Deliberation Requires Liberation



(The FreeThinking Theist)


October 15, 2018

The Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism is a staple at FreeThinking Ministries and a great way to show naturalists that we have good reason to think there is more to reality than just the stuff scientists can test and discover. The original 8-step argument is also a good conversation starter about free will. Several versions of the Freethinking Argument have been offered dealing with the problems arising on any deterministic view — naturalistic or divine determinism. With that said, consider a shorter syllogism deductively concluding that humans possess libertarian freedom.

The Deliberation & Liberation Argument 

1. Rationality requires deliberation.
2. Deliberation requires libertarian freedom (liberation).
3. Therefore, rationality requires libertarian freedom (liberation).
4. Some humans are rational.
5. Therefore, some humans possess libertarian freedom.

This argument hinges on the word ‘deliberation,’ which has been defined this way:

‘To weigh in the mind; to consider and examine the reasons for and against a measure to estimate the weight of force of arguments, or the probable consequences of a measure, in order to a choice or decision; to pause and consider’ (Webster 1828).

With the definition in place, consider the next question raised: Is it possible to truly deliberate without libertarian freedom?

The answer emerges after dwelling upon the nature of determinism. If exhaustive determinism is true, then the non-rational laws of nature and past events, or God, always exhaustively determines a person’s considerations, examinations, and estimations (all of one’s thoughts about their beliefs and one’s beliefs about their thoughts). If that is the case, then the person cannot rationally affirm or provide justification that their beliefs really are the best or true (including their belief that determinism is true). With this in mind, it seems that libertarian freedom is necessary if one genuinely possesses the ability to rationally evaluate one’s thoughts/beliefs and to deliberate in the truest sense.

It follows that if deliberation is impossible, then so is rationality.

Bottom line: If one subtracts liberation from deliberation, all one is left with is “de.” What good is that?

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton


About the Author



(The FreeThinking Theist)

Timothy A. Stratton (PhD, North-West University) is a professor at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. As a former youth pastor, he is now devoted to answering deep theological and philosophical questions he first encountered from inquisitive teens in his church youth group. Stratton is founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries, a web-based apologetics ministry. Stratton speaks on church and college campuses around the country and offers regular videos on FreeThinking Ministries’ YouTube channel.

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