Religious Non-Volitionalism And It’s Consequences

Volitionalism is not a word. I made it up to talk about the idea that human beings are capable of having all the control they can have about the future. Notice that I do not use the word Non-Determinism to talk about Volitionalism. This is because people – religious people to be precise – do hold beliefs in which they do not accept Determinism while believing that they are not in control of their future lives.

It is true that religious people hold the belief that people are capable of choosing between sin and virtue in the future. However they [the religious] also hold it true that the future, especially their future lies, with varying degrees, at the hands of an external agent like the God, the Devil or the Spirits (The Dead, The Angels, Jinnee etc.). Just like the secular people who use causality to, with varying degrees of rationality, relieve themselves of personal responsibility, Religious people use the influence of the aforementioned external agents to irrationally relieve themselves from personal responsibility.

Don't believe me?

Here is the evidence in Christianity: 

The Bible, James 4:13-17 (New King James Version)

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will[a] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 

17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Here is the evidence in Islam:

Al Koran, Surat Al-Khaf (The Cave) 18:23-24

23 You shall not say that you will do anything in the future, 24 without saying, "GOD willing." (Insha'Allah) If you forget to do this, you must immediately remember your Lord and say, "May my Lord guide me to do better next time.".


Since Liberty is synonymous with personal responsibility, what religion achieves through the encouragement of abdication of personal responsibility is the violation of the fundamental right to liberty of every individual.

Irrational abdication of personal responsibility, lies at the heart many, if not all, evils among men. Take simple act the planning for good grades in exams as a religious person: "If God, Devil or the Spirits wills it, they can affect your grades. So you are at the perpetual mercy of their actions and in constant "worry" of what they might choose to do.".

A secular equivalent of such an irrational abdication of personal responsibility is "the premise of the malevolent universe". This is a worldview in which the Universe is assumed to malevolent i.e. with a tendency to hurt and destroy our plans for the future. However this is untrue because, had the Universe been malevolent insurance companies wouldn't make any profit. Insurance companies make exorbitant profits, therefore, we do live in a benevolent universe where catastrophe is the exception not the norm.

So it is with great sincerity that I can now say this:

I am. I think. I will.

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