Arguments for The Existence of Man’s Free Will
a. A man feels remorse when he commits something wrong. He begs God’s forgiveness for his sins. If he troubles someone or does someone harm, he begs that person to excuse him. All this shows that man does on his own whatever he does or he himself decides to do something and how to do it. If he had no free will to exercise in doing the actions he does and were compelled to do them by a superior power, why should be become remorseful and beg forgiveness if he has done something wrong or committed a sin?
b. Obviously enough, we choose to move our hands or say something or stand up to go somewhere. We see that there is nothing, no fetters around our necks, to compel us to do or not to do something. We feel free to, for example, read a useful book in our leisure time to sit and watch TV. Nothing or no one makes us pray to God or not by force. None of us move by a remote control in the hands of an invisible superior power.
c. We hesitate, reason, make comparisons, judge the circumstances, choose and decide before doing something. For example, when two of our friends invite us to different places or suggest doing different things, before deciding, we hesitate, make comparisons and finally come to a decision. Likewise, perhaps a hundred times a day, we act in the same way, that is, we think, hesitate, judge the circumstances, make comparisons and then decide, in the face of the opposed appeals of good and evil within us.
d. When we are wronged, we sometimes go to a court and bring suit against him who has wronged us. Neither we nor the court ascribe the wrong done to us to a compelling superior power like Destiny, nor does the one accused attempt to excuse himself by blaming that power. The virtuous and wicked, those who are promoted to high ranks in social life and those who waste their time idly, those who are rewarded for their good acts or successes and those who are punished for their crimes- all this shows that everyone acts of his free will, under no compulsion.
e. Only the insane are not held responsible for their acts. Reason and other mental faculties with which man is endowed require that man should be free in his decisions and acts, and actually show that he is so. Without free will, neither human reason nor other faculties have a meaning.
f. Animals have no will power. They act under the guidance of God, which materialistic science calls instinct. For example, a bee always builds hexagonal hives. Since it has no will power to decide on the form of its hives, it never attempts to make, for example, a nest or a triangular hive. However, human beings decide between many alternatives before doing or building something. Also, we are free to change our minds. It usually occurs that we make changes in our decisions in the face of emergencies or new, better proposals. This is also indicative of man’s will power.
By M. Fethullah Gulen