
I'll use myself as an example.
The argument most theists give is that God knows all; past, present and future. If that is the case the following must be true.
1 ~ God knew before he created me that I would be a life long atheist
2 ~ I cannot later decide to convert to being a believer as this violates 1
Now, the logic here follows that;
In 1 God knows he will be punishing me before I'm even created. He must do if he knows past, present and future yet he still creates me. If he knows that will lead to my subsequent punishment for not believing in him then he cannot be loving, forgiving or benevolent.
In 2 I cannot have free will as God already knows my future in 1. If God foresaw my dying an atheist it is impossible for me to change to theism without violating 1. What may seem like free will must be predetermined otherwise God cannot possibly know the future.
The result of this is that either God cannot be all knowing and is therefore unaware of our future, or he is far from loving and benevolent as he knowingly creates those he'll subsequently punish, even though they have absolutely no control over something that he's foreseen.
If God is truly loving and benevolent then he would only create those whom he has foreseen to be worshipful of him, as he demands. He doesn't, he creates life long atheists too – then punishes them.
It was suggested to me that the multi-verse argument might negate this, given that all possibilities are presented. However, theists claim that God is outside of space and time, therefore he would still know all possible outcomes – yet continues to create those who will, logically, have no say over their destiny as he's already seen it.
An all knowing God cannot possibly be compatible with free will, nor can he be loving, forgiving or benevolent. Seems quite obvious to me.