What happens when we make a choice? An important choice, the kind He will judge us for?
C.S. Lewis writes about his own experience:
The odd thing was that before God closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice. In a sense. I was going up Headington Hill on the top of a bus. Without words and (I think) almost without images, a fact about myself was somehow presented to me. I became aware that I was holding something at bay, or shutting something out. Or, if you like, that I was wearing some stiff clothing, like corsets, or even a suit of armour, as if I were a lobster. I felt myself being, there and then, given a free choice. I could open the door or keep it shut; I could unbuckle the armour or keep it on. Neither choice was presented as a duty; no threat or promise was attached to either, though I knew that to open the door or to take off the corset meant the incalculable. The choice appeared to be momentous but it was also strangely unemotional. I was moved by no desires or fears. In a sense I was not moved by anything. I chose to open, to unbuckle, to loosen the rein. I say, “I chose,” yet it did not really seem possible to do the opposite. On the other hand, I was aware of no motives. You could argue that I was not a free agent, but I am more inclined to think this came nearer to being a perfectly free act than most that I have ever done. Necessity may not be the opposite of freedom, and perhaps a man is most free when, instead of producing motives, he could only say, ‘I am what I do.’”
C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy.
Is Lewis right? It seems to me he is. If so, Mormons have quite a bit of thinking to do, since choice is a pillar of our philosophy.
The libertarian free will movement is wrong is this experience of choice is right. Because if choice is as Lewis describes, what is the moral content of the choice? How can the choice be condemned if it wasn’t free? But compatabilist free will is also wrong, since a choice without motives doesn’t say anything meaningful about my morality.
I don’t hope for an answer. The entire ramifying discipline of psychology can be understood as a study of choice. More has been written and said on the subject–more will probably be written or said on the subject this year–than even a professional psychologist can assimilate.
The eye cannot behold itself The scriptures don’t tell us what choice is. They just tell us to choose.