Free Will QuizThe paradox of human free will and God's infinite knowledge and power has troubled Jewish thinkers at every point in Jewish history. How much do you know about this debate?
Question 1. Who believed that free will doesn't really exist, but human beings need to believe it does?
Question 2. True or false: At his famous show-down with Ahab on Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah insinuates that God purposely led the hearts of the sinning Israelites astray.
Question 3. What is the most significant problem that modern science has contributed to the free will question?
Science has isolated a single "free will" gene
Some contemporary scientific thinking attributes much of human behavior to biological and psychological factors
Chaos theory has shown it is impossible to predict human behavior
Both science and religion have agreed that free will is a basic factor in the human brain
Question 4. Who said that "everything is foreseen [by God], yet man has the capacity to choose freely"?
Shimon bar Yohai
Hanina ben Hama
Question 5. Which of these modern scientific advances challenge the Jewish idea of free will?
Sigmund Freud's suggestion that our behaviors are guided by unconscious drives
Genetic science about the extent to which our lives and inclinations are programmed into our biological constitution
Discoveries about organic aspects of our personalities
A & B only
All of the above
Question 6. True or false: In antiquity, the different sects in Israel (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes) all agreed about fate and determinism.
Question 7. What does Abraham Joshua Heschel believe about free will?
The self does not belong to the physical world, and it possesses and controls the will
The laws of Judaism reflect a conviction that the human power to choose is weaker than is generally supposed
Humans have come to look at life as completely predetermined, and they need to free themselves from this view, whether or not it is true
All of these
None of these