Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ “free will”

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “will2”, is recyled from 2006. But there’s also an update about last week’s strip:

Last week’s strip may have seriously underestimated the Church of England’s wealth. An alternative analysis puts it at nearer 23 billion.

The estimate last week was 8.3 billion.

At any rate, this strip is on a topic dear to my heart—free will. In this case, it raises the conundrum that if God knows everything we’re going to do, how could we ever have been able to do anything else? Theologians have answers, of course, but they’re tortuous and unconvincing:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Last week’s strip may have seriously underestimated the Church of England’s wealth. An alternative analysis puts it at nearer 23 billion.

    In the words of Illinois’s own velvet-voiced Sen. Everett Dirksen: a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

    • Gasper
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Now there was a Republican of stature.

    • David Coxill
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Bastards ,our local village church is falling down and the local god botherers have been having jumble sales to raise the cash .

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        I do firmly disagree with that $23 billion. I think it’s likely highly inaccurate. It’s a bit like taking the GDP of a country and saying that, therefore, the government shouldn’t be short of dosh. (I don’t want to push that analogy too far though).

        10 billion of it is in parish councils – they took the average of five arbitrarily-selected parishes, ranging from 219K to 1.1M, and multiplied it by the number of parishes. The scope for error there should be obvious.

        Also, these are stated to be ‘assets’. Do these include land and buildings? It should be fairly obvious that a church might be sitting on quarter million quid’s worth of land and the building itself might have a ‘value**’ of a quarter million, say, but neither of those ‘assets’ are liquid. They’ve got half a million quid’s worth of assets but they can’t use them to fix leaks in the church roof.

        (**And that also raises the question of whether it’s ‘market value’ or ‘replacement value’ or ‘disposal value’).

        They’ve also counted 1.2 billion in the pensions fund, which I think is probably legally ring-fenced and not available for the church to dip into.

        I’m thinking mainly of rural England here – tourist operators and local businesses do make huge amounts due to the existence of old stone village churches. In the past those churches were maintained by offerings from virtually everyone in the parish and the local gentry. Now, only a tiny percentage of the parish are believers (which we atheists see as a good thing). But nature and wear and tear haven’t decreased. So someone’s got to pay to keep feeding the goose that lays the golden (tourist) eggs.

        Should these country churches be transferred to the National Trust (or a similar body) and the C of E become tenants (as in France)? I’d just hate to see these village churches become derelict or sold off for commercial use because the local parish can’t afford to maintain them.


    • Mark R.
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Let’s sell one of those artifacts on Heritage Auctions or some such. Heh.

  2. Posted July 17, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Did Mo just wink at me?

  3. Gasper
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    When everything in religion is in superlatives, nothing makes sense.

  4. phoffman56
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    And here I always thought “free willy” was something about tight underwear.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      I thought ‘Free Willy’ was a porno movie. What a disappointment…



      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Addendum – extensive Google research confirms that there is such a thing. The ‘adult’ industry was never going to miss a trick like that. Rule 34 is satisfied.


  5. Posted July 17, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    If God knows everything, he also knows his own future at any point in time, which means God doesn’t have free will, either.

    • Posted July 17, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      And can’t make any decisions or take any actions that would change to future. In fact, it can’t even decide to create anything.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I remember arguing about this when discussing Calvin and pre-destination in High School.

  7. lezurk
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    And if god is unable to change the future (or prophecy for that matter)then he is not omnipotent either.

    • Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:13 am | Permalink

      Yep. Omnipotence and omniscience are logically contradictory. This is a fact that many Christians struggle to understand.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Can God make a rock that he is unable to lift?

    Either way, that means he’s not omnipotent.

  9. Posted July 17, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    If someone knows everything I do AFTER I do it, does that make me unfree?

    Jesus and Mo and co. have weird (and untrue) ideas about time and causality, according to which one Person can know for certain someone else’s future action without causing or forcing them to do it. If those ideas were true, they would be relevant to free will issues.

    Most scientists have perfectly normal (and untrue) ideas about time and causality. They think that causality is both universal, and inherently one-way. Sean Carroll explains why that ain’t so.

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