Letter: Free will
In reference to the article about the Natick rabbi that appeared Oct. 1:
Leaving aside the objection that a religious tract, wholly unconnected to any recent or otherwise topical news, is utterly undeserving of page one prominence, there is another point that could be said against this piece on yet another theistic apology.
The new observation in Mr. Kushner’s thesis seems to be a demotion of an omnipotent god by separating it from “nature.” At the same time, we are informed that the maintenance of free will also restrains a deity from interfering in the cause of morality. We might be excused from wondering why he didn’t simply do away with the unnecessary theism, and expound on the fact that people are themselves responsible for making the world a better place, to the degree that this in their power. We certainly are entitled to question why a supposed news item did not include any reference to this obvious “solution” to the age old problem of theodicy.
I recommend “God’s Problem” by Bart D. Ehrman, and “Free Will” by Sam Harris. The former, written by a biblical scholar and former theist, presents the history of theodicy, and the latter, written by an outspoken atheist, presents what might be embraced by theists for allowing a space for a deity to operate, by refuting the notion that free will exists at all, and is an artifact of the development of consciousness.